Private Investigator Salary Information for Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania had the fifth highest concentration of private investigator and private detective employment in the county in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry estimated that demand for private investigators in the state will increase 9.7% in the ten year period leading up to 2014.

Of the 2,070 PIs working in the state in 2012, nearly half were located in Philadelphia.  This city had the second highest level of employment of private investigators of any metropolitan area in the country.  Pittsburgh also has a lot of PIs for its size and had the eighth highest employment level for that year.

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BLS 2012 salary data for the state as a whole and for selected cities is listed below:

Pennsylvania City
Average Annual Salary
Pennsylvania statewide

The areas outside of cities in Pennsylvania can also be lucrative areas in which to work as a private investigator.  The far western nonmetropolitan area of the state had the second highest wages of any nonmetropolitan area in the country and the fifth highest level of employment.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, nearly 18% of the private investigators in the state were self-employed in 2004.  Fifty three percent of the PIs in the state worked for one of the following three types of industries:

  • Investigation and security services:  30%
  • Department stores:  14.5%
  • Other general merchandise stores:  8.3%

Like most states, Pennsylvania requires a license to work as a private investigator.  In contrast to most other states, however, PI licenses are granted at the county level.  Applicants must be at least 25 years old and have three years of experience working as:

  • An employee of a detective agency
  • A law enforcement agent at a rank higher than a patrol officer

The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of wages by geographic areas and has information on salaries on a number of locations in Pennsylvania.  This is provided in the following table:

Private Investigator Salaries in Pennsylvania

Area name
Annual mean wage
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ
Harrisburg-Carlisle PA
Newark-Union NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
Pittsburgh PA
Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area

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