The darker areas on the map show where investigators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.
Investigator average salary by State
District of Columbia
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Highest Paying Cities For Investigator
San Francisco, CA
New York, NY
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How much does an Investigator make?
The average investigator makes $59,669 in the United States.
The average hourly pay for an investigator is $28.69.
The average entry-level investigator salary is $40,000.
Highest paying states for investigator are California ($82,786), Massachusetts ($82,181), New Jersey ($82,786) and Connecticut ($82,786).
Highest paying cities for investigator are San Francisco, CA ($89,830), Washington, DC, Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD and Raleigh, NC.
Investigators on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $40,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $88,000.
The best-paid 25% made $73,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25$ made $48,000
Industries with the highest investigator salaries are health care, hospitality and government.
Average Investigator Salary Over Time
Compare salaries for individual cities or states with the national average.
How Much Do Investigators Make In Different Industries?
Investigator salaries can vary on many factors, including what industry a job is in. In fact, jobs with health care, hospitality, and government companies tend to be the highest paying. Furthermore, an investigator can make a yearly salary of $60,399 while working for health care companies. All the while, other investigators are making $57,573 at hospitality companies and $57,547 at government companies. One industry investigators may want to avoid is the finance industry as it offers the lowest average salary at $55,191.
Store detectives are security professionals who are hired by store or business owners to prevent the act of shoplifting. These detectives must conduct surveillance through CCTV to apprehend shoplifters and dishonest employees who committed theft within the store. They must work closely with local law enforcement and store management to prevent retail theft as well as report those offenders. Security detectives must also monitor employee and public activity by implementing a theft prevention system to protect company assets.
The primary job of background investigators is to conduct background checks into an individual's personal and professional history that can validate or disprove their identity and character. They perform background investigations as part of hiring new employees, making an investment, and choosing a public official. Background investigators are responsible for obtaining and reviewing witness statements and arrest reports and meeting with candidates or the management to keep them updated on the investigation's progress and status. They are also responsible for completing background packages for final review and recommendation.
A criminal investigator is a law enforcement professional who endeavors to solve felony crimes. Criminal investigators may work alone or as a member of an investigative team whose goal is to uncover the certainty of a case and potentially keep suspects to prevent the ensuing criminal activity. Their tasks and responsibilities depend on various job functions and specialties. They may specialize in the information and evidence of a crime scene, conduct interviews and searches, or perform surveillance.
A special investigator is responsible for gathering information and analyzing evidence to identify criminal activities and law-violating instances. Special investigators review surveillance devices, interview witnesses, and coordinate with law enforcement agencies to collect related reports. They sort and store documents securely on databases for reference, confirm statements, and assist in court procedures for in-depth investigation. A special investigator must be highly communicative and observational, especially in organizing materials and verifying information to support claims and file the appropriate legal actions.
Private investigators will require skills in surveillance, research, interviewing, critical thinking, and communication. Those who choose this career path will be called on to find information for organizations and individuals, as well as engage in different cases. An investigator's goal is to find legal, personal, or financial information through background checks, interviews, and surveillance.
A fraud investigator specializes in investigating and identifying fraudulent activities within a company and its clients. Their responsibilities depend on their line of work or industry of employment. However, most of the time, their duties will revolve around devising strategies and systems to detect inconsistencies, monitoring suspicious transactions and accounts, conducting reviews to identify any security lapses or vulnerabilities in the procedures, and teaching staff how to notice any fraudulent activities. Furthermore, it is vital to implement the policies and regulations of the company.
To earn a high income as an investigator, working for Novartis or GlaxoSmithKline might be your best bet, as they are the highest paying companies in this field. In addition, companies like Agilent Technologies and Microsoft report highly competitive wages for investigators.
Asian investigators have the highest average salary compared to other ethnicities. Black or african american investigators have the lowest average salary at $77,876.
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Average Investigator Salary by Education Level
Investigators with a Masters degree earn more than those without, at $106,596 annually. With a Doctorate degree, investigators earn a median annual income of $100,377 compared to $89,198 for investigators with an Bachelors degree.