This is a guest post contributed by Pamela Rosssow

Criminal justice is a broad field with many careers to choose from. Careers that fall under the criminal justice umbrella are police officer, paralegals, corrections officer, court clerk, probation officer, private investigator, sheriff, or a criminologist. You can also join several federal agencies like the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Coast Guard, and US Marshalls. (Source:

criminal-justice-degreeYou can earn a criminal justice degree without any prior certification or training in this field. Whether you are currently employed in one field and are thinking about going back to school to earn a criminal justice degree, or you are starting to earn your degree in this area of study, you may be wondering what career options you could have after graduation.

Here are some ideas:


Forensic Science Technician

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average salary for forensic science technicians is $51,570 per year or $24.79 per hour[i]. Forensic science technicians, also known as crime scene investigators, may be responsible for determining what evidence should be gathered and how to go about the process, cataloging evidence, making sure that all physical evidence is collected, and even creating sketches of the crime scene. The projected outlook is 19% and is as fast as average[ii]. The typical entry level education requirement is a bachelor’s.


Police Officer

Police officers not only catch criminals, they also might give traffic citations, testify in court, patrol certain areas, and fill out forms. In terms of education, police officers may need a minimum of a high school diploma or a college degree depending on the agency who is hiring. Additional training is usually required as well. Annual pay is around $55,010 per year[iii].


Fish and Game Warden

Do you enjoy being outside and having a physical lifestyle? Then becoming a fish and game warden might interest you. You could work in national park or in a forest preserve and protect wildlife habitats and visitors. You might prevent fishing violations and look into reports of damage to wildlife or crops. The average salary for a fish and game warden is $49,400[iv].

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Private Detectives

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveals that private detectives earn approximately $42,870 per year or $20.61 per hour[v]. While some college education may be required, it often depends on how much experience you have. Generally, it is helpful to have 1-5 years of experience prior to entering this occupation. As a private detective, you might need to analyze evidence, investigate personal or legal concerns, and verify financial information. You could be in business for yourself and own an agency or you might work for a business or law office. The job outlook is 21% and faster than average[vi].


If you are considering a career in criminal justice, in addition to educational requirements, you usually have to undergo training. Furthermore, successful candidates typically exhibit strong communication skills, perceptiveness, critical thinking, and negotiation abilities. Use of technology is standard as well.










Guest post Contributor: Pamela Rossow is a freelance writer who works with higher education clients. She is a native South Floridian who enjoys photography, literature, and hockey. You can follow her on Google+.