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Private Investigator Salary Information for North Carolina

Slightly more than 500 private investigators were employed in North Carolina in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Charlotte had the highest number of PIs of any of the cities in North Carolina, while Fayetteville had the fifth highest concentration of jobs in this field of any metropolitan area in the county.

The average annual salary for a private investigator or private detective in North Caroline was $60,020 in 2012 according to information provided by the BLS.  Experienced PIs earned substantially higher wages with those in the top tenth percentile having made $107,380 a year on average.

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Average salaries overall and for the top tenth percentile for 2012 are listed for selected cities in North Carolina:

North Carolina City
Average Annual Salary

To become a private investigator in North Carolina, a license from the state’s Department of Justice is required.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old or 21 if they want to carry a firearm in the line of work.  They must have a criminal background check from every county they have lived in over the past five years.

The state requires that applicants have a substantial amount of experience—three years (3000 hours) as one of the following:

  • An investigator with a private person or a company
  • A law enforcement official

Obtaining a college degree can count towards the 3000 hour requirement.  The amount of experience that can be substituted for each type of degree is listed below:

  • Graduate: 1200 hours
  • Bachelor’s: 800 hours
  • Associate’s: 400 hours

Information on licensed private investigators who worked in North Carolina in 2012 is provided by the BLS.  A detailed listing of annual and salary levels for a number of cities in the state is shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in North Carolina

Area name
Annual mean wage
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
Estimate not released
Fayetteville NC
Raleigh-Cary NC
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC

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