5 Great Criminal Justice Careers

If you want to find a career in criminal justice, the fist step is to get a degree in the field. Afterward, internships and networking can help you build a resume that gets you a top criminal justice career. Depending on your unique interests, you may want to work as a private investigator or as a member of law enforcement. Because of the war on terrorism, there are many new opportunities in criminal justice for qualified applicants.

1. Police Officers and Sheriffs

One of the most common career choices for criminal justice majors is in law enforcement. Criminal justice professionals are responsible for controlling crime in their community and catching criminals. They may respond to traffic accidents, domestic violence reports and theft. Often, police officers have to work with detectives and other law enforcement professionals to catch criminals. Currently, there are an estimated 800,000 uniformed police officers working in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers make a median wage of $56,130 per year.

2. Investigators and Detectives

Detectives are responsible for collecting evidence and interrogating suspects. Individuals in this criminal justice career must assist with arrests and work with task forces. To get a job as a private investigator, individuals will have to get licensed by their state. Meanwhile, detectives will typically need to serve as law enforcement officials for several years before they can be promoted to the level of a detective. Individuals in this career field earn a median wage of $45,610 per year.

3. Fire Investigators

If you have ever watched forensic shows or detective movies, you have most likely seen a fire investigator at work. These individuals work with local police and fire departments to investigate the cause of suspicious fires. If the fire was deliberately set, they may conduct an arson investigation to catch the criminal. During their normal job assignment, fire investigators will write reports, make arrests, respond to fire scenes and prepare warrants. A fire inspector or investigator can expect to make a median wage of $55,440 per year.

4. Security Managers

Individuals in this criminal justice career will normally work in the private sector. It is their responsibility to manage the security detail for commercial operations and individuals. Often, a security manager will be employed by an independent security firm or a private company. To receive a higher pay level, security managers can study computer science as well as criminal justice. Many corporations look for talented computer science majors to investigate corporate espionage, so individuals in this field can enjoy a rewarding, lucrative career.

5. Fish and Game Wardens

If you love the outdoors, this career field is the right choice for you. Fish and game wardens work as conservation officers to protect the environment. They patrol marine and wildlife sanctuaries to make sure that outdoor enthusiasts do not hurt the environment. The median pay for wardens is currently at $48,760 per year.

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A degree in criminal justice is the first step toward a rewarding career program. With this degree, students can go on to work as game wardens, private investigators and security specialists. No matter what the student is interested in, they can find a fulfilling criminal justice career to suit their interests.