Private Investigator Salary Information for Illinois

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,050 private investigators were employed in Illinois in 2012.  Illinois’ Worknet Center states that the field of private investigation is one of the top 50 fastest growing occupations in the state.  About 110 job openings are expected each year.

The state of Illinois projects the percentage of job growth of private investigators to be greater than 15% in the following areas:

  • Bloomington area:  28.8%
  • Champaign area:  26.3%
  • Will County:  22.4%
  • Cook County:  22.0%
  • Springfield area:  20.5%
  • Lake County:  16.7%
  • Northwest Illinois area:  16.7%
  • DeKalb-Elgin-Aurora area:  16.0%

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The average salary for private investigators in Illinois was $40,550 in 2012 according to the BLS.  PIs with experience who were in the top tenth earned $66,960 that year on average.  Over half of the private investigators in Illinois are located in the Chicago metropolitan area.  They averaged $44,740 a year with the top earners making a salary of $71,250 on average.

Employment was also high in the nonmetropolitan area of west central Illinois with the area having the greatest concentration of jobs of any nonmetropolitan area in the U.S.  The 100 investigators in this area averaged $23,880 a year with the top earners making $30,310.

Licensing is required for private investigators that work in Illinois.  Applicants must pass an exam before they can apply to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for a license.  At this time, they must have proof of having at least $1 million in liability insurance.  Licenses are valid for six years in Illinois.

Additional requirements must be fulfilled to work as an armed PI.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have completed a forty-hour firearm training course within a two year period before applying.  They must also provide their social security number that will be used to check records confirming that there are no tax or child support liabilities.

Detailed information on the hourly and annual wages of private investigators in different areas of Illinois is available from the BLS.  Their salary and employment data on Illinois is shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Illinois

Area name
Annual mean wage
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL-IN-WI
Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
St. Louis MO-IL
West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area

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