Read these 6 Criminal Justice Careers Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Criminal Justice Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.
One of your options in pursuing a degree in criminal justice is to work for the government. The options within this context are:
As you may have already gathered, the field of criminal justice offers such a broad range of job opportunities that it is impossible to make a blanket statement about what an average salary for a criminal justice professional would be. Basic research suggests that salaries can range from the high $20,000 (for some local level jobs) to the $100,000 (for some federal government positions and/or specialties, such as medical examining).
For information on different salary ranges, research salaries online, at the library, and talk to professionals in the field. Make sure you note in your research whether you are inquiring about the starting level salary or the ceiling level salary for that area of expertise. An additional suggestion is to consider not only salary, but also potential benefits (like educational stipends, retirement, health insurance, career growth, etc.).
Prior to obtaining your degree in criminal justice it's important to really understand the realm of possibilities available to you in criminal justice. Criminal justice is a very broad topic and even within each specified area of interest there are numerous career options.
Take forensic science, for example. Forensic Science is one area of specialty within the field/or degree area of criminal justice that offers numerous job possibilities including:
For this reason, it's important to try and pre-determine your area of specialty, do research on the sub-specialties within that speciality, look at possible career options and then decide which program best suits your needs.
If you are interesting in seeking a state-level position in the criminal justice field, you should consider obtaining at least a bachelors degree in the field. While you may be able to obtain employment with less education, your chances of career growth will be more limited in the long run. And even if you do work for an agency that is willing to pay for further education, having to go back to school and earn an additional degree later may take time away from enhancing your career.
State level careers in criminal justice can range from work as a forensic scientist to a probation/parole officer, to a mediator/dispute resolution counselor. It is important to identify your areas of interest prior to obtaining your degree. For example, if you are interested in forensic science, but you are interested in the more specific area of psychological profiling, you may have to get a joint degree (with a second focus in social science or psychology) to increase your job options upon graduation.
One important thing to consider when preparing your resume for a career in criminal justice is to specify what your area(s) of specialty are. You can emphasize this in your objective, your educational section and, most importantly in your experience section. It is likely that human resource or management personnel will only quickly glance at your resume prior to determining if they want to read further, so it is crucial that you enter key words relative to the specific job you are seeking. For example, put the word "forensics" or "forensic science" or "medical examination" in italics or bold if you are interested in this line of work.
There is no one sure fire formula for completing a resume in the criminal justice field, as each job description and potential employer will be unique. Tailor your resume and cover letter, as needed, for each specific job application. This task may seem tedious at first, but it will ensure you a higher standard of communication and a better representation of yourself and your skill set.
If you are seeking a criminal justice career with the local government, you will most likely require a minimum of an associates degree in the field (that is, if you haven't already obtained on-the-job training). Some of the local level criminal justice employment opportunities to consider include a local level corrections officer, a park police officer, a county police officer, a juvenile justice officer, or working for the sheriff's department. Take the following into consideration as you research career opportunities in law enforcement/criminal justice: