Forensic Psychologist Salary Guide 2024

By Staff Writer

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A forensic psychologist is a mental health professional who applies psychological principles and techniques to legal and criminal justice settings. Learn more about becoming a forensic psychologist.

The average annual salary for a forensic psychologist in the US is $101,000

Here is the average forensic psychologist salary based upon number of years experience:

  • Less than 5 years of experience: $82,180
  • 5-10 years of experience: $98,230
  • More than 10 years of experience: $100,850

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Which states have the highest forensic psychologist salaries?

  1. California – $120,010
  2. Oregon – $117,180
  3. Rhode Island – $116,810
  4. Hawaii – $115,220
  5. New York – $113,940

Which cities have the highest forensic psychologist salaries?

  1. New York, NY – $92,000
  2. San Diego, CA – $89,000
  3. Los Angeles, CA – $86,000
  4. Boston, MA – $85,000
  5. Chicago, IL – $83,000

How can forensic psychologists increase their salary?

Pursuing higher levels of education

Psychologists with doctoral degrees earned a median salary of $100,770 in May 2020, compared to $79,010 for those with a master’s degree. Pursuing a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in forensic psychology or a related field may increase job opportunities and earning potential for forensic psychologists.

Developing specialized expertise

Forensic psychologists who develop specialized expertise in a specific area of forensic psychology e.g. forensic science, forensic mental health or criminal psychology may be able to command higher salaries.

Working in high-paying industries or organizations

Forensic psychologists who work for the federal government may be able to command higher salaries, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the mean annual wage for psychologists in the federal executive branch is $112,690.

Negotiating salary and benefits

Forensic psychologists can negotiate their salary and benefits packages when accepting job offers or when asking for a raise. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2020, 61% of psychologists negotiated their starting salary, with those who negotiated earning a median increase of $5,000. Additionally, the same survey found that psychologists who negotiated for other benefits, such as flexible work schedules, retirement plans, or professional development opportunities, reported higher levels of job satisfaction.

How do forensic psychologist salaries compare to other psychologists?

In terms of educational and training requirements, the roles most similar to a forensic psychologist would be a school psychologist, educational psychologistdevelopmental psychologist and an industrial-organizational psychologist. Each of these roles requires a master’s degree with a doctoral degree being an optional (but often preferred) qualification.
It therefore makes sense to compare the salaries of these roles to see how lucrative forensic psychology as a field is.