A criminal justice degree can lead to various interesting and exciting careers. If you are interested in law enforcement, the court system, or corrections, then this is the degree for you! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most popular career options for criminal justice graduates. We will also provide information on how to pursue these careers. So if you are wondering, what can I do with a criminal justice degree? Read on!
What Careers Can You Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?
While law enforcement may be focused on policing, it is much more than that. The field of law enforcement includes individuals and public agencies at all levels of government who enforce laws, maintain public order and safety, and respond to natural and artificial catastrophes. Law enforcement occupations are very stressful and demand a high level of professional competence, but they can also be very rewarding. Law enforcement agents make an average of $43,242 each year.
Corrections refer to the criminal justice system’s treatment of individuals who have been charged or convicted of crimes, as well as tasks involved in punishing, supervising, and rehabilitating them. Jobs in the corrections sector are mostly found at institutional correction facilities (jails, prisons, and detention centers) and community corrections services (parole and probation departments, as well as halfway houses). The average salary for a corrections officer is $39,040 per year.
The phrase “homeland security” in the United States has two meanings. The first refers to the country’s effort to ensure its safety, security, and strength against terrorism and other foreign and domestic dangers, as well as to respond to attacks when they occur effectively. This entails protecting against both natural catastrophes and artificial crises. Most homeland security jobs are found in government agencies, but there are also many opportunities in the private sector. The average salary for a homeland security professional is $84,461 per year.
Forensics and Investigation
In a legal context, forensics refers to the application of science (biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and physics) to issues of criminal and civil law. Forensic experts collect and evaluate evidence to determine its relevance and ensure its admissibility in legal settings. Forensics work is meticulous; professionals must act with diligence and care when investigating crimes. The average salary for a forensic scientist is $57,850 per year.
The judiciary, through its various services, ensures that individual courtrooms, as well as the whole judicial system, operate smoothly. The majority of work is done by the federal, state, and local governments, who perform duties such as keeping track of court dockets and records, sending out summonses and court orders, and overseeing jurors. In depositions and other legal settings, judiciary services support attorneys and witnesses. The average salary for a judicial administrator is $62,500 per year.
In-Depth: Top Careers with Criminal Justice Degrees
The following paragraphs will provide you with an idea of what some of the most common careers in criminal justice are all about, including whether or not a college degree is required. These descriptions have been organized according to the level of education needed, from the least to the most complex. Figures on income and job growth come from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Police Patrol Officer
Patrol officers are law enforcement officials who work for local and state authorities. Patrolmen wear uniforms and go on regular patrols, during which they look for signs of illegal activity, perform searches, and capture criminal suspects. They also respond to emergencies as well as non-emergent calls in their communities. The minimum education required to be a police patrol officer is a High school diploma or (in some cases) college coursework or an associate or bachelor’s degree. Most departments additionally require Academy training. You do not need any state license to practice, although a state license to carry a firearm may be required. There are also no professional required certifications. The average salary for patrol officers is approximately $61,380 a year. The profession has an estimated growth rate of 7%.
Private Detective or Investigator
Private detectives and investigators are hired to gather legal, financial, and personal matters. They use various methods to collect evidence, including surveillance, interviews, and public records searches. To become a private detective or investigator, you must have a high school diploma. Some jobs may require postsecondary education in criminal justice or a related field, and some states have licensing requirements. The average salary for private detectives and investigators is $50,090 per year. The profession is projected to grow by about 11% in the next decade.
First-Line Police Supervisor
First-line supervisors of police and detectives are the middle managers of law enforcement agencies. They direct the activities of police officers and detectives daily. To become a first-line supervisor, you must have a high school diploma; however, many agencies require candidates to have a college degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some states also have certification requirements for police supervisors. The average salary for first-line supervisors of police and detectives is $77,210 per year. The profession is projected to grow by about five percent in the next decade.
Correctional officers work in jails and prisons, overseeing inmates. They keep track of the prisoners’ activities, enforce rules and regulations, and provide security. To become a correctional officer, you must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many agencies require some college coursework or an associate degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some states have certification requirements for correctional officers. The average salary for a correctional officer is $43,540 per year. The profession is projected to grow by about three percent in the next decade.
Probation and Parole Officer
Probation officers work with offenders who have been placed on probation instead of incarcerated. They provide support and guidance to help offenders stay out of trouble and comply with the terms of their probation. Parole officers work with parolees, or offenders who have been released from prison early, to help them reintegrate into society. To become a probation or parole officer, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some states have certification requirements for probation and parole officers. The average salary for a probation officer is $53,020 per year. The profession is projected to grow by about four percent in the next decade.
Postsecondary Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Teachers
Postsecondary criminal justice and law enforcement teachers instruct students in criminal justice and law enforcement subjects at the college level. To become a postsecondary criminal justice or law enforcement teacher, you must have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some states have certification requirements for postsecondary teachers. The average salary for a postsecondary criminal justice or law enforcement teacher is $62,040 per year. The profession is projected to grow by about 17% in the next decade.
Where Can You Earn a Criminal Justice Degree?
All degree levels, from associate to doctoral, offer criminal justice degrees. A criminal justice associate degree provides a fundamental understanding of the criminal justice system for students preparing for entry-level jobs in law enforcement (patrol and corrections officers, for example). Associate degree programs are frequently two years and are offered mainly by community and vocational colleges.
Associate degree programs in criminal justice focus on the same themes as bachelor’s degree programs. A bachelor’s degree is often used required for parole and probation officer jobs, as well as most federal law enforcement occupations. Graduate certificate (master’s and doctoral) degrees train graduates for supervisorial and administrative roles in criminal justice agencies, as well as postsecondary academic posts.
Bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice typically require four years of full-time study. Curricula usually focus on U.S. law enforcement, courts, correctional systems, research methods, and criminological theory. Both bachelor’s and graduate criminal justice degrees are available at a growing number of colleges and universities across the United States, both public and private.
Can You Earn a Degree in Criminal Justice Online?
Yes. There are several online criminal justice degrees available. Like those available on college campuses, high-quality online criminal justice programs from fully accredited institutions are accessible at all levels of education. Online courses frequently include full-time and part-time study options to accommodate working individuals. Accelerated curriculum programs are also popular online and can be completed in two years.
Whether you choose to study criminal justice on a college campus or online, you’ll find that there are many opportunities available to those with a criminal justice degree. With the proper education and training, you can pursue a career in law enforcement, corrections, or even teaching at the postsecondary level. The average salary for a criminal justice professional is good, and the field is projected to grow in the coming years. So if you’re interested in a career that’s both challenging and rewarding, consider earning your criminal justice degree today.
How Much Can I Make with a Criminal Justice Degree?
Salaries for criminal justice graduates vary depending on the type of job, level of experience, and geographic location. However, many jobs in the criminal justice system offer competitive salaries and excellent benefits.
The list below provides a snapshot of average salaries for criminal justice professionals in various positions.
Position and Annual Salary:
- Police officer – $61,600
- Probation officer – $49,900
- Correctional officer – $43,510
- Paralegal – $50,940
- Private investigator – $50,090
A career in criminal justice can be both personally and professionally rewarding. Individuals in the field help make our communities safer places to live and work, and they enjoy a high degree of job satisfaction. In addition, criminal justice careers offer competitive salaries and excellent benefits. If you are interested in a career in criminal justice, contact your local police department or college, or university to learn more about criminal justice programs.
Criminal justice careers are an excellent choice for individuals interested in public service and helping others. If you have strong communication and interpersonal skills, computer competence, and the ability to resolve conflict, a career in criminal justice may be the right choice for you. Contact your local police department or college, or university to learn more about criminal justice programs.