What is a Criminal Justice Degree?
Individuals who earn degrees in Criminal Justice learn about law enforcement, corrections, probation and the judicial branch. After earning this degree, most graduates hold a career in which they prevent crime, penalize law-breakers and maintain the nation’s laws and rights.
What kinds of Criminal Justice Degree programs are available?
Students can earn associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degrees in this subject. While many jobs in the industry do not require employees to have educational training beyond an associate’s degree, higher education can facilitate earning a promotion in the Criminal Justice field.
What jobs are available for people who earn this credential?
Many students who graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice hold positions in state, local, federal or private sector law enforcement. These jobs may include probation officer, police officer and forensic scientist.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), probation officers supervise individuals who are on probation. Typically this is done by keeping close contact with them and their families over a period of time. These professionals may also help people find support services in their communities to keep them from committing more crimes. Probation officer can spend a great deal of time in court where they investigate backgrounds, write pre-sentence reports and recommend sentences. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for this job, although some professionals hold master’s degrees.
Police officers ensure that laws are being obeyed and that people and property are safe, the BLS reports. They apprehend suspects who break the law and issue warnings and citations accordingly. For many police officers, a large portion of their time is spent writing reports and keeping records. Currently, many of these professionals have at least an associate’s degree as many agencies prefer candidates who have higher education.
Students who become forensic scientists will collect, identify, classify and analyze evidence that may assist criminal investigations, the BLS states. They can perform tests on weapons, or other physical items, to see if they are relevant to a particular case. Some forensic scientists specialize in one area of the field, such as ballistics, handwriting or fingerprinting. These individuals normally have at least bachelor’s degrees.
Other jobs that individuals may hold after graduation include FBI agent, forensic specialist, body guard, deportation officer, drug enforcement agent, airport security officer, juvenile court counselor, private investigator and military officer.
What will the future of Criminal Justice jobs look like?
The BLS reports that many jobs in the Criminal Justice field will continue to grow in the upcoming years. For example, employment opportunities for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are expected to increase by 19 percent, which is faster than average for all occupations.
Similarly, jobs for police officers and detectives should grow by about 10 percent through 2018, while positions for forensic scientists are predicted to increase by 1.5 percent, the BLS states.
What is the salary for people in this profession?
According to PayScale, the salary for Criminal Justice professionals varies greatly by the state in which they work and their exact job title. For example, probation officers can earn as much as $62,256 per year, while police officers can make up to $77,691, on average. A forensic scientist may have an even larger paycheck, with earnings reaching $98,883.
*Source Reference: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov