Criminal Justice Careers Guide
What are the Main Career Disciplines of Criminal Justice?
What is the Character Traits Criminal Justice Majors?
What are the Education Requirements?
How to Prepare for a Career in Criminal Justice?
Criminal Justice Careers Guide
The main disciplines in criminal justice are just as varied as the environments that the jobs are in. There are many different types of jobs with different needs and responsibilities, so you need to understand each one and how it is different from the rest.
Understanding why each career in criminal justice is different is critical to making the best choice for your future and your life.
On that note, here are the different disciplines that fall under the blanket term of criminal justice.
Now you can see how many different career paths are available to those who choose to pursue criminal justice as their career. Some of these careers are less criminal justice and more corrections, while others are heavy in the legal and federal courts of the country.
A corrections officer or official is a person who works to enforce rules to keep order and organization inside prisons or jails. Corrections officers or officials are the ones who supervise the daily activities of the inmates in the prison they work in.
Correctional officers are also the workers who check up on the facilities inside a prison to make sure that they not only meet security standards but safety standards as well, for the protection of the inmates and staff members.
Salary: The average salary for a corrections officer or official is $38,207 a year.
Typical Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent certification (GED).
Job Outlook: This industry has an expected decline of 7% from 2018 to 2028.
A person who works in criminal justice and law is a criminal lawyer, also called a criminal defense lawyer, who defends people in court after they have been accused of committing a crime.
They perform research, study case law, and build a case to support their client in court. They present their research and case in the courtroom to help protect their client from fines, imprisonment, or other punishments doled out by the law.
Salary: The median salary for a criminal justice or defense lawyer is $120,910, but can reach around $208,000.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s or mater’s degree in criminal law and justice is almost always required.
Job Outlook: The criminal justice and law industry is expected to grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028.
The responsibilities of a criminologist, which is the formal job title for a person working in criminology, is to examine and investigate all parts of a crime. They then use this information and data to try to find ways to lower crime rates, prevent criminal actions and behaviors, and lower recidivism.
Criminologists analyze statistical data and information and have keen eyes to locate patterns in crime statistics that can be used to prevent criminal actions in the future. Criminologists are also the ones who often interview convicted criminals to understand why they committed the crimes they did, learn about the criminal mentality, and understand the motivation behind committing a crime.
Salary: A criminologist can make between $40,000 and $70,000 a year.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A master's degree in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, or psychology is almost always required.
Job Outlook: There is an expected increase of 9% in this industry between 2018 and 2028.
Emergency management workers direct and create plans and systems to use when responding to disasters, such as domestic terrorism and natural disasters among others. The emergency service workers help lead the response after a disaster has occurred and typically work with public safety officials, local, state, and federal governments, non-profit organizations, and other federal agencies to ensure the safety of all people involved.
Salary: This job has a base salary of $70,500.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a closely related discipline (public safety or public health.adminsitration,) is required for most public and private emergency management jobs.
Job Outlook: This industry has an expected growth of 5% from 2018 to 2028.
Fire investigators work as teams to investigate fires and find the origin and/or cause of the blaze or explosion.
There are different factions in this job, such as forest fire inspectors and fire prevention specialists who work to remove fire hazards from public areas and residential areas.
This could also apply to arson investigators who try to determine whether a fire was set on purpose, naturally, or accidentally.
Salary: The average salary is around $60,200.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Minimum of an associate’s degree in fire science is required, although a master’s or bachelor’s degree is recommended.
Job Outlook: This career path has an expected growth of 8% from 2018 to 2028.
A firefighter is a person who works in an emergency field to put out fires safely using water hoses, fire extinguishers, water pumps, or fire blankets. These are the people who will go into a burning building or forest to save anyone who may be trapped inside.
A firefighter typically lives in the fire station during their working hours and drives a fire truck.
Salary: The median salary for a firefighter is $50,850.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A bachelor’s or master’s degree is recommended for higher pay.
Job Outlook: Firefighting has a projected growth of 5% from 2018 to 2028.
Folks who work in forensic science are called forensic science technicians, and they hold the responsibility of locating, identifying, analyzing, and collecting physical pieces of evidence at the scene of a crime that could be linked to the crime.
They use the evidence gathered to help support cases in court against accused criminals.
Salary: The average salary is $58,230, but can reach around $97,200 with higher levels of education and work experience.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A bachelor’s degree in natural science, chemistry, biology, or forensic science is required, as is on-the-job training.
Job Outlook: This industry has a projected growth of 14% from 2018 to 2028.
Homeland security is the job of protecting the nation from within its borders, to keep sights on domestic terrorists, as well as foreign ones, among other responsibilities. They are the ones who have the goal to protect the country from the inside, rather than attack or invading other nations.
Salary: The average salary is $75,000.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A bachelor’s degree in homeland security is required along with at-the-job training.
Job Outlook: There is a projected growth of 5% from 2016 to 2026.
This position is very similar to a corrections officer, expect it works with juveniles instead of adult prisoners. These workers take inmates to court hearings, medical institutions, educational classes, or rec time.
Similar to a corrections officer, these workers monitor the facilities and inmates.
Salary: The average salary is $59,374.
Typical Entry-Level Education: At least a high school diploma or equivalent. Bachelor's degree recommended.
Job Outlook: There is a projected 3% growth in this industry.
Law enforcement investigation is the program within law enforcement that concentrates on upholding the principles, legal issues, procedures, and problems within the law enforcement agency associated with types of a criminal investigation.
Salary: The average salary is $61,138.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Minimum of a high school diploma required, however, associate’s bachelor’s and mater’s degrees will get higher pay and positions.
Job Outlook: There is a projected growth of 5% from 2018 to 2028.
People who work in law enforcement management are the ones who essentially run the day to day operations of a police department.
This involves administrative work, coordination, direction and control of police resources, personnel and staff, and anything else that a manager would deal with.
Salary: The average salary is $71,254 to $77,469.
Typical Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or GED, but a bachelor’s or mater’s degree is recommended.
Job Outlook: There is a projected 5% growth from 2018 to 2028.
The premise of security management is the identification of a company’s or an individual’s assets, such as buildings, staff, products, information, and so on. Someone working in this industry is tasked with the defense of these assets through policies, rules, procedures, and other measures to keep it safe.
Salary: $82,245 is the average salary for this position.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A degree in security management is required or highly recommended by most employers.
Job Outlook: This industry has a projected growth of 17% by 2028.
Criminal justice majors tend to have understanding hearts, logical minds and show great ability to problem solve. They are observant, assertive, and follow the rules, whether they like the rules or not.
Organized rule-followers thrive in these jobs.
For many of these positions a bachelor's degree is either required or recommended, so it would be wise to pursue that option. Lower-level positions sometimes hire applicants with an associate's degree or a high school diploma/GED, yet they get less pay and status.
Get your brain into the right space by training yourself to think logically. Untrain habits that are illegal or against moral standards. Take courses in psychology, security, criminal law, and sociology.
Aim for a degree in the career path you want out of criminal justice.