There are many criminal justice degree jobs to choose from. In fact, not all criminal justice degree jobs require a criminal justice degree to begin work, but you’re always a step ahead of the competition if you do have one.
Criminal justice careers are divided into several categories: law enforcement, federal law enforcement, corrections, law/courts, security and forensic science.
Law enforcement jobs
The most common jobs we associate with criminal justice are the ones related to law enforcement. This includes police officers or sheriffs and their deputies, state troopers, detectives or crime investigators, and public safety officers.
They usually need to undergo specialized training for their jobs, and while college credits are now being required for applicants, it does not necessarily have to be a program in criminal justice.
Federal law enforcement is different not only because they are jobs at the federal level but also due to the sensitive nature of assignments. Agents in the FBI, DEA, CIA are among those in this category. Border patrol agents, immigration officers and U.S. Air Marshals also belong to this group. They are among the highest paid criminal justice degree jobs.
Corrections is a field of its own and usually deals with offenders after they have been meted a sentence for their crimes. Criminal justice job opportunities in this area include positions for parole officer, probation officer, juvenile probation officer and corrections officer. The median salary for a correctional officer is $42,795.
A correctional counselor is also needed to take care of the psychological needs of those who are incarcerated. A more specialized career is that of a Victim Witness Assistant. They are tasked to guide crime victims during the court proceedings, help them receive restitution, and provide crisis intervention.
While the job entails close coordination with victims, formal education is valuable especially in the areas of psychology or psychiatry and to get an overview of the criminal justice system. These criminal justice degree jobs are in demand because they are usually located per locality to have better affinity with victims.
Graduates working in the field of law or courts include the court reporters, court clerks, bailiffs, juvenile court registrars and legal researchers or legal assistants. They may qualify for positions even with associate degrees, but eventually pursue further studies for career advancement or managerial or administrative jobs.
Forensic science is a highly specialized area of criminal justice. Forensic scientists or crime scene investigators (CSI) play a vital role in judicial process, particularly in resolving cases. They provide the evidence to use in convicting or acquitting suspects of crimes. This is one of the criminal justice degree jobs that have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to television shows that feature this profession.
Still, there are several positions within the forensic science field, including a finger print examiner, forensic nurse, forensic pathologist, forensic psychologist, and forensic serologist aside from the more commonly known forensic examiner or CSI.
The average salary for forensic expert jobs is $60,000. Starting salaries for forensic scientists are between $40,000 and $50,000, even without experience. A crime lab director can earn up to $120,000.
Careers in criminal justice are varied, but each one offers their own rewards and fulfillment. Earning a criminal justice degree will boost your chances of advancing in whatever area you choose to specialize on.
In general, the criminal justice salary is competitive and often lucrative particularly for specialty areas. It all depends on your qualifications, both on a personal level and the kind of training and education you received.
Criminal justice degree jobs will continue to grow, and you can cash in on them, too.