National Avg. Salary

$79,620 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

-1.2% More Growth Data →

Recommended Degree

Bachelor's Programs & Degrees →

Attributes

  • Fast Paced Career
  • Good Entry Level Salary
  • High Income Potential
  • Investigative

What Could My Degree Cost?

By registering for free with OnlineDegree.com, your degree could be 25-30% less, and save you time.

Learn More →

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.

You Could Save on a Degree Toward Your Police Detective Career

Find Potential Schools

Find a university and degree you like from our accredited partners across the country (we’ll help you find the right fit)

Take Our Free Courses

That could receive units towards that degree…Tuition-free!

Activate Discounts

That could instantly lower the cost of your degree by 5-25%

OnlineDegree.com Helps Make College More Affordable…for Free.

See How it Works

Job Description

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.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Police Cadet, Police Officer
  • Mid-Career: Police Detective, Police Sergeant
  • Late Career: Police Captain, Chief of Police

Typical Employers

Local, state, and federal governments are the most common employers of police detectives.

Free Courses Towards My Degree?

Yep. Take a bunch of free courses at OnlineDegree.com that could receive credit toward your college degree. Saving you time and money on your way to a Police Detective career

  • Tuition Free
  • Beginner (No experience needed)
  • 24/7, Self-paced
  • Detailed Videos & Exercises
Free Courses →

Want To Be a Police Detective? Start Your Path Today.

Take Over 15 Free Courses at OnlineDegree.com that Could Receive Credits Towards Your College Degree.

See How it Works →

or Learn More →

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

Low Range

$53,810

Average

$79,620

High Range

$128,690

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$26/hr

Average

$38/hr

High Range

$62/hr

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

Start Your Path Today, Free!

Our goal is to help people save thousands of dollars on tuition. By activating discounts and taking free courses at OnlineDegree.com, you could save up to 30% on your college degree.

See How it Works →

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.

See How it Works →

Quick Summary

  • Optional

    In some localities, candidates aged 21 and older may qualify to work as police officers with only a high school diploma.

  • Recommended Min. Degree

    Bachelor's

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Police Detective. a Bachelor's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

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

Want To Be a Police Detective? Get Started!

Take Over 15 Free Courses at OnlineDegree.com That Could Receive Credits Towards College... Saving You Both Time and Money.

See How it Works →

or Learn More →

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

116,700

2024 Est. Jobs

115,300

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

Start Your Path Today, Free!

Our goal is to help people save thousands of dollars on tuition. By activating discounts and taking free courses at OnlineDegree.com, you could save up to 30% on your college degree.

See How it Works →

What Companies Employ The Most Police Detectives

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 48,500 2,700 3%
Federal government, excluding postal service 45,500 -4,400 -4%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 21,300 400 0%

Similar Careers

Want To Be a Police Detective? Get Started!

Take Free Courses at OnlineDegree.com That Could Receive Credits Towards College... Saving You Both Time and Money. Awesome.

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →