A degree in criminal justice can be the appropriate choice for you if you take pride in helping people and want to have a positive impact on your neighborhood. Numerous lucrative job opportunities in fields including crime prevention, victim advocacy, incarceration and rehabilitation, and investigative work can be found in the criminal justice industry.
There are numerous chances for advancement or job in this area as well. Jobs in criminal justice are predicted to expand by nearly 5% between 2019 and 2029, more than the average job growth rate, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The degree specialty and route taken will have a significant impact on the potential professions and possibilities for criminal justice graduates. For instance, if you chose to focus in forensics, you might work as a forensic scientist once you have graduated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the median annual wage for forensic science technicians is $59,150, with a 14% predicted job growth rate from 2018 to 2028.
Are you interested in finding out more about what a criminal justice degree can achieve for you? The top criminal justice occupations are included in this guide, along with prospective earnings, job growth predictions, and typical responsibilities.
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What is criminal justice?
Delivering justice and upholding federal and state laws are all included in criminal justice. The criminal justice system is made up of numerous governmental organizations and departments, such as the police, the courts, the prison system, and the prosecutors’ and defense attorneys’ offices.
20 Best Criminal Justice Jobs in the World
Bounty hunters pursue fugitives and criminals on their own. These experts generally go after those who skip bail or skip compulsory court appearances. Most bounty hunters work for bail bond companies, but others are employed by regional law enforcement organizations.
Those who want to work as bounty hunters must exhibit a mix of education, experience, and talent. Many bounty hunters start their careers in law enforcement, where they learn the knowledge and expertise needed to hunt down and capture offenders. Although many start their careers with degrees in criminal justice, bounty hunters are not required to have a certain level of education.
Successful bounty hunters must possess investigative and research abilities, be able to interact with people, and be aware of potential threats from criminals. From 2018 through 2028, private investigators and detectives, including bounty hunters, may anticipate above-average job growth.
A polygraph test is frequently needed as part of the background check for jobs in the criminal justice field, particularly law enforcement positions. In order to detect dishonesty and discover the truth, polygraph examiners undergo intensive training in both the usage of the polygraph device and human behavior.
Lawyers and Attorney
Being an attorney is fantastic. It’s one of the respectable professions. Attorneys or lawyers have a high level of professionalism when it comes to matters of justice.
The fact that lawyers make high salaries all across the world is not news. Lawyers and attorneys earn different salaries, and the more experience you have, the higher your salary.
In a jail, prison, or detention facility, correctional personnel uphold the law and keep things in order. Correctional personnel keep an eye on inmates, monitor their activities, and examine the workplaces. This is an effort to make sure their working environment complies with safety, health, and security standards.
When you work for the oldest federal law enforcement organization in the country, among your responsibilities could be transporting criminals, searching for runaways, protecting jurors and judges, and taking part in tactical operations, asset seizure, and witness security.
Fish and game warden
If you believe that only people need justice, you must be mistaken. Wildlife officers, commonly referred to as fish and game wardens, are in charge of ensuring that hunters adhere to correct conservation practices and defending the rights of animals. Additionally, they assist with boat operations, look into crimes affecting wildlife, and plan water rescues. Agencies may have different educational requirements, ranging from high school certificates to a bachelor’s degree in law. They make $58,190 a year.
Conservation officers, also referred to as fish and game wardens, endeavor to safeguard the nation’s natural resources, particularly animals. Many conservation officers start out as and then change to the position of conservation officer.
Conservation officers make it a priority to ensure that hunters and fishers follow local, state, and federal rules. Licensing requirements must be checked, equipment must be inspected, techniques of catching game must be examined, and equipment and methods must be compared to regulations. Some police also cooperate with other law enforcement personnel to prosecute offenders, monitor campers and parks, and educate the general public.
Fish and game wardens make an annual median salary of $57,500, according to the BLS, however some of the highest paid make over $109,620. A 5% increase in the profession is anticipated between 2018 and 2028.
There is a lot at stake in both civil and criminal trials, and it all depends on the jury’s decision. High-powered lawyers pay jury consultants to research potential jurors and gain a better understanding of who to select—and who to strike—in order to skew the odds as much as possible in their favor.
Crime Lab Analyst
Analysts at crime labs examine crime scenes, gather samples for examination, and analyze samples to extract information. Police and investigators can use their results to identify witnesses, make arrests, and provide evidence in court against criminals.
Toxicology, DNA analysis, blood analysis, fingerprinting, and other forensic techniques are used by crime lab analysts to acquire information. They must have a bachelor’s degree at the very least, but some employers, notably those in the federal government, favor applicants with doctoral degrees in forensics. To choose which evidence to gather and evaluate, successful crime lab analysts should exhibit great analytical and creative skills. Although there are no projected increases in employment for crime lab analysts according to the BLS, agencies will always need qualified analysts to support law enforcement.
Required is a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or criminal justice; a master’s degree in forensic science is advised.
Judges and Magistrate
Before you may become a judge, you must complete a law degree program at a university or college, just like lawyers do. Before taking office, the majority of judges practiced law.
They are compensated well since judges have a very important role in passing final judgment on criminals. As a judge, you may make an average salary of $133,920.
Crime Scene Investigator
Crime scene investigators (CSIs) examine crime scenes, gather crucial information, and employ their knowledge and expertise to find and capture perpetrators. Within their organizations, CSIs frequently work in teams, however they can also operate solo.
A bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a related field, such as biology, chemistry, or criminal justice, is often required of CSIs. Additionally, they must successfully finish extensive training courses in which they learn how to operate at crime scenes, examine fingerprints, analyze blood spatter, and document evidence. CSIs receive on-the-job training to finish their studies after being employed.
The typical annual wage for forensic science technicians, who are grouped with these professionals by the BLS, is $59,150, however the highest-paid individuals make more than $97,350. Forensic science technicians are expected to see a 14% increase in employment between 2018 and 2028.
Affidavits, contracts, wills, and other legal papers are all created by paralegals. In order to provide skilled legal services, a paralegal frequently maintains legal contact with clients, attorneys, and legal assistants. This also include helping their clients get ready for court.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents
Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are employed by the federal government to regulate and thwart the importation and distribution of illegal narcotics. Agents in this rewarding profession earn an average yearly compensation of $66,450 in addition to government benefits. Candidates need to be college-educated.
Following graduation, DEA recruits go through 4-6 months of training to gain the investigative, decision-making, interpersonal, and weapons handling abilities necessary for the job. After completing their training, agents decide on their career specialties. Specializations have a substantial impact on daily duties, working conditions, career possibilities, and prospective pay.
Prospective DEA agents are drawn to the job by the chance to operate in interesting places, apply various abilities on a daily basis, and defend American citizens. But while there is little job turnover in this rewarding field, it takes training and experience to get a job.
A criminal justice or comparable subject bachelor’s degree is necessary.
Criminal profilers elevate the detective profession by applying their expertise in psychology, behavioral science, and criminology to assist in the investigation of crimes. Profilers can create a list of characteristics that a suspect will most likely possess based on the how, when, and where of crimes, allowing detectives to focus their search and solve crimes. This is an example of a career under criminal justice.
In order to safeguard citizens from domestic dangers, FBI agents work for the American government. The duties carried out by FBI agents rely on their training and areas of expertise. For instance, some experts spy on suspects while others serve as accountants. However, the majority of FBI agents conduct arrests, obtain warrants, and gather evidence.
Despite earning a respectable salary and several government benefits, FBI employees frequently put in far over 40 hours per week. Although a master’s degree may minimize the amount of professional experience needed, FBI agents must have a bachelor’s degree and relevant experience. In addition, they have a 20-week training program in Quantico, Virginia. A criminal justice or comparable subject bachelor’s degree is necessary.
Bloodstain Pattern Analyst
Experts in bloodstain patterns have degrees in physics, biology, and chemistry, which they use to analyze the pattern left by blood spatters at a crime scene to find significant clues. By analyzing the blood that was left at the scene, they can assist police in discovering the kind of weapon used, the probable size of a suspect, and even the direction of travel after the crime.
Although they work in law enforcement, forensic accountants perform similar daily activities to ordinary accountants and auditors. They identify criminal conduct using their accounting expertise, which frequently results in prosecution. Daily tasks include acquiring financial information, accumulating proof, and ensuring that local, state, and federal regulations are being followed.
Individuals must have strong analytical, problem-solving, and data-gathering abilities in order to be successful as forensic accountants. Forensic accountants must earn at least a bachelor’s degree, just like other types of accountants, while certain high-level government organizations favor applicants with master’s degrees in forensic accounting or similar subjects. According to the BLS, the median yearly salary for accountants is $71,550. Agency, geographic region, and experience all affect salary potential. The greatest salaries are often earned by accounting master’s degree holders.
Accounting bachelor’s degree is required, but a master’s degree is preferred.
The typical annual wage is $71,560.
Advocates for victims of crime encourage them emotionally and offer practical advice on how to get back to their regular lives. Because some victims go through severe trauma, victim advocates must have good counseling, problem-solving, and communication abilities.
To ensure that victims receive justice, victim advocates frequently collaborate with criminal justice experts. A victim advocate’s regular duties include providing support, counseling, and assistance with legal services.
Victim advocates require some experience, which is typically acquired through education, internships, or practical practice. Although a formal degree is not required, it might assist these individuals grow in their careers. No qualification or license is needed for this employment. From 2018 through 2028, the BLS predicts victim advocates and other social and human service aides will experience above-average job growth. High school diploma required, associate’s or bachelor’s degree desirable in terms of education
$35,510 is the average annual salary.
Substance abuse counselors
Counselors for substance abuse assist those who are battling or recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Many times, their clients have broken the law and are required by law to finish counseling. Counselors for substance misuse work in a variety of places, such as private clinics, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities.
In addition to obtaining state license and industry certification, people must also get bachelor’s degrees in counseling or psychology. The BLS anticipates a 68,500 increase in posts for substance addiction counselors between 2018 and 2028, in part due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Secret Service Agent
By defending significant political persons and systems, the Secret Service contributes significantly to the enforcement of the law. While some Secret Service personnel focus on money laundering, counterfeiting, and other financial crimes, others frequently guard specific individuals.
The Secret Service has severe standards for its members. Although the top applicants have master’s degrees or higher, they must first complete their bachelor’s degrees. The next step is for people to get criminal justice expertise, typically by working with other federal agencies. Finally, candidates must be in good physical condition, including having good eyesight and being physically fit. Secret Service operatives go through months of rigorous training after being accepted. Education: A criminal justice bachelor’s degree is required, although a master’s degree is desirable. $65,000* in average annual salary
FAQS on Best Criminal Justice Jobs in the World
What jobs can you get with a criminal justice degree?
A bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a closely related discipline is usually required for employment. Evidence technicians are most frequently employed by law enforcement authorities in criminal justice positions. Private properties are kept secure by security personnel.
Is a career in criminal justice right for You?
Criminal justice careers are challenging, but the appropriate candidate will find them gratifying. Opportunities for employment in law enforcement, the legal system, and corrections can result from involvement in the criminal justice system. Criminal justice specialists are employed nationwide in police departments, federal law enforcement organizations, prisons, and courts.
Can you make good money with a degree in criminal justice?
Numerous positions in the criminal justice field come with generous pay that is in line with level of job risk, education, and experience. Although pay ranges depend on geography and the employer, many entry-level positions in criminal justice offer annual salaries of more than $50,000. Typically, salary ranges rise as one gains experience.
Can You Earn a Degree in Criminal Justice Online?
Yes, you may obtain a criminal justice degree online. In fact, if you want to pursue an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in criminal justice, many schools now give you the option to do so online. Students who thrive in an online environment or those whose work or personal schedules prevent them from attending classes in person may find that online degrees are a great option. Want to know more about the possibilities for online education? See the best 15 criminal justice degree programs offered online.
Where Can You Earn a Criminal Justice Degree?
Most schools and universities offer online or on-campus criminal justice degrees. There are associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees in criminal justice available. Associate's degree programs are often provided at community colleges, even though they only require two years to complete. On the other hand, four-year public and private schools and universities both provide bachelor's degree programs. Numerous public and private schools and universities also offer graduate degrees in criminal justice.
There are numerous careers accessible if criminal justice is your career of choice. Pursuing a career in criminal justice can also present growth chances, from entry-level positions like paralegal assistants to senior-level positions like a senior attorney or a court judge. Finding information about different lucrative criminal justice positions will help you determine whether you want to pursue a particular kind of position in the future.
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