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What Kind of Salary Can I Expect from a Job in Criminal Justice?

Someone considering a career in criminal justice has a lot of jobs to consider. Police officers, probation officers, and private investigators are just a few examples of criminal justice careers. Learn about the average criminal justice salary of each occupation along with some other pertinent details.

A Career as a Police Officer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of a police officer was $55,010 in 2010. The work of a police officer carries with it a lot of risk and responsibility. Police officers apprehend criminals as well as protect the property and possessions of citizens. Police officers respond to calls from citizens who are being harmed or threatened by others.

A high school degree is a requirement for someone who wants to become a police officer. Also, most police officers go through several weeks of training before joining the force. A person should be in healthy physical condition and have a high level of self-confidence. Dedication to helping fellow citizens is certainly necessary for this occupation.

A Career as a Probation Officer

The BLS reports that the annual median salary for a probation officer in 2010 was $47,200. A probation officer works with people who have been punished for crimes. The main goal of a probation officer is to work with an offender to see that he or she doesn’t commit any more crimes. In the course of his or her work, a probation officer may visit a courtroom with a former offender. A probation officer also meets with criminal offenders to discuss their work and family situation. A probation officer checks up on an offender to see that he or she is following the law. These professionals can often work long hours and deal with frustrating situations. However, some probation officers find it personally rewarding to help a former offender to stay on the straight and narrow.

Probation officers often possess Bachelor’s degrees. Also, a person interested in this job must pass some exams that ensure the person is qualified for this type of work.

A Career as a Private Investigator

The BLS states that the median annual salary for a private investigator was $42,870 in May 2010. This is one of those criminal justice careers that has been somewhat glamorized on television and in the movies. For this criminal justice salary, a private investigator must do a lot of interviewing and research work. Some private investigators check the backgrounds of individuals who want to work for certain companies. Other private investigators look for people who have gone missing. Similar to police work, there is risk involved in the work of a private investigator.

The educational preparation to become a private investigator involves on-the-job training. Some private investigators do have Bachelor’s degrees, but it’s not required. This is a challenging criminal justice where experience proves more valuable than classroom work. Private investigators work in many different industries.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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