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Field Investigator Careers

Field investigators, also known as private investigators, perform surveillance for law enforcement agencies or private clients. They are hired to observe a given situation, investigate a case, and provide physical evidence to validate the nature of happenings for a client.

Essential skills to become a field investigator include crime trend analysis, special task forces, safety and security, awareness of civil laws, and self-defense techniques, among others. The main job duties of a Field Investigator are interviewing witnesses, writing reports, presenting findings to clients, conducting research, and spending time on the field observing a person.

Although a high school diploma or a G.E.D may suffice for the position, a bachelor's in criminal studies, journalism, or a related field may be given preference over them. Proven work experience, usually over two years, is required. The position may sound hectic, but it comes with rewards. They make a median salary of $50,510 per year. The job is projected to grow 8% in the coming years, which could result in various job opportunities being created.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a field investigator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $11.89 an hour? That's $24,725 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -4% and produce -13,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Field Investigator Do

There are certain skills that many field investigators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, detail oriented and interpersonal skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a field investigator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 11.7% of field investigators included background checks, while 10.4% of resumes included mental health, and 7.0% of resumes included investigative reports. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the field investigator job title. But what industry to start with? Most field investigators actually find jobs in the insurance and retail industries.

How To Become a Field Investigator

If you're interested in becoming a field investigator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 55.4% of field investigators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.7% of field investigators have master's degrees. Even though most field investigators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a field investigator. When we researched the most common majors for a field investigator, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on field investigator resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a field investigator. In fact, many field investigator jobs require experience in a role such as police officer. Meanwhile, many field investigators also have previous career experience in roles such as investigator or security officer.

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Average Salary
$24,725
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
27,261
Job Openings

Field Investigator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Field Investigator

Top Careers After Field Investigator

Field Investigator Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Field Investigator

Field Investigators in America make an average salary of $24,725 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $34,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $17,000 per year.
Average Salary
$24,725
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Santa Barbara, CA
Salary Range29k - 50k$39k$38,541
New York, NY
Salary Range28k - 49k$37k$37,225
New Haven, CT
Salary Range25k - 43k$33k$33,341
Fargo, ND
Salary Range27k - 37k$32k$31,994
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range24k - 40k$32k$31,721
Seattle, WA
Salary Range24k - 35k$29k$29,449
$19k
$50k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Field Investigator
Field Investigator
Project Resources Group, Inc.
Project Resources Group, Inc.
06/27/2021
06/27/2021
$50,00006/27/2021
$50,000
Field Investigator-Day Shift
Field Investigator-Day Shift
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
06/26/2021
06/26/2021
$25,04406/26/2021
$25,044
Field Investigator-Night Shift
Field Investigator-Night Shift
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
06/26/2021
06/26/2021
$25,04406/26/2021
$25,044
Field Investigator
Field Investigator
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
United Auto Delivery & Recovery Inc.
06/22/2021
06/22/2021
$27,13106/22/2021
$27,131
Field Investigator
Field Investigator
Project Resources Group, Inc.
Project Resources Group, Inc.
06/19/2021
06/19/2021
$50,00006/19/2021
$50,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Field Investigator Demographics

Gender

male

68.9 %

female

27.8 %

unknown

3.3 %

Ethnicity

White

66.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.5 %

Black or African American

10.7 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.9 %

French

8.8 %

Chinese

5.3 %
See More Demographics

Field Investigator Education

Majors

Business
13.0 %

Degrees

Bachelors

55.4 %

Certificate

15.0 %

Associate

13.2 %

Top Colleges for Field Investigators

1. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

3. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

4. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

7. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434

8. Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$3,926
Enrollment
9,835

9. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,369
Enrollment
5,229

10. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Field Investigator That You May Like

International Law In Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes
coursera

'Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes' is the second course in Leiden University's new series on International Law in Action. The first course covered international courts and tribunals in The Hague in general. This second course provides an insider perspective into the work of international criminal courts and tribunals. You will learn about the investigation and prosecution of international crimes in The Hague. Atrocities produce unspeakable forms of violence. We will explore whe...

IFCI Expert Cybercrime Investigator's Course
udemy
4.3
(362)

Protect your network - Put cybercriminals in jail. Learn computer forensics, malware analysis and hacker investigations...

Introduction to Criminal Law
ed2go

An in-depth look at criminal law and the real world of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the paralegals who work closely with them...

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Top Skills For a Field Investigator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.7% of field investigators listed background checks on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and detail oriented are important as well.

  • Background Checks, 11.7%
  • Mental Health, 10.4%
  • Investigative Reports, 7.0%
  • Law Enforcement, 6.6%
  • Confidential Information, 6.4%
  • Other Skills, 57.9%
  • See All Field Investigator Skills

Best States For a Field Investigator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a field investigator. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, California, New York, and Maryland. Field investigators make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $37,899. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $37,357 and $37,059, respectively. While field investigators would only make an average of $33,864 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Field Investigator Jobs:
2,450
Highest 10% Earn:
$60,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. North Dakota

Total Field Investigator Jobs:
114
Highest 10% Earn:
$41,000
Location Quotient:
1.72
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Field Investigator Jobs:
892
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
0.97
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Field Investigator Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

Field InvestigatorSeptember 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoField InvestigatorSeptember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Field Investigator?

Company vehicle, camera, laptop, among many things provided by the company. Pay can be better but great when working overtime. Great training that happens not just in the beginning but whenever possible during lulls in investigations. Working on your own without micromanagement at least with the company I'm at that leaves judgment up to investigator unless you show you need it. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Irregular work hours and pay don't go hand in hand. If you're not into doing administration work AFTER a long day of investigation, good luck. There are times where I had to request for a WEEKEND off. But because of the irregular schedule as a new Investigator, don't expect to have a life. Especially when it comes to you being the new guy who joins during peak business hours. Show More

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Top Field Investigator Employers

1. Liberty ARC
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$39,329
Field Investigators Hired: 
62+
2. G4S
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$25,828
Field Investigators Hired: 
57+
3. G4S Compliance & Investigations
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$24,944
Field Investigators Hired: 
53+
4. United Auto Delivery & Recovery
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$24,623
Field Investigators Hired: 
48+
5. Litigation Solutions
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$26,792
Field Investigators Hired: 
28+
6. CACI International
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$61,135
Field Investigators Hired: 
17+

Field Investigator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020