Criminal Justice Jobs and Salary Outlook

Prepare to Lead with a Criminal Justice Degree from HBU

Wherever you go, there will be legal systems that need to be created, revised, implemented or upheld. Those who work to support our criminal justice system provide an important service to the public, helping to ensure a safe place for people to live, work, and learn. There are several aspects to the criminal justice career field and many places to get involved. Jobs range in subject from advocacy, to law enforcement, legal and judiciary work, and government services.

Whether you are looking to become a police officer, judge, prosecutor or defense attorney, a degree in criminal justice from HBU will provide you with the skills you need to be successful in many areas of both public and private service. In addition to providing a foundation for your career, HBU’s criminal justice degree is also a great starting point for students who wish to pursue graduate studies in government or apply to law school.

Job Opportunities and Salary Information

The highest paying jobs for criminal justice majors according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)* are:

  1. Lawyer
  2. FBI Agent/Detective
  3. Judge
  4. Private Investigator
  5. Forensic Psychologist

Lawyers, Judges and Paralegals

Have a knack for language and a passion for justice? You may find that law school is your next step. The mean income for a lawyer nationally is an average of $173,380, although income varies according to area of practice. A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice will provide you with exposure to the legal system while helping you develop your problem solving, critical thinking, research, and writing skills, all of which are essential to success in any law school program. Students who wish to provide¬† administrative or clerical support for legal operations and procedures may consider a career as a paralegal or legal assistant, jobs which require great attention to detail and the ability to multitask. You may also be interested in serving as a judge in the local, state, or federal court system. Most judges first work as attorneys, although there are a few positions that do not require a law degree or legal experience.

FBI, Police and Detective Work

Many who consider a degree in criminal justice discover a calling for public service and decide to pursue a career in the police force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers make an average of $65,540 annually, with higher wages going to those who serve at the state level. A degree in Criminal Justice is a great way to prepare yourself for success in any policy academy. You may also decide to pursue a career in investigative services. The annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators is an average of $89,300. Most investigate violations of local, state, or federal laws. You may also decide to pursue a job with a government agency such as the FBI. FBI agents begin at an entry-level pay rate of $50,748 (GL10, Step 1) during training, with opportunities for increase in pay awarded according to rank and experience. Additional training, background testing, and/or experience is required to pursue all of these career paths.

Private Investigator

Private investigators pursue investigations in the private sector, often investigating claims of financial or legal fraud. The median income for private investigators is an average of $53,320. Most private investigators have some sort of federal, state, or local police or investigative experience and receive additional on-the-job training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for private investigators is expected to grow by 13% from 2020-2030, beating out the national average of 8%.

U.S. Intelligence or Military Service

A degree in Criminal Justice may also inspire you to enlist in a branch of the U.S. military. Many of our nation’s military branches utilize personnel in technical and research capacities in which a degree in criminal justice and a good understanding of the nation’s legal procedures would be beneficial. There is also a specialized branch of legal practice specific to military law, should you desire to enlist and serve as a military attorney. You may also discover a desire to pursue a career in U.S. Intelligence through the CIA or other intelligence agency. There are numerous job positions in which a criminal justice degree could be beneficial, alongside a strong capacity for research, synthesis and data interpretation.

*All salary figures are sourced from the May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*