Criminal Justice in Washington

With an online degree in criminal justice, there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to criminal justice jobs in Washington state. Criminal justice involves enforcing laws, and there is the related degree of criminology that studies crime itself. 

What Criminal Justice Jobs Can I Get in Washington?

With a criminal justice degree in Washington, a person could become a security guard, police officer, parole officer, crime analyst, investigator, social worker, and there are many more options.  Many lawyers get a criminal justice degree when starting their education. Paralegals are also an option for criminal justice students.

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Security guards are at the lowest level and often do not require a degree, but that is a good way to get started in the field with some experience. A four-year degree could result in a BS or BA degree, and this would qualify you for criminal justice jobs in Washington state. A master’s degree is a higher level for an even higher job. Entry-level criminal justice jobs do not always require degrees, but to go far you will need one. Regardless of the job, it is competitive and employers often want experience. Getting an internship or a part-time job while in school could get you that experience.

What are the Best Areas for Criminal Justice Jobs in Washington?

The northwest corner including the metropolitan area of Seattle would be the most likely place to get Washington state criminal justice jobs in the state. Seattle has a population of about 800,000, and major cities are always needing criminal justice people. The state capital of Olympia is at the southern end of the Seattle area, and it has all the state offices. States have their own police force and security forces, and that makes it an area that could be good for jobs. 

Olympia is included in Seattle’s metro area, and the metro area has about 400 million people, so there would be a lot of jobs there of many kinds. Cities also need more security guards, so it would be a good place to get some valuable experience.  There would also be a lot of support personnel needed in these large cities as well. State prisons are another place where criminal justice people are needed.

 What are the Different Levels of Careers in Washington?

Security guards often require no formal education beyond high school. This could provide you with experience that could help you get a better job once you finish your degree. Experience of any kind is a good way to start criminal justice career in Washington. Law enforcement is perhaps the most common job for criminal justice majors. This would include police, sheriff deputies, as well as all the different kinds of investigators and specialists.  Every level of government has law enforcement officers, starting with the city, county, and then the state level. 

City and county jails also need guards and jailers, as well as state prisons. Many state organizations have some kind of law enforcement division, and that can be included in the criminal justice world. 

There are also administrative-type jobs. This could be a higher-level police officer or a special investigator. Paralegals are also administrative-type careers. Attorneys are at the highest level, and some start out as criminal justice majors. Starting criminal justice careers in Washington state encompasses many types of jobs.

How is the Job Market for Criminal Justice Jobs in Washington?

While criminal justice-type jobs are not in the top-10 most in-demand jobs in the state, criminal justice jobs are expected to grow at about five percent per year through 2029.  That is faster than the national average when all jobs are considered, so the outlook is basically good. While jobs are competitive, and the training can be rigorous, it is something that most people can do. Experience is often given more weight than education, so it is good to get any experience you can while in college.

There are 813,000 police and detective jobs in the state as of 2019. By 2029, 40,000 additional jobs are expected to be created as security becomes more of a focus around the nation 

How Much Can I Make in Criminal Justice?

The median pay for police officers and investigators in Washington is $65,000 per year. Starting pay is a little lower for criminal justice salary in Washington state. Bigger cities pay more than small towns and rural areas, but the cost of living is higher in the cities. Game wardens are also criminal justice officers and average $73,000.  Security officers in Seattle average between $23,000 and $48,000 per year. There are armed and unarmed guards, which accounts for some difference in pay. Detectives can make between $46,000 and $100,000 in Washington. For most jobs, there are raises each year so the pay increases as you stay longer.

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