Criminal Justice Careers

Below are some career opportunities for criminal justice majors.  The source for salaries and job outlook is the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition”.

Click here to down load a pdf version of this page.

Career Field

Job Description

Required Education

Potential Salary

Opportunities

Police Officers and Investigators

Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who sometimes are called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.

Applicants usually must have at least a high school education, and some departments require 1 or 2 years of college coursework or, in some cases, a college degree.

Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $55,010.

Employment is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Continued demand for public safety will lead to new openings for officers in local departments; however, both state and federal jobs may be more competitive.

Corrections Officers

Correctional officers (detention officers) are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or penitentiary.

A high school diploma or graduation equivalency degree is required by all employers. Some State and local corrections agencies require some college credits.

Median annual earnings of correctional officers and jailers were $39,020.

Employment is expected to grow by 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Growing demand for corrections services will lead to new job openings for correctional officers.

Parole/Probation officers and Community Corrections Treatment Specialists

Probation and Parole officers supervise people who have been placed on probation.  Correctional treatment specialists counsel offenders and create rehabilitation plans for them to follow when they are no longer in prison or on parole.

Qualifications vary by agency, but a bachelor’s degree is often required.

Median annual earnings of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists were $47,200.

Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as average for all occupations.

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators assist individuals, businesses, and attorneys by finding and analyzing information.

Most private detectives and investigators have some college education and previous experience in investigative work.

Median annual earnings of salaried private detectives and investigators were $42,870.

Employment of private detectives and investigators is expected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Security guards or officers patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. These workers protect their employer’s investment, enforce laws on the property, and deter criminal activity and other problems.

Generally, there are no specific education requirements for security guards, but employers usually prefer to fill armed guard positions with people who have at least a high school diploma.

Median annual wage-and salary earnings of security guards were $24,380

Employment of security guards and gaming surveillance officers is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Court Reporters and Clerks:

Reporters are responsible for ensuring a complete, accurate, and secure legal record. In addition to preparing and protecting the legal record, court reporters and/or clerks assist judges and trial attorneys in a variety of ways, such as organizing and searching for information in the official record or making suggestions to judges and attorneys regarding courtroom administration and procedure

The amount of training required to varies by specialization and by State.

Wage and salary court reporters had median annual earnings were $47,700.  The median annual wage of paralegals and legal assistants was $46,680 in May 2010

Employment of court reporters is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations.  Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020.