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How Much Do Criminologists Get Paid?

Criminologists apply theories and methods from the social and behavioural sciences, especially sociology, as well as the law, to explain criminal behaviour. Criminologists study the causes and consequences of crime, as well as societal responses to criminal behaviour.

Many criminologists work as university scholars, while others work in criminal justice agencies. Salaries for this profession vary by employer, as well as a criminologist's education and experience.

Average Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment and salary information for a variety of social scientists, including sociologists, economists and political scientists.

The BLS does not classify criminologists as a separate category, but includes them in the category of "Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other." In 2010, criminologists and other social scientists earned an average annual salary of £50,628.

Salary Ranges

Average salaries for criminologists and other social scientists in 2010 ranged from £28,229 per year for the bottom 10 per cent to £75,218 per year for the top 10 per cent of earners. The median annual salary for a criminologist was £48,503 a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Salaries by Employer

Sectors with the highest employment of criminologists in 2010 included federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Justice; colleges and universities; and local and state government agencies, especially criminal justice organisations, according to the BLS.

Criminologists in the federal government earned an average of £54,060 per year, while their counterparts in state and local agencies earned annual salaries ranging from £38,746 at the state level to £43,875 per year in local agencies. Salaries for criminologists working as college and university faculty members averaged £39,851 per year.


Geographic location also affects the salaries earned by criminologists.

The BLS reported that the highest average salaries for criminologists and other social scientists in 2010 existed in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Annual salaries ranged from £57,167 in the nation's capital to £65,552 in neighbouring Virginia.


Employment as a criminologist requires graduate-level education in most cases. A college or university faculty position usually requires a doctoral degree that includes studies of criminology and criminal justice, as well as social science research methodologies.