Most know the age-old adage about two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Unfortunately, something else is equally certain in life, and that is crime. The following statistics confirm the ubiquitous nature of crime: In 2014, the FBI reported there were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes (murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) reported by law enforcement. There were an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes (burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts) reported by law enforcement. Financial losses suffered by victims of these crimes were calculated at approximately $14.3 billion. Since the advent of the personal computer, cyber crime has escalated globally. Also, terrorism has become an international epidemic.
Judging from these statistics, there is a need for law enforcement in all facets of crime fighting, from Probation Officers, to US Marshals, to Forensic Science Technicians. Here is a look at some of the jobs to consider with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2015 median wage for probation officers is $49,360 per year, with 4% job growth expected through 2024. Probation officers monitor parolees released from the corrections system to ensure that they abide by the terms of their probation while assisting parolees with adjusting to life after release using specialized treatment techniques.
Forensic Science Technician
The BLS estimates the annual salary of forensic science technicians at $56,320 in 2015, though the average salary is higher in states with high demand for these specialists like California, Virginia, and Illinois. These state have an average salary between $61,040 and $74,050. Aspiring forensic science technicians can get a head start on the training required for this career as early as high school with a focus on the sciences and mathematics.
A private investigator, or PI, may conduct surveillance and background investigations on individuals, may study crime scenes to search for clues, may report information to the authorities, and may testify in court. Some companies hire private investigators to complete undercover work, to conduct background checks and pre-employment verification, to escort valuable property from place to place, or to guard high profile individuals. Former law enforcement officers sometimes take the experience they’ve gained in law enforcement and parlay it into a new career as a PI. The BLS projects job growth of 5% for private detectives and investigators through 2024, with an median income of $45,610.
U.S. Marshals transport, manage, and protect prisoners and federal witnesses; arrest wanted criminals; and administer the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program. Under this program, Marshals seize and sell assets purchased with illegally obtained money to compensate victims and fund law enforcement programs. As members of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, US Marshals also provide protection to judges, attorneys, and jurors in high profile or potentially dangerous court cases.
Computer Forensics Investigator
Computer forensics investigators may provide many services, from investigating computer systems and data in order to present information for legal cases to determining how an unauthorized user hacked into a system to gathering digital information. A bachelor’s degree, in computer forensics or a similar area (Criminal Justice), is generally required to earn a position as a computer forensics investigator.
Emergency Management Director
The field of emergency management refers to all of programs and agencies that people depend on for quick recovery to unexpected natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires as well as events related to human-caused disasters like widespread pollution or terrorism. Those who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in emergency management may also take courses on how to handle specific events, such as bioterrorism and wildfires.
Career opportunities for victim advocates (or victims advocates) are increasing as more professional and non-profit organizations recognize the importance of having a professional on staff to work with the victims of crime or abuse. Most professional victim advocates have an associate’s, a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, social work, or education. Some organizations may require a master’s degree.
This is a small sample of the jobs available for those interested in a degree in Criminal Justice. Careers in criminal justice are found at the federal, state, county and local levels, as well as in the private sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2013, roughly 3 million workers were employed in the criminal justice field. As noted, this work can be categorized into law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, homeland security, private security, academia and legal services.