Private Investigator Salary Information for New York

New York state is a good place to find work as a private investigator.  Not only did it have the greatest number of private investigator jobs in the country in 2012, it also had the third highest concentration of jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  There was approximately one PI employed for every 3000 people in the state.  This was a total of 3,220 private investigators and detectives.

The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of private investigator and private detective jobs will increase 21.7% in the period from 2010 to 2020.  In addition to the positions created by those leaving the profession, an additional one hundred jobs are expected to become available.

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The average private investigator in New York state made $52,430 a year in 2012, according to the BLS.  Experienced PIs commanded an average salary of $70,750.  The BLS provides salary information for a number of cities in New York state.  The average annual salary for 2012 is listed below, followed by the average salary for those in the top 10th percentile of their field.

New York City
Average Annual Salary
New York City

New York state requires that private investigators obtain a license from the Department of State Division of Licensing Services before they work in the state.  Requirements include being at least 25 years old and undergoing a background check.  Applicants must have one of the following amount types of experience before they can apply:

  • Three years as a law enforcement officer
  • Three years working for a licensed private investigator
  • Twenty years as a an employee of a police or fire department

It is also necessary to pass a written exam to become a private investigator in New York state.

The BLS provides detailed information on the 2012 salaries of PIs in different parts of the state as shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in New York

Area name
Annual mean wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Estimate not released
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Syracuse NY

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