Private Investigator Salary
Fees & Wages for Private Detective Career

An annual Private Investigator salary is high when Private Investigator fees & wages are paid. Learn the average private detective salary & PI career info here

Earning a private investigator salary isn't exactly easy. And making the top end wages for a PI is difficult. But it's not impossible.

If you have the dedication and drive to do your job to the absolute best of your abilities, and if you work to become as trained and educated as you can possibly be, then you can see that large paycheck coming your way.

Private investigating takes a lot of skill and concentration. If you don't feel like you can take the heat of the PI's day-to-day, then you may want to look elsewhere.

But if you relish the idea of finding lost things, uncovering difficult to find information, and working closely with people and their problems, then a private investigator salary may be exactly what you want to work for.

Private Investigator Salary & Wages

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A private investigator career can certainly be lucrative, but it won't make you rich. The make-believe PI archetypes of pulp fiction are fun and exciting, but they aren't telling the truth.

The job of the private detective is anything but glamorous.

That being said, you can make a very decent living in the field if you're good at what you do.

The average private detective salary is right around $50,000 per year. This is already a pretty good paycheck, but you don't have to stop there. Those with the most experience, training, and resources are able to make upwards of $100,000 annually.

And then there are those elite few who make even more than that.

Set your goals high, work hard, and you may find yourself among the elite.

Since private investigation works on a case-by-case basis--especially if you're in business for yourself--you make most of your money by the hour. Private investigator fees usually range anywhere from $40 to over $200 per hour. Again the difference between the two depends on your training, experience, and reputation.

The better you are at what you do, the better your salary will be.

Private Investigator Training

In order to be the best PI possible--and make the best paycheck--you need to have proper training.

You can get this training in a number of places.

Most private investigators are retired law enforcement employees. Ex-police officers or government agents have the experience and know-how to do the work of the PI.

But not all private detectives used to be cops or agents. A great number of them apprentice with a professional first, before becoming a PI themselves.

But no matter which of those roads you take, getting the proper training and education is essential.

Many PI's have college degrees in any number of different disciplines, including:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Science
  • Computer Forensics
  • Law

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This college-level education will help you to get the private investigator jobs you really want--those with the best benefits, highest salary, and most positive working environment.

Private Investigator License

There are seven states in the U.S. that don't require you to have a license before becoming a private detective. But the other 43--and most private corporations and organizations--want you to have one.

This means that no matter where you are in the country, or who you want to work for, acquiring a PI license is a really good idea.

Even if it isn't required of you, having one in your arsenal of training and education will help you get your dream jobs. If you do the hard work, it'll pay off in the end.

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