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Criminology Major

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Criminology

8,347 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
729 Master's Degrees Annually
#55 in Popularity
$90,290 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Criminology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many criminology graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 8,347
Master’s Degree 729
Associate’s Degree 237
Basic Certificate 131
Graduate Certificate 126
Doctor’s Degree 54

What Criminology Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to criminology and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

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

A major in criminology will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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?

People with a criminology degree often go into the following careers:

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 Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology?

8,347 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
56% Percent Women
45% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 8,347 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology in 2018, making it rank #55 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 56% of recent graduates being 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 Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 288
Black or African American 1,117
Hispanic or Latino 2,019
White 4,279
International Students 119
Other Races/Ethnicities 525

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Criminology. About 1.4% 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?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology was $31,400 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,300 (25th percentile) and $34,100 (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

Criminology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $90,290 to $115,590 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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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250K
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.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to criminology have obtained the following education levels.

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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 the 2017-2018 academic year, 219 schools offered some type of criminology program. 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) 6 3
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 23 18
Bachelor’s Degree 6 3
Post-Baccalaureate 6 3
Master’s Degree 50 16
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 47,528
Political Science & Government 44,651
Sociology 37,615
General Social Sciences 19,123
International Relations & National Security 14,908
Anthropology 12,008
Geography & Cartography 8,717
Other Social Sciences 2,935
Urban Studies 1,524
Sociology & Anthropology 499
Archeology 335
Demography & Population Studies 76
Rural Sociology 33

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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