National Avg. Salary$79,620 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate-1.2% More Growth Data →
Recommended DegreeBachelor's Programs & Degrees →
- Fast Paced Career
- Good Entry Level Salary
- High Income Potential
What Salary Could I Make?
Calculate what you could potentially earn based on job data in your area.Calculate your Salary
Police detectives are investigators that are in charge of collecting evidence and solving crimes. They work for police departments and conduct investigations when crimes are committed in their area. They investigate by overseeing collection of crime-scene evidence and interviewing witnesses and suspects.
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in police detective roles:
- Collect and/or oversee the collection of evidence from crime scenes
- Interview witnesses, informants, suspects, and others who may have information about a crime
- Conduct stakeouts and observe the activities of suspects for evidence of crime participation
- Request warrants and conduct searches of suspect’s home, business, or other property
- Collect evidence, form cases, and testify in court about findings
A Day in the Life
Police detectives have varied responsibilities, and no two days are alike. A police detective could spend one day of the week doing nothing but preparing reports and filing paperwork, and they could spend the next day chasing a criminal, participating in a standoff, and protecting others from life-threatening situations. Police detectives are responsible for investigating and solving crimes, upholding laws, and protecting the public, so they’re expected to perform a diverse set of duties.
The primary role of a police detective is conducting crime investigations. A detective may be assigned cases for a variety of crimes. For example, he/she may investigate cases of identity theft, kidnappings, murders, or robberies. The goal of any police detective investigation is to solve the crime and find the perpetrator, but not all cases are solvable. In some cases, police detectives must archive crimes as unsolved and continue revisiting them over time to look for new evidence.
Police detectives may often be required to inset themselves into dangerous situations in order to perform their roles. Most detectives carry firearms for protection and may need to use them to make arrests or safeguard themselves or others. They also testify against individuals in court and can sometimes become the targets of retribution after a suspect or convict is released from an institution. Though the role of police detective can be dangerous, it is a critical role in safeguarding a community.
Typical Work Schedule
The role of a police detective is not a 9-5 job. Police detectives may be required to work any shift, any day of the week, and on holidays as needed. During investigation periods or emergencies, police detectives may be expected to work very long hours. Overtime is common for this role.
- Early Career: Police Cadet, Police Officer
- Mid-Career: Police Detective, Police Sergeant
- Late Career: Police Captain, Chief of Police
Local, state, and federal governments are the most common employers of police detectives.
Can I Become a Police Detective?
We'll Get You The Facts You Need
- What Degree You Might Need
- Your Potential Salary
- Where in U.S. is the Job Growth?
- How Long It Could Take
- Cost of Tuition
Police Detective Salary Data
We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Police Detective salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Police Detective's can make an average annual salary of $79,620, or $38 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $53,810 or $26 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#143 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
What Will Your State Pay?
Find Out Your State's Average Salary Based on the Latest Jobs Data.Calculate My Salary
How To Become
All police detectives begin their careers as police officers. The educational requirements for becoming a police officer vary by region and employer. For example, some local police departments may hire police officers with only a high school diploma, but most federal government police officer positions will require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, or another related field. For all police officer positions, applicants must be at least 21 years-old.
Selected police officer candidates must go through a training program to become police officers. The training program includes classroom instruction on laws as well as practical instruction on proper use of firearms, first aid techniques, and self-defense practices. Candidates must complete their training and pass written, phycological, and physical exams to graduate their training programs and become police officers. Aspiring detectives must then serve as police officers for a number of years before qualifying for a promotion into a detective role.
The decision for promotion to detective could be based on a number of factors. For some departments, promotions may be a matter of seniority. For others, promotion decisions could be made by looking at a candidate’s education history, work record, and test scores. Candidates with a lot of experience as police officers, higher educational credentials, and a history of successful work performance will likely be in the best position to get detective promotions when new positions open in their departments.
Start Your Path To Become a Police Detective, Free!
At OnlineDegree.com you could receive college credits towards your degree by taking free courses online. Potentially saving you thousands of dollars and time.Enroll Now!
In some localities, candidates aged 21 and older may qualify to work as police officers with only a high school diploma.
Recommended Min. Degree
Highest Education Among Police Detective
- 2.3% Doctorate
- 13.1% Masters
- 41.8% Bachelors
- 12.3% Associates
- 22.9% College
- 7.2% High School
- 0.4% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs116,700
2024 Est. Jobs115,300
Job Growth Rate-1.2%
Est. New Jobs-1,400
How does Police Detective job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -1,400 jobs for a total of 115,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -1.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#640 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
Is There Growth in My State?
|State||No. of Jobs||Job Growth|
Find Out Your State's Growth and Salary Based on the Latest Jobs DataCalculate My Salary