Get info on the best criminal justice careers, jobs, and law enforcement training in 2018.
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This robust list of criminal justice careers and salaries is by no means an exhaustive one, but rather continually growing. Each position has a comprehensive criminal justice job description.
Keep in mind that all criminal justice jobs listed have educational requirements and career advancement resources for you to check out in-depth.
Law Enforcement Careers
The following careers in law enforcement are some of the most popular jobs in the criminal justice field.
Most of these are entry level criminal justice jobs which require a minimum of a high school diploma and advanced training. A criminal justice degree (or other major) may be helpful, but might not be essential at the time of application.
Federal Law Enforcement Careers
The federal government offers some of the most rewarding careers in criminal justice through the many federal law enforcement agencies.
Minimum Education Required
ATF Special Agent
Border Patrol Agent
Deputy U.S. Marshal
Diplomatic Security Special Agent
Director of Airport Security (coming soon)
FBI Special Agent
Federal Air Marshal
ICE HSI Special Agent
Immigration Officer, FDNS
NSA Police Officer Career
Secret Service Special Agent
Transportation Security Officer (TSO)
U.S. Capitol Police
U.S. Postal Service Inspector
The highest paying criminal justice jobs in the federal government are mostly offered to senior agents and administrative officials. A security clearance may be required for many of the federal law enforcement jobs listed above.
Forensic Science Careers & CSI Careers
One of the most interesting careers in the criminal justice field is that of a crime scene investigator (CSI). Generally rooted in sciences, CSI careers were mostly popularized by Hollywood, but there are other equally engaging careers in forensic science that you just must check out.
Minimum Education Required
Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) – Forensic Examiner
Latent Print Examiner – Finger Print Examiner
From careers in forensic anthropology to careers in forensic psychology, there are many forensic careers available for research. An associate's degree in Criminal Justice won't bode well with this list of of criminal justice jobs. Many of the careers in forensics require field specific training and/or specialized education.
It is a fact that the jails and prisons in the U.S. are staffed by correctional officers, but there's much more to life behind bars.
The different careers in corrections aim to work closely with prisoners and the general public. In the end, the goal is to make a dent in reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation.
Some of the best criminal justice jobs are in the legal sector.
Minimum Education Required
Law Degree (J.D.)
Paralegal, Legal Assistant, or Legal Researcher
Law Degree (J.D.)
Law Degree (J.D.)
Bailiff (coming soon)
Juvenile Court Judge – see: Judge
Law Degree (J.D.)
Juvenile Court Register (coming soon)
Probate Judge – see: Judge
Law Degree (J.D.)
Pre-trial Officer (coming soon)
With the exception of a few positions, instead of looking into getting an education at the top schools for criminal justice, a paralegal degree and a law degree is what one should look at to work in a court of law. On average, attorneys and judges tend to have the highest criminal justice salary.
Private Security Careers & Contractor Careers
For the most part, security careers are non-law enforcement career opportunities which you can pursue by applying for a position and/or gaining a certification.
Criminal Justice Degrees & Careers
If you browsed through the above criminal justice careers list you may be wondering what degree to pursue.
The truth is that you can obtain many of these careers with a criminal justice degree. However, you don't have to go to college for criminal justice. By now, you're probably asking: are criminal justice degrees really worth it?
In some cases a criminal justice degree is not required or is not the preferred degree. In other cases it's better not to pursue a criminal justice major at all (if you're going into a field in criminal justice that deals with forensics, for example).
You can be very competitive with degrees in business, accounting, biology, finance, law, chemistry, teaching, economics and many others. Most places that you'll apply to for work will tell you exactly what they are looking for from a potential candidate... that information is usually right on their website.
I have a few other articles sprinkled throughout the site that can help you hone in on what you may or may not need on your quest to a rewarding criminal justice career.
* Some college credits, an associate's degree, or in some cases, a bachelor's degree may be required. This is often dependent on state regulations and the size of a hiring organization. Cities and counties with larger populations tend to require at least some college.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
3. Animal Cruelty Investigator - salary is estimated. There just ins't enough significant data for average salary calculation. Currently, most police departments handle animal abuse calls.
4. Park Ranger - search for "park ranger" on USAJobs.gov
5. FBI Special Agent - U.S. Office of Personnel Management 2016 Salary Data Table. Starting salary includes the average availability pay & locality pay.
6. Secret Service Special Agent - http://www.secretservice.gov/join/careers/agents/
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Detectives and Criminal Investigators
8. Deputy U.S. Marshal - https://www.usmarshals.gov/careers/compensation.html
9. U.S. Office of Personnel Management 2016 Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Salary Calculator
10. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
11. Central Intelligence Agency, Clandestine Service - Operations Officer
12. U.S. Capitol Police Compensation & Benefits - http://www.uscapitolpolice.gov/compensation_benefits.php
13. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Transportation Security Screeners
14. NSA Careers/Intelligence Careers - https://www.intelligencecareers.gov/iccareers.html?Agency=NSA
15. Diplomatic Security Special Agent - U.S. Department of State
16. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Forensic Science Technicians
17. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Registered Nurses
18. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
19. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
20. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Lawyers
Check out more law enforcement careers which we may have skipped. Looking for military law enforcement positions? You can find them there, too.
If you are seriously considering one of the many careers in the criminal justice field, and you're thinking of pursuing an associate's or a bachelor's in Criminal Justice, I urge you to read my article that focuses on availability of jobs with a criminal justice degree. It's not a super long read and it might just save you from making a huge mistake. What jobs can you get with a criminal justice degree? Find out!
An Applied Criminology degree program is designed to enhance the skill set and employ-ability of those interested in the ever-evolving field of criminology. By combining theory, research and best practices, Applied Criminology programs provide advanced instruction on issues of criminal justice, victim services, security, forensic psychology and criminal law. As with any degree, it’s important to know what type of jobs are available before making the commitment to a program. Graduates of Criminology degree programs can pursue a variety of careers, from law enforcement and corrections to teaching and consulting.
Below are six common categories of employment for Criminology graduates. Many of these careers, including the Analyst, Investigator and Corrections job categories, often only require candidates to have a Bachelor’s in Criminology (among other related degrees) and previous work experience. However, in most cases in these career fields, having a Master’s in Criminology will negate the necessity to have previous relevant work experience.
Crime and intelligence analysts collect, analyze and evaluate data to identify emerging patterns and trends in criminal activity in order to help law enforcement agencies prevent and reduce crime. Crime analysts can be employed in a variety of organizations, from city and state police departments to national security organizations. Some analysts work with intelligence data to prevent organized crime specifically relating to narcotics, gangs, terrorism or national security threats.
Crime and intelligence analyst jobs often require critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, in addition to good administrative, communication and organization skills. As most analysts need to use complex systems and applications to accomplish their work, strong technical skills are also valuable. Extensive reporting is often part of an intelligence analyst’s jobs, so the ability to process complex information and disseminate it through clear, concise writing is also important.
Corrections Jobs: Probation Officer and Correctional Counselor
Both probation officers and correctional counselors work with offenders to promote rehabilitation and prevent further crime. These positions interview offenders, as well as their families and friends, to evaluate potential problems and assess the best course of rehabilitation. They also provide offenders with resources to aid their rehabilitation, such as opportunities for education and job training programs.
Probation officers work with offenders who have been put on probation instead of serving their full term in prison; correctional counselors work with both current inmates and previous offenders who have served their time and are no longer in prison or on parole. These jobs titles are just a few of many within this division of work. Other possible job titles include: Correctional Counselor, Parole Agent, Parole Officer, Correction Officer and Probation Counselor.
Corrections jobs tend to require a strong attention to detail and good communication skills. Writing skills are also helpful as probation officers and correctional counselors spend a fair portion of their job writing detailed reports on the treatment and progress of each offender. Good relationship skills are also critical to corrections jobs. If you don’t have a good relationship with the person you’re working with, it will be much harder to understand what’s going on in their lives and better aid their rehabilitation.
The term Investigator covers a wide variety of jobs. Depending on the organization you work for, you could be investigating anything from crimes to compliance issues. Two of the most common investigator jobs are:
Compliance Investigator: Compliance investigators, often referred to as compliance officers, are employed by a wide variety of organizations, from universities to local, state and federal government agencies. Compliance officers are responsible for investigating the internal actions of an organization to ensure they are in compliance with not only local, state or federal law, but also with the organization’s self-established policies and procedures. At the federal level, these positions often operate under the title of Inspector General.
Criminal Investigator: The most obvious type of investigator is a criminal investigator. These kinds of positions have a wide range of titles, including Special Agent and Detective. Criminal investigators look into suspected criminal activity at a local, state or federal level and as such can be employed anywhere from a city police department to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
With an advanced degree and years of experience in the field, you may be able to work as a consultant in the field of criminology. This role can take many forms. You might serve as an expert witness in trials. You could be employed by a government agency or organization to help develop policies related to crime and public safety. Or you might work in the private sector providing guidance on security planning and prevention. (Learn more about advanced security jobs.) This type of role is usually only available to very experienced criminologists, and depends heavily not only on years of experience and an advanced degree, but how you shape your career over the years in the field of criminology.
Court Operations Manager and Court Services Specialist
Having a background in Criminal Justice and Criminology can also help qualify you for positions in court management. Court operations managers oversee court services and court programs. This includes developing a budget; hiring, training and managing court staff; and overseeing facility operations. Court Services Specialists provide support for court operations. They provide information to the public on court procedures; receive, examine and file legal documents and exhibitions; prepare and issue legal documents under the supervision of a judge; and prepare court-related documents such as court minutes, calendars and petitions.
Professor, Lecturer or Teacher
As with any profession, the opportunity to teach your expertise is always an option, and the field of Criminology is no different. If you have an advanced degree in Criminology and a passion for teaching, a wide variety of educator positions at universities and community colleges are out there. Positions and job titles vary from campus to campus, but some of the most common are: Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty, Instructor and Lecturer. This is also a career field where the future looks promising – the Occupational Information Network projects that the field for criminal justice and law enforcement teachers will grow 8-14 percent between now and 2022.
Alliant’s Applied Criminology Degree Program
Alliant’s California School of Forensic Studies offers a Master’s in Applied Criminology at its Fresno, Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco campuses. The program is also available in a fully online format. Students in the Applied Criminology program can customize their program to fit their interests by choosing from three concentrations: Criminal Behavior, Conflict Resolution and Crisis Management, and Victimology. To learn more about our Master of Science in Applied Criminology program, or to speak with an advisor, please contact us.
By Cielo Villasenor |Dec 3, 2015 |Education|