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.
The median or average salary for an ethical hacker in the United States is between $67,209 and $103,583, according to various salary aggregate websites. 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 base salaries for ethical hackers in the United States, as of June 2022, are as follows:
|$79,618||$67,209||$103,583 (median)||$94,783 (median)|
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?
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 seems to be 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, according to Glassdoor :
0–1 year experience: $78,998
1-3 years experience: $89,754
4-6 years experience: $101,333
7-9 years experience: $105,776
Generally speaking, more education tends to correlate with higher salaries. In penetration and vulnerability testing, 66 percent of job listings request at least a bachelor's degree and 25 percent require a master's degree or higher . 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.
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 $82,966—more than $3,000 more than the average for all ethical hackers .
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 United States, according to Glassdoor (June 2022):
Computer forensic analyst: $70,647
Cryptography analyst: $77,652
Cybersecurity analyst: $78,405
Penetration tester: $82,385
Cybersecurity consultant: $84,125
Security engineer: $94,083
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1. Glassdoor. “How Much Does an Ethical Hacker Make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-ethical-hacker-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,17.htm.” Accessed June 9, 2022.
2. CyberSeek. “Cybersecurity Career Pathway, “https://www.cyberseek.org/pathway.html.” Accessed June 9, 2022.
3. Payscale.com. “Average Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Salary, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Certified_Ethical_Hacker_(CEH)/Salary.” Accessed June 9, 2022.
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.