A career in criminal justice can involve various areas of law enforcement. There are a variety of careers and jobs available to criminal justice students that encompass the various aspects of the legal and justice system. A degree and training in the field of criminal justice can be a stepping stone for a career in various other areas of law.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, police officers earned an average salary of $51,410 in 2008 with detectives averaging $60,910. A criminal justice background can be used for various levels of police and detective careers. The knowledge obtained through education in the field of criminal justice prepares a student for a career in a police department. Students can look forward to police careers at the federal, state, and local government level.
A career as a corrections officer is a position that works in a prison system and helps contain, control, and manage the inmate population. There are legal aspects of prisoner rights that the officer needs to understand and enforce. Because of the environment, corrections officers with a background and training in criminal justice has an advantage of understanding the parameters of the legal system of the prison itself. The U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics reported 2008 earnings for corrections officers of $38,380 as the average in the United States.
Private detectives and private investigators are positions that can work in either government or for the private sector. The role of a private investigator is enhanced by having a degree or training in the field of criminal justice. Understanding criminal justice and the legal system helps investigators know what their boundaries are in such positions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, private investigators earned an average salary of $41,760 in 2008.