How Much Does A Private Investigator Make?

As a private investigator, you will need to be knowledgeable about the laws and regulations, especially those that deal with a person’s privacy, that will affect your work. This is important since you don’t have police powers as a private investigator.

As such, you will be undertaking your investigations as a private citizen. If you violate these laws, the information and evidence you have gathered may not be admitted in court, putting all your hard work to waste.

Private Investigator Salary

Average Private Investigator Annual Salary

$53,530

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

Average Private Investigator Hourly Wage

$25.74

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

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

Does Your Pay Depend On Your Experience?

Executive Private Investigator

$87,070/year $41.86/hour

(Top 10% of Private Investigators)


Senior Private Investigator

$66,300/year $31.87/hour

(Top 25% of Private Investigators)


Mid Level Private Investigator

$48,190/year $23.17/hour

(Median)


Junior Private Investigator

$35,710/year $17.17/hour

(Bottom 25% of Private Investigators)


Entry Level Private Investigator

$27,210/year $13.08/hour

(Bottom 10% of Private Investigators)


Private Investigator 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 Investigators

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities For Private Investigators

Private Investigator 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 Investigator

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