A criminal justice degree offers you a variety of jobs, mainly in legal and law enforcement, such that you can choose a career path that matches your interests and salary expectations. Here are some of the most common careers that are suitable for graduates of criminal justice programs:
Criminologists study the criminal patterns and behaviors of criminals, to establish causes of their actions. The information they gather is forwarded to law enforcement officers who then use it to evaluate potential crime and prevent further crime. They work in law enforcement agencies at local, state and federal level. As of 2013, the median annual pay for criminologists was $46,464.
2. Parole Officer
A Parole Officer works with offenders who’ve served jail time and been released from prison to serve the remainder of their sentence as parolees. The officer helps them with their rehabilitation process, so that they don’t commit any crime that will get them back to prison. They do this by facilitating substance abuse and family counseling, educational programs and job training. In 2010, the median annual salary for a parole officer was $47,200.
3. Fraud Investigator
A Fraud Investigator may work with insurance companies to establish the truth in a particular claim, for example corporate financial crimes, injury or damage to property. They could come in after a payment has been issued either by the insurance company or any other party involved in the claim. Their work is to interview the parties, collect information and then present their evidence and conclusions to clients. The average annual pay for fraud investigators is $58,460.
4. Court Reporter
A Court Reporter is tasked with writing accurate transcripts of legal speeches, meetings, proceedings and depositions. They capture spoken dialogue and ensure the completion, security and accuracy of legal records. They check transcripts for any typographical errors and present copies of recordings to counsels, courts and other parties. They report a speaker’s identification, gestures and actions. They also transcribe movie dialogue onto screens to help viewers who are hard-of-hearing. The median annual salary for a court reporter is $47,700.
5. Homicide Detective
A homicide detective can be employed by local, state or federal law enforcement agencies to help with apprehending suspects, solving murder cases and prosecution of offenders. They help determine how and when a murder was committed, collect evidence from crime scenes, interview witnesses, carry out background checks on victims and suspects, and preparing cases for court. They also supervise crime scene technicians. The average salary per year for a homicide detective is $55,010.
6. Fish and Game Warden
Game Wardens act as peace officers who patrol borders, land and waterways to enforce hunting, fishing and boating safety laws. They carry out rescue operations in lakes and rivers, and investigative crimes relating to the environment. They are tasked with creating public awareness of environmental laws. They also support law enforcement officers with arresting criminals, and help victims of natural disasters such as floods. The average annual pay for a fish and game warden is $55,670.
7. State Trooper
State troopers work on state highways, enforcing federal and state vehicle laws. They check road users to ensure that they use seatbelts and don’t speed beyond the legal limit. They also regulate the shipping of goods and use of semi-trucks and large capacity vehicles. They are always on the lookout for illegal activities on the highways and help law enforcement agencies find and apprehend criminals. A state trooper earns an average salary of $55,010 per year.
8. Mental Health Counselor
A mental health counselor within the criminal justice systems usually works with juveniles and offenders who are in correctional facilities, rehabilitating them and preparing them for life after imprisonment. Through rehabilitation processes, they help inmates gain a new perspective on life and improve their mental state to prevent further crime. The median salary for a mental health counselor is $40,850.
9. Paralegal / Legal Assistant
A paralegal may work for government agencies and in private law firms, helping out attorneys with tasks such as depositions, preparing meetings, conducting legal research, investigating facts of a case, maintaining files and handling documents. The average annual pay for a paralegal is $46,690.
10. Correctional Officers
Correctional Officers work in jails and prisons, supervising inmates and maintain security within these systems. In addition to supervising inmates, they prevent escapes, conduct cell searches for presence of illegal substances or items, and restrain inmates to prevent fight breakouts. On average, a correctional officer earns an annual salary of $39,780.
11. Park Naturalists
Park Naturalists work within parks, guiding visitors and providing information about the park. They are tasked with explaining park regulations to the visitors and addressing their concerns and needs. They are also responsible for conducting field trips where visitors may get to learn about natural and scientific features of the parks. The median annual salary for a park naturalist as of 2014 was $61,860.
A sociologist works within the criminal justice system, with juvenile justice departments, law enforcement, criminal law organizations and adult correctional facilities. Their main duty is to establish how social influences may affect an individual or group, leading to crimes being committed. They also study the effect that institutions within the criminal justice system have on people. The information gathered may be used by law enforcement agencies and lawmakers to come up with and implement policies on crime control. The median annual salary for a sociologist is $72,360.
13. FBI Agent
FBI Agents are tasked with enforcing federal law. They investigate public corruption, violent crimes, cybercrime, major thefts and civil rights violations, and carry on with the cases until criminals are tried and sentenced. They also investigated threats to national security and have the duty to enforce federal statutes. The average annual salary for an FBI Agent is $68,619.
14. Customs border and protection officers (Customs Agents)
Customs border and protection officers, better known as Customs Agents work for the Department of Homeland security, under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) bracket. They have the sole responsibility of enforcing the custom laws of the federal government of the US on every person or item that enters or leaves the country. The average annual pay for a customs agent is $55,010.
15. Police Detective
A police detective is an un-uniformed officer who works together with the prosecution and district attorney. Their job entails interviewing suspects, witnesses and victims and apprehending suspects. They investigate crime and collect evidence and confessions that are admissible in court in order to help with the prosecution’s case. They are sometimes required to testify against offenders in court. In a year, a police detective earns an average salary of $68,820.