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Criminal Justice Career and Salary

For those who are fascinated by crimes and the psychology of criminals or are motivated by an interest in public safety and America's justice system, training in criminology or criminal justice may be worth exploring.

Criminal justice career information

A degree in criminal justice may qualify some people to work in a number of careers. A sampling of these includes:

Criminal Justice
  • Law enforcement officers may work at the local, county, state or federal level, upholding and enforcing the laws of society. Jobs in law enforcement include police officer, FBI agent, security guard, forensics technician or a position with transportation or homeland security, to name a few.
  • Investigators work to solve specific crimes in a focused, extensive manner, working either for the government or for private companies or individuals to solve crimes or simply obtain information about people or events.
  • Correction officers deal with those accused of and prosecuted for crimes, while investigations and law enforcement officers uphold laws and solve crimes. This includes working in jails, prisons or courthouses, overseeing confinement or transport and supervising those on probation or parole.

Other criminal justice careers include legal positions such as attorney or judge, support employees in the court system such as bailiff or court clerk, counselor, medical examiner/coroner or teacher of criminal justice or criminology.

Criminal justice career outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports criminal justice jobs, including police officer, forensic science technician, probation officer, correctional treatment specialist and judges or hearing officers are likely to experience little to no real job growth over the 2012-2022 period.

However, there will always be demand for those willing to protect citizens. These positions and many others are categorized by the BLS as protective service occupations, which employed more than 3.25 million people in the U.S. in May 2013. Jobs are expected to come available as economic recovery continues and those holding positions retire or leave their professions.

Criminal justice salary information

The BLS's Occupational Employment Statistics provides up-to-date salary information about a multitude of criminal justice careers. Salaries obviously vary widely depending on position, education/training, employer, seniority and other factors. Following is a small sampling of national median hourly wages for some of the positions employing the most people in May 2013:

  • Law enforcement workers: $24.34
  • Bailiffs, correctional officers and jailers: $19.01
  • Forensic science technicians: $$26.1
  • Police officers: $26.99
  • Private detectives and investigators: $22.24
  • Security guards: $11.57
CareerProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary370021.4
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Criminal justice career statistics

According to the NAACP, the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. quadrupled between 1980 and 2008. Today, approximately 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control. There is no doubt that crime and threats to public safety will always be an unfortunate reality in our society, and there will always be a need for those willing and able to protect people and enforce the laws. Whether you pursue a certificate, associate degree, bachelor degree, postgraduate degree or professional training program, you may be able to find a career path to suit your training and interests. Explore vocational schools to find the right program and career path for you.

Sources:

Forensic Science Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm

Judges and Hearing Officers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/judges-and-hearing-officers.htm

Police and Detectives, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm

NAACP, "Criminal Justice Fact Sheet," http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet

National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#19-0000

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