15 Highest-Paying Criminology Jobs

Criminology jobs range from judges to forensic science technicians.

A job in criminology, no matter what you choose, can be extremely rewarding.


Some of the highest-paying professions in the criminology field pay as much as $128,000.

It’s obvious that you would prefer for your salary to mirror the value you bring to the table.

A lot of changes have taken place in the criminology field over the past several years.

Not all jobs pay the same.

This guide will provide you with a list of the highest-paying jobs in the criminology field.

List of Jobs for Criminology Field

1. Judge


The top-paying profession in criminology happens to be a judge.

Judges, including hearing officers, are top on the list for a reason.

They have important duties to tend to including:

  • Take the lead on court proceedings
  • Determine sentencing for individuals according to the law
  • Make informed decisions on motions
  • Research legal issues

In order to become a judge, one must have:

  • A law degree
  • Experience working as an attorney
  • Must pass an exam issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • Additional licensing/certification may be required depending on the state you live

2. Attorney


Attorneys have an extremely favorable salary.

Starting pay is in fact still high.

Attorneys who run their own firms have the potential to earn a lot more.

Some of the main duties of an attorney are to provide legal guidance to clients, determine how to strategically resolve cases, prepare pleadings, dispositions, and other legal documents, and represent clients during legal proceedings.

In order to become an attorney, one must possess:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the Law School Admissions Test
  • Complete law school
  • Receive license
  • Pass the bar exam

3. FBI Specialist


FBI specialists are at the top of the list for the highest-paid criminology professions.

They are highly skilled and trained FBI agents who are responsible for working on task forces and other operations.

The annual median salary doesn’t include raises or bonuses.

Some FBI specialists can earn as much as $137,000 or more depending on their experience.

FBI Specialists are responsible for assisting special investigators and FBI agents to solve criminal cases at the federal level.

They are also responsible for carrying out special operations.

To become an FBI specialist, one must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree
  • Have two years of experience working full-time
  • Meet physical fitness requirements
  • Obtain a Top Secret Sensitive Compartment Information Clearance

4. FBI Agent


FBI agents are similar to FBI specialists.

Their jobs are typically considered dangerous.

Only a few members will make it to the recruitment level.

The process doesn’t go quickly as a lot is required to earn a title as an FBI agent.

FBI agents investigate federal criminal cases.

They monitor activities online, gather evidence, and make arrests.

FBI agents must possess:

  • Experience in law enforcement
  • Ability to pass extensive background checks and physical exams
  • Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice

5. Criminologist


Another top-paying profession in the criminology field is criminologist.

They can make much more than their average salary of $92,910, following several years of experience.

They are also considered to be sociologists.

They spend most of their day conducting research on crime, collecting data, and inspecting material that was collected from a crime scene.

In order to become a criminologist, one must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology or sociology
  • Hold a master’s degree or PhD in behavioral science (although not required)
  • Expert in examining crime rates and statistics

6. Financial Examiner


Financial examiners have similar duties as an intelligence analyst.

They are highly skilled in math, accounting, and anything else that has to do with numbers.

Their main duty is to help law enforcement inspect financial records.

This is done to detect fraud such as embezzlement and money laundering.

To become a financial examiner, most employers look for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or another related field.

While certification isn’t often required, it is highly recommended.

Having a license also makes candidates more appealing to employers.

7. Intelligence Analyst


Intelligence analysts also made the list of the highest top-paying criminology professions.

The majority of intelligence analysts are employed by the federal government.

Many of them also work for the FBI.

The main duties of an intelligence analyst are to collect and inspect data to determine if there are any existent security threats.

If so, they are responsible for coming up with solutions to solve them.

For those interested in becoming hired as an intelligence analyst, the following requirements are necessary:

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science or other related study
  • 5 years of working experience in a similar job
  • Secondary language preferred
  • Pass an extensive background check

8. Forensic Psychologist


Another high-paying profession in criminology is forensic psychologist.

They possess great knowledge related to human behavior.

Depending on the industry for which you are employed, your duties may differ slightly.

For example, you may be responsible for data analysis.

However, the main duties of a forensic psychologist are to:

  • Provide counseling to inmates
  • Interview suspects
  • Assist attorneys, law enforcement, and the court to ensure criminals are prosecuted

Forensic psychologists must earn a doctorate degree.

You will also need to pass the Professional Practice in Psychology Exam and obtain your license.

9. Security Manager


Security managers also play a big role in criminology.

They are typically employed through state or government agencies.

They are responsible for overlooking the security needs of buildings and various properties.

They are typically responsible for overseeing malls, casinos, and jewelry stores.

Additionally, they are responsible for hiring and training new guards, checking their educational backgrounds, and creating work schedules.

To become a security manager one must earn at least a bachelor’s degree.

Some employers prefer for candidates to have a master’s.

Having additional certifications under your belt will make you look more favorable on job applications.

10. Police Officer


Police officers are also listed as some of the highest-paid in the criminal justice field.

The top ten percent of police officers earned $106,090.

Becoming a police officer requires that you possess a college degree and enroll/complete a police academy.

You can take various criminal justice programs by enrolling in a community college, state university, or four-year university.

The main job of a police officer is to execute the law.

Police officers are assigned to specific areas to patrol, administer traffic violations, be watchful of crime, and respond to emergencies.

This is a job that requires a lifelong commitment.

11. United States Postal Inspector


Believe it or not, postal inspectors are also a part of the criminal justice system.

On average, postal inspectors earn an annual salary of $64,964.

Salary can be much higher with experience, with some postal inspectors making up to $70,000 annually.

Postal inspectors are considered federal law enforcement agents.

Some of their duties include:

  • Carrying out audits
  • Investigating mail fraud and mail theft
  • Make arrests when necessary

Postal inspectors require candidates to be between the ages of 21 and 37, possess a bachelor’s degree, and pass a criminal background check.

Postal inspectors should also be in good physical shape and possess a driver’s license.

12. Transit & Railroad Police


Transit and railroad police on average make $64,930, with the top ten percent making $105,540 each year.

Salary varies depending on the state in which you work in addition to experience.

The duties of a transit and railroad police officer include preventing violence and theft, tackling human trafficking and trespassing, and keeping the public safe.

The majority of transit and railroad police officers possess a criminal justice degree and have extensive training in law enforcement.

It also helps if you are proficient in a second language.

13. Criminal Justice Professor


Criminal justice professors also made the list of the top highest-paid professionals in the criminology field.

However, while criminal justice professors make $81,250 on average each year, the exact salary may vary depending on the institution they work for.

Criminal justice professors are responsible for educating students on criminal justice law.

Criminal justice professors work for a university, law school, or training academy.

To become a criminal justice professor, one must meet the following qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in criminal justice or related study
  • At least 5 years experience working in the criminal justice field
  • Have experience teaching college students
  • Have strong knowledge of criminal justice law

14. Fire Investigator


Fire inspectors, on average, make $63,080 each year, with the highest ten percent making $100,0730.

It is the duty of a fire inspector to gather evidence from the scenes where a fire or explosion has just occurred.

Not only is it their job to collect evidence, but they also send in the evidence for testing and rebuilding the scene of fires.

They must work to find out what caused the fire or explosion.

You’ll need to possess either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to become a fire investigator.

Most employers will also want you to have experience working as a firefighter, although this isn’t necessarily required.

15. Forensic Science Technician


Forensic technicians work for the government.

They have a main duty to collect evidence from crime scenes.

The evidence in which they collected will then be taken for further inspection at a crime lab.

Their job is extremely important as the findings play a big role in prosecutions, etc.

Forensic science technicians made the list of the highest top-paying jobs in criminology because they are indeed paid well.

While the average yearly salary is just under $62,000 a year, the top technicians earn more than six figures.

To become a forensic science technician, a bachelor’s degree is required at the least.

Additionally, candidates must complete an internship or additional training and pass the state’s proficiency exam.

3 Tips When Looking for the Highest-Paying Criminology Jobs

When looking for the highest-paid jobs in the criminology field, here are three tips to implement:

Search on Job Board Websites

One of the best ways to find a high-paying job in the criminology field is by checking out various job board websites.

Here, you can check for vacancies in your field of interest.

Additionally, you can narrow down your search to only include the salary you are looking for.

Furthermore, these job board websites also provide articles that you can check out in relation to the application process and requirements for the job for which you are applying.

Search Agency Website

If you know the actual name of the company you want to work for, try searching the agency website itself.

For example, if you’re looking for attorney advisor openings, try the Department of Homeland Security website.

The company website will provide you with a list of current openings.

You will also see the listed requirements.

Visit Local Police Stations and Courthouses

Sometimes it’s easier to visit your local police stations, sheriff’s office, and courthouses in person.

Not only will you be able to see a list of job openings, but you’ll have the opportunity to turn in your application in person.

Additionally, you may be able to talk to someone about the position you are applying for.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

One Response to 15 Highest-Paying Criminology Jobs

  1. Avatar
    Linet Jepchumba #

    Is a holder of criminology with IT in degree a top earner in this sector??

Leave a Reply

Search Programs