criminal justice degree jobs

Facts about Criminal Justice Degree Jobs, Salary, Education


criminal justice degree jobsCriminal Justice Degree Jobs…

Pursuing a criminal justice degree requires an assessment of career goals. It is such a large field with many employment opportunities, variances in pay salaries, and a wealth of educational prospects. The criminal justice system encompasses a variety of probabilities and an even larger choice of education paths. Selecting a school will require careful evaluation of courses offered to find the right educational fit for any criminal justice degree jobs.

Pay Scales

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income in 2012 was $ 57,770 for police and sheriff officers and the average hourly wage was $27.78. Forensic science technicians, private detectives, bailiffs, paralegals and correctional officers could expect to draw between $30,000 and $54,000. Insurance investigators and detective salaries ranged from $45,700 to $70,000.

The highest pay scales are found in government jobs, local, state, and federal. The lowest wages are paid in school environments, usually elementary schools.

Jobs and Employment Outlook

Law enforcement and protective service occupations are anticipated to add 364,500 new jobs which equal a rate of growth of 11 percent. Nearly this entire field-work group is made up of law enforcement personnel, who generally work for governments, and security guards who traditionally are employed by private companies. Approximately one third of the new jobs created will be in government, and about 40 percent will be within investigation and security services sectors.


Typical types of criminal justice education programs are:

A certificate which provides students the requirements to become crime scene technicians or specialized in other trained law enforcement jobs. By receiving an education of instruction and training in particular jobs within the criminal justice field, students who obtain certificates usually use their certificate as a career path for a future criminal justice degree.

An associate’s degree usually takes two years to complete and educates students in the fundamental criminal justice skills required to pursue a career in law enforcement. The degree establishes a student in the liberal arts and sciences.  Associates degrees in this area often emphasize technical skills that will aid graduates to start on a career in protective services. Most police departments and businesses employing security services require new employees to have completed some college education and an associate’s degree is a good background to have.

A bachelor’s degree provides an in-depth and comprehensive education for students who would like to find entry-level placement in federal or state agencies. Those who wish for a career path of promotion or advancement in fields such as police departments or private security businesses will improve their probability of this career path with a bachelor’s degree.

Colleges and Universities

Obtaining a degree in criminal justice is becoming easier to do as colleges adopt this career path. After the events of September 11, 2001 Universities saw the need to equip leaders in the criminal justice field. Providing students with an understanding of the issues surrounding crime and the interconnected nature of the criminal justice system allows a more consistent approach to criminal justice throughout the United States.

Whether it is a career in paralegal support or wildlife crime issues, a degree in criminal justice gives the student a solid grounding to pursue a profession in the legal field.

Students seeking a career in criminal justice can find an educational program to suit their needs in every state. In addition, many universities are offering online programs. Some excellent criminal justice programs can be found at:

  • The University of Albany criminal justice program encompasses political, economic and cultural factors influencing policy choices.
  • The Michigan criminal justice program is the nation’s oldest continuous degree granting program.
  • The Rutgers criminal justice PhD program was ranked seventh in the United States in 2009.

Criminal Justice Careers

Criminal justice degree jobs are not limited to the law enforcement field. The student pursuing a criminal justice degree may require additional education depending on the focus. However, obtaining a degree in criminal justice provides a solid baseline for the pursuit of a career for any criminal justice degree jobs. Careers other than law enforcement benefiting from a degree in criminal justice are:

*Note: Click on the job link for more information.

Federal and state law enforcement, forensic science, private security, judicial, and parks and wildlife law enforcement are expanding and overlapping. Policy and laws can vary from municipality to municipality and state to state. Providing a consistent education to be able to address the need for a more multilayer approach begins with a degree in criminal justice.

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