Exploring Careers in Criminal Justice

By CSU Global - November 12th, 2018

Careers in Criminal Justice

Whether your career goal is to climb the ladder at the FBI, work as a crime scene investigator, or become a police officer in your own community, you’ll discover that numerous possibilities are available to you with a degree in criminal justice.

Through 2026, this field is expected to grow seven percent. What does this mean for you? It means that having a bachelor’s or master’s degree can set you apart in this growing and competitive field.

If you’re committed to making a difference, preventing crime, working in government affairs, or protecting our land from harm, a criminal justice degree might be the perfect fit to fast-track your career.

Careers in Criminal JusticeCareers and Salaries With a Criminal Justice Degree

With many career paths for a criminal justice degree – from police officer, paralegal, probation officer, security and investigations – you’re sure to find the career that’s perfect for your goals and skill set. There are so many available options with a degree in criminal justice – consider the careers and annual median salaries below:

    • Police Officers earn  $60,270 annually.
    • Private Investigators earn $45,610 annually.
    • Social Workers earn $45,900 annually.
    • Forensic Psychologists (requires master’s in psychology in addition to bachelor’s in Criminal Justice) earn $72,580 annually.
    • Crime Scene Investigators earn $56,320 annually.
    • Corrections Managers earn $42,439 annually.
    • Detectives earn $62,960 annually.
    • Government/Military Contractors earn $90,000 annually.

Most of the above career paths require – or would be strengthened by – a degree in criminal justice as a starting point and, in many cases, will provide rigorous on-the-job training in protocol, safety, and regulations. By gaining critical know-how with a degree in criminal justice before pursuing a career in the positions listed above, you’ll set yourself apart from the field and increase your chances of landing a great job.

Useful Personality Traits to Succeed in Criminal Justice

In this field, it’s not enough to want it – you’ve got to walk the talk. Criminal justice degree seekers are typically great leaders with excellent personal ethics. They can stay calm under pressure, act quickly, and are generally in good physical condition. A strong belief in the importance of the criminal justice system and a desire to strengthen it, improve it, and add to its success are also typical of those pursuing criminal justice careers.

Further traits for success include persuasion, good judgment and decision-making, coordination, perceptual speed, inductive and deductive reasoning, and information ordering.

Making a Difference in Your Community

While you can use a criminal justice degree to seek a job anywhere you choose, sometimes, the goal of obtaining a criminal justice degree is to use it to enrich, protect, and strengthen your own community. When you use your criminal justice degree to become a parole officer, police officer, investigator, or social worker in your hometown or community, you’re coming into the role with vital foundational knowledge. You understand the needs of the community better than an “outsider” would.

In one study by the Pew Research center, nine-in-ten officers agree that it is critical for law enforcement to know the people, places, and culture of the places they’re serving in order to effectively do their jobs. With more criminal justice professionals serving their own communities and with greater emphases on community support and empowerment, this metric could shift in the years to come.

There are an estimated 289,400 jobs expected to be added to this field by 2022 – the time is now to gain the experience, technical knowledge, and confidence you need to succeed as a leader in the exciting field of criminal justice.


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