Private Investigator Salary Information for South Carolina

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 160 private investigators were employed in South Carolina in 2012.  Their annual median wage was $49,920 with those in the top tenth percentile of their wage bracket averaging $68,670 a year.

Information on salaries from the BLS are presented for selected areas in South Carolina:

South Carolina City
Average Annual Salary
Augusta-Richmond County

A license from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is required to be a private investigator or private detective in the state.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old if they wish to be armed or 18 years old otherwise.  They must submit proof of having liability insurance in the form of a $10,000 surety bond.

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SLED requires that applicants have a substantial amount of experience to become a private investigator or a private detective.  Three years of full time employment is required in one of the following categories:

  • Investigative sworn police officer
  • Registered employee of a private investigator business that is licensed

Applicants can get credit towards this requirement by obtaining a formal education in criminal justice.  The following amount of credit is granted for these degrees:

  • Six months:  certificate or associate’s degree
  • One year:  bachelor’s
  • One and a half years:  graduate

The permit requirements for carrying a firearm as a PI vary depending on the person’s background.  Retired law enforcement officers do not need a permit.  Other private investigators have to meet the state’s standards to carry a concealed weapon.

A private investigator’s license is good for one year in South Carolina.  Twelve hours of continuing education is required to get a renewal.

Salary data on the private investigators that were employed in 2012 is available from the BLS.  The data available on South Carolina is presented in the following table.

Area name
Annual mean wage
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
Estimate not released
Columbia SC

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