A career in criminal justice can be rewarding and well paying. Keeping law and order in society is a valuable goal, and there are a huge number of opportunities that come out of getting a degree in criminal justice. You could be working as a private detective, at a crime lab or at hundreds of other places. You could even be a fish or game warden: the sky is the limit.¹ Finding out more about the different careers and degrees available in criminal justice can be a big step forward.
More About Criminal Justice Careers
With a degree in criminal justice you help law enforcement solve crimes and enforce punishment for those convicted of crimes. This means you can work anywhere from a jail, police station, or with authorities gathering evidence at crime scenes. You can also work online and track criminals or hackers, help enforce parole restrictions or help locate and arrest criminals.² The opportunities are endless.
A criminal justice career is a purpose-oriented profession and those who thrive on a strong challenge at work will tend to excel in it. Criminal justice careers often include hefty salaries, benefits and upward mobility within organizations as well. The more you prove yourself the more room there is to grow.
Getting A Degree In Criminal Justice
Some of the employment opportunities in criminal justice do not require post-secondary education, but the better-paying jobs with more potential are only available to those with a bachelor’s degree.
The best jobs in criminal justice will become available if you minor in different areas where you want to focus, for example in psychology, chemistry, IT or finances. This additional coursework will prepare you for a specialized branch of criminology such as being an interrogator, doing forensic accounting or tackling cybercrime.³ In addition to physically attending university, there are some good online options for obtaining your criminal justice degree as well.⁴
Going Above And Beyond
Needless to say, going one step further and getting a master’s degree in criminal justice will open even more doors for you. In some cases, you can stay in the same career area but receive a higher salary and benefit from a higher level of expertise.
It is also well worth considering taking a master’s degree even if you are already working in the criminal justice field in order to beef up your skills and increase your chances of a promotion. It can also open up new opportunities including in teaching and doing advanced, highly paid research on criminal justice subjects.⁵
Salary Guide For Criminal Justice Workers
Your salary in criminal justice will depend entirely on how many years you have been in your position and what exact job you do whether it is a patrol officer, forensic scientist, youth offender counsellor, prison guard, police detective or many other options, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for corrections and probations officers at $53,020 per year.⁶ Police detectives can expect a median salary of $61,644.⁷ Higher-ranking positions pay more, with the median salary for a police sergeant, for example, being $74,059.⁸ If you become a cybercrime specialist tracking online predators, hackers and cyber-criminals you are looking at a median annual salary of $98,350.⁹
Considering A Career In Criminal Justice
Getting a degree in criminal justice and pursuing a career in the field can be an excellent choice for some individuals. There is great job security and health benefits, medium to high pay and a wide variety of branches you can go into.
The field gives you the constant opportunity to give back to society and make the world a safer place. As always, it is recommended that you do your research and consider the various benefits and drawbacks of each branch of criminal justice that you are interested in.