What Is the Average Salary of a Criminal Investigator?

Criminal investigators analyze evidence and apprehend suspects. The average salary for criminal investigators varies based on your employer, location and experience. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Criminal investigators gather, organize and interpret evidence to help solve crimes. This job combines a variety of fields, including law enforcement, accounting and computer forensics. Investigations might cover technology crimes, homicides and breaches of contract.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education High school degree is the minimum requirement; an associate's or bachelor's degree may be required by some employers
On-the-Job Training Several years of on-the-job training and experience
Licensure Required by most states; individual state requirements vary
Professional Certification Voluntary specialty certification is available through various organizations
Key Skills Communication and decision-making skills; resourcefulness, inquisitiveness, and patience
Similar Occupations Financial analyst, detective, security guard

Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that criminal investigators and detectives earned a mean annual salary of $80,540 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Although this is the standard wage in the United States, your employer, location and experience level can all impact how much you make. The BLS also reported that the 10% of workers with the lowest pay made $40,780 or less annually and that the 10% of workers with the highest pay made $127,400 or more.

Salary by Employer

According to May 2014 BLS figures, the mean wage for criminal investigators and detectives working for local government was $66,650 annually, while investigators working for the federal government made a much higher average yearly income of $105,470. Those working for the state government earned a lower mean wage of $59,790. Criminal Investigators working for colleges, universities and professional schools made average wages of $69,740.

Salary by Location

The highest-paying state for criminal investigators and detectives was the District of Columbia, which the BLS reported paid an average yearly salary of $118,170 as of May 2014. Other locations with high average earnings included Alaska ($111,970), Delaware ($100,550) and New Jersey ($99,600).

The states with the highest concentrations of workers were the District of Columbia, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and New York. Mean salaries in these locations ranged from $77,630-$118,170 in May 2014, reported the BLS.

Salary by Experience

PayScale.com reported that criminal investigators and detectives with less than five years of experience earned a median salary of $47,000 in September 2015, while those with 5-10 years of experience made a median salary of $52,000 per year. Criminal investigators with 10-20 years of experience earned a median salary of $59,000 annually, while the median yearly salary for workers with 20 or more years of experience was $67,000.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects 5% growth for private detectives and investigators over the 2014-2024 decade. Workers will particularly be needed to conduct background checks, protect information and perform investigative services. While there will be competition, having work experience can help you find jobs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »