Private Investigator Salary Information for Tennessee

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 190 private investigators were employed in Tennessee in 2012.  The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects a growth rate of 1.5% a year in the period from 2008 to 2018.  Ten new openings a year are projected, along with an additional twenty jobs produced by people leaving the workforce in the state.

The BLS indicates that private investigators in Tennessee made a median annual salary of $52,990 in 2012.   Salaries are higher for experienced professionals.  Those in the top 10th percentile earned $87,970 a year in 2012. 

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Salaries for private investigators in selected cities in Tennessee are listed below:

Tennessee City
Average Annual Salary

A license is required to become a private investigator or private detective in Tennessee.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old to obtain their license from the Department of Commerce and Insurance.  They must either be affiliated with a licensed private investigator firm in the state or be prepared to license their own company.

Once an application has been submitted, it is necessary to take a two hour examination to become a PI.  Licenses are good for two years.  There is a requirement for twelve hours of continuing education to get it renewed.

Private investigators in Tennessee work in a number of different industries.  Loss prevention for retail stores is a commons source of jobs.  These PIs work both to protect the stores from shoplifting and from employee theft.

A number of private investigators are self-employed.  Individuals are frequently customers, since concern about infidelity is a common problem, as is tracking down missing relatives or friends.

Information on the PIs that were licensed and employed in Tennessee in 2012 is provided by the BLS.  A detailed breakdown of employment levels, and various percentiles of annual and hourly wages is presented in the following table.

Private Investigator Salaries in Tennessee

Area name
Annual mean wage
Memphis TN-MS-AR
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin TN

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