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Great Jobs You can Earn with a Degree in Criminal Justice Studies

A degree in Criminal Justice Studies is one of the most fascinating educational pursuits because it includes the study of psychology, sociology, ethics, the legal realm, and criminal behavior. Graduates leave the program with both the theoretical and the practical knowledge required to obtain a job in an intriguing career field. There are a variety of career opportunities a degree in criminal justice can earn. The following snapshot provides an overview of some of the most popular career choices, as well as their future career outlooks and median salaries.

All statistics are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Occupational outlook percentages indicate predicted job growth through 2020.

Five Exciting Jobs You can Earn With a Degree in Criminal Justice Studies

  1. Police Officer. While a degree in criminal justice studies isn’t a requirement to become a police officer, continuing education degrees are required for maximum salary potential and advancement opportunities. Police officers handle a wide range of responsibilities. Jobs within a police force can include:
    • State troopers
    • Highway patrol officers
    • Transit & railway police
    • Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs
    • Drug enforcement agents
    • Multiple federal law enforcement positions

The job outlook is 7% and the median salary is more than $55,000. That is higher than the national median household income.

  1. Correctional Officers. Similar to police officers, a degree is not a requirement for a career in corrections. However, if you want to move up the career advancement ladder, you are more apt to do so with a continuing degree in criminal justice. Correctional officers are responsible for those who are awaiting trial, as well as inmates who have been sentenced to county jails or state and federal prisons. The occupational outlook for correctional officers is 5% and the median salary is $54,000 in the public sector and $39,000 at federal and state levels.
  2. Probation Officers. Individuals who pursue a criminal justice studies degree have an innate desire to help others. Probation officers (PO) have the opportunity to assist directly with the rehabilitation and re-integration of criminal offenders who have served their sentences or have been released on probation. POs evaluate prisoners and help to create a rehabilitation/treatment plan tailored to the offenders’ needs. They supervise offenders and meet regularly to monitor progress. POs can assist with career placement, drug and alcohol treatment placement, and they make regular reports to the appropriate county, state, or federal agencies. The occupational outlook is 18% and the median salary is $47,000.
  3. Forensic Science Technicians. This is the perfect career for those who are fascinated by the criminal mind, are extremely observant and detail-oriented, and who have a passion for the biological sciences. Forensic science technicians are responsible for collecting, processing, and analyzing physical crime scene evidence in order to help piece together the crime. This information assists law enforcement officials in identifying the perpetrator(s). Career outlook statistics are 19% and the median salary is $51,570.
  4. Private Investigators. Most private investigators (PI) work for individuals, attorneys, and businesses. They provide a wide range of services from background checks and pre-employment screening to surveillance and criminal investigations. They are often retained to collect evidence of insurance fraud and for missing persons cases. The occupational outlook for PIs is 21% and their median income is $42,870.

For more information about how to pursue a career in one of these exciting fields, contact Bryant & Stratton and ask about our Criminal Justice Studies associate degree program.

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