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Careers With a Criminal Justice Degree

May 3, 2013

Criminal justice careers are broad in scope, giving interested individuals the room to find one that suits their unique interests, experience, and goals. While there are ample career opportunities available for criminal justice professionals, those with a bachelor’s degree will qualify for superior openings at the local, state and federal levels. At King University, the online criminal justice degree prepares individuals to enter, or go further in, the following professions:

Law Enforcement Careers

  • Police officer: Sworn to protect and serve the public, police officers are an essential resource for promoting public safety in a community. Day-to-day activities vary by their employment level (local, state or federal) and experience. Duties are sometimes physical and require a relatively strong level of fitness. While some local forces require minimal education (a high school diploma in most cases), larger metropolitan areas as well as state and federal agencies look for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. According to PayScale, police officers earn an average annual salary of $50,395.
  • Detective: Detectives solve major (and sometimes minor) crimes by collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing records and connecting the dots. Most detectives work consistent crime beats, including robbery, drugs and homicide. Most detectives start their careers as a police officer and work their way up the law enforcement chain. That being said, experience is a major qualification for detectives, but so is education. PayScale reports an average annual salary for a detective is $61,848.
  • Game warden: Make a career out of your passion for wilderness and hunting by becoming a game warden in your community. Game wardens patrol community lands and waterways through enforcing hunting, fishing and boating safety laws. Game wardens may also be called on to assist in search and rescue missions and patrol state borders as part of homeland security and immigration initiatives. Job requirement vary by state and level of employment, and is competitive at both levels PayScale reports an average annual salary of $46,697.
  • State trooper: Each state may have different on-the-job duties for their troopers, but generally a state trooper will patrol highways, respond to roadway emergencies, make statewide criminal arrests and more. Most states require at least a college degree for employment consideration as well as significant experience at the local law enforcement level. Salary requirements will likely vary by state; PayScale reports an average annual salary of $54,360.

Correctional and Court Careers

  • Parole officer: Assisting criminal offenders in their transition back into society is an essential element of restorative justice. If this component of criminal justice interests you, consider a role as a parole officer. Parole officers maintain regular contact with these past offenders to help guide them through this transition and provide supportive services to keep them on track and prevent them from returning to a life of crime. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice for placement in this correctional career. King University’s program focuses on restorative justice and will give you an edge in this criminal justice field. PayScale reports an average annual salary of $42,283. Like many criminal justice careers, salary is dependent on education level, experience and regional location.
  • Bailiff: Courtrooms can be a place of high tension and stress, which may result in outbreaks or chaos. Bailiffs are in charge of keeping order in the court by enforcing rules and regulations and providing security checks. Prerequisites for this position include a college degree and law enforcement experience. PayScale reports an average annual salary of $39,641 for bailiffs.

Forensic Careers

  • Crime scene investigator: Use forensic science such as DNA, blood splatter and more to solve major crimes as a crime scene investigator (CSI). CSIs are in charge of observing a crime scene, evaluating evidence and preparing reports during the initial investigative stages of a crime, including homicides, armed robberies, property crimes, sexual assaults and more. Education requirements vary by department and agency; however a four-year degree and expertise in biology, anatomy and chemistry in addition to criminal justice is preferred. According to PayScale, CSIs make an average annual salary of $44,685.

Your Future In Criminal Justice

At King University, the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice provides a solid foundation of core competencies that gives graduates an edge in a competitive job market. This accelerated program delivers field-specific courses to broaden knowledge and build expertise in a variety of criminal justice sectors. Because the degree is designed with a restorative justice focus, students gain a more comprehensive understanding of their field. The online criminal justice degree is offered in a fully digital format, making it possible for students to earn their degrees in a flexible format designed to fit their lives.