If fighting crime is your aim, you’ll also want to know what you may get paid if you consider this field seriously. Apart from the obvious reward of cleaning the streets, you do need a salary to feed yourself and your family.
The field of criminal justice is very vast and it offers a wide scope for employment. The criminal justice career options are quite varied, hence in this article, I will outline the basic criminal justice degree careers which may interest you.
Criminal Justice Career Paths
Like is the case in any chosen career path, criminal justice careers too start with getting a masters or an associate degree in this field. Some colleges may even offer a specialization in a specific course of study. So, here are some of the career options along with their average salaries for you to choose from.
Careers in Federal Law Enforcement
- ATF Agents: An ATF agent is one who works specifically in the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau of the US Treasury. The job of an ATF agent is to regulate the possession and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms in the country. ATF agents can also conduct raids in places where they suspect these products are being illegally held and sold. Their salary may range from USD 32,000 – USD 50,000
- Customs Agents: Customs agents are in charge of collecting customs and other associated taxes on the import of goods into the country. Their job is to check and ensure that nothing illegal is being brought into the country and the correct taxes are paid for all the items being brought into the country. Their salary may range from USD 23,000 – USD 45,000.
- US Marshal: A US Marshal is in charge of making sure that no harm is done to the items and people that may be involved during criminal proceedings. This is one of the most dangerous jobs. An entry-level US Marshal is paid USD 27,000, while a GS2 Grade Marshal takes home USD 50,000 annually.
- DEA Agents: This is a highly specialized job in the field of criminal justice. A DEA agent works with the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The job of a DEA agent is to look into any instances of illegal trafficking of drugs. The DEA agent may have to conduct a surveillance of an area where he suspects the illegal use of drugs and seize them. The annual pay for DEA agents is between USD 35,000 – USD 65,000.
- FBI Agent: We all know about the FBI agent. The job of a FBI agent goes beyond simply relaying the law, it involves investigations and getting your hands dirty. The job of a FBI agent encompasses investigations into various types of illegal acts, right from drug peddling to terrorism and organized crime. For his efforts, the FBI agent salary is quite high, the starting pay being USD 50,000.
Careers in Courts
- Bailiff: The job of a bailiff is relatively quite simple and a low risk job. A bailiff is in charge of maintaining order in the courtroom, monitoring the members of the jury, the plaintiffs, the defendants, and ensuring that the court proceedings go on uninterrupted. The bailiff gets paid about USD 25,000.
- Court Clerk: The Court clerk is in charge of all the administrative work in the court, such as filing and maintaining the documents related to the proceedings, ensuring that the court notices are sent to all the parties involved in the case and maintaining the minutes for the case. A court clerk earns about USD 27,000 per year
- Probation Officer: A probation officer is one of the most prominent criminal justice careers. When a criminal is released on parole, it is the probation officer’s job to ensure that the criminal is no longer driven to crime again. The person who was imprisoned may have to report to his probation officer regularly and recall the details of his activities. The probation officer salaries are quite variable but the average is around USD 37,959.
Careers in Police/Law Enforcement
- Crime Scene Investigators: Crime scene investigators are a part of the police department, who help facilitate investigations. Crime scene investigators help get the witnesses and other people to be investigated together and carry out the preliminary inquiries and investigations. The criminal justice salaries for this field range between USD 20,000 to USD 50,000
- Forensic Department: Forensic scientists perform the function of gathering the evidence and conducting DNA analysis. Many crimes require this sort of evidences to conclusively trace the crimes. Forensic scientists do just that. Forensic scientists are paid about USD 30,000.
- Police Officers: One of the most common criminal justice jobs is that of a police officer. A police officer is supposed to conduct patrols in his area, make a record of all the crimes, and be present at the scene of the crime to make an official record of the crime scene. The average police officer salary is USD 44,560.
Careers in Legal Practice
- Lawyers: The lawyer needs more than just the criminal justice degree and will need a specialized degree in criminal or corporate law from a law school. A lawyer, basically, argues a case for his client in the court of law and tries to defend his client with the help of his knowledge of the law. Lawyers earn a fee based on their experience and their clients. So, the job of a lawyer can be one of the highest paying jobs around!
- Paralegals: Paralegal duties include helping the lawyer make a case, and helping him in all the documentation associated with the case. Paralegals help the lawyer write a brief and are basically under the tutelage of the lawyer. Paralegals earn pretty well, the average salary is about USD 52,979.
So, this was all about the career in the criminal justice system. As you can see, there is a wide scope of employment is this field.