Criminal Justice in New York

With the nation’s most prominent city, the state of New York is one of the places in the US where criminal justice is a major occupation. For prospective criminal justice students in the Empire State, and working professionals who want to advance, there is a wealth of opportunity.

What Criminal Justice Careers are Available in New York?

Criminal justice jobs in New York encompass a very large area with a lot of options involved. There is also the related field of criminology and there is a lot of overlap. Criminal justice jobs in New York prepare one to be a police officer, parole officer, social worker, crime analyst, security officer, and many other things. Paralegals can start in this field, and many lawyers start as criminal justice students in New York.

Featured Schools

With a four-year degree, you could get a BA or BS degree, and that could lead to a master’s degree. Entry-level criminal justice jobs in New York do not always require a degree, but to go above that at all, you will need a degree. Many schools also offer special focuses to qualify you for specific jobs. It is a competitive field, and some schools offer an internship to help you get a little experience.

Where are the Best Areas in New York for Criminal Justice Jobs?

New York City would be the obvious answer since it is such a huge city, there are always criminal justice jobs in New York City in many fields. It may also be competitive there if you are trying to get high profile job. The Criminal Justice Degree Hub ranks New York City, specifically Manhattan, as the second-best place in America for police jobs. Criminal justice jobs in New York City are available because that area has the second-highest concentration of police in the nation.

Counter-terrorism and organized crime are also aspects of criminal justice jobs in New York City, which adds to the job opportunities as well. According to state statistics, the state has 25 state law enforcement agencies, 120 county agencies, more than 450 municipal agencies, and 35 universities that have their own security force. 

Another option is the state capital in Albany. Many of the state agencies are headquartered there, and many law enforcement training agencies as well.  While there are many jobs in New York City, there are plenty of other areas for criminal justice jobs in New York.

Criminal justice graduates can also be qualified to work in prisons or penitentiary. Being a jailer or a guard in such a facility can be a rewarding, if dangerous, career.

There is also a lot of support personnel needed in a city as big as New York, so there would be lots of career opportunities there. Paralegals and other administrative staff could find jobs there as well.

What are the Different Levels of Careers?

Even without a criminal justice degree, you could get a job as a security officer, and this could count as some job experience for a higher level job once you get your degree. Every level of government is involved in criminal justice in some way, so there are jobs at every level. There are entry-level police officers at the city, county, and state levels. 

At the county level, there are sheriff’s deputies, and at the state level many organizations have investigators and some have their own law enforcement capabilities. There are county jails that need guards, and there are jobs at the state level in penitentiaries and prisons. 

Paralegals and support personnel of various kinds are also needed at every level of government.

At the highest end are attorneys, and many of them start with a criminal justice degree.

How is the Job Market for Criminal Justice Professionals in New York?

Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics said criminal justice-related jobs increased faster than the national average through 2018. The Bureau also predicts criminal justice careers in New York will increase five percent above the national average for all jobs through 2030. 

As of 2019, there were 813,000 police and detectives working in the state, and 40,000 new jobs were expected to be added by 2029.

In the criminal justice world, police try to prevent crime and arrest those that commit crimes. The courts prosecute criminals, and the jail system houses those conflicted. Anything related to these three areas would have a need for people with criminal justice degrees.

There are jobs out there, but it is competitive as it is a popular field. Most employers want people with experience, so it is a good idea to get an internship while in school to get a criminal justice career in New York started. Doing some volunteer work in your field could also help get some experience.

How Much Can I Make in a Criminal Justice Job?

New York City has the highest criminal justice salary in New York, but also the highest cost of living. As you go to smaller towns the criminal justice salary in New York gets lower. The cost of living is also lower so there is a balance to seek. Police officers in New York average $70,000 and the national average is $58,000. Detectives average $88,000, more than the national average of $79,000. Correctional officers in jails or prisons average $63,000, which is well over the national average of $44,000.

Financial Aid in New York

Some of the many different state-based scholarships and grants that could be used for attaining a criminal justice degree include:

  • Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) – provided to eligible New York State residents that attend an approved post-secondary institution in the state and maintain good academic standing full-time with more than 12 credits a semester
  • TELACU Scholarship Program – offered for low income, first generation college students that are attending one of the partnering colleges or universities in the state and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5
  • New York State Higher Education Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) – grants financial assistance to eligible part-students that are enrolled in approved undergraduate studies, based on net taxable income.


10 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs in New York

Best States for a Criminal Justice Career

Best Cities for a Criminal Justice Career

Best Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees

Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice