So You Want a Criminal Justice Career?

There are very few careers in today’s economy that offer as much employment security as law enforcement. A criminal justice degree creates an excellent foundation for anyone who is seriously considering a career in the industry. Many states require its officers to have a minimum of an associate degree, often offered at the community college level.

Criminal justice degrees are also well established at most traditional four-year universities. Major universities do not operate as criminal justice schools per se, but most colleges have a criminal justice program as a subset of the Sociology department. Always remember that criminal justice originates from a social need, as opposed to a legal need. This validates the broad application of criminal justice degrees, as many of the individuals working in the myriad government agencies have begun or upgraded their employment paths in this manner.

The curriculum in the bachelor degree programs tend to be more comprehensive and will often supply a better understanding of the process and the underlying social compact theories that impact the need for the combination of enforcement agencies. This is not to imply that many individuals have not been very successful by combining two-year criminal justice degrees with previous experience in the industry.

With the explosion of the internet, we have also seen an increase in the number of online schools that deal specifically with the academic area and may offer a better “hands on” training than the purely academic universities. For the student who is intent on this type of career, the streamlined programs may be more appropriate.

Another consideration for online criminal justice training is the opportunity to study at home, within the limits of the student’s personal time. Many students also work while “attending” classes and the latitude to study at home without the distractions that formal schools present can be a very important feature. The students are often already working in the criminal justice field at the entry level and doing professional upgrade to establish a better opportunity for advancement. Normally, promotions in this arena are done within the rank and file of the particular agency, though that is not always the rule.

For an individual to begin their criminal justice career in a managerial position they are normally only considered if they have at least a bachelor’s degree. But, that is not always the case. This area of education is commonly filled with non-traditional students. A non-traditional student is someone who does not enter college immediately upon high school graduation. There has been a general and steady increase in non-traditional education since the implementation of the NAFTA treaty, normally due to the current bleak employment landscape.

This scenario is also another reason for anyone to pursue this endeavor. Regardless of the national employment climate, there is a pressing need for workers in the law enforcement field. Many people do not want the pressure or danger that may be associated with this type of career, which lessens the competitive nature of any discipline. Every established community in America, regardless of size, has a need for trained individuals who understand the law in terms of authority and the rights and liberties of every citizen.

For the individual who has already been trained in legal protocol through the agency in which they work, like a local police department requiring each of its ranking officers to have a basic training certificate, a criminal justice degree serves to enhance the capability of the individual. It helps to establish a proven track record, along with the proof of an individual’s personal drive and seriousness. The ability to complete a long-term project simply for the improvement of personal qualification is often the most impressive accomplishment of any student.

Employment in the criminal justice system is regularly considered to be a government occupation, though that may not always be the case. There are many private corporations around the world who hire special company agents specifically for the purpose of internal control. Private sector specialists are prized employment opportunities and generally stem from previous experience in the field.

Regardless of public or private sector, there are few careers more noble or exciting.

Choose a Criminal Justice College Instead Of Falling For the Law School Swindle

For as long as anyone can remember, having a law degree was the ticket to a high salary and heaps of respect. In a crushing article written by the New York Times, the writer interviewed recent law graduates and revealed the dirty truth behind what many people call a prestigious degree. Despite this indictment of law schools and the reality of the graduates, we need people trained in the law in order to keep America safe from the inside out. A criminal justice college might just be the ticket to this balance.

The truth about law degrees today:

  • Statistics offered by the American Bar Association (ABA) in conjunction with the National Association for Law Placement say that 93% of law graduates were working nine months after graduation – even if the job was NOT in law.
  • U.S News statistics can be easily “massaged” by each institution, but are still approved by the ABA.
  • High tuition and low-cost makes law schools the “cash cow” of higher education.
  • No impartial bodies check to see if surveys taken by U.S. News Report for Law School Rankings are sound, leading many to assume that colleges “massage” numbers for better rankings.
  • Four years of undergraduate school and another three years of graduate school plus the added thousands of dollars and extra months after graduating to take the bar exam.
  • With the U.S recession, hundreds of law firms around the country had to downsize and suspend promotions.

So what are some alternatives for a career that involves law studies and will only incur a small portion of the debt that many law graduates have?


A paralegal is basically the jack-of-all-trades assistant to a lawyer. He or she will do the administrative duties of keeping documents on file, researching for cases, drafting up important documents and helping the lawyer prepare for important trials and other cases. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected growth of 13 percent by 2018 in this career field with a median salary of $46,129 and the top 10 percent making more than $73,450. Most paralegals have earned an associate’s degree or completed a certificate training program after another related undergraduate degree through a criminal justice college. Many continue with a graduate master’s degree also through a criminal justice college.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These men and women are trained to protect workers, the environment and property from harm by conducting safety inspections, designing safe work places and making public spaces safe for people and the environment. They also help to keep a business efficient when it comes to employees and equipment. They must have an in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations. There is a projected growth of 11 percent by 2018 with a median salary of $62,250 and the top 10 percent earning more than $93,620 (BLS). Most of these specialists will have a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related field like chemistry or engineering. A certification from a related credentialing organization in the field is not required, but encouraged, by employers. Those that advance to leadership positions generally have a lot of work experience and an advanced degree.

Claims Adjuster and Examiner

The person that deals with an insurance holder’s claims filed with their insurance company for business or personal claims. They investigate, validate and negotiate settlements between the insurance company and the claimant. Anywhere from a medical claim to a natural disaster, claims adjusters are the bridge between the person and the insurance company. Job opportunities are expected to be about average for 2018, with growth at a steady 7 percent with median earnings at $55,760 and the top 10 percent earning more than $84,260. Education requirements are not as strict – although employers might show preference to a college-educated candidate. It would be beneficial if the degree was in a related field, such as medicine or business. Continued training in certain fields is necessary for advancement. For example, a medical claims adjuster needs to be up to date on the latest medical advances and legislation.

Career options are not limited for those that may want to be in a field related to law, but do not want to risk the high tuition of a law school. These three options require knowledge of law and legal studies, but do not have the student in school for an expensive education that can last years. A respected and accredited criminal justice college will prepare you for any of these careers. These days the options are getting even wider with the availability of criminal justice colleges online.

The 2 Important Skills You Must Have to Become Successful Air Marshal in the Criminal Justice Field

The air marshal has one of the most exciting jobs in the criminal justice field. In this profession, you get to jet to different parts of the world. The best part is while you are doing this, your employer, in this case the US government, is picking up the tab.

But make no mistake about it, the air marshal job is not all glamour. It is a serious job that requires serious skills. In this article, I discuss the 2 most important skills you must have to become a successful air marshal. In no particular order, they are:

1. Marksman Skill:
The Air Marshal must be an excellent marksman or good shot as they say in layman’s terms. This is the ability to take out your target with precision and eliminating or limiting damage to surrounding targets.

For example, the air marshal may be put in a situation to take out a terrorist. This terrorist may be sitting next to other passengers. The air marshal should be able to take out this terrorist without harming or killing the passengers sitting next to him or her.

While taking out the passenger, the air marshal must not damage the aircraft or at least limit the damage to the aircraft. The last thing you want is for the marshal to put a big dent in the aircraft that may lead to the aircraft crashing. The aircraft crashing will most likely lead to most, if not all, of the passengers dying. This will defeat the whole purpose of shooting the terrorist.

This skill is the reason air marshals have the highest firearms qualification standard of all law enforcement agencies. It is that important.

2. Judgment Skill:
The air marshal must have excellent judgment skill. Terrorist don’t advertise before they board an airplane. They generally blend in with other passengers. This makes them difficult to detect.

The air marshal must have the judgment skill to pick up on things that are out of the ordinary. The ability to do this can avert potentially dangerous situations.

When the air marshal picks up on things that are out of the ordinary, she or he must decide what to do and when to do it. Making the wrong judgment will put the crew and passengers of the flight in danger.

The above are just 2 of the skills an air marshal must have. There are a lot more. It’s difficult to cover them all in this short article. If you are interested in becoming an air marshal, I urge you to do more reading on the internet. You can this by going to websites which cover the profession in more detail.

Note: You are free to reprint or republish this article. The only condition is that the links should be clickable.

A Variety Of Criminal Justice Salaries

Criminal justice degrees are often advertised, but rarely explained. These degrees focus on the law, to be sure, but tend to focus solely on the elements related to crime and punishment. If you wish to pursue such a degree, there will be a number of careers available to you when you graduate. Below are just a few of the career and salary possibilities.

The first, most common, set of criminal justice salaries are those in the law enforcement field. The majority of those that pursue the degree tend to do so in preparation of working either as a law enforcement officer or in the prison system, most of these professions tend to have rather reasonable median salaries. A police officer, on average, makes about forty thousand dollars per year, and can make up to eighty thousand by the end of his or her career. If you choose to go into forensics (which tends to require an additional science background), you can expect to make around fifty to sixty thousand dollars a year when you join the force. Prison guards tend to make less (they are paid hourly), while private detectives tend to hover around the forty thousand dollar mark.

Of course, many pursue a degree in criminal justice to work in other positions in the legal world. Border patrol agents average about fifty-five thousand dollars per year, and federal law enforcement agents have a median income of over seventy thousand dollars per year. On the less active side, court reporters tend to average over fifty thousand dollars per year, and various clerks and other personnel in the court system tend to make in excess of twenty dollars per hour. There are a number of other local, state, and federal government positions that can be held by an individual with a criminal justice degree, but they are too varied to list.

The final set of criminal justice careers also involve working in a courtroom setting. A paralegal averages about fifty thousand dollars per year, while a legal secretary earns around forty thousand. Law office managers tend to be paid a bit more, at about fifty eight thousand dollars per year, but nothing quite matches the pay of an attorney. If you are willing to go forward and get a J.D., you can expect your starting pay to be above fifty thousand dollars per year. While the starting pay is certainly not much more than the average of a paralegal, your lifetime earnings potential has no limit. With many experienced attorneys making well over six figures per year, working as a lawyer is certainly the most lucrative way to make use of your criminal justice degree.

Having a criminal justice degree can allow you to work in a number of fields. You may be paid anywhere from the low twenty-thousand dollar range to the high fifty-thousands as starting pay, and your potential salary can only rise. Whether you want to be a police officer or an attorney, pursuing this degree can give you many different opportunities.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

The events of September 11, 2001, which sent ripples across our entire society, forever changed the way the world, views safety. As a result, the criminal justice system has adjusted to the new challenges both from inside and out of the US borders.

Along with law enforcement, the concept and need for homeland security have become more fundamental principles with law enforcement agencies from the federal, state and local levels.

A criminal justice degree can position candidates to perform a variety of services for the public. It’s an extraordinary and exciting field, and on any given day may entail overseeing the protection of life and property. Quite, often, the job can be dangerous and stressful for industry professionals.

This field is quite often seen as a social science whose purpose it is to identify and explain criminal behavior patterns. The end result is to analyze, understand and better control crime and delinquency in society.

The curriculum is designed to study the criminal, crime, and the criminal justice system by taking an interdisciplinary approach, which combines legal studies, philosophy, public administration, urban studies, forensic science and much more.

It’s a commonly held philosophy that if crime can be better understood, the causes of criminal activity,,the legal processes and treatment of offenders can be progressive and far more effective.

Education for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Degree may contain, but may not be limited to training in the following areas: Correction Systems and Institutions, Crime and Criminology, Ethics and Criminal Justice, Applied Research Methods, Statistics for Criminal Justice, Critical Issues in Criminal Justice, Law and the Legal System, Substance Use and Victimology.

Criminal Justice graduate programs typically cover law, criminology, public policy, criminology and other related issues. Master’s degree programs usually tend to overlap sociology, social work, population studies and political science. The (MS) Masters or PhD can also lead to a career as a probation officer, detective, probations officer or more. Like any profession, employment depends on preparation, skills, experience, work attitude and local market and other factors.

Finding the right venue to earn a Master’s degree in this field can be just as important as the degree itself. Institutions providing course study should be accredited members of ACICS.

The smaller your class size, whether online or in a traditional setting, learning becomes easier and more enjoyable the more you can interact with classmates and the instructor. Hopefully, you will gain the initiative, independence and critical thinking skills necessary to be a success in class and on the job.