What jobs and salaries can I get with a criminal justice degree?

By: Jim Greenberg

What Jobs Can You Get with a Criminal Justice Degree
The demand for qualified and efficient personnel in the field of criminal justice is on the rise. Depending on the level of your experience and education in any sphere that encompasses the basics and/or specifics of criminal justice, you will be eligible for jobs in

  • In federal agencies like the FBI, CIA, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), the Secret Service, Customs, DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), INS, and the Border Patrol
  • in state and local government agencies as state troopers, SBI agents, local law enforcement officers, arson specialists, serology and fingerprinting specialists,
  • in the private sector as detectives, investigators and security specialists, in the corrections department as wardens, as juvenile and adult psychologists, and as corrections, parole, and probation officers,
  • In the legal profession as lawyers, legal assistants and secretaries, paralegals, court administrators, judges, and magistrates,
  • In military and defense agencies as military police officers and investigators,
  • In the field of criminology as criminologists, crime scene investigators, and forensic scientists,
  • in gaming surveillance as conservation officers,
  • in colleges and universities as lecturers and professors, and
  • in the field of cyber crime and white-collar crime detection and prevention.

The salary you earn in any of these jobs will be commensurate to your skills and position up the administrative ladder. Federal and urban salaries are usually the highest, but the nature of the work is often demanding and stressful.

  • On an average, police officers and others in the law enforcement division can expect to earn around $45,470 annually. On entry into the ATF, DEA, IRS, INS, Secret Service and the US Marshals, you can probably earn around $25,000, with chances of climbing to $50,000 in less than 5 years of service. Newcomers to federal service can hope to earn between $39,115 and $48,890, those in non-supervisory positions can take home between $61,251 and $76,560, while supervisory, management, and executive positions pay between $90,480 and $106,430.
  • Criminologists are paid between $38,560 and $66,970, forensic scientists net $46,080, while forensic psychologists earn between $38,560 and $66,970. As a security guard in the federal government, you can usually earn between $21,950 and $28,960, while gaming investigators and conservation officers take home salaries in the range of $18,080 to $25,950. Detectives in the private sector can make an average of $49, 860, while administrative positions in the field will earn you around $77,500. Store detectives and investigators make between $25,000 and $39,800.If you are a part of the corrections department, you can probably earn between $34, 560 and $51, 390, with the higher salaries reserved for administrative officers.

Paralegals and legal secretaries can bring in salaries ranging from $37, 310 to $42, 510, while law office managers earn around $43,000 and court reporters make $39, 670. Mediators with a doctorate in criminal justice are on the high end of the salary scale with a take-home pay of $130,170.

In the pedagogy department, professors who teach graduate and undergraduate classes earn more than those who teach associate students. Professors can hope to earn $86,437, assistant professors $51,545, associate professors $61,732, instructors $37,737, and lecturers $43,914.

Careers and Job Hunting
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