Police Detectives: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Police Detectives

Police Detectives conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Becoming One
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Police Detectives conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

  • Provide testimony as a witness in court.
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner’s arrival.
Read more about what does a Police Detective really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$85020 per year

Average hourly wage
$41 per hour

Police Detectives with little to no experience tend to make between $43800 and $57560 while the more experienced ones can earn over $107000 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $59 $122,460
AK $57 $118,360
CA $52 $107,120
HI $51 $107,010
NJ $49 $102,600

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Police Detective is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Police Detectives are DC, AK, CA, HI and NJ.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Police Detective is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Police Detectives what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services
Criminal Justice/Police Science
Criminalistics and Criminal Science
Law Enforcement Investigation and Interviewing
Law Enforcement Record-Keeping and Evidence Management
Read more about how to become a Police Detective and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Police Detective.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes to work on their own and make decisions
This career is perfect for people who love to work both indoors and outdoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Demand for this career is growing very slowly
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

74% of Police Detectives said they were satisfied with their job and 78% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Police Detectives

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Job Description

Related career information

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