Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

What Is the Future Outlook for Criminal Justice Careers and Salaries?

What Is the Future Outlook for Criminal Justice Careers and Salaries?

One of the great things about earning a criminal justice degree is how versatile it is, opening you up to a variety of careers. With a criminal justice degree, you may find yourself working in state and local law enforcement, the federal government, corrections, forensics, courtrooms and law firms, higher education, nonprofit organizations, corporations and many other industries. Your job outlook and salary will depend on what criminal justice career you choose, what part of the country you live in, and your level of experience. Here is a brief overview of three of the better-known careers you can attain with a criminal justice degree, as well as the job outlook and salary for each one.

Police officers and detectives are some of the best-known criminal justice occupations. After all, it is their responsibility to uphold and enforce the law. Uniformed peace officers include city police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers. Police officers can expect average employment growth of 10 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Detective and criminal investigator professions, however, are projected to experience 17 percent employment growth in that timeframe, according to the Bureau. The average yearly salary of patrol officers was $51,410 in May 2008, while the average was $60,910 for detectives and investigators, the Bureau calculated.

Paralegals and legal assistants are another occupation you can explore with a criminal justice major, The vast majority of these professionals work for law firms, where they are required to have a thorough understanding of the law and legal terminology. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than average of other occupations, according to the Bureau. The average annual salary of paralegals and legal assistants in May 2008 was $46,120, the Bureau calculated.

Some criminal justice students will continue their studies into the graduate level and go on to become criminal justice faculty. At 15 percent, employment growth for college faculty is projected to be faster than average, according to the Bureau. The average annual salary for criminal justice and law enforcement teachers was $53,640 in May of 2008, the Bureau calculated.

While this is just a sampling of some better known criminal justice careers, you can get a more informal idea of salaries of other criminal justice professions using the online compensation site Payscale.com.

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