Top 10 Sources for Criminal Justice News

Criminal Justice NewsIf there’s one area of social science that’s consistently evolving, it’s the world of criminal justice. There are constantly new laws going into effect and new forensic technologies emerging that make criminal justice an ever-expanding area of science and law. Because of this, it’s imperative for those interested in this field to stay up to date on the subject, and the following criminal justice news sources help to do just that.

1. LAPD Blog
Although it focuses primarily on the Los Angeles area, the LAPD Blog is still an essential source of information for those interested in criminal justice. It provides crime statistics, reports and information on campaigns being conducted by the department. Since the Los Angeles Police Department is the third-largest city police force in America, this blog is an indispensable source of criminal justice news.

2. The Crime Report
Known as one of the most comprehensive resources of criminal justice news and information, The Crime Report offers up-to-date news stories, informative blogs, a list of upcoming criminal justice events and even a job board for those seeking employment in this area of law. Add in easy-to-access case studies, and The Crime Report is an essential tool.

3. Matt Mangino
As a former prosecutor and parole board member, Matt Mangino, who now serves as a criminal defense lawyer, has a unique relationship with the criminal justice system that has seen him sitting on all sides of the table. He’s appeared as an expert on Investigation Discovery crime series, and his daily blog updates provide information on criminal justice news, reports, case studies and a wealth of other legal information.

4. Karen Franklin, PhD
Those interested in how forensic psychology integrates into the criminal justice world will find Karen Franklin’s blog an invaluable resource for understanding the criminal mind. Though the “above the fold” portion of her blog provides information mostly on Franklin, further down the page are resources and news on the psychological aspect of criminal justice.

5. HuffPost Crime
The Huffington Post has become one of the most trusted news sources in America and around the world, and fortunately for those interested in criminal justice news, it has its very own section devoted solely to crime, law and the criminal justice system. The latest criminal justice stories are prominently featured on the page, and its very own expert analysts provide blog posts that allow the common person to understand their insight into their legal sphere.

On top of providing the most breaking criminal justice news, HuffPost Crime also has the top of its site set up to make navigating the most popular crime stories easy. As of Feb. 2015, the featured sections included the Jodi Arias trial, continuing updates on the turmoil in Ferguson and information and analysis on the death of Eric Garner. Additionally, the site provides mug shots, information on missing persons and cold case files.

6. PoliceOne
Although PoliceOne provides up-to-date information on various areas of the criminal justice world, those interested in crime scene investigation will find the news section devoted entirely to these investigative techniques invaluable. News reports range from the testing and collection of evidence for rape kits to updates on scientific advances that will soon change the world of forensic investigation. In addition, the site makes crime scene investigation tools available for those who wish to purchase them.

7. Amnesty International
Amnesty International is one of the largest human rights organizations in the world, and their news section focuses on human rights violations and abuses within the criminal justice system. Even the most devoted criminal justice scholar understands that the system isn’t perfect, and Amnesty International provides up-to-date information on the fight to ensure everyone is treated fairly both in and outside of the criminal justice system.

8. Prison Culture
Anyone who has worked within the criminal justice system understands that there are countless areas of research to be informed about, and prison culture is one of the most important. Prison Culture’s main focus is to help others understand how the prison industrial complex works and its undeniable effect on American society as a whole.

9. N.Y.T. Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings
The New York Times has long been a major news source, but their Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings section offers information into the darker side of the criminal justice world. Unlike other websites, the New York Times doesn’t have an agenda to make police misconduct seem either frequent or rare, so users of the site are able to look at the facts of a case and make their own decision. With constantly updated headlines, it’s possible to stay abreast of all criminal justice news stories related to police misconduct.

10. Death Penalty Information Center
The most serious punishment in the American criminal justice system is reserved for the most serious crimes, and the Death Penalty Information Center provides news stories on recent death penalty trials, executions and even commentary from experts on the implementation of death sentences in the U.S.

An up-to-date resource is also kept on the site with a list of all individuals executed during a given year. This tool includes information such as the offender’s name, method of execution, information on their victims and even how long they were on death row before being executed.

There are innumerable criminal justice news resources available online, but the aforementioned are some of the most utilized and useful. When it comes to understanding justice in America and around the world, this collection of sites offers a glimpse into every corner of the criminal justice system.


Top 10 Bachelor Level Criminal Justice Jobs

With the cost of a college education having increased exponentially in recent decades, selecting a college major is no longer merely a matter of which subject area happens to pique a student’s interest. What good is majoring in your favorite discipline when graduation is followed by unemployment, underemployment or poverty level wages?

crime scene

Blithely tripping through four years of a liberal arts education without any definite goals is largely a thing of the past. These days, it makes sense for prospective college students to take a long, hard look at their career prospects before incurring tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The stark realities of the American economy have students flocking to STEM and business programs as a fast track to lucrative careers in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street. But where does this leave students who may not be inclined to major in the sciences, mathematics or finance?

Unlike many degree programs in the humanities and social sciences, the bachelor’s in criminal justice is a course of study that focuses on real-world applications and is therefore in demand by employers in both the public and private sectors. Students in criminal justice programs study theory at the same time as they acquire practical skills that allow them to hit the ground running when they land that first crucial job.

Among the hallmarks of today’s criminal justice college studies is the opportunity to participate in internship programs that give students a taste of the work world. For-credit experiences in law enforcement, social services, security, state and federal agencies and with the justice system have become commonplace and are even graduation requirements at many colleges. It can be a lot easier to land a job right out of college when a potential employer sees practical experience far beyond the classroom on an applicant’s résumé.

A concern shared by many criminal justice students is how to achieve a satisfying and reasonably paid career without the necessity of attending graduate school and thereby going more deeply into debt. Although many criminal justice majors ultimately decide to attend law school to become licensed attorneys or go on to pursue a master’s degree to teach college-level courses, there are plenty of opportunities in the field for those with a bachelor’s degree.

So, is it difficult for a college graduate with a newly minted bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to find a job? Not at all! More than three million people are employed in the field of criminal justice in the United States today. And that doesn’t count the many adjunct and related professions to which criminal justice graduates lend their talents.

In terms of demand and compensation, the following are the best bachelor level criminal justice jobs available today.

Law Enforcement

police officerLast year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited the mean annual wage of police officers and sheriff’s deputies at $58,720. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that starting salaries for police officers typically range between $26,600 and $49,500 annually (compare to the $45,327 average starting salary for all graduates last year).

If you want to work close to where you live, hope to return to the town where you grew up or plan to settle near family, a career in law enforcement has the advantage of being available almost everywhere. In most parts of the United States, individual counties, towns and cities have their own municipal police forces to staff. And with aging baby boomers retiring at an unprecedented rate, there is a steady need for replacing outgoing officers with new ones who have the right education and background. Nevertheless, what you earn as a police officer straight out of college may vary greatly depending on where you are located and whether you are willing to relocate to another part of the nation where salaries may be higher. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mean annual salaries of police officers on the west coast, in Chicago and in the New York metropolitan area are currently between $60,130 and $88,220. By contrast, police salaries are often significantly lower than the mean in places such as the rural South.

Many local police departments do not require candidates entering the police academy to hold a bachelor’s degree. With the increasingly competitive job market, however, applicants with a bachelor’s in criminal justice may have a significant edge in landing that first job over their peers with only a high school diploma. Furthermore, police department internal regulations often require a bachelor’s degree for advancement to the levels of lieutenant and sergeant. And if you find that you want to move over from beat officer to detective, chances are the department is going to choose someone with courses in criminology, sociology, forensics and statistics over a graduate of the local high school.

An additional financial benefit of employment as a state trooper, county sheriff’s deputy or local police officer is that regular salary increases are generally specified under collective bargaining agreements. Over the years, this can represent a huge advantage over employment in the private sector, where annual salary increases and even cost of living allowances may be tiny or nonexistent.

But college graduates with a criminal justice degree are finding satisfying work in diverse areas of law enforcement that go far beyond the ubiquitous patrol officer. A bachelor’s in criminal justice can open the door to employment with federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. These public servants provide such vital services as protecting our borders, ensuring the safety of air travel and even serving on hostage rescue teams and intercepting coded messages. If you are excited by the prospect of working to fight terrorism, cybercrime, human trafficking, public corruption and organized crime, then a career with our federal government may be for you.

Corrections Officer or Probation Officer

parole officerMany criminal justice graduates choose employment in the specialized branch of law enforcement that staffs our prisons, jails and federal, state and county probation agencies. In colleges across the country, criminal justice classes study patterns of deviance, shifting community norms and legal theory. Whether you believe that our laws established criminal penalties primarily for deterrence, retribution or correction and reintegration of offenders into society, corrections staff and probation officers are on the front lines of the criminal justice system every day.

The corrections system is at a crossroads today. While some states are revisiting criminal penalties for increasingly acceptable social behaviors such as possession of marijuana, our state and federal prison populations have never been higher. The media blares out dire warnings about prisoners who are being granted early release due to overcrowding or speedy trial concerns. Inmates are suing departments of corrections civilly for alleged constitutional violations. You may be conducting a parole hearing, writing an incident report, holding a pre-release counseling session with an inmate, participating in a cell extraction or testifying in court. A career as a corrections officer or probation officer offers unparalleled variety and can represent the culmination of your years of college study in the field of criminal justice.

Opportunities for entry level correction and probation officers have been increasing in recent years due to the construction of new prisons and as a result of hiring by private companies that are taking over facility contracts from municipal governments. Average salaries are in the $40,000 range, with considerably greater compensation enjoyed by experienced officers, particularly on the east and west coasts.

Teacher or Trainer

criminal justice trainingYou may think of a teacher as someone who has to control unruly elementary, middle school or high school kids all day. Such a prospect may seem about as far as one can get from a criminal justice degree. And yet, each year many undergraduates studying criminal justice also complete their state teaching credential. Among skills gained by criminal justice majors that are valuable to teachers are the ability to make coherent presentations, decision making skills, appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism, an understanding of ethics and moral values, and computer literacy.

Although teaching in a public school district or a private school has the geographical advantage of being available almost anywhere you choose to call home, today’s opportunities in the field of education extend far beyond the teaching of children. The field of adult learning is booming in both the public and private sectors, making a career as a trainer or instructional designer among the best jobs for a college graduate with a bachelor’s in criminal justice.

Opportunities to combine teaching with law enforcement exist in many state and federal government agencies. For example, among the careers listed by the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on its website are instructor, curriculum specialist and program analyst. Even the CIA is advertising for education and training specialists — at an annual salary of $63, 673 to $97,333!

Beyond government work, major companies such as Ford, Kraft, Sprint and Apple regularly advertise vacancies for college graduates with leadership ability to fill positions such as “learning manager” and “training coordinator.”

State and Federal Courts

criminal justice - courtIt happens every day at a court near you: A thick packet arrives in the mail; it turns out to be a writ of habeas corpus handwritten on lined paper torn out of a spiral notebook by an inmate who has already served years at a state prison and now claims that there is new evidence to exonerate him. A woman walks into the courthouse in tears (her two young children in tow) and explains to the clerk in broken English that her boyfriend has just beaten her up, stolen her car and threatened to take her kids away if she tells anyone. A local resident comes to court to complain that a warrant has been sworn out for his arrest on a misdemeanor citation that does not belong to him. “I’m a victim of identity theft and I’m going to get fired if I go to jail!” he tells you in a panic.

Criminal justice graduates are in a unique position to help our friends and neighbors who may be angry, confused and upset over their entanglements with the legal system. And indeed, many who complete college with a bachelor’s in criminal justice want to be right where the action is — in the courthouse. Fortunately, a career in the federal or state courts does not require the many years of graduate study undertaken by attorneys and judges. Among the available roles for criminal justice majors are bailiff, courtroom assistant, court clerk, criminal law supervisor, court manager, case administrator, court operations specialist, pretrial services officer and family law mediator. Salaries vary greatly by position and geographic location. A quick check of the federal courts site reveals current compensation rates of $38,000 to more than $100,000 annually. You can check it out for yourself at


forensicsPopularized by such prime time TV shows as “CSI: Miami” and “The First 48,” jobs in forensic science are among the more “sexy” options available to graduates with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. Here’s a brief list of just a few of the job titles available today at the intersection of law and science:

  • Ballistics specialist
  • Blood spatter analyst
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Criminologist
  • DNA analyst
  • Fiber technologist
  • Forensic odontologist
  • Homicide detective
  • Psychological profiler

While a bachelor’s in criminal justice serves as excellent training for these types of positions, most of them also require extensive coursework in the sciences, particularly biology, chemistry and physics. Forensics is one part of the criminal justice system in which the scientific method is as important as proper police procedure. Work in this area requires equal familiarity with a microscope and an interview room. Expertise in forensics can easily lead to six-figure salaries and is likely some of the most fascinating work available to criminal justice graduates. If forensics is your goal, however, be sure to put in your time in those bio and chem lab courses alongside your preparation in sociology and criminology.

Private Security

security guardTelevision and movies often depict the image of the solitary security guard standing sentry or pacing his lonely rounds at the midnight hour. The romance of this popular notion notwithstanding, the role of private security is in fact infinitely more complex than simplistic generalizations may suggest. In fact, the undergraduate coursework in sociology, criminology and psychology completed by criminal justice majors is ideal preparation for private security work.

Government agencies and private businesses alike depend on their security forces to handle emergencies and prevent crime and economic loss. The diverse situations encountered by security guards are as varied as human nature itself. Although private security officers are derisively referred to as “rent-a-cops” by some, the fact remains that they perform many of the same duties as law enforcement. Investigating a suspicious parcel, assisting with a medical emergency, providing directions, intercepting a shoplifter or purse snatcher and writing reports are all in a day’s work for security forces. Private security plays a very visible role in such environments as courthouses, office buildings, department stores, shopping malls, banks, hospitals, hotels and casinos.

The good news is that the demand for private security guards has been increasing in recent years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than a million Americans are now employed in the security field. So security work may be one of the easier types of jobs to find straight out of college. There is a long tradition of employment as private security while attending college or graduate school to prepare for a more lucrative or interesting position. This makes sense in that private security positions tend to be more poorly compensated than many other types of jobs. As of 2012, the average salary of a private security guard was $13.10 per hour or $27,240 annually, with salaries in some areas of the country trending below $20,000.

Social Services

social servicesCriminal justice majors spend much of their college careers studying the social forces at work in our communities and the causes of crime. This serves as wonderful preparation for such careers in public service as social worker, guidance counselor, public benefits interviewer, human services assistant, family law mediator and child custody recommending counselor. The increase in single parent families in recent years has made this type of work vital to both adults and children. Whether serving as an ombudsman for poor families seeking cash aid or food assistance, presenting drug abuse prevention programs in the schools or counseling minors incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities, employment in the social services can be a rewarding career path for those with a criminal justice background.

In addition, criminal justice graduates should not overlook the many staff services and policy analyst positions available with state agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Law LibraryThe Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% increase in paralegal and legal assistant jobs by 2020. This has become an increasingly popular career path for criminal justice majors who choose to avoid the time and expense of attending law school. Simultaneously, the availability of recent college graduates who have immersed themselves in law and sociology has provided extraordinary benefits to law firms that require skilled technicians to handle documents, perform legal research, maintain files and assist clients with routine paperwork.

Some legal assistants elect to formalize their credentials by pursuing additional coursework to earn a paralegal certificate. While this may improve earnings capacity, many law firms do not require it of those with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for legal assistants as $22.59 per hour or $46,990 annually and predicts growth of 40,000 in the number of legal assistant/paralegal positions within the next eight years.

Compliance Manager

compliance managerAll businesses, and manufacturing firms in particular, must give time and attention to complying with a plethora of federal, state and local laws and regulations. Financial incentives to cut corners, inadequate policies and procedures, outdated modes of operation and ignorance of the most recent changes in statutory and case law are among the sources of danger of legal liability faced by businesses on a daily basis. A compliance manager with a bachelor’s in criminal justice can serve as a counterbalance to these forces and may ultimately save the company millions of dollars in unnecessary fines and litigation costs.

The duties of a compliance manager may include writing standard operating procedures and job hazard analyses that meet federal and state standards, conducting safety studies, performing legal research, examining contracts and other legal documents, engaging in policy development and conducting staff training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports salaries for compliance managers as ranging from $35,730 to $97,760, with a median salary of $62,020 and the high end of the range primarily concentrated on the east coast.

Human Resources Generalist

human resources managerThe field of human resources has been experiencing explosive growth in recent years, due at least in part to an increase in exposure of businesses to legal liability surrounding employment issues. College graduates with a bachelor’s in criminal justice tend to be well suited to this type of work due to their ability to understand and interpret federal and state law as well as due to their familiarity with modern social problems and ethical considerations.

Human resources generalists are typically involved in the processes of recruitment, hiring, promotion, discipline and termination, all of which require careful compliance with contract and anti-discrimination laws. They may be involved in enforcing the provisions of a code of ethics or ensuring the company’s compliance with collective bargaining agreements. HR generalists are often involved in the preparation of job application forms and employee handbooks, may assist in mediations and arbitration hearings, and may play a lead role in developing and updating company policies.

The employment website reports that HR generalist salaries vary widely among major American corporations, from $32,000 to more than $100,000 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics places the mean hourly wage at $29.60 per hour or $61,560 per year.


Top 10 Associate Level Criminal Justice Jobs

Acquiring a job in the criminal justice field can start you on one of the most rewarding career paths available, offering you the opportunity to work for the good of your community every day. Positions in law enforcement, the legal system, social work, and forensic science are necessary to maintain order and ensure that the innocent are protected and the guilty are punished. The best news is that, in many cases, these positions are open for anyone with a clean background and an associate degree in criminal justice. That means that after completing two years of college coursework, as opposed to a four-year degree, you could be part of the solution, helping to keep the streets safe in a career that offers good benefits and the potential for advancement.

police cars

Criminal Justice Jobs

Although the job most commonly thought of in the criminal justice field is probably a position in law enforcement, criminal investigators and police officers are only a few of the roles necessary to keep the legal system running smoothly. Criminal justice jobs include positions responsible for prevention (like youth counselors or security officers), prosecution (legal aides and paralegals who work closely with the courts), victim advocates, correctional officers (maintaining order in prisons, jails, and detention facilities), and parole officers. In fact, any position which works primarily to uphold the law, from an insurance investigator to a crime scene technician, represents an essential element in the criminal justice system.

The Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice and criminology (the study of crime, specifically how crime affects society) are enormous categories with educational requirements ranging anywhere from a GED to a PhD. Lawyers, judges, psychologists who study criminal behavior, and forensic anthropologists spend years specializing in their field and acquiring graduate degrees, but their work would be impossible without a dedicated force of experienced technicians, assistants, analysts and officers. The one thing all of these positions hold in common, aside from a strong desire for justice, is a background in law. This background is acquired at the most basic level through an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, a two-year program that combines core college coursework (math, composition, etc.) with specialized criminal justice classes. Typical curriculum in a Criminal Justice program includes courses that study the nature of crimes, criminal thinking, and organizations established in criminal justice administration. Generally, survey courses in law and society are also required, and sometimes courses in areas of specialization, like corrections or homeland security, are also offered.

One of the great benefits of the Associate Degree in Criminal Justice is that it allows for more on-the-job experience, a feature that is becoming more and more attractive to potential employers.

The Top 10 Associate Level Criminal Justice Jobs

With so many radically different paths to follow within a criminal justice career, it can be difficult to choose an area of specialization. Do you feel most comfortable working in a law office, or are you drawn to the excitement of a career in law enforcement? Do you envision yourself working with troubled youth, or are you more interested in pursuing a job at a correctional facility? All of these positions have their own unique benefits and requirements.

In order to compile the following list of the Top 10 Associate Level Criminal Justice Jobs, three specific criteria were taken into consideration: salary, the potential for advancement, and overall job outlook.

1. Police Officer

Education requirements for police officers vary by agency, and there are generally more requirements for police detectives than for uniformed patrol officers. Generally, police officers are required to complete training at an agency’s police academy in addition to the degree they hold in criminal justice. Recruits at the academy study courses in civil rights, ordinances and laws, and they also learn technical procedures like emergency response and firearms training.

Once they have graduated from the academy, police officers are then responsible for patrolling and enforcing laws on the street, traffic citations, testifying in court, and arresting criminals. Police officers are also required to respond to emergency and non-emergency calls, and they need strong written communication skills in order to properly document incidents and file the requisite reports.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in May 2012 was $55,270. Detectives and criminal investigators make a little more, on average, at $74,300. Most police detectives and criminal investigators begin as patrol officers and work their way up, meaning that there is a strong opportunity for career development within the police force.

Overall, the job outlook for police and sheriff patrol officers is on the rise, albeit slowly, but there will always be a need for law enforcement officers at every level. This kind of job stability, coupled with a projected increase in available position between now and 2022, keeps this position at the top of the 10 best Associate Level Criminal Justice Jobs.

2. Paralegal

paralegalAn Associate Degree in Criminal Justice also provides a good foundation for a career as a paralegal, which is basically a legal assistant who assists lawyers in preparing for trials, hearings, and other legal enquiries. Paralegals prepare drafts of documents, investigate the details of testimonies, and sometimes serve as research assistants to discover laws pertinent to specific cases. The majority of paralegals supplement their criminal justice degrees with internships, and these can lead to permanent positions in law firms, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the average yearly salary of a paralegal at somewhere around $40,000, but suggests that paralegals working for larger private firms can make significantly more. There also appears to be a growing need for paralegals, higher than average, as law firms discover that hiring these flexible workers is just as efficient (and far more cost-effective) than employing both legal secretaries and lawyers. In addition, many corporations are staffing in-house legal departments with paralegals to try and cut their legal expenses, meaning that opportunities for qualified paralegals extend far beyond the traditional legal environment.

Competition for higher-paying paralegal positions can be fierce, but holding an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, pursuing certification in the National Association of Legal Assistants, and completing valuable internship hours can make you a viable candidate for these lucrative jobs.

3. Correctional Officer

correctionsCorrectional officers enforce laws inside prisons and jails, maintaining order and protecting inmates from assaults and theft. Within prison walls, correctional officers are responsible for controlling contraband and inmate behavior, as well as aiding in rehabilitation and the mediation of prisoner disputes.

Many state and local department of correction agencies require additional training for correctional officers. Much like police officers, correctional officers take classes in self-defense, security measures, and study laws about interpersonal relations within correctional facilities. There are many opportunities for advancement, and most correctional officers are regularly promoted to supervisory positions, or take advantage of openings in related field like parole or probation.

The median annual wage for an entry-level correctional officer was $38,970 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, but salaries increased with career advancement.

Ever year brings an increase to the number of those incarcerated by state and private correctional facilities. Though these rising numbers may seem dismal to most law-abiding citizens, for those who hold an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice they indicate a continued need for qualified correctional officers, making this a position that isn’t likely to disappear any time soon.

4. Private Investigator

piPrivate detectives and investigators work in a variety of environments, helping lawyers, companies, and individual clients discover the truth about people’s backgrounds, locate missing persons, and investigate unsolved crimes or criminal allegations. Private investigators are often employed by law firms to verify facts or to establish witness credibility, and P.I.s are also vital to investigations by insurance companies that suspect fraudulent claims. Depending on the type of work they are involved in, private investigators might spend a significant amount of their time in the field, doing surveillance, or they might work out of an office, pursuing online research and investigating computer crimes.

The majority of private investigators have some kind of background in criminal justice, and most states require them to be appropriately licensed. Depending on their background, specialization, and employer, private investigators can make more than $79,000 a year, but the median income reported for 2012 was $45,740.

According to The 2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook, increased concern over identity theft and other cybercrimes, including internet scams and insurance fraud, has created an increased demand for private investigators. Since advances in computer technology will only cause these types of crime to escalate in the future, the need for private investigators could see a steady rise between now and 2022.

5. Fish and Game Warden

game wardenThe primary responsibilities of fish and game wardens are to enforce laws related to fishing, hunting, and boating. For this reason, the majority of time spent on the job by a fish and game warden will involve patrolling wilderness and outdoor recreational areas to make sure all hunting and fishing laws are followed, and all boating ordinances are maintained. Fish and game wardens may also organize and respond to search and rescue calls, investigate accidents, and look into complaints pertaining to fish and wildlife maintenance, such as damage to crops caused by wildlife. It is also the responsibility of fish and game wardens to educate the public on existing game laws, to collect biological data, and to promote boating safety.

Some states, though not all, require fish and game warden candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management or another related field, but all game warden recruits are required to attend a training academy prior to their employment. At the academy, game warden cadets learn occupational procedures such as boat operation and maintenance, water rescue, firearms training and other security techniques, as well as various forms of wildlife and natural resource management skills.

Typically, state and federal agencies offer higher pay than local organizations, and there are generally better opportunities for career advancement in larger agencies. The median annual income for a fish and game warden was $49,730 in 2010. Regardless of the fact that hundreds of new game warden positions are added annually at both the federal and state level, job growth in this field has shown relatively little growth but the necessity to maintain this important workforce has remained a constant.

6. Fire Inspectors and Investigators

fire investigatorAlthough fire inspectors and fire investigators work closely in the same field, they each focus on dramatically different areas of criminal justice. Fire inspectors check to make sure businesses and individuals are complying with federal and state fire codes, and they are responsible for reporting code violations and any fire hazards that they discover. Inspectors closely examine evacuation plans, gasoline storage facilities, and test to make sure all fire protection equipment is in working order. If necessary, fire inspectors will return to make sure fire safety infractions have been properly corrected.

While fire inspectors focus primarily on fire prevention, fire investigators try to determine the causes of fires that have already occurred. Fire investigators will collect evidence at the scene of a fire, interview witnesses, and analyze the information they receive from laboratory testing to determine a fire’s origin. Fire investigators are also responsible for documenting the scene, maintaining detailed records and evidence for legal proceedings, and testifying in court as to their findings. Sometimes fire investigators are employed by private companies or insurance firms to validate claims and rule out arson.

After they complete their associate degree, fire inspectors and investigators are often certified with a national organization such as the National Fire Protection Association or the National Association of Fire Investigators. Many fire inspectors and investigators also have some experience in firefighting or law enforcement.

Because about three-quarters of fire inspectors and investigators are employed by local government, the United States Department of Labor currently reports a slow rate of job growth in this field. However, as the housing market recovers and the construction of new buildings increases, the demand for both inspectors and investigators will also rise. On average, fire inspectors and investigators can expect to earn somewhere around $50,000 per year, with some positions paying over $87,000 annually.

7. Crime Scene Technician

crime scene techOtherwise known as a “Forensic Science Technician,” many federal and state organizations require Crime Scene Technicians to possess a bachelor’s degree in forensic technology, but some agencies only require an associate degree, provided the candidate has ample experience in the field and laboratory. Crime scene technicians have strong backgrounds in science, chemistry, or biology, and they need to be incredibly detail-oriented in order to process evidence to be used in criminal investigations.

Crime Scene Technicians document and photograph every aspect of a crime scene, collecting evidence such as fingerprints, blood, and any other bodily fluids that may be present. It is the responsibility of the Crime Scene Technician to catalogue and preserve all evidence for use in future criminal proceedings. Depending on the agency with which the Crime Scene Technician is employed, some technicians are also responsible for laboratory analysis of evidence found at the scene, and the presentation of those findings in court.

Crime Scene Technicians can make anywhere between $32,000 and $85,000, depending on their level of education and experience, but on average make somewhere around $50,000 annually. The overall outlook for job growth in forensic science is slow, but new developments in forensic technology means that law enforcement agencies will come to depend more and more on forensic evidence in criminal trials.

8. Bailiff

bailiffIn law courts, bailiffs are responsible for providing security and maintaining order during legal proceedings and trials. Much like an officer at a correctional institute or a highly specialized security officer, bailiffs deliver documents, guard juries, and enforce the rules of the courtroom. Bailiffs, sometimes known as “court officers,” are also responsible for calling witnesses to the stand, presenting them with the oath, and calling the court to order by announcing the arrival of the judge.

Bailiffs often receive the same training as other correctional officers, and have the same opportunities for advancement or transfer. Because bailiffs work primarily in a court of law, they generally do not face the same levels of anxiety or illness brought on by employment within a correctional facility.

On average, bailiffs make around $36,000 per year. The job growth rate for bailiffs is the same as for correctional officers, but bailiffs have fewer opportunities for employment with private companies.

9. Police Dispatch

dispatchAlthough an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice is not a requirement for employment as a police dispatcher, a solid background in law and criminal activity can be of great benefit to anyone interested in this position. Police dispatchers are responsible for taking emergency and non-emergency calls and determining the best course of action for emergency first-responders.
Because most police dispatchers also work with fire fighters and EMT responders, it’s usually necessary for dispatch to evaluate which of the three emergency services is required, if not all three at once. Police dispatchers will radio the location and situation of the caller to the responding agencies, monitor the status of first-responding agencies, and sometimes offer medical instruction over the phone until the responders arrive.

While most police dispatchers work for state and local agencies, some dispatchers monitor alarm systems for private security firms, contacting law enforcement or fire safety officers when necessary. Police dispatchers are also responsible for communicating between jurisdictions to share information between law enforcement agencies.

Police Dispatch Operators require training for specialized equipment and high-risk procedures, and many agencies require an additional number of continuing education hours every few years. An aging population coupled with new innovations in emergency communications means that police and emergency dispatchers will be in high demand over the next decade. Because police and emergency dispatch is a high-stress job, there is also a significant turn-over rate for the position, meaning that new dispatchers are often needed to replace old dispatchers who are transitioning into less stressful positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police dispatchers earned a median annual wage of $36,300, depending largely on the agency for which they worked.

10. Security Officer

security officerSecurity officers perform a variety of duties depending on the environment in which they work. Campus security officers maintain order on college campuses, respond to student complaints and violations, and patrol to ensure the safety of students and college property. Security officers in businesses are often responsible for customer safety, controlling access to certain areas, and protecting merchandise from theft or damage. Most of the time, security officers work in collaboration with other law enforcement officials, detaining shoplifters until the police arrive or providing detailed witness statements for use in criminal court. Security officers generally patrol areas in order to deter criminal activity, or they occupy stationary locations (such as gatehouses or security desks) to verify credentials and monitor surveillance equipment.

Because the work environments for security officers can vary to such an extreme degree, the training required can be different for each position. In general, all security officers receive some form of on-the-job training, but specific security training can encompass everything from computer systems to firearms training.

Jobs in private security are expected to grow a significant amount in the next ten years as many individuals and private corporations hire on additional security forces to supplement police protection. The opportunities for advancement within the field are excellent, and a number of security officers eventually start their own security companies. In 2010, the median annual wage for a security officer was $24,020, but armed guards generally make higher wages, and those officers who hold an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice are often favored for advancement.

Beginning Your Career in Criminal Justice

Regardless of the position you choose in the criminal justice system, you can rest assured that your job will be an important one in maintaining the safety and wellbeing of your community. Holding an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice means that you have the potential to gain valuable first-hand experience in your career, make important connections in your chosen field, and assist in the greater good while advancing your own personal career goals. Whether or not you decide to continue your education in criminology or criminal justice, an Associate Degree is a good start to a career that can be both lucrative and personally fulfilling, gaining you access to the most important and exciting job options available.


Top 10 Entry Level Criminal Justice Jobs

Just a Career? Make Yours a Just Career!

For the socially conscious individual, there are few jobs that are more satisfying than a career that relates to criminal justice. Whether that job pertains to solving crime, protecting citizens from crime or defending alleged criminals with a sound legal defense, it is almost always the case that these jobs significantly benefit our society. Indeed, many people that have pursued these noble career paths state that they do so because they want to make a difference, serve their community and help others along the way.

police car

These are incredible goals to be sure and there are many ways in which these goals can be achieved within the criminal justice system. All too often, people watch a good episode of Law and Order and conclude that the criminal justice system primarily revolves around police, lawyers and judges, but the criminal justice system offers many other exciting career opportunities! While altruism and caring for the community can be primary goals for entering into this line of work, money still needs to be made to make any job a realistic career choice. Also of importance is how essential the job itself is in regards to criminal justice, as some jobs in the criminal justice system are too isolated from the justice aspect that so many find desirable.

Sponsored Criminal Justice Programs

For a job in the criminal justice system to be a great one for a career it needs to satisfy essential criteria. First, the job must promote a significant amount of social good and help others. Second, the job must pay a decent salary and be a good option for choosing a career. Finally, the job must be closely related to criminal justice and not merely tangentially related. It should go without saying, then, that all of the jobs in the following list of top 10 entry level jobs in criminal justice fit this criteria.

Of course, these are entry level criminal justice jobs, so don’t be expecting to find that dream FBI job on this list. Those jobs, and the higher salaries that come along with them, require years of experience in the field. The jobs on this list still pay decent salaries and give the tools and necessary experience to eventually transition into that dream criminal justice job! It should be noted, however, that this list is not ordered in terms of most to least desirable entry level criminal justice jobs. Rather, this is simply a list of 10 incredible jobs that satisfy the criteria as described above. Given the wide range of jobs and even wider range of motivations that lead individuals to these positions, a general list is preferable rather than an ordered one. Without further ado, here are 10 incredible jobs to get started in a fulfilling criminal justice career!

10. Border Patrol Agent

border patrolFor those that wish to pursue criminal justice as a career, there are few better entry level options than working as a border patrol agent. These jobs are incredibly important socially, as these agents work to prevent illegal aliens from entering American territory unlawfully. Further, a border patrol agent is tasked with monitoring the borders and waters of the United States. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is a border patrol agent’s duty to detain those that have entered the country unlawfully.

The application process for one of these positions is lengthy. On average, an application takes anywhere from a year to 18 months before it is completed. As a result, there are numerous job openings available. Even better, border patrol agents earn a median income of around $70,000 and salaries top out in the six figures range. While entry level pay is lower, these jobs offer very livable wages for recent college graduates. It should be noted that being over the age of 40, poor credit or previous convictions on your file will likely be enough to prevent an application from being successful.

Still, this job opens up the doors to many other criminal justice careers. Given that this position can be obtained with a simple bachelor’s degree, it is one of the best entry level criminal justice jobs available. Admittedly, enforcement of the borders is a hot button issue politically, but it is important to remember that these agents have caught numerous violent criminals. In some cases, border patrol agents have even given their lives serving their country in these positions. In short, no matter what anyone’s political opinions might be regarding the border, this is a job that any socially conscious individual interested in criminal justice should be proud to have.

9. Criminal Defense Paralegal

criminal defense paralegalWhile many enthusiasts of watching television shows about criminal law believe it is all about the lawyers, rest assured that the lawyer would never get his or her moment to shine without a good paralegal at the ready. Many criminal defense firms hire paralegals at the entry level, provided that they make a commitment to work at the firm for a specified time period. Usually, this period is around two years. The pay of a paralegal is also quite good for being an entry level position, as pay usually hovers between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. Obviously, this could be smaller if the criminal defense firm is a much smaller firm. Generally speaking though, the pay is quite good.

Further, a job as a criminal justice paralegal is incredibly close to the heart of the justice system. Criminal justice firms involve zealously representing and defending their clients. In essence, criminal defense involves the lives of other human beings that are hanging in the balance. A defense firm should always be seeking proper application of the law, and most importantly, fair and proportional treatment to their clients in an ethical context. A paralegal will lay much of the groundwork for this incredible pillar of the justice system to do its job properly. While it is true that the lawyer will reap most of the glory when that big “not guilty” verdict is handed down, he or she will know that the paralegal was an integral part in making it all happen.

A career as a paralegal will also prepare anyone well for other popular criminal justice fields in law. Many of the best judges and lawyers started out as paralegals gaining valuable experience before continuing their legal training in law school. Put simply, this is one of the most rewarding and essential entry level criminal justice jobs out there!

8. Fish and Game Warden

fish and gameIt is far from contradictory to say that an individual that values social justice would also love animals and nature. In fact, if anything, these notions are often complementary! For individuals that have this kind of outlook, a job as a fish and game warden would be an ideal entry level job in criminal justice. This is truly an ideal job for anyone that loves the outdoors, and the pay is certainly livable as the median pay is over $40,000 per year. Also, these jobs are often in more rural areas where the cost of living is lower, which would make that salary go even further.

This job is also very important to the justice system, as preserving wildlife and nature’s beauty is an invaluable benefit to society. Too many movies that poke fun of these types of jobs leave the general public with the impression that these jobs leave authorities powerless and helpless when individuals infringe on established laws. However, that could not be further from the truth. Fish and game wardens do have the authority to fine or arrest those that are in violation of the law when it occurs within their patrolling area. So not only does this job promote a great deal of social good while preserving nature, it also is directly related to criminal justice since you are preventing crime and arresting suspects if criminal activity occurs! This is one more of many great ways to start a career in criminal justice.

7. Child Protective Services Worker

child protective servicesFew jobs are more socially relevant than the job of a child protective services worker. These employees provide services that assist and aid the social and psychological well-being of families and their children. These incredible people ensure that neglect and abuse will be dealt with when they have taken place in the lives of children. Further, they often counsel families when parental decisions endanger children and help to identify beneficial resources for these troubled families. In extreme cases, these workers save children by removing them from unfit homes when they are in danger and place them in loving foster homes. In short, the social utility of these jobs is hard to find anywhere else.

The trade-off of having a job with such incredible value is that the pay is usually a bit lower than some of the other entry level jobs on this list. Their salaries are usually around $35,000 a year. This wage is still livable or it would not be on this list. Even so, do not expect to be getting rich any time soon.

This position is also crucial to the justice system as these workers are often a first line of defense for helpless children in the justice system. Further, their expertise is often counted on in family law courts when certain facts around abuse and neglect may be at issue. These jobs also open up great advancement opportunities for anyone that is hoping to work in the juvenile justice system to help rehabilitate troubled young people.

6. Parole Officer

parole officerSpeaking of rehabilitation, one of the most socially beneficial jobs in the justice system is that of a parole officer. These officers are the first point of contact for recently released inmates. Usually, these inmates have been released for good behavior and it is the parole officer’s job to make sure that this good behavior continues.

In our society, we value the rehabilitative aspects of prison, since it is a general precept of the human justice system that human beings can change and be rehabilitated back into law-abiding citizens. The parole officer, then, plays an essential role in this system, since he is in effect the person that reintroduces the parolee back into society. He is tasked with finding the released individual employment and helping them to get back on their feet so to speak. This can even include helping them find required schooling to further their education when necessary. The fact that these officers both keep society safe while performing much of the rehabilitative functions for released inmates makes this an incredibly desirable job for socially conscious individuals.

The pay is also more than respectable. With the median salary hovering around $40,000 a year, this is a very livable wage that will allow someone to get great experience in the criminal justice system that can help them catapult to bigger positions down the road.

5. Correctional Officer

correctional officerFew entry level criminal justice jobs are as challenging or as rewarding as the duties of a correctional officer. Entrusted with maintaining order and controlling rowdy inmate, this job is one of the most difficult jobs to perform on this list. Making sure that criminals follow the rules of the prison is an incredible challenge given the fact that inmates are typically imprisoned because they do not care about society’s rules in the first place.

The primary job functions of these officers involve supervising and searching the inmates and their respective sleeping areas. While doing this, officers are careful in searching for any drugs or dangerous objects such as shivs that could compromise the integrity and safety of the prison. Further responsibilities include regular reports on the conduct of the inmates and they are also responsible for enforcing facility regulations. Put plainly, prisons would not function without correctional officers. As such, it should come as little surprise that these jobs are directly tied to the success of our criminal justice system.

The salary for these positions is also a livable wage, with the median income for a job as a correctional officer hovering around $35,000 per year. This job is also one of the easiest ways to get job experience within the criminal justice system. Typically, the minimum education is a high school diploma, making these jobs one of the easiest entry level jobs to secure if they do not have an intention of pursuing higher education.

4. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Officers

Immigration and CustomsWhen considering a criminal justice career, keeping citizens safe is often the primary reason why people want to pursue this type of work. Usually, government jobs offer some of the most meaningful ways to find employment while ensuring the safety of American citizens. The jobs of customs and immigration enforcement officers are no exception to this rule. Further, these jobs are found with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Needless to say, these jobs are of crucial importance then to maintaining the security of our country.

As the primary investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, these officers are tasked with enforcing federal laws regarding the borders, trade laws, customs and immigration. Suffice it to say, the particular duties any one officer might be assigned in these fields of work are too broad to cover for the purposes of this general article. However, with security around the globe continuing to tighten, demand for these exciting jobs will continue to grow!

The salary for these positions are also competitive. Starting salaries usually hover in the $40,000 range, though the salary can climb much higher if assigned to a higher cost of living area. Further, these jobs can lead to even greater opportunities within the Department of Homeland Security, including specialized agent positions. This is yet another job that anyone interested in a criminal justice career should add to their short list of potential starting jobs.

3. Non-Profit Organization Advocate

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIn the United States, we pride ourselves on having a system of justice that is both fair and just. Inevitably, however, our system is not perfect. Like any system, injustice is occasionally done and people sometimes fall through the cracks so to speak. A non-profit organization advocate is an essential piece in the justice system that looks to prevent these injustices. These incredible jobs are as broad in work duties as they are in their intents, but typically in one of these positions an individual will find themselves working on behalf of victims of the justice system or individuals that have been wrongly accused. Sometimes, the work will involve working on reducing overly harsh sentences when the punishment that was handed down by a judge does not fit the crime.

It should go without saying, then, that this job is indispensable to the justice system. While most of the jobs on this list involve enforcing the law, arresting criminals or helping criminals that have already served their time rehabilitate their lives, this job serves as a balancing act against these other jobs. This is not to say, once again, that these other jobs are harmful. In fact, those jobs are far from harmful! It is merely to say that sometimes the flawed human element can corrupt the justice system and the jobs that these organization advocates do act as a necessary balance against these injustices.

Despite the immense social utility of these jobs, it is difficult to specify a pay range. For some of the most desirable non-profit organizations the pay can be quite good. For others however, the pay can be incredibly low, even going under $30,000 sometimes. For this reason, it is difficult to emphatically state that the salary for these positions are easily livable wages, but in many cases they can be. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals interested in this line of work do their due diligence of understanding the pay structure of various organizations as well as understand the potential financial sacrifices that may or may not be necessary to take one of these rewarding jobs.

2. Private Detective

private investigatorWhat should a socially conscious person do if they want to bring criminals to justice and help with social good if they want to be their own boss at the same time? One way to answer that question by thinking outside of the box a little bit is to become a private detective.

This job will allow for the social good that you do to be as much or as little as you prefer. Indeed, a private detective can investigate just about anything provided that the intrepid detective has the needed client base to do the work that he or she wants. Admittedly, that is the difficulty of being a private detective. That is why constant networking will be as essential to performing this job as the essential detective skills are. However, once the right clientele is established and the work that the detective does is fantastic, then it should become an incredible source of income and pay.

Speaking of income, like the non-profit organization advocate positions described earlier, this is not an easy job to figure out in terms of what the expected income will be. So much of that depends on the detective’s rates and the amount of clients that are willing to pay it. It is not altogether dissimilar from hanging a shingle in any line of business, whether that is an internet start-up or a new law firm. In short, the determination of the social good and the pay largely comes down to the individual that is starting out his detective business. With the right attitude, the right price and the right networking strategy, this could be the most rewarding job of all listed on this page. After all, it is hard to complain about being your own boss!

1. Police Officer

police officerLast, but certainly not least, is the job of police officer. This is probably the first and foremost job that comes to mind when the general public thinks of the criminal justice system. Even better, these desirable jobs do not require a college degree, so those that wish to serve the general public in this capacity can jump in straight out of high school! Almost all entry level police officer positions will start out at the patrol officer level. This job salary will vary based on the location of where the officer’s job is, but suffice it to say that the pay is quite good. Usually, pay will start out around or slightly above $45,000. The best part about these positions is that police officers are always retiring and moving into new lines of work. Coupled with the fact that practically every county in the country has police officers, hopeful future officers can rest assured that this job will always be in demand!

Regarding the social utility of these jobs, it is hard to think of many jobs that are more service-oriented and give back to a community more than the job of a police officer. These officers stand in the gap and are the first line of defense against crime harming the citizens that they are sworn to protect. The crimes and infractions that these officers help enforce and prevent can range from the smallest of infractions to the most serious of community threats. They will investigate the minor crimes, patrol community areas and they will absolutely be on the job when it comes to apprehending serious suspects and chasing down criminals. Finally, and probably everyone’s least favorite aspect about police officers, they are more than willing to issue traffic citations!

At any rate, it should be noted that while these jobs are absolutely entry level, they do require their fair share of training at the police academy. Also, while a college degree is not absolutely required, it is often preferred. This is particularly the case in areas where police officer positions are in higher demand and are more competitive. However, all of this training pays dividends. A job as a police officer can lead to specialized detective jobs, positions with the FBI, CIA and so many other wonderful job opportunities in criminal justice. In essence, for those dedicated to service and their communities, the job of police officer is a true honor and one that any socially oriented and courageous individual should look into.

Pursuing a Career in Criminal Justice

This article has outlined a good assortment of quality jobs and ideas to help get the ball rolling for anyone that has thought about an exciting career in criminal justice. While not all of these jobs will be for everyone, the list is broad and expansive enough that there should have been some job that was appealing if someone is truly interested in criminal justice. For those that love to make a difference, pursuing a career in criminal justice is a decision that will never be regretted!


Top 10 Master’s Level Criminal Justice Jobs

criminal justice mastersIt’s common knowledge that a criminal justice degree can help you get your foot in the door for many different fulfilling and well-paying jobs, but a master’s degree can open multiple other doors as well. Whether you’ve completed your master’s degree in criminal justice or you’re kicking around with the thought of doing so, these are ten different jobs that anyone with a master’s degree in criminal justice can expect to be qualified for.

The criteria used to rate the criminal justice careers chosen for this list is primarily the job outlook of the position in question.

Criminal Profiler

A criminal profiler is an individual that works to literally design and create profiles of criminals in order to help law enforcement solve crimes. The criminal profiler will examine various aspects about the crime(s) that have been committed by the criminal in order to develop a personality profile. This profile can be used to track down and even possibly predict the next move of the criminal in question.

A profiler will work alongside other investigators in order to develop an in-depth understanding of the criminal. They might spend long hours investigating and researching details and evidence from a crime scene in order to create a detailed profile that can be later used in bringing the criminal to justice. Various aspects of the crime that are taken into account by the criminal profiler often include how the criminal carried his/her crimes out, where the crimes took place, communications possibly left by the criminal, how the crimes were timed, any linking factors between victims, and more.

The criminal profiler will spend a lot of his/her time analyzing reports, visiting and studying the scenes of crime, creating reports, testifying in court, working alongside other law enforcement officials, and conducting research.

Job Outlook:

Many criminal profilers are currently employed by either federal or state organizations. However, many are also employed by the NCAVC (National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime). Some of these individuals earn a salary up to $140,000. The mean at this time is around $77,000. The field for criminal profiling is one that requires lots of experience in addition to a master’s degree, and it is one that is not highly abundant in jobs. However, criminal profilers that are employed are extremely valuable to their employer, organization, or institution. It is a field that is expected to slightly grow over the next several years.

Director of Court Services

The director of court services is often expected to design and implement compliant procedures and practices for court systems. Additionally, they are often directors and managers of many different projects in various programs such as jury systems, financial auditing, records management, child support enforcement, court operations, forms creation, and so much more.

The director of court services will also often recruit and terminate staff for the court services division, and he/she will handle training, coaching, and orientation for subordinate officails.

It is almost always preferred that an individual applying for a position as a director of court services display qualities such as a strength in making managerial decisions, the ability to communicate and lead, and the ability to handle various issues at once, as some might suddenly arise.

These individuals generally work in court systems and will rarely be presented with the need to commute elsewhere for their duties.

Job Outlook:

A director of court services generally sees an annual salary of anywhere from $54,000 to $59,000. However, salaries highly depend on the geographic location of the job. In some places, a director of court services might earn $35,000. In other places, he/she might be able to earn upwards of $80,000. The growth for this particular position and related careers is expected to see an 11% increase between 2012 and 2022. It’s worth it to note that this type of job is generally not obtainable if the applicant does not already work for the court system as, for example, a court clerk.


A criminologist is a particular type of sociologist that focuses on studying the underlying factors that drive people to commit crimes and break the law. Using research conducted to determine driving factors for crime and illegal behavior, criminologists can then devise strategies to help prevent it.

In order for the criminologist to actively help prevent crime, he/she examines trends, patterns, and statistics, and geographic locations and demographics are also taken into account. Over the course of his/her career, the criminologist will spend the majority of their time conducting research. The criminologist might conduct research from the location of an office or study, or they might gather data and information in real-world situations.

It’s not entirely uncommon for criminologists to interview criminals to determine underlying motives and factors that have contributed to their crimes. Some are closely tied with political figures, community officials, and law enforcement professionals to help them design policies for crime prevention. They can work for a number of employers including the government, committees, law enforcement agencies, universities/colleges, etc.

Skills that are required of a criminologist include strengths in mathematics (particularly being able to study statistics and determine probability), interpersonal communication, writing, and more.

Job Outlook:

Because criminologists work for many different types of employers, their salaries can range anywhere from $40,000 to more than $120,000. Sociology in general is expected to increase in outlook over the next several years. One of the major factors that contribute to the greater need for sociologists and specifically criminologists is population growth. Therefore, crime numbers are likely to increase proportionately. Additionally, criminology is a unique career. While growth and availability is expected to increase, it is still a rather uncommon position, and it would likely be somewhat difficult to find employment.

U.S. Marshal

A U.S. Marshal is an individual that undertakes many basic and high profile duties in law enforcement. U.S. Mashals can be involved in an array of operations that ensure that criminals are brought to justice. They often help task forces track down and bring criminals to justice, manage and transport prisoners, protect jurors, judges, and other individuals involved in the judiciary process, protect witnesses, and much more.

Because U.S. Marshals are needed in a variety of situations and procedures, they have many options for work environments. U.S. Marshals commonly work in prisons, courtrooms, offices, or even on a travel basis.

There are a variety of preferred skills and qualities by employers for U.S. Marshal candidates. These include excellent physical condition, the ability to work on a team with other law enforcement officials, as well as prisoners and the public, and being able to write clearly and well. U.S. Marshals often create reports and complete paperwork, so this means that written communication is just as important as verbal. It is also preferred that prospective applicants be well-versed at keeping up with trends in law enforcement and being able to adapt quickly to new situations and procedures.

Job Outlook:

At the beginning of employment, U.S. Marshals can earn anywhere from $38,000 to $48,000 per year. After they have completed a successful year of employment, promotion opportunities typically open up. Because the need for Marshals in law enforcement is and always has been a integral part of the criminal justice system, there will always be a demand for them. The agency hires when positions open up and funding allows, so it’s a great idea to stay on top of the available careers via the U.S. Marshals government website.

FBI Agent

FBI agents are responsible for conducting criminal investigations at the national level. Types of crimes that FBI agents commonly look into are those that involve terrorism, organized crime, extortion, drug trafficking, white collar crime, foreign counterintelligence, and more. These types of agents have the ability to execute/obtain warrants, collect evidence, and appear in court. They also commonly interact with suspects and witnesses in order to collect evidence and intelligence on a particular case.

Applicants with knowledge of multiple language are generally great candidates for linguist positions. These individuals can help law enforcement analyze and prevent terrorism. In some cases, an FBI agent might go undercover in order to obtain information or evidence concerning a specific case. Wiretaps might be used and other types of technology might be used to obtain this sensitive information.

Work environments for FBI agents vary greatly. One FBI agent might work in an office day in and day out, while another might work out in the field. Many of these professionals spend lots of time in both settings. Travel might also be a frequent requirement for the FBI agent.

Job Outlook:

The median salary for an FBI agent is roughly $67,000. The lowest in the range of salaries comes in at around $54,000, while the highest ranks at around $106,000. The job market and outlook for FBI agents is only expected to grow at a rapid pace. As the population grows and national security becomes more important for keeping the nation safe, positions will become more common. Those with military experience and knowledge of more than one language will see the best chances at finding jobs as FBI agents.

DEA Agent

A DEA agent is a law enforcement official that is responsible for conducting research on the drug industry and bringing perpetrators to justice. Because the drug industry is so vast, the location of DEA agent’s job can vary greatly. They can literally, in some cases, be enlisted and assigned to travel anywhere in the world.

Job duties of a DEA agent often include observing and tracking drug-related activity, writing reports, coordinating and managing anti-drug task force efforts, assisting in undercover tasks, apprehending and arresting criminals, testifying in court, confiscating evidence such as money, drugs, or weapons, and administering investigations.

Because DEA agents work closely with the drug industry to apprehend criminals, the field comes with quite a bit of risk attached. The risk is most amplified when DEA agents undertake undercover work. In certain operations, the agent might be tasked with handling of large amounts of drugs or money. In addition, many agents that go undercover might have to remove all of their credentials identifying their position for the time being to avoid conflict with criminals.

Job Outlook:

Because the war on drugs is one that continues to rage and require attention, there will always be a demand for DEA agents. The agency hires qualifying candidates on a periodic basis, and these candidates can begin the process via their local recruiting offices. The average salary of a DEA agent in their first year can expect anything from $47,000 to $57,000. This depends significantly on the location of the job. Once four years have been completed on the job as a DEA agent, he/she will likely be eligible for promotion and a $90,000+ annual salary.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology is an area of criminal justice that focuses largely on using the study of behavior to help solve problems such as custody conflicts, lawsuits, and insurance disputes. They spend a lot of their time within civil courts and working alongside criminals to help determine solutions for various cases.

A forensic psychologist is often responsible for assessing individuals for competency in different cases, administering therapy to victims of crime, and even providing second opinions. They will also commonly be assigned to work with child witnesses and give overall assessments/evaluations of offenders.

In cases that involve children, forensic psychologists often evaluate custody cases, follow up on reports of abuse, and help determine the eligibility certain individuals have of caring for their children.

Qualities often required of forensic psychologists include problem-solving skills, a want for working alongside others, patience, commitment, and creativity. Additionally, those that anticipate breaking into this career should enjoy studying and researching psychology and law. This type of career is undoubtedly highly challenging, but incredibly rewarding.

Job Outlook:

At a rate of around 12%, the job outlook for forensic psychologists is expected to grow over the next several years. Because the demand for psychological services in the criminal justice system will grow (partly due to population increases), job opportunities will as well. It’s important to understand that a forensic psychologist’s salary weighs heavily on the experience of the individual, as well as their geographic location. At any rate, the median salary over the past few years has been roughly $64,000 annually. Those that plan to apply for work via a government organization can expect to earn a slightly lower amount, but not by much. Those employed through the government earned an annual median of around $63,000.

College-Level Professor

A college-level criminal justice professor is an individual the instructs students on topics such as law, society, criminology, crime psychology and patterns, and more. Common job duties of a college-level criminal justice professor include developing lesson plans, creating assignments, and keeping tabs on their students’ progress by observing their performance via grades, tests, and papers.

Professors also generally advise students on career choices and paths according to their goals and aspirations. They help administer this advice by staying informed on trends and what is happening in the fields of criminal justice and law. To do this, they might research scholarly articles, participate in seminars, and stay in touch with colleagues and other knowledgeable individuals in the field. Many students resort to approaching their instructors for advice. Therefore, it is highly likely that any professor will consult their students on this subject from time to time.

Skills that are preferred for college-level criminal justice professors include strong communication skills, being able to work alongside other members of faculty, the ability to develop competitive and relevant lesson plans, and more. The professor must also be extremely resourceful for students, and he/she must possess strong critical thinking and writing skills. It’s not entirely uncommon that professors write and publish analysis and research papers.

Job Outlook:

The median annual salary of a criminal justice college professor is roughly $59,000. At this point, the demand for criminal justice professors is high. In general, job growth for college professors is expected to increase by 15% in the decade preceding 2018. Specifically, criminal justice professor demand will grow at a faster rate; by at least 20%. If you possess strong communication and leadership skills, it’s obvious that a career as a criminal justice college professor is a promising one.

Federal Probation Officer

Offenders that commit federal crimes are generally assigned federal probation officers. The job of a federal probation officer generally consists of staying in close contact with offenders, monitoring their behavior and daily activity, and creating/submitting detailed reports on this information to the court system. If a federal probation officer catches the offender breaking the law or the stipulations of their probation, they are typically required to take them into custody.

It is common for federal probation officers to have several probationers at once to manage. This means that they must have a strong sense of time management, and they must be able to stay ahead of their duties. A large part of the federal probation officer’s job is meeting regularly with offenders and speaking with their close acquaintances. In some cases, the officer might commute to their probationers’ homes to meet with them. In other instances, the probationers might be required to appear at the officer’s work place periodically to provide a status report and/or to complete drug testing evaluation. Federal probation officers often write reports on sentence recommendations and the statuses of their offenders. In some cases, federal probation officers might also testify in court as witnesses.

Job Outlook:

The median salary for a federal probation officer is around $48,000. Between the years of 2010 and 2020, the outlook for federal probation officers and probation officers in general is expected to grow by just under 20%. One of the primary reasons that this job position is at a higher demand is due to prison crowding and the lack of funds to keep these facilities operating efficiently due to the crowding. Lawmakers and law enforcement are actively searching for alternative means for imprisonment, and in this case, many offenders are being sentenced with parole/probation.

Criminal Justice Management

Criminal justice management is a broad term that blankets many different types of positions and jobs. A job in criminal justice management could be anything from a police chief of a relatively small force to a director of development at criminology or criminal justice college. In general, a person in a criminal justice administration position will oversee the capture of criminals and provide direction for staff under him/her for doing so.

Generally, these individuals are extremely knowledgeable and trained on various aspects such as emergency procedures, security protocols, and policing measures. Rather than searching out a particular job position in job listings, students with master’s degrees in criminal justice can search out various management positions for lots of different organizations and administrations. These types of positions call for graduates with extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system as well as vast skill sets in managing others, leadership, and collaboration.

Various types of jobs that could possibly be available to those with master’s degrees in criminal justice that are looking for careers in criminal justice management include police administration, security management, correctional administration, government management, management of juvenile corrections, border patrol supervision, and much more. The list is highly extensive.

Job Outlook:

Currently, there are several career paths in the criminal justice administration field that are trending. A few of these include, with median salaries, police chiefs ($85,000), security directors ($78,000), security managers ($53,000), etc. Because this type of field is so vast, the outlook for it is tremendous. There are many different paths that one can take when leaning in this direction. Just a few include probation/parole, federal law enforcement, emergency planning and management, loss prevention, risk compliance, and more