Career & Jobs

Here’s How Much Money Detectives Make In Every State

In a previous occupation-salary study, we took a look at the average salary of police officers in every state. This time around, we’re going to look at the salaries of detectives and criminal investigators. The interesting thing about detectives and criminal investigators is that they include roles on the local level as well as the state and federal level. Using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve analyzed and compiled a round-up of the average detective salary in each state in the U.S. Read on for a full breakdown of where detectives make the most money, and where they’re making the least.

10 States Where Detectives and Criminal Investigators Earn the Most Money

The national average annual wage of an detectives and criminal investigators is $86,030, according to the BLS, over $30,000 more than the average wage for all occupations, $51,960. The No. 1 employer of detectives and criminal investigators are local governments, excluding schools and hospitals, accounting for 42,860 jobs out of a national total of 105,620. The top-paying employer, however, is the federal executive branch of the U.S. government, in which the average mean wage for detectives and criminal investigators is $107,150.

Below is a list of the top-10 highest-paying states for detectives and criminal investigators:

  1. Alaska average detective salary: $113,420
  2. Hawaii average detective salary: $109,320
  3. California average detective salary: $107,760
  4. New Jersey average detective salary: $103,460
  5. Massachusetts average detective salary: $102,350
  6. Maryland average detective salary: $102,170
  7. Virginia average detective salary: $98,960
  8. Washington average detective salary: $97,770
  9. Oregon average detective salary: $94,590
  10. Delaware average detective salary: $92,790

10 States Where Detectives and Criminal Investigators Earn the Least Money

The bottom-10 states where detectives and criminal investigators make the least money heavily located in the U.S. South, with two states from the Midwest. That said, the average detective salary in the lowest-paying state, South Carolina, is still slightly above the average mean wage for all occupations. Take a look at the worst-paying states for detectives.

  1. South Carolina average detective salary: $59,410
  2. North Carolina average detective salary: $61,880
  3. Arkansas average detective salary: $60,340
  4. Kansas average detective salary: $62,260
  5. Louisiana average detective salary: $63,980
  6. Mississippi average detective salary: $64,100
  7. Alabama average detective salary: $65,830
  8. Oklahoma average detective salary: $65,930
  9. Georgia average detective salary: $67,820
  10. Indiana average detective salary: $69,960

How Much Do Detectives and Criminal Investigators Make in Each State

Below you’ll find the average annual wage for detectives and criminal investigators in all states that had available data from 2014 to 2019. The states that have seen the greatest growth in the average detective salary are a pretty unusual mix. West Virginia ranks No. 1, with the average detective salary rising by 56.2%, from $57,410 in 2014 to $89,690 in 2019. Massachusetts comes in at No. 2, with 35.8% growth, followed by Kentucky’s 20.6% increase over the last five years.

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