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What can I do with a degree in criminal justice?

Those with a strong sense of justice along with a desire to be involved in crime protection and enforcement may find earning a degree in criminal justice rewarding. Such dedicated men and women are essential for the safety and survival of our local communities and the country at large.

A Criminal Justice Degree is an exceedingly broad field of study, and graduates may find themselves working in many different areas within the criminal justice system, including local and federal law enforcement agencies, law firms or corrections facilities.

Online Criminal Justice Degree Options

If you're interested in enforcing laws, defending citizens' civil liberties, helping past offenders rejoin society, or preventing crimes from happening in the first place, a criminal justice degree is worth considering. For those who are already working or have responsibilities that prevent them from joining a traditional program, many colleges offer fully online or hybrid criminal justice degree programs that can allow you to study for your degree at your own pace and convenience.

Careers with a Criminal Justice Degree

Police officers, detectives, parole officers, and even gaming investigators are all possible occupations for those armed with a degree in criminal justice. Meanwhile, related programs like forensic science can be beneficial for those who want to be a real-life crime scene investigator. Some criminal justice programs dip into law, preparing students to work as paralegals or legal assistants. Criminal justice may also be a good undergrad choice for those who plan on attending law school.

Potential Earnings with a Criminal Justice Degree

Common occupations related to the field of criminal justice are listed below with their earnings and projected job growth rates. (All data has been taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2017.)

  • Police and Sherriff's Patrol Officers
           Projected Job Growth (2016-26): 7 percent (as fast as average)
           Mean Annual Wage (2017): $64,490
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators
           Projected Job Growth (2016-26): 5 percent (as fast as average)
           Mean Annual Wage (2017): $83,320
  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
           Projected Job Growth (2016-26): 6 percent (as fast as average)
           Mean Annual Wage (2017): $64,490
  • Security Guards, Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators:
           Projected Job Growth (2016-26): 6 percent (as fast as average)
           Security Guards: Mean Annual Wage (2017): $30,730
           Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators: Mean Annual Wage (2017): $36,160

Those who desire further study may consider becoming a postsecondary teacher in criminal justice and law enforcement. According to BLS, this profession enjoys a mean annual wage of $68,980.

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic below providing more information about where a criminal justice degree may be able to take you.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Criminal Justice?
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