DETECTIVE SALARY: How Much & Job Profile

Detective Salary

Detectives are licensed police personnel who specialize in investigating serious and complex crimes. They are to oversee a variety of investigations, including those involving robberies, drugs, domestic violence, child protection, public safety, business fraud, cybercrime, homicide, and counterterrorism. While they do these, it is important to know what a detective earns as salary and the various ways to switch things up.

The name “detective” is not a rank but a descriptive title that describes your current position and showcases your expertise in a certain sector.

Detectives collaborate with their uniformed coworkers on a salary and rank equal basis.

What does a Detective Do?

An essential element of this job is the detective’s ability to solve riddles. Hence, the main categories of this job title; private and public investigators.

Private investigators are frequently ex-police officers, spies, members of the armed forces, bodyguards, and security people. Most of them look into criminal cases, but because they lack police authority, they are only able to use the citizen’s arrest and detention authorities.

Public detectives look into suspected criminal conduct and related criminal crimes and because they receive their salary from taxes and government funding, they fall under the category of the public.

The job roles of the detective include:

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Police Detective

A police detective must initially work for at least two to three years, typically in the patrol division, before applying to be a detective in a special unit. Detective positions are either promotions or lateral transfers from within the police department.

Hence, a police detective performs the following roles

  • Gathers, preserves, and examines evidence from crime scenes.
  • Talks to victims, witnesses, informants, and suspects
  • Works closely with forensic specialists and crime scene investigators
  • Testifies in court and educates the jury
  • Pursues leads
  • Analyzes the data
  • Attends autopsies to obtain more proof
  • Advocates for victims in the fight for justice.
  • Produces reports or evaluates reports from law enforcement professionals.
  • Requests help from other law enforcement organizations and share information with them.
  • Creates schematics and takes notes at crime scenes.
  • Takes pictures at crime scenes
  • Tracks down potentially fruitless leads
  • Maintains thorough records of your inquiries and interactions with people.
  • Monitors prospective suspects

Forensic Detective

There are three scientific disciplines that are used in forensic science. They are biology, physics, and chemistry. Their emphasis is on identifying, classifying, and assessing physical evidence.

When investigating and analyzing physical evidence from a crime scene, forensic detectives employ scientific procedures and their scientific expertise. By examining pertinent samples and conducting scientific experiments, they aid in the investigation of crimes by pinpointing their cause, timing, and perpetrator.

Besides gathering physical evidence from the crime scene such as fingerprints, bodily fluids, and weans, they also make notes about what they have seen, take pictures, draw sketches, and bag samples to bring to the lab for further examination.

Computer Crime Detective

Computers and networks that could be used as tools of crime or as targets are at the heart of cybercrime. The duties of a computer crime detective may include:

The duties of a computer crime detective may include:

  • Computer system analysis
  • Looking for design problems in software programs
  • Restoring compromised computer systems
  • Restoring damaged or lost data
  • Gathering data and evidence from computers
  • Enhancing and increasing the performance of computer systems
  • Composing affidavits, reports, and court testimony
  • Restoring encrypted or password-protected files

How can I become a Detective?

It takes having the right combination of both education and experience to become a detective. Also, you must develop the necessary set of abilities.

In most situations, a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a field closely connected to criminal justice are often required. Although they aren’t usually required, advanced degrees and qualifications can give aspiring detectives an edge when applying for the best professions.

Also, most police agencies demand that detectives complete their training at the neighborhood police academy and serve several years as patrol officers to gather crucial knowledge of the legal system.

What Skills should a Detective Possess?

Through education and experience, you can develop the skills to become a genuinely competent investigator. Among the skills you should possess are:

  • You must exercise critical thinking in order to study and carefully analyze evidence in order to study and carefully analyze the evidence in order to draw valid conclusions and deductions.
  • Outside the box thinking
  • Problem-solving: It is crucial that detectives use their innovative skills when they run into dead or cold trails.
  • Close attention to detail
  • Ability to communicate their conclusions to prosecutors

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What is the average detective salary?

According to Career Explorer, a detective’s salary in the US is about $83,640. As of May 2019, the typical annual income for detectives and criminal investigators was $83,170. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Below are some elements that could impact your pay scale as a detective.

  • Experience: Those who have served in the force for a longer period of time typically command better compensation.
  • Education: Earning more money is another benefit of having a graduate degree or certificate in criminal justice.
  • Geographical considerations, such as population and crime rates, may cause some towns, villages, and jurisdictions to get more or less funding than others.

Career Prospects

It should be noted that the BLS expects a 5% annual growth rate for detectives’ employment, which is a little faster than the average for all other jobs.

Detective Salary by State

State NameAverage Salary
New Jersey$99,880
New York$99,630
Puerto Rico$88,880
New Hampshire$80,140
Rhode Island$78,330
West Virginia$78,250
New Mexico$77,480
North Dakota$76,730
South Dakota$63,960

Can I work Remotely as a Detective?

As you will need to attend crime scenes, different staff members in their department, and the office, this work can’t be performed from home.

In connection with a case, you may also go to inquests and other court appearances.

Other Types of Detective Jobs

With the ideal training and management backing, a detective can choose the department he/she wants to work in. Since laws and technology are constantly evolving, becoming a detective requires participation in recurrent training.

 This series of training improve the effectiveness and caliber of the investigations and interrogations.

A detective may work in a variety of specialized divisions, including:

  • Gangs and drugs: Handling both short-and long-term investigations into drug-related crimes and trafficking. Working in this field may require you to work with detectives and other law enforcement agents from other nations.
  • Child protection: Investigating crimes against children
  • Criminal investigation: Addressing domestic violence, racism, mysterious deaths, significant property theft, serious burglaries
  • Fraud squad: Examining business and financial fraud
  • Homicide: Handling situations involving abductions, killings, or unexplained deaths
  • Technical investigation: Addressing financial and online crimes

However, it is expedient to note that at any point in your career, you may switch between departments and specialized units. And, any of these specialized departments may require additional professional training in the relevant area before employment.


It is impossible to talk about a detective salary without referring to the different arms of the job, how much detectives in the US earn in each f the states, the skills such professionals should possess, and what their job roles entail.

That is where reading this article comes to mind because that’s the only way to gain clarity.



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