How Much Does A Private Detective Make?

Conducting surveillance activities, looking into past records and getting evidence—all these are part and parcel of the job of private detectives. Those who love mysteries and problem solving will find this a very fulfilling career.

Individuals who have previous law enforcement experience are often preferred by employers because they are already equipped with the skills and training needed to undertake investigations and solve cases.

Private detectives receive above-average pay. The profession also has positive employment prospects in the next few years.

Private Detective Salary

Average Private Detective Annual Salary

$53,530

The average annual salary for private detectives is $53,530 a year. Salaries start at $27,210 a year and go up to $87,070 a year.

Average Private Detective Hourly Wage

$25.74

The average hourly wage for a private detective is $25.74. Hourly wages were between $13.08 and $41.86 an hour.

Stats were based out of 28,490 employed private detectives in the United States.

Does Your Pay Depend On Your Experience?

Executive Private Detective

$87,070/year $41.86/hour

(Top 10% of Private Detectives)


Senior Private Detective

$66,300/year $31.87/hour

(Top 25% of Private Detectives)


Mid Level Private Detective

$48,190/year $23.17/hour

(Median)


Junior Private Detective

$35,710/year $17.17/hour

(Bottom 25% of Private Detectives)


Entry Level Private Detective

$27,210/year $13.08/hour

(Bottom 10% of Private Detectives)


Private Detective Average Salary Comparison

Private Detectives and Investigators
$53k / year
$25 / hour
Transportation Security Screeners
$40k / year
$19 / hour
Animal Control Workers
$36k / year
$17 / hour
Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators
$35k / year
$16 / hour
Protective Service Workers, All Other
$32k / year
$15 / hour
Security Guards
$29k / year
$14 / hour
Crossing Guards
$29k / year
$14 / hour
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers
$22k / year
$10 / hour

Top 10 Highest Paying States For Private Detectives

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities For Private Detectives

Private Detective Salary By State

Rank State Hourly Rate Annual Salary
#1 District of Columbia $35.94 $74,760
#2 Virginia $35.28 $73,390
#3 Washington $31.40 $65,310
#4 New York $30.41 $63,260
#5 Missouri $29.68 $61,730
#6 California $29.62 $61,610
#7 Alabama $29.02 $60,370
#8 Connecticut $28.89 $60,100
#9 New Jersey $27.28 $56,750
#10 Delaware $26.51 $55,130
#11 Iowa $25.91 $53,890
#12 Arizona $25.57 $53,180
#13 Oklahoma $25.45 $52,930
#14 Colorado $25.10 $52,220
#15 Nevada $25.03 $52,070
#16 Tennessee $25.00 $52,000
#17 Hawaii $24.71 $51,390
#18 Utah $24.46 $50,880
#19 Massachusetts $24.43 $50,820
#20 Maryland $23.99 $49,910
#21 Illinois $23.49 $48,850
#22 Montana $23.32 $48,500
#23 Florida $22.81 $47,450
#24 Minnesota $22.77 $47,360
#25 South Carolina $22.68 $47,170
#26 North Carolina $22.47 $46,740
#27 Michigan $22.39 $46,570
#28 Idaho $22.25 $46,280
#29 Pennsylvania $22.25 $46,290
#30 Georgia $21.80 $45,350
#31 Kansas $21.66 $45,060
#32 New Hampshire $21.44 $44,600
#33 Ohio $21.43 $44,560
#34 Texas $20.95 $43,570
#35 Oregon $20.58 $42,800
#36 Kentucky $20.38 $42,400
#37 Louisiana $20.23 $42,080
#38 Wisconsin $19.99 $41,590
#39 Mississippi $19.77 $41,120
#40 Puerto Rico $19.21 $39,960
#41 Indiana $17.82 $37,070
#42 New Mexico $17.62 $36,640
#43 Arkansas $16.78 $34,900
#44 South Dakota $14.18 $29,500

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Spotlight: Private Detective

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