Police Detective Job Overview
Pay Scale & Requirement Details

3 things To Know Before Becoming
a Police detective

Job outlook

The job outlook of a detective is expected to grow According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for police detectives is projected to grow by 7 percent.

Federal Pays More

Detectives employed by the federal government pays significantly more than state and local agencies. According to BLS wage estimates Postal detectives make $90,770/yr.

Career Flexibility

Being a detective offers a variety of career options. For instance, police detectives can work in the homicide division, fraud, property crime, or internet crimes.

How To Become a Detective

Minimum Qualifications

 Here are some of the basic requirements to become a detective. Note some agencies may have different requirements

  • Must have at least 2 years of experience on force
  • Must Be at least 21 years old
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license
  • Must have a U.S. high school diploma or GED
  • honorable discharge from any branch of the military
  • Successfully pass the background check
  • Must be able to read and write the English language
  • No Felony Convictions

how much does a detective make?

Salary Range and Pay Scale for a police detective

According to the department of bureau and labor statistics Median annual wages for detectives in May 2018 were as follows:

Detectives and criminal investigators
$81,920/Year
Transit and railroad
$74,030/Year
Sheriff Deputy
$61,380/Year
Fish and game wardens
$57,710/Year

In May 2018, the median annual wages for police and detectives in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government
$87,130/yr
State detectives
$67,230/yr
Local detectives
$61,590/yr
Educational services; state, local, and private
$52,570/yr

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Job Description

Detectives are plainly clothed investigators who gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to inter-agency task forces to combat specific types of crime. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests.

Detectives, inspectors, as well as state and federal agents  usually specialize in investigating one type of violation, such as homicide or fraud. They are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction is made or until the case is dropped.

Median Annual Salary

$63,380

Education Requirements

Law enforcement agencies encourage applicants to take courses or training related to law enforcement subjects after high school. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal post-secondary education and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer degree programs in law enforcement or administration of justice.

Job Outlook & Employment

Job opportunities in most local police departments will be excellent for qualified individuals, while competition is expected for jobs in state and federal agencies. Employment is expected to grow 7%.

Applicants with military experience or college training in police science will have the best opportunities in local and state departments. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and several years of law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, will have the best opportunities in federal agencies.

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