There are currently an estimated 110,900 detectives in the United States. The detective job market is expected to grow by 4.5% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are detectives?

CareerExplorer rates detectives with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 8,500 detectives. That number is based on 5,000 additional detectives, and the retirement of 3,500 existing detectives.

Are detectives in demand?

Demand and job growth for detectives is predicted to be weak. While police departments consistently need detectives, they tend to promote veteran officers to these roles. Most of these public sector jobs are created by the necessity to replace retirees; consequently, there are few openings for entrants to the field. Furthermore, hiring by police departments is sensitive to budget fluctuations. Employment opportunities for private detectives should be somewhat better, due partly to the proliferation of cyber crime. As technology expands and the internet continues to be a portal for identity and confidential information theft; global financial scams; spamming; sexual predator activity; and illegal downloading of copyrighted information, there will be a need for detectives to investigate and resolve these crimes. Corporations, law firms, and large hotels seeking property protection, private high-level security, and independent investigative services may present other job opportunities for detectives. Competition in this low-growth occupation will be intense, especially for coveted positions with state and federal agencies. Candidates who speak more than one language and have applicable military experience generally increase their employability.

What’s the supply of detectives?

The detective industry is concentrated in Texas, California, New York

Detective job market by state

State Name Employed Detectives
Texas 16,780
California 11,700
New York 9,290
Florida 6,240
Arizona 5,910
Georgia 3,370
Virginia 3,360
New Jersey 3,090
Pennsylvania 2,910
North Carolina 2,880
Illinois 2,800
Washington 2,280
Louisiana 2,030
Ohio 2,020
Michigan 2,020
Massachusetts 1,760
Colorado 1,750
New Mexico 1,620
Missouri 1,550
Tennessee 1,420
Wisconsin 1,370
Minnesota 1,350
Alabama 1,280
South Carolina 1,140
Indiana 1,070
Maryland 950
Oklahoma 940
Connecticut 920
Mississippi 920
Kansas 840
Puerto Rico 630
Maine 580
Kentucky 580
Nevada 560
Oregon 540
Arkansas 470
Hawaii 460
Montana 450
Idaho 410
Iowa 400
Utah 370
Nebraska 340
New Hampshire 330
Rhode Island 290
North Dakota 270
Vermont 220
South Dakota 210
West Virginia 190
Wyoming 160
Alaska 100