Are you considering a criminal justice degree? With a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice, you can qualify for many public and private sector job opportunities. While police officers and related occupations are the most common with this degree, you also can get other types of jobs, as well.
Below are some of the best job options with a criminal justice degree.
#1 Police Officer
Police officer is the most popular occupation for people with a criminal justice degree. Police officers are the front lines of our criminal justice system at the local and state levels. They work to catch criminals and to also deter crime through community outreach and visible presentation work. Every municipality and city from rural towns to major metropolises like Chicago needs police officer. Police work typically offers decent salaries, good benefits and job security.
#2 Correctional Officer
A correctional officer mostly works within prisons and jails to supervise people who are convicted of crimes. Correctional officers are needed at the state, local and federal levels as every level of government has separate types of incarceration systems. One of the advantages of being a correctional officer is that it requires less training in school than for other criminal justice careers because all correctional officers receive extensive on the job training. The focus today with correctional officers is ore on rehabilitating prisoners than guarding them. Having a criminal justice degree can help you to become a supervisor of other correctional officers.
#3 Probation Officer
Probation officers are responsible for monitoring parolees that have been released from jails and prisons to ensure that they abide by probation terms and also assist parolees with adjusting to life after they get out of jail. Probation officers are assigned a certain number of parolees and they interact with them at their homes and in their places of employment. This job gives the probation officer ample opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
#4 Forensic Science Technician
A forensic science technician is responsible for handling evidence at crime scenes for police departments. They collect evidence and analyze it in a lab and summarize the findings in written reports. Forensic science technicians work in labs, hospitals, government agencies, courtrooms and similar places where they need to reconstruct criminal events based upon such evidence as hair samples, broken glass, fingerprints and more.
#5 State Trooper
A state trooper work on highways in states across the country and ensures that state and federal vehicle laws are followed. This includes enforcing speeding and seatbelt laws, but they also are responsible for enforcing laws that are not as well known, such as laws regarding the regulation of the size, weight and safety of commercial vehicles. State troopers also are responsible for helping local and federal law enforcement to search for and catch criminals and to detect signs of illegal activity.
#6 Private Detective
A private detective can help public detectives and police departments to solve crimes, but they may take on private cases that do not involve a crime. Private detectives are frequently former law enforcement officers who are hired to do background checks and find information related to divorce and child custody cases. It is important to have extensive understanding of forensics and the law as applied to collecting evidence, and having skills in surveillance is a must. This is why most private detectives have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and experience as a law enforcement officer.
#7 Crime Scene Investigator
The major responsibility of a crime scene investigator is to investigate a crime by collecting and analyzing any physical evidence that is present at a crime scene. They often collect hair, tissue and bodily fluids from the scene. They are responsible for analyzing all evidence to provide the best information to investigate and solve the crime. CSIs need to be very meticulous about details and how to store and collect all of the evidence they work with. They also need to be skilled in doing forms, reports and written documentation about their crime scene findings. CSIs can be employed by coroner’s offices, crime labs and police departments.
#8 Fraud Investigator
With the rapid growth of technology and communication, it is possible for more fraudulent activity to be monitored than ever before. That is why there is more need today for educated and experienced fraud investigators. Fraud investigators can be employed by the federal government, local police departments, banks, insurance agencies and even healthcare organizations. Some in this field go into private practice and build and work on their own base of clients.
#9 Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent
Immigration and customs enforcement agents are in charge of investigating, arresting and deporting people who do not have authorization to be in the United States. To do so, they need to stay current on policies and regulations about immigration and customs. They also need to make recommendations and presentations to state and federal courts that are hearing immigration cases. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement division is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which provides its agents with good salaries and benefits, as well as plenty of job security.
#10 US Postal Inspector
As part of the US Postal Inspection Service, postal inspectors are responsible for solving and investigating crimes that involve the US postal system. The most common crimes they investigate are theft, vandalism, fraud and ID theft. Any time there is a crime committed that involves the US postal system, a team of postal inspectors will likely be involved. In addition to having a four year degree such as a criminal justice degree, you will need to have 12 weeks of training at the US Postal Inspection Service Strategic Learning Services facility in Maryland.
#11 DEA Agent
Drug Enforcement Administration agents work for the Department of Justice to enforce US drug laws. DEA agents play a vital role to investigate violations of US law that involve illegal drugs, controlled substances and drug abuse. The agents are especially focused on the organizations and individuals who grow, manufacture and distribute illegal drugs in the US, or those who are trying to send drugs into the country illegally. The major goal of DEA agents is to stop the flow of drug traffic before it gets to users inside the country.
#12 US Marshal
US Marshals are responsible for transporting, managing and protecting prisoners and federal witnesses. They also administer the Asset Forfeiture Program that seizes and sells assets that are bought with illegally obtained funds to compensate crime victims and to provide funding for law enforcement programs. US Marshals also give protection to attorneys, judges and jurors in dangerous court cases.
#13 Emergency Management Director
An emergency management director is responsible for making plans and procedures to respond to natural disasters and similar emergencies. They also assist in leading the response during and after emergencies, and often in coordination with various public safety officials, nonprofit organizations, elected officials and state and federal government agencies. They are responsible for planning and leading responses after natural disasters and terrorist events to minimize damage and disruptions. Most in this field have extensive law enforcement experience and a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.
- Emergency Management Director. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/emergency-management-directors.htm#tab-2