A degree in criminal justice can lead to a variety of careers. While aspiring lawyers can follow a standard career path toward becoming an attorney by earning a law degree, students can also pursue a higher degree, such as an SJD, on the path toward scholarly research.
Getting a criminal justice degree can put you at the helm of affairs of bringing wrongdoers to book. You would also have a range of jobs at your fingertips to choose from.
Are you ready to begin your career in criminal justice? It starts with getting a degree. These are the jobs you can get after bagging a degree in criminal justice and how best you can utilize them.
What is a criminal justice degree?
A criminal justice degree is a degree that focuses on the social and behavioral sciences of humans, s pertains to crimes. In the process of getting a criminal justice degree, you would be required to focus on the criminal justice system, law enforcement, courts, and corrections.
The degree would prepare you for entry-level careers in local and state law enforcement, and as support personnel in juvenile justice, social service agencies, corrections, private security, law offices, and the criminal courts.
Why get a criminal justice degree?
Many people have their own reason for wanting to venture into the criminal justice career path. The most popular reasons are-
There are a variety of career options-
In getting a criminal justice, you can be sure to have access to a wide variety of professions. Your degree has a place in politics, law enforcement, the court system, and legal jobs, such as a paralegal, judicial assistant, or corrections.
The private sector also offers career options such as insecurity or as a private investigator, forensic accountant, cyber-crime, or social worker. You can also consider a career as a crime scene investigator or prison psychologist or even go into law practice or being a paralegal.
There is a variety of opportunities to help others–
A career in criminal justice is a great way to give back to your community. The field is full of jobs that help others; from law enforcement to working in the court system, you’re protecting people from criminal activity, helping crime victims, and ensuring justice for them and society.
There are also jobs that are not so obvious in criminal justice that help others such as victim advocate or probation and community control officer. Being able to protect and help others is a big advantage for those currently in the Criminal Justice field.
There is job stability and benefits–
Many jobs in law enforcement or criminal justice are public sector jobs. Unfortunately, crime is a fact of life that doesn’t take holidays or downtime.
As a public servant, your position is not as volatile since it isn’t as dependent on the ups and downs of the economy or a tough job market, as is the case with private sector positions. In addition, criminal justice professionals who work for the government have good benefits including, health insurance, life insurance, training, and tuition assistance, paid holidays, and sick leave.
Many positions qualify for retirement after 20 years of service and offer a generous retirement package.
Presence of excitement and challenge-
Unlike many other jobs that require you to sit in the office and work from 9-4p.m every day, most jobs in the criminal justice sector are not that way.
Every day is different and you would require skills that can allow you to take on different challenges. You’ll face situations that are intellectually demanding, can involve high stakes, and are bound to be different from one day to the next.
20 jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree
This is one of the top jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree. As a lawyer, you are in the field of criminal justice totally. You can work anywhere from small courts or in multi-district litigation to owning your own chambers and accepting cases.
You would be responsible for representing your clients in civil and criminal trials regarding their rights and obligations.
To become a lawyer takes a lot of time and resources; however, the rewards are fulfilling and worth it. Lawyers can specialize in a specific field, including insurance, criminal law, international law, bankruptcy, or environmental law, tort, and intellectual property law; amongst others.
2. Secret service agent-
Like a secret service agent, you must be willing to dedicate your life to protecting the lives of dignitaries and work in unraveling a fraud investigation for government sectors. The nature of your job mainly involves case investigation without compromising the safety and security of the majority.
You can safely say that you have one of the most dangerous professions in the criminal justice field. Your job profile may include traveling for work assignments and learning protocols that involve the protection of the common good or government properties at the highest level. It is one of the important jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree.
3. Bounty hunter-
Bounty hunters work independently to apprehend criminals and fugitives. These professionals typically pursue individuals who skipped bail or avoided required court hearings.
Most bounty hunters find work through bail bond agencies, but some work with local law enforcement agencies. You must demonstrate a combination of education, experience, and skill.
Many bounty hunters begin their careers in law enforcement, gaining the experience and skills necessary to pursue and apprehend criminals. It is a job you can do with a criminal justice degree.
4. Internal revenue service criminal investigator-
This job that you can get with your criminal justice degree is very important. It entails investigating financial issues such as money laundering and fraud. You would be responsible for bringing people who go against the law as regards the revenue of the state to the book.
Issues pertaining to tax evasion, when it becomes a deliberate act, become your job for investigative purposes. You must have familiarity with the techniques used in the forensic exploration of internet banking systems and automated systems. You must also have the capabilities to analyze and interpret complex financial data.
5. Fingerprint specialist-
A fingerprint specialist is a forensic science technician who processes and analyzes fingerprints taken for criminal or civil purposes, such as to identify a suspect or as part of a background check for employment. A fingerprint analyst can also be called a “latent print examiner.” Analysts collect evidence at the crime scene and then scan it in national databases.
The judge is one of the key players in the criminal justice system. The judge is like an umpire in a game and conducts the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge decides whether the accused person is guilty or innocent on the basis of the evidence presented and in accordance with the law.
7. Customs border and protection officer
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers work together with Border Patrol agents to enforce the laws that keep our borders, airports, and seaports safe and secure. As of Oct 23, 2021, the average annual pay for a CBP Officer is $84,917 a year.
8. Information security officer-
Information security officers monitor the organization’s IT system to look for threats to security, establish protocols for identifying and neutralizing threats, and maintain updated anti-virus software to block threats. Information security analysts work in both the public and the private sectors.
9. Federal protective service officer-
Federal Protective Service Officers have a great sense and knowledge about federal buildings and facilities that require continuous protection and safety measures. They receive training to understand the vulnerabilities of building facilities and ensure safety from terrorist attacks.
These people promote the safety and security of the building facilities, providing the installation and maintenance of security systems and fire alarms. Moreover, they organize emergency preparedness drills, create contingency plans, and employ a K-9 aided team to preserve the safety of establishments or specific areas.
10. Crime scene supervisor-
Aside from your degree in criminal justice, you would carry out this job most effectively when you have critical thinking skills. You would mostly be required to collect and gather pieces of evidence at a crime scene as well as supervise a team of crime scene technicians who work with them.
You must have extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of gathering evidence at the crime scene and be able to see what others do not. It is also required that you are knowledgeable with fingerprint lifting, and taking photographs of blood spatters for investigation. Crime scene supervisors write documentation and reports of findings created by their team.
11. Immigration enforcement agent-
As an immigration enforcement agent, your job includes preventing abuse, tracking immigration offenders, and increasing compliance with immigration law. Its Immigration Enforcement Officers are warranted Immigration Officers, holding various powers of arrest and detention. Immigration officers may not enter your home unless they have a “warrant.”
12. Immigration and customs enforcement agent-
As an immigration and customs enforcement agent, you would be required to enforce the prevention of smuggling activities of any kind between the United States and international borders.
You would be responsible for stopping and searching to ensure no illegal or prohibited goods are not brought into the country. You may also apprehend criminals who transport illegal guns or drugs in the country. Also, they control and prevent illegal migrants from entering the U.S. This is one of the top jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree.
13. Prison warden–
As a prison warden, you are responsible for overseeing the entire area of prison facilities operations. You must have an overview of the cost and maintenance of prison upkeep and maintenance as well as supervising on the grounds, cafeteria, and the staff.
Your responsibilities may also include monitoring inmates who are released or detained. Also, you must have an in-depth understanding and background of psychology and excellent communication skills with a sense of order and integrity.
14. Internal revenue service internal security inspector-
The internal security inspector independently conducts audits, evaluations, and other reviews of GAO programs and operations and makes recommendations to promote the agency’s economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Your mission would be to conduct independent and objective audits and investigations relating to DHS programs and operations, promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in DHS programs and operations, and prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse.
15. Computer forensic specialist-
This is one of the top jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree. Your job is mostly limited to the use of computers. Working in the criminal justice field, you would be in charge of investigating illegal activities and transactions that have taken place in digital settings such as laptops, computers, or mobile devices.
You must have good communication skills, problem-solving skills, be able to pay attention to detail, and also be very careful in your documentation.
16. Inspector general investigator-
The Office of Inspector General investigates complaints or allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct by employees or contractors that involve or give rise to fraud, waste, or abuse within the programs or operations of the FCC. In this position, you investigate criminal activity and collect evidence that attorneys can use to prosecute suspected criminals. Your duties can vary from case to case.
17. FBI agent–
FBI Agents are highly trained individuals who have numerous responsibilities, working to protect and defend the U.S. in a multitude of probable capacities. They work against civil rights violations, violent crimes, public corruption, cybercrime, significant thefts, or terrorism. They are part of an organization that values integrity and commitment to the foundation.
FBI agents are one of the few glamorized law enforcement positions in the country, maintaining its reputation and credibility at the highest level. The majority of them studied political science, criminal justice, or engineering, while a few of them completed a degree in law.
18. Drug enforcement administration agent-
The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration agent is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States.
19. Criminal profiler
Offender profiling, also known as criminal profiling, is an investigative strategy used by law enforcement agencies to identify likely suspects and has been used by investigators to link cases that may have been committed by the same perpetrator. They form logical hypotheses based on witness reports, victim testimony, and crime scene evidence.
20. Customs inspector
Customs inspectors carry the authority of law. In their efforts to enforce regulations, they search for illegal substances such as drugs and can seize prohibited or smuggled articles, and apprehend, search, and arrest people who violate U.S. laws.
21. U.S. postal inspector
U.S. Postal Inspectors evaluate and investigate incidents that involve the U.S. postal service. They check people who send illegal substances through the mail. If the letter looks suspicious, U.S. postal inspectors are not allowed to open it without a search warrant. U.S. postal inspectors must possess excellent analytical thinking skills and a sincere interest in protecting the common good.
22. Criminal justice policy advisor–
As a criminal justice policy analyst, you gather, review, and conduct analysis on data to ensure the effectiveness of programs within the criminal justice system. You may be asked to identify risks, recommend strategies, and provide support to adjust or develop new criminal justice policies.
23. Digital forensics examiner-
This is one of the jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree. On a day-to-day basis, a computer forensic analyst may perform any of the following duties: Investigating and analyzing a digital security incident, such as a data breach. Locating system vulnerabilities that allowed a breach to occur. Recovering deleted or encrypted information from a digital storage device.
A criminalist is a criminal justice professional who has a background in science and who uses this background to examine and analyze different pieces of evidence that are found in a criminal case. The term criminalist is a very general one.
25. Border patrol agent–
Border Patrol Agents are focused 24/7 on securing the international land borders and coastal waters between ports of entry. They safeguard the American people from terrorists and their weapons, drug smugglers, and illegal entry of undocumented noncitizens.
26. Classification Officer–
A classification officer works in correctional facilities to assess the needs of inmates. To do this, they conduct interviews with inmates and evaluate their specific needs, such as disability accommodations and other adjustments for physical or mental impairments, to provide a safe jail environment for all.
27. Counter-terrorism analyst-
A counter-terrorism analyst Produces concise tactical and strategic counter-terrorism assessments for key decision-makers using unevaluated intelligence, utilizes a variety of analytical principles, concepts, and methodologies to produce all-source intelligence products and target development packages, produces all-source intelligence products on transnational terrorism Provides analysis and research for industry, infrastructure, technology, country, geographic area, biographic and targeted vulnerability and prepares assessments of current events based on the sophisticated collection, research, and analysis of classified/unclassified and open-source information. It is one of the most important jobs you can do with a degree in criminal justice.
28. Deportation officer-
Deportation Officers identify and subdue suspected illegal immigrants in the U.S. They know the rules and regulations which define an illegal immigrant status. Deportation officers also work with Homeland Security to make sure all related matters and paperwork are adequately handled. Deportation officers must have a few years of professional experience in the standard law enforcement field.
29. Crime lab analyst-
Crime lab analysts collect, identity, classify, and process evidence collected from crime scenes. They use this evidence to help investigators identify the methods used to commit crimes, the types of materials present, and possible suspects.
A criminologist is actually a sociologist or social scientist that specializes in criminology and researches, studies, and analyzes social behaviors. Criminologists examine behavioral norms and the deviations from these societal norms. It is one of the most important jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree.
Frequently asked questions on criminal justice degree jobs
Is a degree in Criminal Justice worth it?
Yes. A degree in criminal justice is worth it. You would contribute to the peace and stability of your society.
How long does it take to get a degree in Criminal Justice?
A degree in Criminal Justice usually takes about 4-6 years, depending on the career you intend to pursue.
How much can I get paid after my degree in Criminal Justice?
You can expect to be paid up to $122,120 a year with your degree in Criminal Justice
What are the top schools where I can study and get a degree in Criminal Justice?
Almost all schools in the U.S offer a degree in criminal justice
What is the most challenging thing about having a career in Criminal Justice?
You must be fair and always be expected to do what’s right.
These are the 30 jobs you can do with a criminal justice degree. They put you in a place where you can protect the values and principles of your country. I hope reading this has been enlightening.