The field of private investigation is growing in Mississippi with a 16.7% increase in employment projected between 2010 and 2020, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. As of 2012, 270 private investigations were employed in the state based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Jackson had the eighth highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area in the country in 2012. Slightly more than 40% of the state’s PIs were based in Jackson.
The BLS also provides information on the 2012 salaries of private investigators. The average annual salary in the state was $34,830. Experienced professionals can earn significantly higher salaries. The average annual salary of those in the top ten percent of earners was $67,220. Ranges are listed for PIs in selected cities in Mississippi:
The nonmetropolitan area of northeastern Mississippi had the fourth highest salaries of any nonmetropolitan area in the country.
It is relatively straightforward to become a private investigator or detective in Mississippi, since no special license is required. It is recommended that PIs in the state obtain a business license.
Private investigators work in a number of different areas. One area in high demand at the moment is computer forensics, given the amount of fraud that is carried out online combined with the sustained harassment of some people over the internet.
Many investigators work for insurance companies verifying workman compensation claims. Others perform surveillance on spouses suspected of infidelity. Businesses are another common source of employment, since companies frequently need to investigate suspected fraud.
Defense attorneys are another type of potential client. Diligent investigative work can sometimes help a great deal with the defendants’ cases.
The BLS provides a great deal of information on employment levels and a breakdown of salaries by hourly and annual percentiles. The following table lists this information for some of the areas of Mississippi that employ large numbers of private investigators.