The Forensic Psychologist Salary in 2017

The average forensic psychologist salary is the highest in New Zealand, with about NZ$94,000 (US$ 65,057) per year. New Zealand is closely followed by the US with $61,183, Australia with AU$70,632 (US$ 53,198), and Canada with C$60,000 (US$ 43,912). The lowest salaries for forensic psychologists are registered in the UK, where specialists earn £24,750 (US$ 31,930), South Africa with R391,001 (US$ 29,332) per year, and India with Rs120,000 (US$ 1,869).

How Much Does a Forensic Psychologist Make per Year?

Forensic
Psychologist
Salary
US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $29.41 C$28.85
(US$ 21.13)
£11.90
(US$ 15.35)
AU$33.96
(US$ 25.58)
NZ$45.19
(US$ 31.27)
Rs57.69
(US$ 0.899)
R187.98
(US$ 14.105)
Annual Wage $61,183 C$60,000
(US$ 43,912)
£24,750
(US$ 31,930)
AU$70,632
(US$ 53,198)
NZ$94,000
(US$ 65,057)
Rs300,000
(US$ 3,600)
R391,001
(US$ 29,332)

Factors that Influence the Forensic Psychologist Salary

As mentioned before, the average salary of a forensic psychologist varies depending on multiple factors. The factors that influence the forensic psychologist salary the most are, of course, the level of experience of the employee, the geographic area where the job is located, and the industry in which the job is active.

Geographic Area

Even though experience should play the most important role in the salary of a forensic psychologist, location is the factor that influences salary the most.

Forensic Psychologist Salary in the US

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ predictions for 2016 and 2017, the median annual salary of a forensic psychologist is somewhere around $61,183. This is among the highest wages anyone in the field of psychology can get. And for those lucky enough to work in the right industry, to have enough experience and to also live in the right state, the forensics psychologist salary can reach as much as 114,290 per year.

In the following tables, you will be able to find the states offering the highest levels of pay, as well as the highest levels of employment for the job description. If your state isn’t featured on the list, it doesn’t mean that the state doesn’t necessarily offer a decent forensic psychologist salary or that it’s particularly difficult to get a job as one. It only means that it isn’t among the top five.

Levels of Employment for Forensic Psychologists in the US

Below, you can see the states with the highest levels of employment in the country:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Florida 1,520 0.19 2.13 $43.42 $90,310
California 1,490 0.10 1.07 $47.14 $98,060
Massachusetts 740 0.22 2.42 $40.22 $83,670
Illinois 660 0.11 1.25 $59.79 $124,360
New York 640 0.07 0.80 $53.17 $110,600

In the following table, you can see the states that have the highest paid forensic psychologist salaries:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Minnesota 250 0.09 0.98 $61.42 $127,750
Illinois 660 0.11 1.25 $59.79 $124,360
New York 640 0.07 0.80 $53.17 $110,600
Maryland 490 0.19 2.10 $48.49 $100,860
Virginia 330 0.09 0.99 $48.13 $100,120

For more vaguely and widely distributed information, below you will be able to see a table featuring the metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for the position:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Boston – Cambridge – Newton, MA NECTA Division 490 0.28 3.09 $38.12 $79,300
Chicago – Naperville – Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division 440 0.12 1.38 undisclosed undisclosed
Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater, FL 430 0.35 3.90 $41.21 $85,720
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY – NJ Metropolitan Division 390 0.06 0.67 $61.54 $128,000
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 330 0.08 0.90 $51.17 $106,440
Washington – Arlington – Alexandria, DC – VA – MD – WV Metropolitan Division 330 0.14 1.51 $48.30 $100,470
Sacramento – Roseville – Arden – Arcade, CA 290 0.33 3.70 $44.23 $91,990
San Diego – Carlsbad, CA 270 0.20 2.18 $45.08 $93,760
Silver Spring – Frederick – Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division 220 0.38 4.21 $52.26 $108,700
Baltimore – Columbia – Towson, MD 210 0.16 1.78 $44.39 $92,330
Highest Salaries for Forensic Psychologists in the US

Meanwhile, the metropolitan areas offering the highest salaries for forensic psychologists are as follows:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division 390 0.06 0.67 $61.54 $128,000
Lake County – Kenosha County, IL – WI Metropolitan Division 90 0.21 2.38 $53.82 $111,940
Alexandria, LA 40 0.60 6.62 $52.61 $109,420
Silver Spring – Frederick – Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division 220 0.38 4.21 $52.26 $108,700
Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division 160 0.15 1.64 $52.07 $108,300
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 330 0.08 0.90 $51.17 $106,440
North Port – Sarasota – Bradenton, FL 70 0.24 2.70 $51.01 $106,090
Oakland – Hayward – Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Division 120 0.11 1.23 $50.23 $104,480
Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario, CA 70 0.05 0.60 $49.70 $103,380
Dayton, OH 110 0.29 3.28 $48.81 $101,530

Forensic Psychologist Salary in Canada

A forensic psychologist working in Canada earns between C$60,000, or US$43,912 per year and C$83,497, or US$60,752 per year on average. Nevertheless, some other sources like Neuvoo.ca report the average salary of a forensic psychologist around $111,810 per year, which translates to roughly $54 per hour. The same source states that the starting salary for a forensic psychologist is around C$78,000 (US$56,916) and that an experienced professional can earn up to C$157,000 (US$114,502).

Forensic Psychologist Salary in the UK

A forensic psychologist starting off in this field in the UK earns between £24,000 (US$30,907) and £27,000 (US$34,770) in the first years. After qualification and becoming registered forensic psychologists, professionals in this field earn somewhere between £30,000 (US$38,634) and £45,000 (US$57,930). Senior forensic psychologists can earn up to £95,000, or US$122,341, per year.

Forensic Psychologist Salary in Australia

The salary of a clinical counseling forensic psychologist working in Australia averages at AU$70,632, or US$53,198. According to LivinginAustralia, the salary for experienced professionals varies between AU$91,000 (US$67,323) and AU$118,000 (US$87,298) per year.

Forensic Psychologist Salary in New Zealand

Careers.govt.nz reports the starting salary for trainee criminal justice psychologists between NZ$51,000 and NZ$56,000 per year. This translates to a salary between US$35,035 and US$38,470. Nevertheless, a senior criminal justice psychologist with staff responsibilities can earn between NZ$94,000 and NZ$116,000 per year, or between US$64,578 and US$79,750.

The same source assures those interested in a career in criminal justice psychology the job opportunities are well above average and that up to 7 years of training is required to build a career in this field.

Forensic Psychologist Salary in India

Even though no info is available about the forensic psychologist salary in India, we can take the psychologist salary as a reference. A psychologist working in India starts off at about Rs162,000, or about US$2,523 per year. After about 10 years on the job, a professional can earn Rs819,512 per year, or US$12,763. Bonuses can account for an extra income of Rs4,829 – Rs103,424 per year (US$75 – US$1,610) depending on experience and responsibilities.

Overall, the national average for this profession is Rs364,000, or just a little over US$5,670. Given that a forensic psychologist usually earns less than the national average for this profession, we can estimate the average around Rs300,000 per year, or about US$3,600.

Forensic Psychologist Salary in South Africa

Even though no data is available regarding the salary of a forensic psychologist in South Africa, we can take the clinical psychologist salary as a reference. Therefore, the national average for this profession is set at ZAR351,000 (US$26,000) in 2017. Beginners in this field earn about ZAR120,000 (US$8,893), while experienced professionals can earn up to ZAR835,446 (US$61,907) after 10-15 years in this field. Bonuses can account for up to ZAR59,344 (US$4,398) of this amount, and profit sharing for another ZAR11,850 (US$878).

Experience

Experience is perhaps the most important factor in determining the forensic psychologist’s salary. The average estimated salary growth during one’s career as a forensic psychologist is somewhere around $60,000, at least when considering the entry level forensic psychology salary to be around $60,000.

In the US, the average salary path of a forensic psychologist, according to payscale.com, is as follows:

  • $60,000 – $76,000 during the first five to ten years
  • $76,000 – $87,000 during the first ten to twenty years
  • $87,000 – over $118,000 after more than twenty years

If you’re wondering how much do forensic psychologists make a year, it also depends very much on how much educational experience they have on their resumes. Whether in the USA, in Australia, or in the UK, somebody with a Ph.D. or a clinical degree will make more than anybody with a lesser degree.

Industry

While not as relevant for the forensic psychologist salary as the level of experience, the industry in which an aspiring psychologist is aiming to get hired is also pretty important.

Therefore, the industries with the highest levels of employment for forensic psychologist are as follows:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation) 7.,500 0.38 $43.12 $89,690
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 1,540 0.19 $47.40 $98,590
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 510 0.02 $30.19 $62,800

Meanwhile, the industries offering the highest forensic psychologist salaries are the following:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Educational Support Services undisclosed undisclosed $90.26 $187,740
Local Government (OES Designation) 210 <.005 $53.52 $111,330
Scientific Research and Development Services 80 0.01 $52.56 $109,330
State Government (OES Designation) 160 0.01 $48.06 $99,960

Working Hours

The usual forensic psychologist working hours overlap with the usual office hours. Clocking in at about 35 to 40 hours a week, most people with a forensic psychologist salary generally don’t work weekends, holidays, or nights unless they want to. There is, however, an exception to this rule; and one that happens quite frequently.

In situations when the resolution to a big case is coming up or when an important benchmark is about to be reached. When this happens, forensic psychologists often find themselves having to work regardless of holidays, the day of the week, or the time of day. However, a very organized forensic psychologist can usually avoid these extra work hours.

Bonuses and Benefit Packages

Mostly known for their salaries and not their bonuses, most forensic psychologists usually get bonuses of between $10,000 and $15,000 a year. The forensic psychologist salary usually makes up for the mediocre bonuses by being one of the highest for the profession.

Self-employed or consulting forensic psychologists usually don’t receive any benefit packages that include life insurance, paid time off, or health insurance. Forensic psychologists working for the government, however, usually receive full benefits packages.

Job Outlook

There isn’t enough data focused strictly on forensic psychologists, but the predictions for the general psychologist profession estimate a 19% growth in the next 5 to 10 years. That is much faster than the average predicted growth for all occupations, and it also includes forensic psychologists.

Conclusion

Forensic psychologists earn significantly more than most of the healthcare professionals in the field of psychology. Nevertheless, the job also comes with high levels of stress. If you are interested in psychology as a field, you can also look over our guide on the school psychology salary in 2017 and our psychiatrist salary guide.

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