Private Investigator Salary Information for Virginia

Virginia is a good state in which to be a private investigator or private detective for two reasons.

  1. It has the fourth highest level of salaries of any state in the county, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  2. The field is growing rapidly in Virginia.  The state projects job growth from 2010 to 2020 to be over 30% – much higher than the national average.

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The 620 private investigators employed in 2012 in Virginia made an average annual salary of $62,800.  Experience private investigators earned an average of $100,530 a year.  Salary information from the BLS on selected cities in Virginia is listed below:

Virginia City
Average Annual Salary
Virginia Beach

Job growth is projected to be particularly high in the following regions of Virginia:

  • Northern Virginia and Alexandria/Arlington:  40.1%
  • Shenandoah Valley:  35.2%

Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services requires a license to become a private investigator in the state.  Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years old.  They are also required to complete sixty hours of entry-level private investigator training.

Individuals who wish to be armed when they work as a private investigator in Virginia are required to meet the standards for firearms endorsement and must document that they have had training in using firearms.

A private investigator’s license is good for two years, while a license to carry a firearm must be renewed annually.

A variety of industries employ PIs.  The most common source of jobs is private investigation firms (detective agencies).  Retail stores hire a number of PIs to help with loss prevention.  State and local government agencies are another common source of jobs.

Information from the BLS is provided below for private investigators who worked in Virginia in 2012.

Area name
Annual mean wage
Richmond VA
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division

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