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Criminology Major

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Criminology

795 Master's Degrees Annually
48 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#123 in Popularity (Master's)
$90,290 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Criminology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many criminology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 795
Graduate Certificate 98
Doctor’s Degree 48

What Criminology Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to criminology were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Criminology Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in criminology should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Criminology Majors

When studying criminology, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Criminology Majors

As you progress with your criminology degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Criminology Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with criminology:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Criminology?

795 Master's Degrees Annually
67% Percent Women
29% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
The major attracts more women than men. About 67% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of criminology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Criminology Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 19
Black or African American 92
Hispanic or Latino 92
White 446
International Students 41
Other Races/Ethnicities 105

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Criminology. About 5.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • China
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Canada

How Much Do Criminology Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in criminology have a median salary of $44,500 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $40,650 (25th percentile) and $49,050 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to criminology so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $90,290 to $115,590 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to criminology. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Criminology Major  ( 90290 to 115590 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with criminology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for criminology careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.8%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.2%
Some College Courses 0.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 47.5%
Master’s Degree 26.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.1%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.3%
Doctoral Degree 14.3%

Online Criminology Programs

In 2018-2019, 221 schools offered a criminology program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 5 2
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 10 5
Bachelor’s Degree 7 4
Post-Baccalaureate 5 2
Master’s Degree 55 19
Post-Master’s 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 14 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Criminology Worth It?

The median salary for a criminology grad is $90,290 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 126% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,007,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to criminology.

Major Number of Grads
Economics 48,297
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703
Geography & Cartography 8,673
Other Social Sciences 2,729
Urban Studies 1,647
Sociology & Anthropology 543
Archeology 364
Demography & Population Studies 77

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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