Maryland has been at the center of American history since the colonial days. The first rallying cry for revolution was heard in the state's Hungerford's Tavern. Annapolis has been home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845 and was briefly the nation's capital. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor was bombed by the British, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner." Today in Maryland, dedicated law enforcement officers are badly needed.
If you have always been passionate about justice and want to make your community a safer place to live, a career in criminal justice may be the ideal fit. Depending on your skills, interests and level of criminal justice education, you could work as a police officer, detective, probation officer or any number of careers in this field.
Major Maryland Cities
Criminal Justice Education in Maryland
Although Maryland has fewer than 30 schools with criminal justice programs, students will find a wide array of specializations from cybercrime to homeland security. You will also find all degrees levels in Maryland universities including associate, bachelor and graduate degrees and five schools that offer doctoral degrees in Criminal Justice.
Regardless of the degree program you choose, you will complete several foundational courses in your criminal justice education before moving on to the core curriculum. You also have the opportunity to select elective courses that coincide with your career interests. The following courses are common in a bachelor degree program for criminal justice:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Investigation
- Professional Ethics
- Crime and Punishment
- An internship lasting at least one semester in the criminal justice specialty of your choice.
There are a few jobs in criminal justice that require an associate degree or less, such as a security guard or loss prevention for a retail store. However, most entry-level criminal justice careers require at least a bachelor degree. If you are entering a field that is highly competitive, a graduate degree may help get you noticed. Criminal justice professionals who go on to get their PhD are typically involved in research and don't work directly with the public.
If you are concerned about paying for school, you may want to visit this page to learn more about criminal justice scholarships.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Maryland
The larger cities in Maryland are good places to look for employment. Maryland is ranked as one of the top 15 most dangerous states. Detectives earn more than in most other states at nearly $90,000 a year. Police make around $57,500 and corrections officers earn more than $43,000 according to 2012 data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The job posting website Jobs2Careers listed 21 openings for criminal justice professionals in October 2013. The top postings were for police officers, corrections officers, military police supervisors and homeland security. The cities with the most number of job openings included Baltimore, Laurel and Catonsville.
Because of its proximity to the nation's capital in Washington, D.C., working in homeland security is a viable option for Maryland residents interested in a criminal justice career. People who work for homeland security may work for any of the following employers:
- Customs and Border Patrol
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Immigration Services
- United States Coast Guard
- United States Secret Service
- Office of the Inspector General
The median annual pay for someone working in homeland security is $54,000. Security screeners are on the low end of the pay scale at $39,598 while criminal investigators earn the most at $88,712.
In a statewide employment report issued in 2012, the BLS compiled annual salary data for several careers under the general heading of protective service careers. These include the following:
- Supervisors of Correctional Officers, $58,110
- Supervisors of Police Officers and Detectives, $84,020
- Bailiffs, $31,030
- Correctional Officers and Jailers, $43,470
- Detectives and Criminal Investigators, $89,720
- Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers, $57,460
- Private Detectives and Investigators, $41,700
- Security Guards, $33,020
Furthermore, the Baltimore-Towson metropolitan area is one of 10 in the country with the highest number of people employed in a protective service occupation. The demand is expected to remain steady as law enforcement is needed to deal with increasingly complex and violent crimes.
Advance your career with a criminal justice degree! Use our featured school listings below to find and compare criminal justice programs that fit your lifestyle and goals.