20 Best Criminal Justice Jobs you can earn with a Criminal Justice Degree
What is Criminal Justice?
The delivery of justice and the enforcement of federal and state laws constitutes Criminal Justice.
Various government institutions and agencies such as Police, Prosecution Lawyers, Court Systems etc., constitute the Criminal Justice System.
Career in Criminal Justice
As the name indicates, a career or job in Criminal Justice caters to administering justice to individuals who have committed or have been accused of committing crimes.
A wide spectrum of criminal justice jobs are available and one can choose the jobs based on one’s qualification, potential and interest. There are entry level jobs like Paralegal Assistants or senior roles such as Senior Attorney, Judge and more. To start with entry level jobs have high potential for growth and learning and are the most sought after as well. A career in Criminal Justice requires a focused and dedicated approach to education, teamed with appropriate training. As a professional pursuing a career in Criminal Justice, one would not only be protecting rights of individuals but also serving the community and upholding the values of peace and justice.
Let us look at 20 leading jobs in Criminal Justice:
1) FBI Agent
A career in Criminal Justice in the role of an FBI agent is highly reputable and well paying as well. The job entitles investigating bank robberies, terrorism, cyber crime, public corruption, espionage, organized crime, drug trafficking and more.
The basic education required to qualify for the role of an FBI Agent is a four-year degree from an accredited institution followed by thorough training.
The average Annual Salary of an FBI agent is about $64,000 to $70,000.
2) CIA Agent
A CIA or Criminal Investigator job in Criminal Justice is well paying and opted by many.
The basic education required to qualify for a CIA Agent is a High school diploma. Apart from this a bachelor’s in criminal justice or criminology is highly recommended.
The roles and responsibilities of a CIA Agent focuses on solving crime and working closely with other law enforcement professionals.
To qualify as a CIA Agent one needs to have good Interpersonal Skills, excellent Communication skills, decision making skills and leadership skills.
The Average Annual Salary of a CIA Agent is approximately $67,000 to $70,000.
3) Private Detective
The first thought that comes to mind when one mentions a Private Detective is the popular Sherlock Holmes and thus makes an intriguing career.
Private Detectives are hired by clients, and law enforcement agencies to do background checks and uncover information related to divorce cases, worker’s compensation claims and more.
The education requisite for a Private Detective job is a High school diploma. However a bachelor’s in criminal justice is also recommended.
The average average annual salary of a Private Detective is around $56,000 to $60,000.
4) Crime Laboratory Analyst
In today’s advanced times, the role of a Crime Laboratory Analyst is much sought after. The responsibility of Crime lab analyst is to help solve crimes by using toxicology, DNA and trace evidence, blood and hair samples, weapons involved in the crime, fingerprints and other evidence collected at the crime scene.
The education background requisite is a Bachelor’s degree related to forensic science or criminal justice. However a master’s in forensic science is recommended.
The average annual salary of a Crime Laboratory Analyst is around $56,000 to $60,000.
5) Victim Advocate
The role of a Victim Advocate is to help victims get justice. In this context they work with criminal justice professionals and render counselling, support and legal advice.advice. Good Communication skills and good advisory skill is a must in this role.
This field is quite popular and requires a high school diploma; a degree is not a mandate but considered beneficial. Prior experience and training helps make the job smoother.
The average annual salary of a Victim Advocate is approximately $35,000 to $40,000.
6) Police Officer
One of the most demanding and respected job in the arena of Criminal Justice is that of a Police Officer. The education qualification required for a Police Officer is a High School diploma, while a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice is optional.
The duty entitles protecting and serving individuals, the state and federal law enforcement agencies. The responsibility of a Police Officer is to selflessly give to the society and ensure law and order prevail at all times.
The average annual salary of a Police Officer is around $52,000 to $55,000
7) Substance Abuse Counselor
This job in the field of Criminal Justice is a beautiful way of helping others. As the name indicates, Substance Abuse Counselors help individuals struggling with or recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Substance Abuse Counselors work in various places such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and private practices.
To qualify for the job, the candidate requires a bachelor’s degree related to Counselling or Psychology; also individuals must earn state licensure and obtain industry certification.
The average annual salary of a Substance Abuse Counselor is about $39,000 to $40,000.
8) Correctional Officer
The role and responsibility of a Correctional officer is primarily within prisons at the local, state and federal levels. They supervise inmates, their activities and inspect the facilities in which they work to ensure the environment meets safety, health and security standards.
The role of a Correctional Officer in the category of Criminal Justice jobs is very challenging. An exposure in this field enhances the opportunity to try other jobs while making a career in Criminal Justice.
The Average Salary of a Correctional Officer is around $36,000 to $40,000.
If one is keen to make a career as a Lawyer, it is advised to first take on the role of a Paralegal. They are legal assistants in law firms and assist attorneys and lawyers.
To qualify for a Paralegal, an associate degree in Paralegal Studies from a college is a mandate. Bachelor’s degree may help in scaling the salary.
The annual median salary of a Paralegal is approximately $51,000 to $55,000.
To start with candidates or prospective lawyers must first complete their bachelor’s degree related to law or criminal justice before attending and completing law school.
After graduating from law school, they are required to pass the multi-state professional responsibility exam and the bar exam to earn licensure. Thus, a Master’s or doctoral degree in law would make ideal candidature.
Lawyer’s responsibility is to advise citizens, companies, organizations, and governments on all legal matters. After gaining substantial experience, some lawyers many a times choose to become politicians or judges. Ideal lawyers need to have ace research skills and good communication skills.
Ideal annual median salary of a Lawyer is around $122,000 to $125,000.
11) Secret Service Agent
A Secret Service Agent is a very prestigious portfolio as a part of a career in Criminal Justice. Eligible candidates must have completed their Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s is given a preference.
The role and responsibility of a Secret Service Agent is to safeguard the President and other top government officials. Additionally they also look into anti-counterfeiting activities and towards bringing justice to those who break the laws related to the nation’s financial security.
The average annual salary of a Secret Service Agent is approximately $65,000.
It takes a lot of responsibility and experience to take on the role of Judge in the field of Criminal Justice.
Basically judges are elected officials or appointed magistrates who preside over legal proceedings and trials in courts.
The main responsibility of a Judge is to pass the ruling on questions of law, serving as the deciding factor between defendants and plaintiffs. Judges are responsible for giving the final orders in legal proceeding and disputes.
The approximate average salary of a Judge is $85,000 to $90,000..
13) Homicide Detectives:
Homicide Detectives investigate deaths caused by criminal activity. Candidates must hold associate or bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and experience as a Police Officer, in order to qualify for a Homicide Detective role. Skills sets needed for a Homicide detective is investigation skill, problem-solving skill and interviewing skills.
The average annual salary of a Homicide Detective is around $74,000 to $80,000.
14) Forensic Psychologist
For those who have a Doctoral degree in Psychology and wish to pursue a career in Criminal Justice, the role of a Forensic Psychologist is ideal. This role offers a chance to utilize deep understanding of human behavior to develop criminal profiles that law enforcement agencies can use to identify suspects and solve crimes.
The average annual salary of a Forensic Psychologist is about $69,000 to $70,000.
15) Chief of Police
Every individual who wishes to rise through the ranks in a law enforcement career, strives to become a Chief of Police.Police. The Chief of Police is an elected or appointed law enforcement official, who needs to possess and execute high level leadership; as he is entrusted with overseeing and directing an entire Police department.
Additionally a Chief of Police is also responsible of handling budgetary, policy and community relations activities. In larger departments, the top law enforcement official often answers to the title of Commissioner.
The average salary of a Chief of Police is around $84,000 to $90,000.
16) DEA Agent:
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents work for the federal government to control and prevent the import and sale of illicit drugs. Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is mandatory for this role. Post the degree, the candidate is exposed to exhaustive training which enables him to hone his skills in gun handling, investigatory, interpersonal and decision-making.
The average annual salary of a DEA Agent is $66,000 to $70,000.
17) Crime Scene Investigator (CSI):
A very interesting profile in the career of Criminal Justice is the role of the Crime Scene Investigator.
CSIs ideally require a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a related field, including biology, chemistry, or criminal justice.
Additionally it is also a mandate to complete comprehensive training programs, learning techniques for documenting evidence, professing fingerprints, analyzing blood spatter, and working at death scenes.
The role of Crime scene investigators is to analyze crime scenes, collect important evidence, and use their skills and experience to track and apprehend criminals. CSIs can work in agencies as a team or individually as well.
The average annual salary of a CSI is approximately $49,000 to $50,000.
18) Conservation Officer:
This is a job profile preferred by those who like working in environmental issues and similar arenas.
The main responsibility of a Conservation Officer is to protect natural resources, including wildlife, at the local, state and federal levels.
For this job profile, an associate degree is required, while a bachelor’s in criminal justice is strongly recommended.
The responsibilities of a Conservation Officer include checking licenses, inspecting equipment, analyzing the methods of catching game, and determining whether methods and equipment comply with regulations. Additionally, Conservation officers also educate the general public, monitor campgrounds and parks, and work with other law enforcement professionals to prosecute criminals.
The average annual salary of a Conservation Officer is around $41,000 to $45,000..
19) Forensic Accountant
To enrol as a Forensic Accountant, one needs to have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, while a master’s degree is recommended.
Primarily Forensic Accountants work in law enforcement, but their day-to-day tasks are similar to general accountants and auditors. Their accounting skills is of utmost importance and is used to detect criminal activity.
Skills needed to excel in this field are – strong analytical skills, problem-solving skills and data-gathering skills.
The average annual salary of a Forensic Accountant is $71,000 to $75,000.
20) Computer Forensics Investigator
To ensure you get into this role while choosing a career in Criminal Justice, you need to first and foremost be tech savvy. This line of work requires tracking or recovering electronic evidence that criminals may have tried to conceal or destroy. Thus, your Computer Science skills must be highly advanced.
Today, as the world is getting more and more techie, this particular profile is getting quite popular among those looking to make a stable career in Criminal Justice.
The average annual salary of a Computer Forensics Investigator is around $68000 to $70,000..