Career Paths For Criminal Justice


Get Started On A Master’s Degree Program In Criminal Justice Today

Johnson & Wales Criminal Justice: Career Paths

If one of these career paths seems like a good fit for your skills and interests, the right degree paired with experience could catapult you to success. Studying criminology and detective work in a masters degree program can give you the training you need for a leadership role in the field. JWU College of Professional Studies makes it convenient to earn this degree in a straightforward, online environment that provides flexibility without sacrificing the quality of your education.

What Will I Learn With A Masters Degree In Criminal Justice

As you work toward your masters in Criminal Justice, youll learn in depth the way our police, court system, and correctional system work. Youll also develop proficiency in research methods and crime reduction strategies and a large part of that is learning about the root causes of crime itself.

In addition to a core curriculum, youll have the opportunity to focus on one of four concentrations: Human Services, Urban Crime Policy, Homeland Security, or a General track. As you choose your area of interest, youll learn about:

  • Criminological Theory
  • The Sociology of Juvenile Delinquency
  • The Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Crisis Management and Disaster Preparedness
  • Community Violence: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
  • Child Development, Trauma and the Criminal Justice System
  • Urban Poverty and the Family
  • Cybercrime, Intelligence Systems and National Security
  • Race, Class and Crime in America
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Organized and Transnational Crime

The field of criminal justice covers many complex concepts. But by the time you finish your degree, you wont just understand them: youll have mastered them.

Transit And Railroad Police

Median Annual Salary: $64,930

Transit and railroad police officers are among the highest paid law enforcement professionals in the criminal justice field. They earn a spot on our list of high paying criminal justice jobs due to the median annual salary of $64,930 recorded by the BLS. The BLS also reports the highest ten percent of all police and detectives, including transit and railroad police, earned $105,540 as of May 2021. Earnings potential varies by location and job type, but increases with experience. This means a transit or railroad police officer will earn more as he or she becomes more experienced on the job.

The role of the transit or railroad police is to patrol transit facilities or railroad yards. They combat trespassing and human trafficking, help prevent theft and violence, and protect the public. Most of these specialized police officers hold degrees in criminal justice and have received law enforcement training. In certain geographical areas, knowledge of a foreign language, such as Spanish, is highly beneficial.

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Drug Enforcement Administration Agent

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors Degree
  • Expected Job Growth: 7% increase
  • Employment Locations: State, Local, and National Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Average Salary: $77,210

Drug Enforcement Administration Agents play a huge role in the war on drugs by enforcing laws on controlled substances and preventing the distribution of illegal narcotics. DEAs conduct investigations within the United States primarily, but they do conduct international investigations and work closely with Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement agents if the United States is affected.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors Degree
  • Expected Job Growth: 4% increase
  • Employment Locations: State or National Government
  • Average Salary: $54,080

Youth Correctional Counselors work closely with juvenile law offenders in correctional facilities to help them transition into productive citizens. Their main responsibility is to counsel juvenile offenders individually and in groups in hopes of deterring them from committing further crimes in the future that could land them in incarceration.

Judge And Hearing Officers

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Median Annual Salary: $128,710

Judges, magistrates, and hearing officers are among the high paying criminal justice jobs on our list. In fact, the job titles earn a #1 spot. As of May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported judges and hearing officers earned a median pay of $128,710. This pay likely reflects arduous job responsibilities in the criminal justice system. For example, judges and hearing officers oversee legal processes in court during civil and criminal trials. According to the BLS, administrative law judges earned $102,550 per year, while magistrate judges earned $148,030. Industry impacts pay for judges and magistrates. In fact, the top industry paid judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates $170,840 annually.

To become a judge, you will need a law degree and work experience as a lawyer. In addition to graduating law school, judges must pass a highly competitive examination issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Additional certification or licensing may be required by the state in which you reside. Judges can earn high wages. By gaining experience as an attorney, you can set yourself on course for high earnings potential.

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Criminal Justice Employment Outlook By State

CJDS view on employment outlook is confident overall1,2 and consistent with the viewpoint of former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who noted in our recent interview with her that now is the best time to pursue a career in criminal justice and law enforcement. The economy is improving and the baby boomer generation is aging. A mass of retirements is pending from the hiring binge in the early 80s. As those events come together, those pursuing degrees in the criminal justice field will now have ample opportunities upon graduation.


Whats The Difference Between Criminology Vs Criminal Justice

Criminology and criminal justice degree program curriculum may have overlapping foundational coursework, but here are some differences between the two:

  • Includes more coursework in sociology and psychology
  • Study of law enforcement and the criminal justice system
  • Multidisciplinary coursework relating to several aspects of the criminal justice system

Individuals who study criminology may be interested in careers as an investigator, analysts, or forensic psychologists. Criminal justice programs have a more broad focus on the justice system. Individuals in the criminology and criminal justice field often work together to accomplish objectives.

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Public Safety Or Correctional Officer

Average annual salary: $46,673 Education requirements: those employed by federal prisons must have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible.

Perhaps you desire a larger sense of responsibility uniform and all. There are certainly options for that as either a public safety officer or a correctional officer. You would have the advantage of working at local, state, and federal levels, all while maintaining safety and protection.

Public safety officers are responsible for patrolling assigned areas and keeping them safe. They often perform medical treatment in emergency situations and can make arrests when absolutely necessary. Correctional officers do the same, though typically within prisons, jails, or other correctional institutions, watching over and protecting incarcerated individuals.

What Will I Learn With A Degree In Criminal Justice


There are three main components to the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. As a Criminal Justice major, youll learn how to navigate the complexities of all of them. No matter where your interests lie, youll graduate knowing that youre ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way.

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I Have A Bachelors Degree In Criminal Justice Now What

If youre looking for a way to start your career, you may want to seek out internships or entry-level opportunities in your area. A few great places to look for criminal justice jobs include your local police department, the county sheriffs office, the corrections system, nonprofits, or federal agencies like the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.

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What Are The Skills You Need To Get Into Criminal Justice

The skills you need to get into criminal justice vary depending on the type of job you want to pursue. Some of the skills you need include:

  • Critical thinking skills: Police officers and security guards need to be able to think critically in order to solve crimes and protect people and property.
  • Writing skills: Police officers and security guards need to be able to write reports, statements, and other documents.
  • Interpersonal skills: Police officers and security guards need to be able to interact with people from all walks of life.
  • Problem-solving skills: Correctional officers and probation officers need to be able to solve problems quickly and effectively.
  • Time management skills Correctional officers and probation officers need to be able to manage their time effectively in order to meet deadlines.
  • Organizational skills Correctional officers and probation officers need to be able to organize their work schedules and files.

The skills you need to get into criminal justice may vary depending on the type of job you want to pursue. However, most jobs in criminal justice require critical thinking skills, writing skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and time management skills.

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How To Land A Job In Criminal Justice

Given the vast number of opportunities in this field, there is no single path to landing a job in criminal justice. Aside from the common prerequisite of a high school diploma or equivalent, different opportunities often have varying education and experience requirements. The best way to get a job in criminal justice is therefore to first understand the unique training and skills necessary for a specific occupation.

Doctoral Degree In Criminal Justice

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A doctoral degree in criminal justice allows students to undertake research at the highest level and prepares students for advanced positions in the field, such as policymaking, academia and forensic research. Many criminal justice doctoral programs offer specializations in subjects such as forensic science, criminology, homeland security, juvenile justice and criminal justice policy.

Most programs require a capstone or dissertation paired with a final comprehensive exam.

Generally, doctoral programs in criminal justice require students to complete between 40 to 60 credits, which typically take four to eight years of study. However, completion times vary drastically.

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Hot Career Options For Criminal Justice Majors

May 30, 2022 | Criminal Justice, Program Insights

Criminal justice professionals work for the community, striving to help people stay safe. If you have a passion for helping others and keeping the peace, then this could be a good career path for you. Here is a closer look at your options if you pursue training in criminal justice.

Sella 5.Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Criminal Justice Jobs With A Degree In Corrections

If you want to pursue a career in corrections, you may want to consider becoming a correctional officer or probation officer. Correctional officers oversee inmates in prisons and jails. Probation officers monitor criminals who have been released from prison and are on probation.

A most correctional officer and probation officer jobs require a degree in criminal justice or a related field. However, some employers may accept an associates degree or certification in criminal justice.

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for correctional officers was $41,500 in 2016. The table below provides more information on the median annual salary for correctional officers in different industries.

  • Local government $43,670
  • State government $40,930
  • Private industry $39,450

As you can see, the median annual salary for correctional officers varies depending on the type of employer. Correctional officers who work for local governments tend to earn the most, while those who work in the private industry tend to earn the least.

The median annual salary for probation officers was $41,380 in 2016. The table below provides more information on the median annual salary for probation officers in different industries.

  • Local government $42,020
  • State government $40,480
  • Private industry $38,500

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The Best Criminal Justice Careers

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Private Detective And Investigator

Career Success Series: Criminal Justice Careers

Education Requirement: High school diplomaProjected Job Growth: 6% increase

Private detectives and investigators conduct research on cases by gathering information from interviews, surveillance, and checking public and court records. They can be hired by individuals, businesses, or public organizations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of private detectives and investigators are self-employed. They can also work for investigation and guard services, finance and insurance organizations, or the government.

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Criminal Justice Job Growth

A bachelors degree in criminal justice provides a broad background in law, policing, corrections, and human behavior and its a first step in lifelong learning. Criminal justice job growth and increased compensation are dependent on continuing professional education. A bachelors degree may be a requirement for promotion in some fields, such as police work, and many jobs require additional training and certifications.

What are some of the career growth opportunities in criminal justice? In policing, most academy graduates start as police officers and then move up the ranks to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and higher , with increasing leadership responsibilities. Corrections officers can rise to similar titles, such as sergeant and lieutenant, and depending on degree and experience, they may also be eligible to take on an assistant warden or warden role.

Midlevel and leadership roles often require a civil service exam and having a criminal justice degree can be excellent preparation for these career hurdles.

Other interests and skills, combined with a criminal justice degree, can lead to job growth as well. An interest in technology and cybersecurity can open up job opportunities in private security, for example.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation Agent

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors Degree
  • Expected Job Growth: 7% increase
  • Employment Locations: Federal Government
  • Average Salary: $63,021

A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent works to protect the United States from espionage, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and organized crime. Their responsibilities range from field work to research. Working as an FBI agent can be very dangerous and often requires traveling and unusual hours.

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Aas Criminal Justice Career Advice

College of Liberal Arts and Social SciencesSocial Sciences DepartmentAssociate of Applied Science in Criminal JusticeCareer Options & Pathways

The AAS degree in Criminal Justice prepares students for public safety and private security positions such as local/municipal police officers, VI marshals, corrections officers, enforcement officers, state or federal patrols, customs agents, *as well as managers and supervisors in these fields. *These are normally bachelor degree entry positions.

It is recommended that students select additional courses from the criminal justice major core courses in order to broaden their preparation or to direct their program toward their interested field of specialization. Students should seek advisement from the Criminal Justice Advisor to plan their career path and select appropriate electives and substitutions where available in the paradigm.

Career Websites which may be of interest to students enrolling in the AAS degree program:

Private Detective Or Investigator

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Median Annual Salary:$64,610 Projected Job Growth :-1%Job Description: Private detectives, or investigators, assist individuals, corporations and law enforcement agencies locate missing persons, perform thorough research for financial, legal or criminal investigations and discern relevant information for solving cases.

The qualifications for private detectives can vary widely depending on the employer. Generally, these professionals must hold a bachelors degree in criminal justice or a closely related discipline and meet state-specific licensing requirements.

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Get A Diverse Education

Take courses in a variety of areas such as computer science, business, psychology, and sociology. This helps give you a well-rounded perspective and prepares you for a variety of opportunities in the field.

Depending on your career goals, you might need to earn a master’s degree to work in higher levels of administration or research.

Surprising Career Paths For A Criminal Justice Major

When you hear the term criminal justice, you may think of lawyers or police officers. But the career options dont end there. It is a wide-reaching and diverse field, rich with opportunity. Students who choose a criminal justice major will often enter fields such as information security analysis, private detective work, and even security and gaming surveillance.

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Choose Northwest To Start Your New Career

If youre interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, Northwest Career College is the perfect place to start. Our Criminal Justice program will teach you everything you need to know about this fascinating field.

We offer both day and night, as well as on-campus and online options, so you can choose the program thats right for you.

Plus, our experienced instructors will help you develop the skills you need to succeed in your new career.

Dont wait any longer contact us today to learn more about our criminal justice program!

Masters Degree In Criminal Justice

ASU Criminology and Criminal Justice

A masters in criminal justice is a graduate degree that allows students to further develop the skills and knowledge they acquired during their undergraduate studies. Many masters programs in criminal justice offer concentrations or specializations such as cybersecurity, law, public policy, emergency management and homeland security.

Generally, masters programs in criminal justice take two years, but some online and accelerated programs take around one year to complete.

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What Jobs Can You Do With A Criminal Justice Degree

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeeds data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

University students require assurance that their choice of degree leads to an exciting career. Considering the cost of tuition fees, living expenses and the hard work of studying, choosing a degree that can result in an interesting job is immensely important. A criminal justice degree can provide a route to many careers in law enforcement, public safety and investigative work. In this article, we discover the different paths you can take with a criminal justice degree and explore 10 diverse careers in the field.

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