10 Jobs You Didn't Know You Could Get with a Criminal Justice Degree
If you are just starting to research jobs that require a criminal justice degree, then you are probably searching around to see what careers are out there once you complete your education. So, of course it only makes sense to scour the net for every list of criminal justice jobs you can find.
We're glad your detective work brought you here…
That's why we've compiled this list of not-so-obvious career paths—just for you.
Many students enroll in criminal justice degree programs before finalizing their career path. That's okay! It's important to start your education while figuring out what jobs you can have with a criminal justice degree that will really interest you. If you're ready to start comparing criminal justice programs, we're ready to help! We have connections with criminal justice schools across the nation that offer accredited programs for students like yourself.
Since an education is the first step toward the best jobs you can get with a degree in criminal justice just use the search box on this page to narrow your options.
Or, if you already have your degree just continue reading to learn more about the careers in this field that you might not know about…
First up—What are the most common jobs in criminal justice?
Let's do a quick review before we get into the careers you may not have heard of. Many of the best criminal justice careers can be obtained with just your bachelor's degree.
For others, like police training, a bachelor's degree usually isn't even required, since academy training is the most common prerequisite. However, having your bachelor's in criminal justice can help you stand out when you apply for positions. This will let police departments know that you are interested in learning and advancement.
Some other common career paths in criminal justice include:
- Police officer
- Court reporter
- Forensic technician
- Parole officer
- Corrections officer
- Department of Homeland Security
- State trooper
- And many more…
That list of criminal justice jobs could go on forever…
But wait—what about those criminal justice jobs you don't know about?
With just your bachelor's degree, you can open up a whole world of opportunities that you may have never thought about. What's more, having a bachelor's degree in a criminal justice field shows that you are able to accomplish the goals you set – and that you're serious about succeeding in criminal justice.
Check it out—Here are the top 10 jobs you might not have thought of, but can apply for after finishing one of the criminal justice programs at a school near you…
#1- Loss Prevention Specialist
Did you know that theft is such a huge problem for retail stores that many large chains have their own security departments…full of thieves?
In many cases, these officers are even better equipped to handle theft crimes than the local police departments, because they have been stealing as part of their training! These professional thieves turned security guards are a big deal!
In fact, according to an article by the LA Times, retail theft amounted to around $44 billion in 2014. That's why many professionals who major in criminal justice see this as a great career option. The knowledge and skills you learn while earning your degree can help you work in loss prevention.
This might be one of the best jobs you can get with a degree in criminal justice if you want to go into police work, but want to work for a private company.
In this job, you help businesses and organizations deal with external threats. You also help them identify internal threats to information that are proprietary in nature or goods meant for retail sale. What are these 'internal threats?' Simple: Employees.
There have been studies that show how damaging disgruntled employees can be for companies. A study by Gallup concluded that disgruntled employees cost the United States between $450 and $550 billion per year. Having the human resources available who can spot these threats early is well worth the investment, and can pay your salary.
#2- Crime Victims Service Coordinator
When someone is the victim of a crime, or related to a loved one who is the victim of a violent crime, they need all the support they can get. This goes beyond the emotional needs, and extends into help with daily tasks, such as appointment setting and arrangements that need to be made as a result of the crime. Unfortunately, police officers and social workers don't always have the time to dedicate to these tasks. Crime service specialists are essential to making sure the victim and their family is okay throughout the process, while allowing law enforcement to focus on their role in the investigation.
These types of jobs that require a criminal justice degree are not typically glorified on the crime shows or movies.
But when you work as a crime victim specialist, you will play a crucial role in the criminal justice system.
As a victim's advocate, you might also help represent children in the courts when their adult relatives cannot be present or support them in a legal environment. In your role, you will help them learn how to plan for safety; especially in domestic or other abuse related cases. There are many ways these advocates help victims. But the fact that this job typically flies below the radar in the field of criminal justice does not dismiss how essential it is.
#3- Customs Agents and Imports Specialist
This made our list of criminal justice jobs because customs is such an important component of our national security and law enforcement. In this role, you will help the customs units determine the value of goods coming into the country. You will also need to learn the complete laws and regulations concerning items being brought into the United States from foreign countries. You may even help with criminal investigations that involve international crime rings! To perform this role, you will need strong organizational skills, as well as the ability to think analytically.
You can read all about the job of an import specialist on this document from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
On a day-to-day level, you may spend most of your time checking cargo on docks, or you might spend a significant amount of time talking to shippers and freight forwarders. If you think this might be one of the best jobs you can get with a degree in criminal justice, you should mention it to schools you speak with about criminal justice programs. Additionally, the CBP mentions that import specialists may be required to testify from time-to-time in court. This can happen when illegal cargo is seized and criminal proceedings ensue. This job also gives you the chance to interact with a wide variety of people. This makes the job pretty interesting at times, since you may work with international customers, business owners from all industries, and other professionals that are connected to the movement of cargo.
#4- Diplomatic Security Agent
Diplomatic security agents work for the federal government in law enforcement roles. This one doesn't come up much in the 'what jobs can you have with a criminal justice degree' conversations, but we think it should. These agents help ensure that our diplomatic relations can be conducted as safely as possible. Agents work with our ambassadors in every aspect of their safe keeping, and help create secure strategies to conduct business. To qualify for this type of job, you will have to have a degree in criminal justice or a related area. It always helps to have law enforcement or military training for these types of roles too. A physical fitness test is mandatory, and you cannot be older then 37 at the time of your appointment to this role.
According to this career listing on the Department of State website, the job of a Diplomatic Special Security Agent has a salary range of $43,226 - $58,092!
If you can find a more recent listing, please let us know. We usually post salary info from the BLS, but since this is the official department that hires agents, the information doesn't get more direct than this. As an agent, you are expected to defend the values of our country, and may work in several areas including: human rights, public health, technology, and environmental issues.
#5- Document Examiner
You probably wouldn't believe how many cases of fraud and forgery make their way through our court systems. That's why we need qualified document examiners to help legal counsel and judges make determinations about evidence in these cases. You must be the kind of person who notes the smallest details, with an eye for inconsistencies others might miss.
This is one of the jobs that require a criminal justice degree where you may work for police departments, the courts, or private law firms or companies seeking professional input into sensitive matters.
As a document examiner, can earn an average salary of $56,320, according to 2015 data from the BLS. We looked at the salary for forensic science technicians to make our determination, since professionals in these roles sometimes share the duties of document examiners. If you are interested in this type of job, ask the schools you speak with how their criminal justice programs can prepare you to accomplish this goal. You can be especially encouraged by the impressive 27% anticipated growth this field is expected to see through 2024. To put that into perspective, the national average is 7%. If you look into online document examiner training programs, keep in mind that having a bachelor's degree in forensic science or criminal justice can help your professional opportunities.
For more information, you can even visit the website for the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners for more information about this profession.
#6- Forensic Entomologist
You know what sounds really weird? Using insects found in decomposing remains to investigate crime scenes. That is exactly what an entomologist does to help with criminal investigations – and why this profession made our list of criminal justice jobs. Not only are these professionals used in cases of murder and death, they are also used to find chemicals, such as poisons and other drugs, to help investigations. You will definitely need to major in this area of forensic science to work in the field. Think Gil Grissom from CSI, if you need a reminder of the skillset you should have.
There are three types of criminal entomology: urban; stored-product; and medico-legal entomology.
In urban entomology, professionals focus more on buildings and structures that may be infested with insects, bugs, or other organisms. Stored-product concerns commercial foods that are distributed to the general population. When lawsuits arise, you will be needed to help all sides understand the evidence. Medicolegal entomology is the area that deals with murder, death, physical abuse, and human trafficking.
Although we always cite the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for salary data, they do not have specific salary numbers for entomologists. Instead, we looked at sites, such as Payscale.com, which we can use as an example for this list of criminal justice jobs. They state the average salary for this career as $56,415. However, salary can vary from state to state.
#7- IRS Criminal Investigator
As you can imagine, there are people in this country who don't like paying taxes. Shocking! We know. But that's why the IRS hires criminal investigators to root out crimes being committed through misuse of our tax laws. The salary ranges listed on their website were between $49,822 - $81,607 per year. To qualify for this role, you will have to go through a physical fitness program and annual health screenings. You will also have to go through comprehensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), which is located in Glynco, Georgia. Additionally, there is a 9-week training program relating to criminal investigations that you will have to complete.
While a tax investigator may not be the most glamorous of the jobs that require a criminal justice degree, it sure is a necessary one.
With a growing population, there are more and more tax filers every year. If you are good with numbers, highly organized, and have natural accounting skills, this might be a good career fit in the field of criminal justice for you.
#8- Probate investigator
If you're asking, "What jobs can you have with a criminal justice degree?" and you're interested in helping children, this might be the perfect match for you. Custody negotiations are necessary in divorce cases, or when a child needs a probate officer to step in and help settle the issue between the disagreeing sides. This can even involve making sure the parents are using the appropriate funds for the children's medical insurance and other basic needs. You can prepare for this type of role through criminal justice programs, and by focusing on courses that involve child welfare and juvenile issues.
When you apply for a probate officer job, you might be asked the following questions:
- How would you de-escalate a situation involving an upset probationer?
- What do you do if a juvenile attacks you?
- How flexible is your schedule?
- How do you prepare for court appearances?
- Why are you drawn to this type of career?
Just remember, your first priority in this position is to protect the welfare of the child. The desire to protect the most vulnerable among us is the first reason to pursue this career.
#9- Field Asset Protection Analyst
If you are good at financial problem solving and have accounting skills, you can work in this role. You will help solve cases that involve money laundering, fraud and other crimes. You should have a bachelor's degree to work in this role. Criminal justice and accounting courses will be your best preparation.
When we compiled this list of 10 jobs that require a criminal justice degree that you might not know about, we knew this one was essential.
This is one job that definitely requires the right schooling. No one can accomplish your goals for you, but the right school, that offers the right training, can help you develop the right skills to be successful as an asset protection analyst.
#10- Policy Advisor
Let's say you work in law enforcement for several years, while working your way up through graduate degree programs. From there, you are seen as an expert in a specialized area of law enforcement, thanks to your years of experience.
With these kinds of credentials, you can help shape public policy and organizational goals at both the public and private levels.
There are many types of non-profit, for-profit, and government agencies that can use professionals with experience in the field of criminal justice to help foster dialogue between private citizens, businesses and government organizations. Completing one of the many criminal justice programs in your state can be one of your first steps toward working as a policy analyst.
Which careers on this list of criminal justice jobs are most appealing to you?
Now that we have discussed several career options for bachelor's, certificate and graduate degree holders, which ones stood out to you? It's important to choose a career path that you will be passionate about.
If you are ready to look at your options for jobs that require a criminal justice degree, we are ready to help. To make the search process simple for you, we created a tool located at the top of this page. Just narrow your options by choosing your state, and you will see the schools we work with to help criminal justice students achieve their career goals.
Now that 2017 is here, it's time to stop asking, "What jobs can you have with a criminal justice degree?" and start speaking with schools today! And good luck on your journey!
Be sure to keep us updated on your career success on social media. And let us know what you think the best jobs you can get with a degree in criminal justice are. We would love to have you as part of our ongoing conversation with students who want to dedicate their lives to their communities, and the country as a whole, through work in the field of criminal justice.