How Much do Private Detectives Make?

Do private detectives make a lot of money? What is the average pay for private detectives?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private detectives in the United States earn an average of $57,000 a year, equivalent to $27.40 an hour. Private detectives make 7% more than the average American worker.

Private detectives in California are the best paid, making $68,570 a year, while private detectives in Florida make the least at $41,750.

  • Latest wage data is for May 2019
  • Pre-tax earnings; Wages only - does not include benefits
Private Detective Wages by Percentile
Percentile Hourly Annually
90th $43.15 $89,760
75th $32.67 $67,940
50th $24.28 $50,510
25th $17.80 $37,030
10th $14.61 $30,390
Private Detective Wages by State

In what states do private detectives make the most? In what states do private detectives make the least?

In the map below, green represents higher pay and red represents lower pay. Keep scrolling down to see a table with the average wages in each state.

State Hourly Annually
Alabama $27.47 $57,140
Alaska $28.28 $58,820
Arizona $26.36 $54,830
Arkansas $26.79 $55,720
California $32.97 $68,570
Colorado $25.80 $53,670
Connecticut $27.89 $58,010
Delaware $31.54 $65,610
Florida $20.07 $41,750
Georgia $25.30 $52,630
Idaho $28.91 $60,130
Illinois $28.23 $58,710
Indiana $20.40 $42,430
Kansas $26.62 $55,380
Kentucky $24.54 $51,050
Louisiana $23.69 $49,270
Maine $25.52 $53,080
Maryland $29.68 $61,730
Massachusetts $25.07 $52,140
Michigan $23.10 $48,040
Mississippi $26.13 $54,350
Missouri $29.27 $60,890
Nebraska $21.65 $45,040
Nevada $30.87 $64,200
New Hampshire $27.94 $58,110
New Jersey $30.76 $63,970
New Mexico $27.50 $57,200
New York $28.41 $59,100
North Carolina $25.26 $52,530
Ohio $23.78 $49,470
Oklahoma $21.24 $44,180
Oregon $27.58 $57,380
Pennsylvania $23.05 $47,940
Rhode Island $28.32 $58,900
South Carolina $26.16 $54,410
South Dakota $22.21 $46,200
Tennessee $27.86 $57,960
Texas $27.01 $56,190
Utah $30.98 $64,440
Virginia $26.74 $55,610
Washington $30.65 $63,750
Wisconsin $21.38 $44,480
Metro Areas Where Private Detectives Earn the Most
  • Data is for the entire metro area, not just the city
Metro Area Hourly Annually
Raleigh, NC $41.10 $85,480
Los Angeles, CA $38.98 $81,070
Fresno, CA $37.79 $78,590
San Francisco, CA $37.57 $78,150
Bridgeport, CT $35.30 $73,420
Rochester, NY $34.44 $71,630
Oxnard, CA $34.41 $71,580
Baltimore, MD $32.81 $68,250
Salem, OR $32.04 $66,630
Dallas, TX $31.72 $65,990
Private Detective Wages by Year
Year Hourly Annually
2019 $27.40 $57,000
2018 $27.31 $56,810
2017 $26.48 $55,080
2016 $25.74 $53,530
2015 $25.41 $52,840
2014 $25.43 $52,880
2013 $25.91 $53,890
2012 $24.42 $50,780
2011 $23.37 $48,610