Criminal Justice in Oregon

There are a lot of Oregon criminal justice jobs one can get with a degree in criminal justice. There is also the field of criminology and there is not much difference between that and criminal justice. Criminal justice jobs in Oregon can include preparation for law school, being a police officer, a parole officer, a crime analyst, and many other things.

What Criminal Justice Careers are Available in Oregon?

Anything related to law and law enforcement is encompassed in the idea of criminal justice jobs in Oregon. Criminology is more related to the science of crime itself, while criminal justice is more related to the enforcement of the law.  There are four-year BS or BA degrees, as well as master’s degrees that qualify one for jobs at different levels.  Many lawyers start with a criminal justice degree for their undergraduate work. Many schools also offer different concentrations to qualify people for Oregon criminal justice jobs. Social workers also often have a criminal justice background to some extent. Paralegals and various clerical-type jobs are also available in law enforcement agencies that would be helped with a criminal justice degree.

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Where are the Best Areas in Oregon for Criminal Justice Jobs?

Criminal justice jobs in Portland Oregon are popular, and since it is the largest city in the state it makes sense. There would be more jobs for law enforcement, security, and related social services that could involve a criminal justice degree in larger cities. The state capital of Salem hosts the state department of corrections, as well as the state penitentiary, so there should be plenty of jobs related to corrections. Most state agencies related to law enforcement would also be in Salem. Eugene, about the same size as Salem but further south, is also an area that should have a lot of jobs in corrections and security-type operations. 

What are the Different Levels of Careers?

Most criminal justice jobs in Oregon are government jobs, so there would be this type of job at all levels of government. In cities and small towns, there are policemen as well as guards for jails, that would need a criminal justice education background. At the county level, there are sheriff’s deputies, and often county jails need guards.

At the state level, there are more corrections types jobs because of the prison system. State troopers are a state-level law enforcement division, and the state also has many other law enforcement-type agencies. There could also be federal jobs in law enforcement that you could have in Oregon.

Oregon is also a rural state, and that means there would be a need for game and wildlife officials, which could also fall under the criminal justice area.  Private investigators, and private security officers, are another type of job people in Oregon could be qualified for with a criminal justice degree.

How is the Job Market for Criminal Justice Professionals in Oregon?

The National Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates police and law enforcement jobs will increase by about five percent per year, which is a little above the national average. For probation officers and corrections officers, that growth is expected to be at the national average of about four percent. In 2019 there were 813 police and law enforcement officers in Oregon, with an annual increase of about 40,000.  There were 92,000 corrections officers in the state in 2019, with an increase of 3,400 from the previous year.

There are jobs available, but it is very competitive as this is a popular field. Often at least an internship is required as most jobs require some level of experience. Many schools offer an internship as part of the educational process. You may have to volunteer or be an auxiliary officer to get some experience to go with your degree. 

Another area for criminal justice jobs in Oregon is that of the social worker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts good growth in this area of about 16 percent, which is well above the national average. 

How Much Can I Make with a Criminal Justice Career?

The average policeman or sheriff’s deputy makes about $64,000 per year for a criminal justice salary in Oregon. The national average regardless of the job is $39,000. Probation and corrections officers average $54,000 per year in Oregon.  Social workers with a criminal justice degree make about $46,000 per year, and the national average is $37,000 for social workers.

Large cities like Portland, and mid-sized cities like Salem or Eugene, will pay significantly more than small towns for similar jobs. Even so, it is usually easier to get a job in a smaller town.

Most of these are government jobs, and most government jobs have regular raises in pay that are built-in when a person starts working.  There are also state benefits available that are an added bonus to a criminal justice salary in Oregon.


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