Private Investigator Salary Guide and Career Outlook

The private investigator salary in the US is around $50,301 per year and $21.83 per hour. While in Canada the median wage for the same job stands at C$42,500 ($33,898) per year, with more in the UK, around £36,000 ($47,290) yearly. Approximately the same in New Zealand, at NZ$60,000 ($42,453) per year, and more in Australia, with AU$67,500 ($52,340) per year. While in India the median pay for the same job stays at Rs 350,000 ($5,351) per year, and R211,695($15,343) in South Africa.

In this article, we will explain how this salary varies in each state, the schedule of private detectives, and their career prospects. Also, we will take a look below at the main factors influencing the annual pay of private investigators.

How Much Does a Private Investigator Make per Year by State?

Private Investigator Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $21.83 C$20.45 ($16.31)  £17.30* ($22.73) AU$32.45*($25.16) NZ$28.84* ($20.41) Rs 168.269* ($2.57) R101.77* ($7.38)
Annual Pay $50,301 C$42,500 ($33,898) £36,000 ($47,290) AU$67,500 ($52,340) NZ$60,000* ($42,453) Rs 350,000* ($5,351) R211,695 ($15,343)

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual salary.

Private Investigator Salary Influencing Factors

The annual wages of private investigators vary depending on the industry, experience, and location. Out of all these three factors, the industry counts the most because a private detective can receive higher incomes based on the sector’s size. We have here information gathered from reliable sources, such as Payscale, and Salary Expert.

private investigator salary

1. Location

On this scale, private detectives have the highest salaries in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York where the median annual pay is between $42,000 and $67,000.

Furthermore, the average private investigator salary in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and Houston is also quite generous as it ranges between $61,000 and $80,000 per year.

The lowest salaries are in San Antonio, Phoenix, and Tampa because in these locations private investigators make between $39,000 and $43,000 per year.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in the US?

Private Detective Salary USA Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $35,714 $14.86
Maximum $86,162 $71.87
Bonus/Tip $10,000 $4.80*
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay $31,988 to $107,581

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

Below, we have prepared a table highlighting the annual private investigator salary across the United States:

Arizona $38,000
Arkansas $47,000
California $49,000
Colorado $41,000
Connecticut $53,000
Delaware $40,000
District of Columbia $58,000
Florida $43,000
Georgia $52,000
Hawaii $28,000
Idaho $30,000
Illinois $52,000
Indiana $44,000
Iowa $45,000
Kansas $42,000
Kentucky $40,000
Louisiana $41,000
Maine $41,000
Maryland $47,000
Massachusetts $55,000
Michigan $46,000
Minnesota $40,000
Mississippi $48,000
Missouri $45,000
Montana $38,000
Nebraska $33,000
Nevada $35,000
New Hampshire $45,000
New Jersey $50,000
New Mexico $40,000
New York $55,000
North Carolina $44,000
North Dakota $41,000
Ohio $44,000
Oklahoma $42,000
Oregon $44,000
Pennsylvania $44,000
Puerto Rico $44,000
Rhode Island $42,000
South Carolina $45,000
South Dakota $35,000
Tennessee $43,000
Texas $44,000
Utah $36,000
Vermont $40,000
Virginia $46,000
Washington $47,000
West Virginia $43,000
Wisconsin $41,000
Wyoming $38,000
US Median Wage $50,301
Hourly Wage $21,83

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in Canada?

Private Detective Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$30,056 C$14.45*
Maximum C$102,953 C$30.22*
Bonus/Tip C$40,089 C$19.27*
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay C$38,783 to C$137,117

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in the UK?

Private Detective Salary UK Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £16,726 £8.04*
Maximum £169,352 £81.41*
Bonus/Tip No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay £16,726 to £169,352

A (*) also indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in Australia?

Private Detective Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$67,500 AU$32.45
Maximum AU$82,500 AU$39.66
Bonus/Tip No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay AU$67,500 to AU$82,500

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from salaries available, respectively from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in New Zealand?

Private Detective Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZ$53,000 NZ$25,48*
Maximum NZ$64,000 NZ$30,76*
Bonus/Tip No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay NZ$53,000 to NZ$64,000

A (*) also indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from salaries or from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in India?

Private Detective Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum Rs 328,000 Rs 157.692*
Maximum Rs 395,000 Rs 189.903*
Bonus/Tip No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay Rs 328,000 to Rs 395,000

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Private Detective Professional Make in South Africa?

Private Detective Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R95,356 R45.84*
Maximum R587,254 R282.333*
Bonus/Tip R41,500 R19.95*
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay R94,295 to R620,897

Finally, the (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

2. Experience

Based on experience, the entry-level private investigator salary in the US is around $43,000 per year. More experienced private detectives with 5 to 10 years of experience earn an annual median pay of $51,000. Furthermore, those who have an experience between 10 and 20 years make around $59,000 per year. Last but not least, private investigators with over 20 years on the job have an annual wage of $73,000.

In Canada, beginners win around C$41,000 per year, while mid-career employees make about C$48,000 yearly. The salary rises for experienced 10-20 years private investigators to C$52,000, then the salary declines as people with this job advance more in their career. Therefore people in their late 20 years or more careers win about C$49,000 per year.

3. Industry

There are many sectors in which private detectives and investigators operate and based on Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys, we are going to present how the annual salary varies among these industries:

  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution – $80,480
  • Grocery Stores – $73,640
  • Scientific Research and Development Services – $72,520
  • Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage – $69,420
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services – $64,690
  • Local Government (OES Designation) – $60,100
  • Legal Services – $54,370
  • Investigation and Security Services – $53,480
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $52,310
  • Facilities Support Services – $51,060
  • State Government (OES Designation) – $46,540
  • Business Support Services – $38,840

Schedule & Working Hours

Depending on each case, private detectives work behind a desk and in the field. Usually, most private detectives have irregular working schedules spending a lot of time in the field. More precisely, this time is invested in setting up their surveillance and interview equipment.

The time they spend in an office varies depending on what type of research they need to make. For instance, they can work on finding a person that is missing, investigate a fraud, and do background checks on other people.

Bonuses & Benefits

The table below shows percents of the healthcare benefits by country. A (–) indicates that there is no health care information available.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 45 30 29 53
Dental 34 30 29 33
Vision 29 27 29 27
None 52 13 71 47

Career Prospects

Based on BLS statistics, the employment rate of private detectives and investigators is expected to increase by 5 percent until 2024.

In addition, detective agencies will have many empty positions available for private investigators. Nowadays, there is a higher demand of private detectives because technological development has opened new doors for credit card fraud, identity theft, and many other Internet and financial scams.

Conclusion

To sum up, the private investigator salary is quite rewarding if you work in a well-paid industry. Plus, job satisfaction will be higher along with experience while career prospects are also encouraging. Finally, depending on experience, abilities, and studies, a private investigator can also aim to become a CIA agent, check out the salary for this job!

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