Find SchoolsSearch
Find SchoolsSearch

Which Criminal Justice Career Path Best Suits You?

Are you asking the question, "What is criminal justice in today's world?" and what careers are right for me? If so, there are a variety of criminal justice careers that current graduates can choose from. Here is a list some of the jobs for criminal justice degree majors that are popular. If you are looking at a specific profession, such as criminal justice administration jobs or work that is based on a criminal investigation degree, you should look into that criminal justice sector for details.

Jobs with a criminal justice degree can help you improve the quality of life in your community, and give you a career you can be proud of. If you are ready to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice, contact our featured schools to learn more about earning a degree in criminal justice!

types of criminal justice careers

What Careers Can you Get With a Criminal Justice Degree?

Admit it, you're a CSI fan...

Watching that show has sparked your interest in a earning a degree in criminal justice and pursuing a career in this field? It's okay – a lot of people see the intrigue of the criminal justice field in entertainment and want to know more about the real career opportunities that are out there. In fact, since the show started, there has been a huge increase in the number of applicants to Criminal Justice programs. It's called the "CSI effect." If you are interested in this aspect of the field, check out criminal investigation degrees or forensics degrees.

Tell me more...

The reality of the criminal justice field can be quite different than what you see on TV. That's why it's very important to get all the information you can before making the decision to become a criminal justice major. In fact, today, most career paths in Criminal Justice require at least an Associate degree.

Of course, with a criminal justice Bachelor's degree job prospects can multiply...

So take the information and resources on this site, and choose criminal justice jobs that matches your interests and abilities.

go to school listings

Got a Hankering for Snooping? Great! Look Here...

Detective and Private Investigator Careers Are Big Business...

In these criminal justice careers, you can analyze and find facts about information pertaining to personal, financial, and legal matters. They can offer many services that range from protecting celebrities, verifying people's backgrounds, investigating computer crimes, and tracing missing persons. Careers with a criminal justice degree will require you to be highly professional in your role.

Both private detectives and investigators have a minimal of college experience. However, many jobs that private detectives and investigators qualify for do not have actual educational requirements, and most of them learn on the job regardless. Previous work experience in investigative work is very helpful, and private detectives and investigators need a license to practice in most states.

Depending on the case, private detectives and investigators can work in a variety of environments. Some can spend their time performing surveillance or conducting interviews, while others spend their time in offices making phone calls and conducting computer searches. Getting your criminal justice degree or criminal investigation degree and working as a detective can be quite beneficial financially, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that detectives earn a mean annual salary of $83,320 in the U.S. as of May 2017.

Want To Patrol the Streets and Catch the Bad Guys? Nice!

Police Officers are Crucial to Communities...

Police officers can also become criminal investigators and detectives, who sometimes are called special agents or agents, and they collect evidence and gather facts of possible crimes. Depending on the type of organization and size, law enforcement officers' duties vary.

The education requirements in order to become a police officer range from a typical high school diploma to a college degree. Additionally, before getting on-the-job training police officers must graduate from their agency's training academy. Candidates must typically be at least 21 years old, be U.S. citizens, and meet a variety of personal and physical qualifications.

Police officers work in an environment that can be dangerous, physically demanding, and stressful. Police officers have one the highest fatalities and on-the-job injuries. If you plan to get your criminal justice degree and become a law enforcement officer, you're looking at a profession that earns an average annual salary of $64,490 according to the BLS (2017). Contact the schools on our site to learn more about entering this essential profession.

Forensic Investigators Can Help Crack the Case…

Becoming a forensic investigator is another growing opportunity for students wondering "What can you do with a criminal justice degree?" You can also advance in this area with Graduate level degree programs. Forensic Investigators help piece together the puzzle of many types of crimes. Forensic tools are becoming more and more advanced with innovations in technology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that Forensic Science Technicians can expect to earn an average median wage of $61,220 per year – according to 2017 data.

What's even more impressive is the anticipated career outlook for these careers in criminal justice is the growth potential. The BLS also predicts a whopping 17% job growth between 2016-2026. Just to give you a comparison, the national average for all other occupations is expected to be just 7%.

Forensic professionals can work in labs, at crime scene locations, in accounting roles, and in several other aspects of investigative work. The pay can vary, depending on the type of forensic career you choose. While Forensic Science Techs can expect upper-50's to low 60's in salary, forensic accountants may earn an average salary of $77,920, according to the BLS. 

For a nice overview of forensic science careers, take a look at this handy document created by the BLS. When you review the list of career options, you will hopefully understand why you should compare as many criminal justice degree options as possible.

Want to Help Protect Our Borders? Work For ICE…

There are many jobs available for criminal justice graduates with the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency. If you want to become a criminal investigator with this agency, you will need to:

  • Be 21 years of age
  • Possess a Bachelor's level Education
  • Have at least one year of Graduate level education (for GL-7 positions)
  • Have a Masters degree for GL-9 positions
  • Belong to a national honor society
  • Meet certain GPA requirements (between 3.0-3.5)

According to their site, "ICE has more than 20,000 employees working in more than 400 offices in the U.S. and around the world. " For a more complete list of careers at ICE, you can visit this page to learn more.

Work in Law Enforcement as a Customs and Border Patrol Agent…

Customs and Border Patrol Agents get hired on at a federal government pay rate depending on their status. For example, an agent in Laredo, Texas who was a GS-7, could expect to earn $53,205, according to the 2018 Department of Defense Federal Wage Salaries. If you are interested in working as a border patrol agent, you should visit the US Customers and Border Protection website to read first-hand accounts from real professionals.

To qualify for a Border Patrol Agent career, you will at least need your Bachelor's in Criminal Justice degree. It also helps to have experience in some form of security or law enforcement. In addition to a Bachelor's degree, you will need to:

  • Pass drug test
  • Background check
  • Medical exam
  • Fitness test
  • Interview
  • Polygraph test 

Think You Have What it Takes to Work For the CIA?

While most people think of high-risk undercover missions as the bulk of CIA work, this intelligence agency needs professionals with a variety of skills. The CIA pursues financial crimes, terrorism, executes military style operations, and other activities. 

On the website for the Central Intelligence Agency, they list these categories of criminal justice jobs they have available:

  • Analytic Positions
  • Business, IT & Security
  • Directorate of Operations (Clandestine Service) Positions
  • Language Positions
  • Science, Engineering and Technology Positions 

In most positions, it helps to have a graduate level criminal justice degree, such as your Master's in a statistics, mathematics, or computer programming. This would be the case if you want to work as an Analytic Methodologist. They earn anywhere between $54,308-$94,939, according to the CIA's job listing.

Criminal Justice Degree students who want to work for the CIA can also look into student opportunities. They even offer an undergraduate scholarship, and a graduate degree scholarship for students too.

Types of criminal justice programs

Additional Criminal Justice Professions

Perfect! Paralegals Are the Backbones of Law Offices and Courts...

According to U.S. News, paralegals help attorneys in every part of the legal profession- from summarizing legal precedent to drafting motions. Paralegals, like lawyers, can enter a number of types of law, such as family, criminal, immigration, and corporate. Their legal involvement in cases depends on their employer. Some have restricted and narrow roles and others have a high degree of autonomy and responsibility. The best paralegals work behind the scenes and are team players.

There are no stringent educational requirements for becoming a paralegal. Some have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, while others have a bachelor's degree and obtain a certification in paralegal studies after they graduate. Certification programs provide an intense introduction to the paralegal field, and they typically only last for a few months. Before enrolling in any type of paralegal program, a candidate should know the placement rate of people who have recently graduated. Additionally, completing an internship program can lead to hiring and more on-the-job training. Regardless of what education route you take, paralegal is one of the most popular criminal justice administration jobs out there!

According to statistics from the BLS (2016), paralegals earn a median annual wage of $53,910 in the U.S. or $25.92 per hour. Contact criminal justice schools on our site to learn more about how you can prepare for bachelor degree jobs in criminal justice like this.

Love Outreach, But Don't Know How to Reach Out?

Probation Officers Make A Difference...

A probation officer's main job is to work with offenders that have been sentenced on probation and will not go to prison for their crimes. Probation officers write reports on various criminals to help the judge or courts decide sentencing and what level of probation the criminal is going to receive. In order to become a probation officer, candidates must receive a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Getting a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, corrections, social work or psychology is preferred. In order to receive federal and higher positions, candidates might be required to have a master's degree in counseling, criminal justice, social work or a related field.

The majority of departments require candidates to not have a felony on record, be at least 21 years of age, and to have strong interview and writing skills. Having computer skills have also become necessary since there have been major technological advances to the field. Some states can also require probation officers to have at least two years of experience in correctional treatment or corrections parole. Probation officers earn $56,630 annually, according to the BLS (2017).

This is one of the best bachelors in criminal justice degree jobs to work toward, if you ask us...

Looking for Great Criminal Justice Jobs Without Years of School Work?

This May Be Your Ticket as a Correctional Officer...

The job of a correctional officer is to oversee individuals who have been arrested for a crime and are currently awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in a reformatory, prison, or jail. To become a correctional officer, candidates must go through a training academy and then they have to go through on-the-job training via a facility. While qualifications vary from agency to agency, all of them at least require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some can require additional work experience or college education. The work environment for a correctional officer can be hazardous and stressful. While working with inmates, correctional officers can be injured and they have one of the highest rates of overall injuries. Annual earnings for correctional officers average $47,600 according to BLS statistics (2017).

Now let's talk about how the job industry looks for criminal justice degree majors...

2018 Career Outlook For Those With A Degree in Criminal Justice

The career outlook for criminal justice graduates is increasing every year. Various available positions come from a broad spectrum and employees are required to have a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. From paralegals and lawyers who are working in a law office to police officers who are protecting people and property, the available roles in the criminal justice field are unlimited. Criminal justice careers are also very resilient during a suffering economy and many jobs benefit from tough economic conditions.

From technology and travel, to healthcare to hospitality, within the both private and public sectors of almost every industry, criminal justice careers are growing and professionals are in high demand. As technology continues to advance and continue to change many aspects of everyday life, there is going to be an increase for criminals to find opportunities to steal from unsuspecting victims, thus creating more opportunities for the criminal justice field. The field is not limited to the stereotypical private detective sitting in his car or the stereotypical police officer. Currently the jobs available in the criminal justice sector range from forensic scientist, insurance investigator, detective, legal consultant, criminal pathologist, and many careers surrounding the identity protection sector such as fraud investigator.

Just give me the final word on criminal justice degree jobs...

2018 Career Trends For Criminal Justice Graduates

The biggest trend that is happening in the criminal justice careers sector is the rise in technology. There is currently a significant need for various criminal justice professionals to understand, incorporate and embrace technology. Technology is not going to disappear from society any time soon, and it is going to play a significant role in society. In terms of the criminal justice system, technology will influence those who are entering the system on how they are caught, processed, and identified.

"What is criminal justice" is a question with an ever-evolving answer. As an example, technology will have a huge impact on cybercrime and cybersecurity. To combat increasing cybercrime, there is going to be a major increase in people getting cybersecurity degrees. Cybersecurity degrees offer specific courses on computer network security and it prepares students for careers as computer analysts, forensic network analysts, and many other network security jobs. While cybersecurity degrees are a fairly recent development, they do provide a specific skill set related to the maintenance of security protocols on various computer networks and investigation of intrusions. Job growth is expected to exceed the national mean, and salaries are going to be higher than average.

While the benefits of seeking jobs with a criminal justice degree in technology are certainly obvious. Technological innovations have created new ways for criminal behavior and there is going to be a continued need to address various computer-based crimes.

So, how do I get started in one of these essential jobs in criminal justice...?

Stop wondering, "What can you do with a criminal justice degree?" and use the links on the left sidebar to learn more about criminal justice degree and career options that interest you. Or start your search for the right program by comparing the schools highlighted below.

Featured Online Programs:

Online programs may not be available in all states

Traditional On Campus Programs:

© 2010-2018 All rights reserved.