Ethical Hacker Salary (2023): What You'll Make and Why

Written by Coursera • Updated on

The typical ethical hacker salary is based on your knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity, computer programming, computer networks, and more. Certifications and experience can boost your salary as an ethical hacker in just a short time.

[Featured image] Ethical hacker searches for holes in a computer system using three monitors.

The median or average salary for an ethical hacker in the United States is $106,198, according to Glassdoor. How much you earn will depend on several factors, including your level of experience, education, industry, company, location, and whether you have relevant certifications.

Average US base salaries for ethical hackers in the US, as of November 2022, are as follows:


Salary aggregate websites often rely on data submitted by individuals using the site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of higher- or lower-than-average salaries, affecting the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is Ethical Hacking?

Common factors that impact earning potential

The wide pay range for an ethical hacker suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on certifications, skill level, education, location, experience, and expertise.


One of the most impactful factors in determining your salary potential is experience. Ethical hackers may receive a bump in pay every year they’re employed. For example, consider the annual median base pay by years of experience in the US, according to Glassdoor [1]: 

  • 0–1 year experience: $89,058

  • 1-3 years experience: $96,814

  • 4-6 years experience: $109,005

  • 7-9 years experience: $121,620


Generally speaking, more education tends to correlate with higher salaries. In penetration and vulnerability testing, 67 percent of job listings request at least a bachelor's degree and 23 percent require a master's degree or higher [2]. While this ultimately depends on the company and your unique circumstances, having a graduate degree could lead to higher-paying roles as an ethical hacker.

Read more: What Is a Computer Science Degree?


Earning a certification in ethical hacking or cybersecurity can validate your skills to potential employers, which could translate to an increase in pay. According to Payscale, those with a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential earn a median base pay of $80,513 [3].

Read more: 4 Ethical Hacking Certifications to Boost Your Career

Salaries for other cybersecurity professionals

Pursuing a career in cybersecurity could lead to a range of career paths and roles. Here are a few different job titles to consider, along with their median base salaries in the US, according to Glassdoor (November 2022):

Next steps

If you're interested in a career as an ethical hacker, build your cybersecurity skills with the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate on Coursera. Build your knowledge of data protection, endpoint protection, SIEM, and network fundamentals while getting hands-on experience through virtual labs using industry tools. Get started for free.


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Article sources


Glassdoor. “How Much Does an Ethical Hacker Make?,,2_IN1_KO3,17.htm.” Accessed September 20, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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