Detectives play an important role in solving crimes throughout the United States. They are primarily responsible for investigating crimes at the local level, although some detectives do work at both the state and federal level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 110,000 detectives were employed throughout the United States in 2010. Salaries for detectives can be based on their years of service and rank. A detective with a first grade rank generally makes the highest rate of pay.
Police officers and detectives nationwide earned salaries that typically ranged from $38,850 to $119,320 per year, as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS indicates that detectives in the middle 50 percent of the pay scale managed to bring home salaries ranging from $50,020 to $90,750, with a reported median annual salary of $68,820. A detective with the rank of first grade will generally fall within the upper 25 percent of the pay scale, making more than $90,750 per year.
The largest number of detectives work at the local government level and made an average salary of approximately $61,930 per year, as of 2010, according to the BLS. However, this salary reflects the amount of money earned by detectives of all ranks, and not just those of the first grade rank. According to a press release put out by the New York City government, annual salaries for first grade detectives increased from $93,176 to $109,002, as of April, 2011. This salary is higher than the average earned by federal detectives, who brought home an average salary of $93,210 per year in 2010, according to the BLS.
Location can also factor into the salary made by a detective. The BLS indicates, for example, that the highest-paid detectives made salaries in excess of $87,000 per year, as of 2010, in the states Alaska, California, Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. These were the states with the highest salaries for detectives. Washington, D.C. was the highest-paying metropolitan area, with a reported average annual salary of $105,930. Detectives in Oakland were the second-highest paid detectives in the nation, making an average salary of $102,860 per year.
The job outlook for police officers and detectives appears favorable, according to projections made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period from 2008 to 2018. The BLS predicts that 10 percent job growth will occur for police officers and detectives during this time frame. The continued growth of the existing population will necessitate local, state and government law enforcement agencies to hire more officers and promote more to detective positions.