10 Top Jobs With A Criminal Justice Degree

The field of criminal justice is broad whereby there are several job opportunities in it. Students who complete studies in the field gain the knowledge and skills necessary for these jobs. Therefore, this article will explore the highest-paying jobs with a criminal justice degree.

Pursuing a career in the criminal justice field is very rewarding. It will require you to work in police departments, federal law enforcement agencies, prisons, and courthouses. Depending on the type of criminal justice job, you will be tasked with patrolling the streets to protect lives and property.

Working in the field of criminal justice also requires specialized training in areas such as investigation, forensics, psychology, or finance. If you are working in the system, you will apply your knowledge of sociology, law, forensic science, political science, criminal justice, and psychology.

So, before we go further, the table of contents below will give you the highlights of the article.


Is a degree in criminal justice worth it?

Yes. Studying to earn a degree in criminal justice is one of the best ways to put yourself at the advantage of securing a job. For example, the BLS reports that the employment of police officers is projected to grow by 7 percent in the future.

For this reason, the field of criminal justice has several jobs available for graduates in the field.

You can also secure certain jobs in criminal justice with a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, most federal agencies and law enforcement departments now require a college degree for such positions.

Is criminal justice an easy degree?

How difficult or easy a criminal justice degree is depends on your abilities, life goals, and true intentions. Pursuing a criminal justice degree does not require intensive reading and writing. Hence, this makes criminal justice an easy major.

Are jobs in criminal justice in demand?

Learning in-demand job skills that prepare one for in-demand jobs is great but preparing for a more rewarding career to serve and protect your country is greater.

Generally, jobs with a criminal justice degree are in demand in almost every country. The reason is that careers in the criminal justice field are among the fastest-growing careers at the moment. For example, the BLS reports that careers in the criminal justice field will grow at a rate of 19 percent by 2021.

In addition, the BLS predicts that there will be over 53,000 jobs for police officers and detectives by 2026.

Criminology is a big field where you can find so many high-paying jobs. From law enforcement to the legal system and corrections, you can find jobs that will make you earn good pay.

Here, we will take a look at the top jobs with a criminal justice degree that pays very high. The list of the highest-paying jobs with a criminal justice degree is compiled based on job responsibilities, potential earnings, and educational requirements.

Top Jobs With A Criminal Justice Degree

Hence, the top jobs with a criminal justice degree are as follows:

  • Lawyers
  • FBI Agents
  • Judges
  • Private Investigators
  • Police Officers
  • Federal Marshals
  • Forensic Analysts
  • Paralegals
  • Probation Officers
  • Correctional Officers

1. Lawyers

Lawyers offer legal advice and counsel, research and gather evidence, and develop legal documents for divorces, wills, contracts, and real estate transactions. They also prosecute and defend clients in court.

The profession is one of the highest-paying jobs with a criminal justice degree. Lawyers work across all levels of the justice system. They may choose a specialty in a particular field of law such as bankruptcy, international, intellectual property, criminal law, civil law, public interest, insurance, environmental, elder, or probate laws.

To become a lawyer, you must complete an undergraduate degree in law for four (4) years, followed by 3 years of law school. However, many states require students to complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school that is recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Average salary: $74,980 to $163,320 per year.

2. FBI Agents

FBI Agents are responsible for protecting the political and security interests of the United States of America. They can carry out surveillance, collect & analyze data, monitor online activities, collect evidence, and conduct arrests.

The agency has operational branches all over the world and they are always in touch with foreign governments. Some FBI agents may specialize in financial fraud while others may specialize in investigating cybercrime. The FBI works collaboratively with state and local law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties.

To become an FBI Agent, you must be enrolled in the FBI academy. The FBI academy requires you to possess law enforcement experience, criminal justice experience, and pass strict background checks as well as physical exams.

The career is one of the highest-paying jobs with a criminal justice degree.

Average salary: $114,000 per year.

3. Judges

Judges are responsible for making impartial decisions in the pursuit of justice in the court of law. They manage legal proceedings in courts, rule on questions of law, and promote negotiations between opposing parties.

It is not easy to become a judge as it requires an election or appointment. Additionally, judges ensure that lawyers obey due process and follow the strict regulations in law. Judges also permit warrants and decide what is allowed as evidence in any trial.

Average salary: $104,000 per year.

4. Private Investigators

Private investigators are professionals that help organizations, members of the public, and solicitors to search for clues to gather evidence for court cases.

These professionals gather evidence by interviewing people, verifying information, conducting surveillance, and researching records to assist in arrests.

Private investigators may be licensed or unlicensed depending on the organization that they work for. The majority of private investigators work for police agencies, interagency task forces, private firms, or individuals. In addition, these private investigators are mainly involved in forensics, homicide, fraud, or even SWAT teams.

Average salary: $93,000 per year.

5. Police Officers

A police officer is a line that separates citizens and crime. Police officers enforce law and order in society by protecting members of the public and their property, preventing crime, testifying in court, arresting criminals, and improving the quality of life for all citizens.

A police officer may work for local, state, or federal agencies. Depending on which agency that police officers work in, they usually follow a strict code of conduct to ensure that they discharge their duties efficiently.

Individuals who wish to become police officers must complete several written, medical, psychological evaluation, and physical fitness tests. Upon successful completion of these tests, candidates will be admitted into the police academy training programs.

Average salary: $65,000 per year.

6. Probation Officers

A probation officer works closely with and oversees as well as rehabilitate offenders who have been convicted of crimes, are on probation, awaiting sentence, and are not incarcerated.

Probation officers conduct meetings with offenders and close associates to investigate their history and report findings to the court so as to suggest resources and rehabilitation assistance. They also use the results of their findings to recommend and review sentences and refer offenders to counseling, career training, or community service programs.

To become a probation officer, you will have to pass oral, written, and psychological tests and acquire an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, social work, law enforcement, or a related discipline. The profession is one of the jobs with a criminal justice degree.

Average salary: $60,430 per year.

7. Paralegals

Paralegals are professionals who work in law firms, law offices, organizations, license service companies, bankruptcy firms, arbitration services, public notaries, etc.

They are responsible for carrying out legal and factual research, drafting court documents and correspondence, reviewing and summarizing records, filing documents with the court, maintaining files, and communicating with clients.

Before you can become a paralegal, you must earn an associate degree in a paralegal program. The associate degree can be completed within two years. Individuals who pursue advanced degrees in the field usually have better job prospects.

Average salary: $58,540 per year.

8. Forensic Analysts

Forensic analysts assist crime scene investigators to examine crime scene evidence, visit crime scenes, and testify during trials and court cases. They also conduct field tests at crime scenes, record findings from tests, and prepare reports on findings.

To become a forensic analyst, one must complete a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice field with a forensic science or genetics specialization. However, many law enforcement agencies give more preference to candidates that possess graduate-level degrees.

Average salary: $58,510 per year.

9. Correctional Officers

Correctional officers work closely with inmates to enforce rules and keep order with prisons or jails. These officers are also responsible for transporting inmates and completing reports regarding inmate behavior. In addition, correctional officers inspect prison or jail facilities to ensure that they meet security and safety standards.

If you wish to become a correctional officer in the U.S, you will have to possess a high school diploma and be trained by the American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association. Presently, most candidates are required to complete a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice field and possess three years of work experience.

Average salary: $51,000 per year.

10. Federal Marshals

Federal Marshals occupy a central position in the federal justice system of the United States. They are responsible for transporting prisoners, investigating escaped federal prisoners, protecting federal courts and their officers, and determining the location of fugitives.

U.S. federal marshals are authorized by law to carry firearms and make arrests on all federal warrants. Individuals who wish to become a member of the U.S Marshal Service must certify specific requirements. The requirements include obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, possessing three years of work experience, and completing physical, written, and psychological assessments to gain admittance into the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Glynco, Georgia.

The USMS is one of the highest-paying jobs with a criminal justice degree.

Average salary: $48,708 per year.