Criminal justice is a system that focuses on the detection of crimes, and the detaining, trial and punishment of the perpetrators of these crimes.
In the United States, the criminal justice system is massive. About 2.3 million people are held in 102 federal prisons, 1,719 state prisons, 942 juvenile correction facilities and over 3,000 local jails.
As a criminal justice student, you ‘ll gain an in-depth understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system, the agencies and institutions involved, as well as the issues and challenges it faces. You’ll also develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills.
Wondering what happens upon graduation?
In this article, we’re sharing the jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree.
1. Crime Scene Investigator
CSI, Criminal Minds, True Detective are just a few of the countless TV shows based on crime scene investigations. And who doesn’t like how those crime scene investigators unravel even the most mysterious of murders?
Tired of enjoying these shows from your couch? Itching to join in on the action?
Now, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can become a real-life crime scene investigator. Like in the movies, you’ll work with law enforcement agencies to resolve crimes and help bring perpetrators to book.
Potential employers include police departments and private crime investigation labs.
2. FBI Special Agent
Would you love to work for the world-famous, Federal Bureau of Investigations?
For many law enforcement enthusiasts, working for the FBI is a dream come true, and for good reason. The Bureau is the premier law enforcement agency in the land.
However, getting hired as an FBI special agent is no small task. Prospective candidates must complete no less than 1,000 hours of intensive training in the Bureau’s Training Academy. But before you get there, you must have earned a bachelor’ degree.
Although no specific field is required, having one in law or criminal justice significantly boosts your prospects, because after all, the FBI is a crucial cog in the country’s criminal justice system.
3. Private Investigator
Don’t fancy working in a law enforcement setting?
Then private investigation is one the jobs you can pursue with a criminal justice degree.
Private investigators – also known as private detectives – are typically hired by private clients to investigates cases related to divorce, infidelity and worker’s compensation. Once in the job, for instance, you could be approached by a woman who suspects her husband is infidelitous. You’ll get to work, and your goal will be to investigate the husband and collect the relevant evidence – all without breaking any laws.
The best bit about becoming a private investigator is you can start your own firm, just like Stillinger Investigations, Inc.
4. Probation Officer
It’s not always that an offender is thrown in jail. Depending on the crime, some are given non-custodial sentences, such as community service. Also, newly released jailbirds don’t immediately reenter the community. They first undergo a period of supervision at a probation facility.
That’s where probation officers come in.
These professionals are responsible for supervising these offenders and compile reports detailing the behavioral progress of each offender. Judges and other senior decision makers in the probation system use these reports to sentence or free the probationer in question.
Probation officers can find employment in federal, state or local correctional agencies.
5. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent
Immigration is a contentious issue in the United States. No less than 6 percent of all prisoners in the country are immigrants, and many of those who are released are very likely to be deported.
If you want to play a role in enforce immigration and customs laws, then this is one of the jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree, preferably a bachelor’s.
The primary employer of these agents is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. You could be deployed to work for the Homeland Security Investigation or Enforcement and Removal Operations.
6. Criminal Justice Policy Analyst
So far, we’ve been focusing on the jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree – at an undergraduate level. It’s time to switch gears to jobs that require advanced criminal justice education, and we begin with criminal justice policy analyst.
A lot has been said and written about the American criminal justice system. Regardless of your pollical leaning, it’s hard not to agree that it needs change.
As a criminal justice policy analyst, you will be central to this change. The job involves analyzing various criminal justice policies, identifying weakness and making recommendations to the policymakers. The role involves a lot of research and analysis of current events.
To become a criminal justice policy analyst, you need at least a master’s degree in criminal justice, and vast industry experience. Employment opportunities exist in the relevant government agencies, as well as in non-governmental organizations such as foundations and think tanks.
7. Criminal Justice Professor
Without a doubt, one of the best jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree is in the education sector.
If you love sharing your knowledge with others and would love to play an important role in shaping the next generation of criminal justice minds, then becoming a college professor is a smart move.
Criminal justice professors teach criminal justice courses in college and universities. Like other teaching professions, the role involves preparing course materials, conducting lessons and administering examinations among other duties.
To become a criminal justice professor, you need at least a master’s degree in the field. A doctoral degree is however preferred by most employers.
Cool Jobs You Can Get with a Criminal Justice Degree: Have Your Pick
From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see anything cool about the criminal justice system. Offenders commit crimes that leave many families broken or shattered, and in return, the law catches up with them. Their families also experience the pain of having a loved one incarcerated.
However, when you get into the system, you realize there are actually interesting careers that can enable you to make a real difference. And that’s what we’ve done here. We have listed the jobs, your only task is to have a pick.
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Want to pursue other careers? Here are more options.