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Criminal Investigator

What Does a Criminal Investigator Do?

Criminal investigators are employed by law enforcement agencies to look into potential crimes. They spend a great deal of time researching information about the cases they are investigating and learn about the suspects and conditions that led to the crime. The research assists investigators know what to look for when they examine a crime scene. Criminal investigators also gather evidence to use in a case and try to identify suspects. Often times criminal investigators are hired to testify in court regarding their opinion about a certain crime.

What Education is Needed to Become a Criminal Investigator?

Criminal investigators must have a forensic science or criminal justice degree at the bachelor’s level. Many complete a master’s degree in criminal justice or criminal law.

How Much Do Criminal Investigators Make?

The average salary for criminal investigators varies on numerous factors including location, employer, education, experience, and benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2017 median salary was around $79,970 annually, or $38.45 hourly wage.

Criminalist

A criminalist is a jack of all trades in the criminal justice system. They are used to help identify discrepancies and analyze evidence. Often, a criminalist passes information pertaining to an individual’s crimes on to their employer. These employers might include government agencies or private laboratories. A criminalist should not be confused with a criminologist– which is an individual who studies the social and psychological makeup of crime.

Criminalists often have advanced degrees in the field of criminal justice. This includes a degree in criminalistics, forensic science, and criminal justice. Advanced degrees usually extend beyond a bachelor’s in these fields. However, that’s not to say that it’s a required part of the job.

Being a criminalist entails working directly with crime and the criminal justice system. These individuals work to help officers and detectives work through the crime. It is fairly common for criminalists to testify afterward due to their expertise. A criminalist can expect to make a decent living in their chosen profession. The median income hovers around $57,850 per year, but it does depend on the employer, the level of the criminalist’s education, and their experience.

Criminal Justice Administrator

In order to help deter crimes from taking place, many individuals choose to obtain a college degree in criminal justice. With crimes always becoming more complex, it only makes sense that educational degrees become more complex themselves. A great degree to obtain to help fight crime as well as rehabilitate offenders is a Criminal Justice Administration degree. This type of degree provides students with the innovative knowledge that they need to effectively carry out criminal justice procedures.

With a Criminal Administration degree, students will find they have a multitude of career paths to choose from. From becoming a police officer to a substance abuse counselor, the education provided through this type of degree program equips students for many types of job positions. A Criminal Justice Administration degree curriculum covers the following areas of study: administration, probation, delinquency, crime control, law enforcement, criminal justice leadership, corrections, and much more.

Criminal Psychologist

If you have always wanted to work with helping others and in the field of criminal justice, obtaining a degree in criminal psychology and working towards becoming a forensic or criminal psychologist is a way for you to make a difference in the justice system itself. A criminal psychologist often works with law enforcement agencies to help with finding criminals, interviewing them and studying them based on the crimes they have committed or their thoughts on the actions and crimes they have participated in.

Criminal psychologists are required to work independently on cases to find evidence and to testify in court against potential criminals. Criminal psychologists have a complete understanding of the human mind as well as criminal behavior to help with identifying potential mental illnesses and those who may be trying to cheat the legal system by pretending to be mentally ill. The average median salary of a criminal psychologist is $57,228.

Criminologist

Have a criminal justice degree and need to find something to do with it? Why not be a criminologist? Criminology is a subset of sociology, it is the study of criminal behavior and it’s causes, nature, and extent, and how to control it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sociologist, which includes criminologist, had a median average salary of $79,650 in 2017. As a general criminal justice career, criminology is one of the broadest-reaching fields of study. Primarily, a criminologist works to understand crime and criminals with the ultimate goal of reducing or eliminating that type of crime. Criminologists are involved in nearly every aspect of criminal justice.

Sociologist

A scientist who studies how cultures and civilizations effect humans and their behavior is commonly referred to as a sociologist. This type of professional will sometimes only study particular groups of society; however, he or she may study society as a whole as well. A large portion of people who become sociologists teach their knowledge at colleges and universities. Those who do not teach often find employment as counselors and consultants.

In order to become a full-fledged sociologist, a person will need to have a doctorate degree in sociology. There are many areas of study that can be found within the field of sociology. If a person has a special area of interest and wants to become a sociologist, it is advised that he or she focus on the particular area of interest; this will better enable him or her to receive an education that leads to a career that he or she will thoroughly enjoy.

Witness Assistant

The role of the witness assistant is to provide support services for victim witnesses, including information regarding the disposition of the trial, transportation to and from court appearances and referral services. The position is graded based on the complexity of the case. Newcomers to the role work primarily with witnesses in misdemeanor and other less complex cases.

A witness assistant must be able to interpret state statutes regarding their cases, communicate clearly in both oral and written capacity, and have basic knowledge of information technology systems. They may satisfy employment requirements with an online degree in criminal justice or experience in the provision of social services in an interviewer’s capacity. The average salary for witness assistants is currently unavailable, however, similar occupations such as victim advocates have a median salary of $$34,716.

The primary duty for individuals in this position is conducting interviews of the witness and providing the necessary level of support. This might include psychological counseling, medical care and shelter.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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