The Best Criminal Justice Career Path

legal system

Is criminal justice a good career path? The criminal justice system consists of agencies responsible for the detention and supervision of offenders, such as law enforcement agencies, the judicial service, and prison and probation services. The Ministry of Justice supervises the activities of these institutions.

Criminal justice degrees can lead to opportunities in law enforcement and counseling. They can be a good fit for many aspiring professionals. Here you can learn about the various criminal justice career options and the projected job outlook for those positions.

What is criminal justice?

criminal justice word abstract in vintage letterpress wood type

Criminal justice refers to the statutes, regulations, and organizations that hold offenders responsible for their unlawful actions. The criminal justice system consists of agencies and state agencies, including the FBI, other federal agencies, local, state, and federal courts, prisons, and local and state police forces. The purpose of the system is to identify crimes and the criminals who commit them. In this system, criminals are tried, detained, and punished for breaking the law.

Suppose you are interested in learning about the different parts of the criminal justice system and how it works. In that case, you may be interested in studying criminal justice. Or, if you’re passionate about upholding the law and making sure criminals are held accountable for their actions, or if you plan to one day attend law school, studying criminal justice might be right for you.

To work in a field like criminal justice, you need to have various skills. Because there are many job duties that you play a role in this field, some of the skills that apply to a criminal justice degree include strong verbal and written communication skills, the ability to conduct research, excellent computer skills, and the ability to collaborate with other departments or agencies as well as the general public.

List of graduate jobs in criminal justice

Many students who select a criminal justice major enter careers in law enforcement, prisons, and other areas of the criminal justice job market right after graduating from criminal justice institutions with an authorized criminal justice degree program. Some pupils continue to graduate or law school. Here are a few of the most sought-after employment options for criminal justice degree holders.

Forensic laboratory and its employee investigating evidence. Criminal Justice a Good Career path?

Police officer

  •   Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •   Expected job growth: 7% increase
  •   Places of employment: Local, state, and federal governments
  •   Average salary: $55,010

Police officers work to enforce laws at the local, state, or federal level, protecting the lives of citizens. Their responsibilities include patrolling the area to ensure welfare and safety, responding to crime-related calls, complaints, and suspicious activity, reporting incidents, issuing citations, and making arrests.

Correctional Officer

  •   Education Requirement: Graduation
  •   Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •   Places of Employment: Local, state, and federal jails, prisons, or detention centers
  •   Average salary: $40,530

Correctional officers supervise those legally detained in prisons, jails, and prisons. It is a very physically demanding job with a high risk of injury. Some of their responsibilities include;  Screening inmates and visitors for weapons and drugs, monitoring inmate activity, and inspecting facilities to ensure they meet maximum sanitation, safety, and security measures.

Private Inspector

  • Education Requirements: Associates, Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees
  • Expected job growth: 11% increase
  • Places of Employment: Private detective agencies, police departments, private businesses, organizations, or individual clients
  • Average salary: $50,700

 Private investigators assist with local, state, and federal cases and are critical members of the legal, financial, and criminal investigation, as well as finding missing persons. Pis typically work for private citizens, attorneys, and businesses. Some of their responsibilities include Investigating, conducting interviews, and executing/supervising observations.

Criminal Profile

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 4%
  •     Places of employment: Local, state, and federal governments
  •     Average salary: $54,000

Criminal profilers are special Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who provide investigators with a psychological or physical description of a suspect through rigorous analysis. Through this, they can also determine the suspects’ motives by visualizing the crime and its events from beginning to end.

   Crime Prevention Specialist

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Workplaces: local neighborhoods
  • 52,000 is the average salary.

To develop regional crime prevention plans and strategies, crime prevention professionals work closely with local communities. Their responsibilities include recommending ways communities can better prepare for crime and ways to ensure or implement more reliable security, such as neighborhood watches.

Crime scene inspector

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 19% increase
  •     Workplaces: Offices, laboratories, crime scenes
  •     Average salary: $56,320

A crime scene investigator works at crime scenes and analyzes every aspect, finding and collecting evidence such as DNA and fingerprints. They assist the crime profiler in determining why and how the crime occurred.

    Drug Enforcement Administration Agent

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 7% increase
  •     Places of Employment: State, local, and national law enforcement agencies
  •     Average salary: $77,210

By executing prohibited substance laws and halting the distribution of illicit narcotics, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents (sometimes known as “DEAs”) contribute significantly to the fight against drugs. The majority of the investigations that DEAs perform are domestic, but they also conduct foreign investigations and collaborate closely with Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement agents when domestic issues arise.

Homicide Detective

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Job Locations: Local, State, Federal
  •     Average salary: $79,620-$119,280

A homicide detective must identify homicide suspects by collecting and examining evidence and clues left at crime scenes. This evidence or clues can include things like DNA and fingerprints.

    Prison screenwriter

  •     Education Requirements: Associate’s Degree
  •     Expected job growth: 6% increase
  •     Places of Employment: Local, state, and federal jails and prisons
  •     Average salary: $41,000

Prison screenwriters tailor and tailor their sentences by closely analyzing inmates’ behavior. Their analysis is critical as it determines if/how a prisoner is released back into society.

Probation Officer

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 18% increase
  •     Places of Employment: State or Federal Government
  •     Average salary: $54,050

Probation officers supervise offenders on probation rather than in prison. They maintain continuous communication between themselves, the offender, and the offender’s family members to ensure that all conditions of their probation are met.

    Narcotics Officer

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Places of employment: Small communities, the federal government
  •     Average salary: $77,210

Narcotics officers work to prevent illegal drug sales, distribution, and use. These include drug trafficking and possession investigations. Some duties and resources include surveillance, K9 units, wiretaps, and undercover work.

Parole Officer

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Places of employment: County or state parole offices
  •     Average salary: $49,360

Probation officers’ primary duty is to monitor released criminals to ensure they stay out of trouble and return to prison. By assisting them in finding housing and jobs, as well as whatever else they require for their rehabilitation, they do this.

State forces

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 5% increase
  •     Job Locations: State and local roads and highways
  • Average salary: $58,320

On local and state roadways, state troopers work to enforce traffic and safety rules. Some of their responsibilities include;  Monitor roads and highways, issuing traffic citations and tickets, and assisting with motorcycle and vehicle accidents.

Youth Correctional Counselor

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Places of Employment: State or National Govt
  •     Average salary: $54,080

Juvenile correctional counselors work closely with young offenders in correctional facilities to help them become productive citizens. Their primary responsibility is to counsel juvenile offenders individually and in groups in hopes of preventing them from committing further crimes that could land them in prison in the future.

 National Security Agency Police Officer

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: Fluctuates based on the federal budget
  •     Places of Employment: National Security Agencies
  •     Average salary: $53,300

The primary responsibility of an NSA police officer is to protect NSA’s property. They patrol NSA buildings with firearms, assist in counter-terrorism operations, and provide weapons training to NSA employees.

Criminal Justice Attorney

  •     Education Requirement: Master’s Degree
  •     Expected job growth: 21% increase
  •     Places of employment: Criminal justice departments at colleges or universities
  •     Average salary: $64,460

Criminal justice instructors teach various courses on law enforcement and leading issues in law enforcement. Their duties include;  Lectures and presentations, leading discussions, and grading tests and assignments to ensure their students receive the most valuable and relevant education in criminal justice.

 Fingerprint technician

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 27% increase
  •     Places of employment: Forensic laboratories and police departments
  •     Average salary: $56,320

Fingerprint technicians are critical to an investigative team as they help determine suspects based on evidence findings. Some of their responsibilities include;  Collection, testing, and analyzing fingerprints left at crime scenes.

Deputy Sheriff

  •     Education Requirements: Associates or Bachelors
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Places of employment: Local, state, and federal governments
  •     Average salary: $60,270

Law and order must be upheld and enforced by a deputy sheriff. Making arrests, speaking with witnesses and victims, questioning suspects, gathering and submitting evidence, and testifying in court are just a few of their duties.

 Inspector of Customs

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 4% increase
  •     Employment Locations: US Border Lines
  •     Average salary: $67,000

A customs inspector works with homeland security to ensure that people or goods crossing the border do not threaten the United States. It includes careful monitoring of people’s behavior to prevent the smuggling of weapons or drugs. K9 units are often partners of customs inspectors.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent

  •     Education Requirement: Graduation
  •     Expected job growth: 7% increase
  •     Places of Employment: Federal Govt
  •     Average salary: $63,021

The mission of an FBI agent is to defend the country against organized crime, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and espionage. They are in charge of everything from fieldwork to research. Being an FBI agent may be quite risky, and the job frequently involves travel and long hours.

Top skills for careers in criminal justice

While the career paths in criminal justice are wide and varied, certain qualities are shared across the field.

  • Communication

All facets of the criminal justice career revolve around communication; thus, strong and useful speech and writing abilities are essential.

One of the most important components of the work is writing. Because the Supreme Court can assess your report very fast, writing classes should be emphasized. Public speaking lessons should never be offered in criminal justice courses. This career allows speaking with children, victims, witnesses, lawyers, judges, and politicians. Communicating with various people, including the media, is essential to the job.  Being bilingual is also an advantage.  Therefore, taking foreign language classes is necessary.

  • Problem-solving

Because they may face complex situations, criminal justice professionals must be able to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, make quick decisions, and think logically through possible outcomes.

  • Physical fitness

Because many careers in criminal justice are physically demanding, prospective candidates must pass physical training programs and adjust to meet job requirements.

  • Leadership

To lead people and address important challenges, one needs strong leadership abilities.

  • Collaborative work ethic

By their very nature, criminal justice careers require teamwork and collaboration. Prospective candidates must work well with others, listen and work as part of a team.

Once you start working in the criminal justice field, you rarely work individually. The basis for a student to leave the classroom with a degree that is more prepared and adaptable to the expanding diversity in public settings is built via learning about your profession and engaging with various ethnic groups.

Is Criminal Justice a Good Career path?

In general, earning your criminal justice degree can open up many exciting career opportunities for you. Your expertise in criminal justice can serve as the basis for law school and a future as a lawyer, in addition to working in law enforcement, prisons, rehabilitation services, and other public service professions. The abilities and information gained with a criminal justice degree are useful to social workers, forensic scientists, and qualified instructors.

A profession in criminal justice might be difficult to pursue. For instance, police officers are frequently expected to be officers are frequently expected to be extremely physically fit and strong. Additionally, the stress of making life-or-death decisions or providing rehabilitation services to minors or other people in need can lead to emotional stress if you are not prepared to take on these challenges. Empathy and quick, accurate reflexes can be critical elements for success in this demanding and diverse field.

Criminal justice careers offer significant benefits for those who have the courage and determination to achieve success:

  • The capacity to assist others in overcoming challenges and beginning over after a sequence of errors
  • Possibilities to advance through the ranks and take on more responsibilities
  • The freedom to choose your hours and boss in various professions
  • an opportunity to collaborate with others in a team setting
  • There is a rising need for experts in the field of criminal justice.
  • Competitive wages and opportunities for career advancement, especially for those with experience in their chosen career

The various criminal justice career options available can help you make the right choices regarding your educational and employment goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Justice a Good Career path?

Q: Is criminal justice a promising career?

A: Earning a degree in criminal justice can lead to a career as a police officer, lawyer, or forensic scientist. Some of these careers require advanced degrees and specialized training, while others do not. Although the job outlook and salary potential vary from state to state, professionals can find criminal justice careers across the country.

 Q: How to start a career in criminal justice

A:  Some criminal justice careers, such as security guard, do not require a college degree. Candidates with a high school diploma or GED certificate can apply for these positions. However, to prepare for most careers, readers should find a college with an on-campus or online criminal justice program.

Q: What are the highest-paying jobs in criminal justice?

A: A post-secondary degree provides three essential advantages when preparing for a sustainable career. It provides critical and transferable skills needed by all professionals. Provides the latest sustainability knowledge and best practices and qualifies workers for high-paying jobs.

Q: Which environmental degree is best?

A: An employee’s earning potential varies depending on location, experience, and education level. According to the BLS, emergency management directors earned a median annual salary of $76,730 in 2022, while forensic science technicians earned a median yearly salary of $76,730.

Q: Is a degree in criminal justice worth it?

A: A degree in criminal justice can lead to many careers in the industry. A bachelor’s degree can be a stepping stone to a degree, leading to promotions, higher salaries, and more job responsibilities.

Please let us know your opinion in the comment section below.