Recently, we explained how to launch a career in criminal justice, and today we’re going to explore what specific jobs you can get after earning your bachelor’s degree in the field.
We’ll also explain what you’ll study in a criminal justice program, why you’d want to work in the industry, whether a criminal justice degree is worth the time and money, and why you should consider studying online.
This post will provide you with all the information you need to learn how to launch a successful, lifelong career in the industry.
After you’ve read through the post, fill out our information request form to receive additional details about our 100% online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. If you’re ready to get started, submit your application today.
Top Jobs for Criminal Justice Graduates
Most people associate criminal justice with police officers (an extremely rewarding career), and many seem to think that this is the only career path you’ll have access to after earning a bachelor’s degree in the field, but that’s not true.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, criminal justice alumni can pursue a wide variety of jobs, including roles like:
- Social Justice Services (Researchers, Program Officers, Human Rights Advocates, Policy Analysts, Advocates & Lobbyists, etc.)
- Research and Teaching Roles
- Public Policy & Government Positions
- Criminal Law Paralegals
- Forensic Science Technicians
- Fraud Investigators
- Private Detectives
- Homicide Investigators
- Crime Scene Investigators
- Parole Officers & Correctional Officers
- Private Sector Security
- Agents, Detectives & Investigator Roles (Air Marshall, Homeland Security Agent, Secret Service Agent, DEA Agent, FBI Agent, etc.)
- Police Officers
Keep in mind that this is just a shortlist of some of the most common jobs available to criminal justice graduates; in reality, there may be hundreds to thousands of niche positions that you could pursue after getting your degree.
Let’s look at a few of these roles in detail to give you a better idea about the types of job opportunities you’d have after graduating from a criminal justice program.
Police Officers & Detectives
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers are responsible for protecting people’s lives and their property, while detectives and criminal investigators are responsible for gathering facts and collecting evidence of crimes.
Not all state-based police departments require a four-year degree, but at the federal level, and for specific, elite roles in policing, it’s likely that you will need a four-year degree to get hired.
Police work isn’t easy, as it can be physically demanding, stressful, and even dangerous, but the job outlook is good, as BLS expects employment for police and detectives to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the average rate of growth for all occupations.
BLS also reports that the average annual salary for police and detectives is $67,290 as of May 2020, but this number can vary dramatically depending on where you’re hired and how many hours you work.
If you’re more independent and don’t want to work for a large law enforcement agency, but you are interested in police-type work, then you may be interested in pursuing a career as a private detective.
Private detectives gather information, analyze it, and report it to their clients, who could be individuals or organizations, performing many of the same tasks as police detectives.
The BLS doesn’t provide projections for rates of growth in the employment of private detectives, but they do report that their average annual salary was $60,100 as of May 2020.
This is a perfect role for anyone interested in criminal justice and detective work, but who prefers to work in the private sector.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists play a critical role in helping rehabilitate criminal offenders, including those who are currently held in custody and those who are out on probation or parole.
Criminal justice is the perfect field of study for anyone who wants to become a probation officer or who wants to get into corrections work, as the topics you’ll study in a bachelor’s program will prepare you to understand the challenges that these professionals face on a daily basis.
BLS reports that the employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists will grow 4% between 2020 and 2030.
They also indicate that the average annual income for these roles was $55,690 as of May 2020.
Forensic Science Technicians
Forensic science technicians are responsible for helping criminal investigators by playing an important role in collecting and analyzing evidence, which makes them important members of the criminal justice system.
Their work is so important to modern-day policing that the BLS projects their employment will rise dramatically over the next few years, growing 16% between 2020 and 2030, so it’s a great time to consider getting into this industry.
Per the BLS, forensic science technicians earned an annual average income of $60,590 as of May 2020.
This is an interesting job that requires a great deal of specialized knowledge and a deep understanding of how the criminal justice system works, which makes it a perfect career opportunity for anyone who completed a degree in criminal justice.
Criminal Law Paralegals
Paralegals help attorneys in a variety of ways, including performing research about cases, investigating important facts, writing up reports and legal documents, and generally assisting attorneys.
This is another excellent job for criminal justice graduates who’ve learned how the system works and who can apply their specialized knowledge to court cases that require a detailed understanding of court proceedings, etc.
BLS also reports that demand for paralegals remains strong, projecting that their employment will grow 12% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average rate of growth for all occupations.
The BLS doesn’t report salary data for paralegals working in criminal law, specifically, but they do state that the average annual income for paralegals was $52,920 as of May 2020.
Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Actually Worth It?
You don’t have to get a bachelor’s degree to land one of the jobs listed above, but earning your degree is likely to make it easier.
Why? Because completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice signals that you’ve invested the time and effort needed to build foundational knowledge, skills, and abilities required to succeed in these challenging jobs.
Getting your degree also increases the chances that you’ll be successful when you do enter the industry since you’ll start your career with knowledge of important and contemporary criminal justice topics like:
- International investigations
- Criminal forensics
- White-collar crime
- Technology, including the systems used to prevent, detect, and prosecute criminals
This awareness and experience will give you a significant advantage over entering the industry without a detailed and focused background in criminal justice, allowing you to bring value to any organization from day one.
Should You Get Your Degree in Criminal Justice Online?
Yes, you should consider studying online, as online programs tend to offer far more flexibility and freedom compared to on-campus programs.
In fact, CSU Global’s online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program was designed specifically for people who need help juggling existing work or family responsibilities.
To make sure that our program is as easy as possible to work into a busy schedule, we offer:
- No set times or locations for classes.
- Monthly class starts.
- Accelerated, eight-week courses.
You may also want to think about studying online with us because we’re able to offer our program at a lower cost than many in-person schools.
To find out how our costs compare to other programs you may be considering, be sure to visit our Tuition Rates page.
Why Should You Choose To Study With CSU Global?
Our criminal justice program is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is the most important accrediting organization in the country.
To ensure that our students develop skills and abilities that will be useful in real-world criminal justice workplaces, all of our courses are taught by faculty with recent experience in the field.
We also maintain partnerships with important criminal justice agencies that may help contribute to your overall career advancement by helping you build out a professional network in the industry, including partnerships with:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
- Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF)
- Alpha Phi Sigma Honors Society
Additionally, our program holds several excellent rankings, including:
- A #1 ranking on The 10 Best Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Degree Programs from Online Course Report.
- A #1 ranking on Top 10 Cheap Online Law Enforcement Degree Programs (Bachelor's) from Best Value Schools.
- A #3 ranking on Top 10 Forensic Science Bachelor's Degree Programs 2020 from Criminal Justice Degree Hub.
And CSU Global itself is regarded as an industry leader in higher education, as we recently received several important awards, including:
- A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges & Schools in Colorado from Best Accredited Colleges.
- A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges in Colorado from Best Colleges.
- A #10 ranking for Best Online Colleges for ROI from OnlineU.
We also offer competitive tuition rates, a Tuition Guarantee to ensure that your tuition rate won’t increase, and for our undergraduate programs, Alternative Credit Options like Credit By Exam, Self Study Assessment (SSA), and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) to help save you time and money.
And finally, if you’re looking to pursue a career in management or leadership, then you’ll also have the option of enrolling in our online Master’s Program in Criminal Justice after you’ve completed your Bachelor’s Degree, which is an excellent way to further your career.
Ready to get started today? Apply now!