Criminal Justice Careers


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Career Field

Job Description

Required Education

Potential Salary


Police officers and Investigators:

Patrols, protects and investigates crime.

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 $47,460.

Job opportunities in most local police departments will be excellent for qualified individuals, while competition is expected for jobs in State and Federal agencies.


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 $35,760

Job opportunities are expected to be excellent, due to population growth and rising rates of incarceration. 


Parole and 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 $42,500.


Job opportunities are expected to be excellent, due to growth, replacement needs, and because a large number of these workers are expected to retire.


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 $33,750.


Keen competition is expected for most jobs because private detective and investigator careers attract many qualified people.  Excellent opportunities for qualified computer forensic investigators.


Private Security

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 $21,530

Opportunities for security guards should be favorable

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 of $45,610 in May 2006.  Median annual earnings of legal secretaries and administrative assistants were $38,190

Job prospects are expected to be excellent.