Criminal Justice Salary Info

According to the US Labor Bureau, police and sheriff’s patrol officers have a median annual salary of about $47,460.

Police and detective supervisors earn a median of $69,310. For example:

  • Police sergeants earn between $53,000 and $63,000
  • Lieutenants earn between $59,000 and $72,000
  • Captains earn between $65,000 and $81,000
  • Police chiefs can earn up to $100,000

Federal agents and inspectors have a different system that allows them to receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP), which is equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step. This is awarded in anticipation of the extensive overtime expected of these positions. Thus:

  • FBI agents start at about $48,000, but actually earn about $60,000 with availability
  • FBI supervisors earn about $89,000, translating to about $105,000 with availability

Other positions in law enforcement are as follows:

  • Corrections officers earn a median of $35,760
  • Correctional supervisors earn a median $52,580
  • Security guards earn up to $35,840
  • Private investigators earn up to $64,380
  • Forensic science technicians earn a median of $45,000

Salaries at the state level are generally higher than at the local level and the federal levels.


Local, state and federal law enforcement officers receive standard benefits, including paid vacation, sick leave, and health and life insurance. Additionally, because they are covered by liberal pension plans, many of these officers can retire at half-pay after 25-30 years of service.

Average Salaries for Full-Time Sworn Positions:


Minimum Base

Maximum Base

Police Chief
Deputy Chief
Police Captain
Police Lieutenant
Police Sergeant
Police Corporal



Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.