What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

Best Jobs For Criminal Justice Major

It can be hard to find the perfect job after you graduate from college. Luckily for students who graduated with a criminal justice degree, we have got you covered. We found the jobs that most criminal justice majors prefer by examining millions of job listings and 193,708 criminal justice major resumes.

Find Criminal Justice Major Jobs

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Starting Salary
$35,000
Job openings
65,653
Top Locations:
Seattle, WA;  New York, NY;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
79,896
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$54,000
Job openings
159,052
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
Starting Salary
$35,000
Job openings
68,032
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Washington, DC;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$37,000
Job openings
48,647
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  New York, NY;  Arlington, VA;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
9,044
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Washington, DC;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Secretaries and administrative assistants perform clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
6,662
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
Starting Salary
$33,000
Job openings
28,744
Top Locations:
Chantilly, VA;  Washington, DC;  Loveland, CO;  
Job Description:
Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
32,437
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
66,521
Top Locations:
Huntsville, TX;  Nashville, TN;  Gatesville, TX;  
Job Description:
Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms.
Starting Salary
$35,000
Job openings
5,692
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
67,841
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Job Description:
A Loss Prevention Agent helps prevent theft. They create theft prevention plans and policies, as well as monitor the workplace to evaluate the safety issues or concerns.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
20,290
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  York, PA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
62,381
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
114,208
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Phoenix, AZ;  Las Vegas, NV;  
Job Description:
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
5,679
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Atlanta, GA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
Starting Salary
$41,000
Job openings
27,023
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
4,254
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Pompano Beach, FL;  Tempe, AZ;  
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
126,194
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
80,895
Top Locations:
Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
28,683
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
Starting Salary
$32,000
Job openings
47,694
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Grove City, PA;  Tampa, FL;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$33,000
Job openings
40,657
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$51,000
Job openings
98,546
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
Starting Salary
$24,000
Job openings
67,323
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$20,000
Job openings
69,083
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Dallas, TX;  Las Vegas, NV;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$16,000
Job openings
12,328
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$32,000
Job openings
31,417
Top Locations:
Atlanta, GA;  Lawrenceville, GA;  Saint Paul, MN;  
Job Description:
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists monitor and work with probationers to prevent them from committing new crimes.
Starting Salary
$16,000
Job openings
58,523
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Starting Salary
$30,000
Job openings
31,473
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
A Research Assistant helps carry out a particular research agenda. They are generally found in the social science or laboratory setting.
Starting Salary
$37,000
Job openings
1,474
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Huntsville, TX;  Newark, NJ;  
Job Description:
Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.
Starting Salary
$21,000
Job openings
38,351
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.
Starting Salary
$64,000
Job openings
72,881
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  Charlotte, NC;  New York, NY;  
Job Description:
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increases.
Starting Salary
$46,000
Job openings
11,573
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  Fort Meade, MD;  Fort Hood, TX;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$38,000
Job openings
55,941
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
47,764
Top Locations:
Las Vegas, NV;  Raleigh, NC;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$31,000
Job openings
30,799
Top Locations:
Saint Louis, MO;  Raleigh, NC;  Memphis, TN;  
Job Description:
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists monitor and work with probationers to prevent them from committing new crimes.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
1,028
Top Locations:
Newark, DE;  Phoenix, AZ;  Kennesaw, GA;  
Starting Salary
$24,000
Job openings
84,308
Top Locations:
Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
57,474
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Las Vegas, NV;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Fire inspectors examine buildings to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met. Fire investigators determine the origin and cause of fires and explosions. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess fire hazards in both public and residential areas.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
61,354
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  Columbia, SC;  Miami, FL;  
Job Description:
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Starting Salary
$55,000
Job openings
86,156
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
A business analyst is someone who analyzes an organization or business domain (real or hypothetical) and documents its business or processes or systems, assessing the business model or its integration with technology.
Starting Salary
$18,000
Job openings
60,804
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Phoenix, AZ;  
Starting Salary
$59,000
Job openings
38,427
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  Arlington, VA;  Fort Meade, MD;  
Job Description:
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increases.
Starting Salary
$40,000
Job openings
53,058
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  San Diego, CA;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
An Operations Specialist is responsible for managing the flow of a workplace and optimizing day-to-day activities. They track and analyze various reports, such as activity budgets, operation activity, and department metrics for making the necessary improvements.
Starting Salary
$37,000
Job openings
28,825
Top Locations:
Washington, DC;  New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
Starting Salary
$45,000
Job openings
92,277
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  
Job Description:
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
29,672
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.
Starting Salary
$34,000
Job openings
137,774
Top Locations:
Dallas, TX;  New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  
Job Description:
Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization’s products and services.

Criminal Justice Major Jobs

Average Salary For a Criminal Justice Major

Depending on the industry that criminal justice majors work in, their salaries can vary significantly. In fact, we found that criminal justice majors who work in the transportation industry have an average salary of $71,783, while those who work in the government industry have an average salary of $31,095. If salary is the most important thing to you, then you should look for jobs in the transportation industry.

1. Transportation
$71,783
$26k
$88k
2. Retail
$53,794
$26k
$88k
3. Technology
$53,430
$26k
$88k
4. Manufacturing
$50,085
$26k
$88k
5. Finance
$38,219
$26k
$88k

Entry Level Jobs For Criminal Justice Majors

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Criminal Justice Internships

How To Get A Job With A Criminal Justice Degree

Criminal Justice is a fun sort of field where you get to deal in one way or another with criminals and lawbreakers. It can be a physically and emotionally demanding field, requiring a person to deal with some intense feelings and situations. It can even be dangerous at points.

These are reasons why many people avoid the department, but for Criminal Justice Majors, that's exactly why they joined up.

There's lots of places you can go once you get started on your criminal justice career, including anywhere from police departments to correctional facilities, and could even lead to you joining the FBI, if you're so inclined. But once you're out of college, where do you start?

Which is all to say that when graduation day comes around, you've got a lot of tough decisions to make about where and what you're going to be.

Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a map, just for Criminal Justice Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.

Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:

  • What skills you'll need
  • How to begin
  • What jobs you can expect to find as a Criminal Justice Major
  • Some quick interview tips
  • Consider graduate school
  • External resources

First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.

1. Skills for Criminal Justice Majors

Skills for criminal justice majors tend to fall within the analytical and information-gathering categories. You've spent most of your time reading about cases and laws and the various applications of the law, and now that you're entering the field you need to be able to apply this information to concrete situations.

This requires a great memory and concentration, not to mention a creative and active mind. It's certainly not for everyone, but for the brightest and the best, careers can be long and rewarding.

Let's take a look at what this means for Criminal Justice in particular:

Broad knowledge of law and the nature of crimes.

This is an absolute must. If you get through your undergraduate school without much knowledge of the law and the reasons that people break it, then you're pretty much useless to any career you could hope to have in the field. Knowledge should be fairly broad with small areas of specialization -- preferably areas that you hope to expand on with whatever career you go with.

Computer literacy/research skills.

Another absolute must. For almost any career in Criminal Justice, you'll be spending a lot of time on computers going through mounds and mounds of data. You have to have some way of processing and understanding this information. A good understanding of computers is particularly important nowadays, given how important the internet has become to society, and how much of it is used as an accessory to (or even medium for) crime.

Analytical abilities.

Along with being able to conduct research and locate relevant data, you'll need to be able to come up with creative and useful interpretations of this data in order to solve the complex problems that the Criminal Justice field often presents.

2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Criminal Justice Degree

There are as many kinds of internship opportunities in the Criminal Justice field as there are different kinds of jobs in said field, but some of the more plentiful you'll find are related to law enforcement in one way or another. These assorted groups and government agencies are always looking for new blood, especially when that (metaphorical) new blood is willing to take a look at some actual blood. On an unpaid basis, no less.

These internships give you a great opportunity to see how these organizations operate from the inside, and help you make the kind of connections you'll need when it comes to moving forward with your career after college.

Some common groups that Criminal Justice Majors intern with include:

  • Sheriff's or Police Departments
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Department of Justice
  • Central Intelligence Agency

Before you settle on an internship or placement, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
  • What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
  • Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
  • Is relocation an option?

3. Available Jobs For Criminal Justice Majors

Jobs for Criminal Justice Majors exist in many different fields, but for the most part, you'll find them in either government positions, private correctional facilities, or in security. Other jobs in criminal justice are more related to rehabilitation -- helping ex-convicts adjust to life outside of prison, rather than putting or keeping them there in the first place.

These are all very different fields, but in all of them there's much to find that might be interesting or exciting to you regardless of how you choose to specialize. In fact, the job choices ahead of you might become somewhat overwhelming with the size of the options available.

With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent Criminal Justice major grads.

Here are a few of the most interesting entry-level jobs for recent grads such as yourself:

Probation and parole officer

Probation and parole officers handle individual cases of those who have gone through the correctional system and are now on probation or parole. The role requires a lot of empathy as well as the ability to project authority, as it requires talking one-on-one with and giving directions to ex-convicts. Due to the unique difficulties of the position, probation officers tend to specialize in certain kinds of cases.

Paralegal

Paralegals are people who are trained for tasks related to legal duties and to provide legal assistance, but who cannot offer legal services on their own (depending on local laws). For the most part, paralegals work through attorneys, who they assist or otherwise represent.

FBI field agent

FBI field agents are some of the best of the best when it comes to the Criminal Justice field. It takes a series of tests, both physical and mental, just to be accepted, and only those within the age range of 23-37 are allowed to give it a shot. If you manage to get in, you'll spend months training at the FBI's facility in Quantico, VA, after which you could be shipped to almost anywhere. It takes a lot to be a field agent, but those who make it through the process are as passionate as they get.

4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Criminal Justice Majors

Go Government

One way or another, the most likely employer for your first job in a criminal justice career is going to be related to the government in some way. It's the government's laws that criminals are breaking -- it stands to reason that the most jobs related to criminal justice would be coming from Uncle Sam.

So before you scour the depths of the internet looking for any company desperate enough to hire someone with lots of debt and no experience, check out the US Government's USAJobs site, where empty government positions are posted.

Go Local

On a small related note, local government is an excellent place to start when looking for government positions. This idea seems obvious, but the practical aspect of actually going to a local Chamber of Commerce or Town Hall and just trying to talk to someone directly doesn't always occur to folks.

In general, though, it's a great idea to try introducing yourself in person to potential employers. It makes you more memorable, and as far as getting your foot in the door goes, it's much more difficult for someone to ignore you when you're out tapping your foot in their waiting room. If nothing else, they'll probably be open to answering a few of your questions about finding a job in your field.

5. Continuing Education and Certifications in Criminal Justice

Obtaining a graduate degree in your course of study can serve as an excellent way to separate you from the herd -- but you must first decide whether it's worth your time.

Master's degrees in Criminal Justice work much like any other field -- they make you more competitive and have the potential to get you a nice pay bump, with the trade-off being time and money spent achieving the degree.

The PhD is a little unique, however, in that many of those who achieve the PhD still end up being involved in the practical field of Criminal Justice rather than just teaching or conducting research, unlike most other majors. Research is still the primary purpose of the PhD, but doctors in Criminal Justice also end up influencing public policy or acting as high level consultants.

Once more, here are the common advanced degrees that people with Criminal Justice degree normally consider:

Certificate in Criminal Justice

  • In between a Bachelor's and a Master's. While not necessarily a must-have when it comes to getting a job, in certain situations a certificate can make you a more attractive candidate than those with only a Bachelor's, whereas

Master's in Criminal Justice

  • Good for increasing competitiveness in the job market and bumping up starting pay. Additionally, the skills gained through an effective Master's program will give you a significant leg up on your fellow employees when you're just starting out, as they may not have the critical skills or specialized abilities that you now take for granted as a Master's student

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice)

  • Good for conducting research and remaining on the academic side of the Criminal Justice field. However, many PhDs also act as high level consultants and work with public policy groups, both of which allow Criminal Justice PhDs to have an active role in both the public and private sectors of the Criminal Justice field

6. External Resources

If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:

Backstage

A website designed to help actors find jobs, including postings for auditions and open casting calls.

The American Dance Guild

A national dance association dedicated to spotlighting the work of dancers and choreographers across America. Holds a yearly festival in NY which showcases the work of over 30 choreographers and highlights two "master choreographers."

The American Institute for Graphic Arts

One of the largest professional associations for graphic designers. Resources available to members includes design news, continuing education and certifications, contests, and networking opportunities.

USAJobs

Enter "Criminal Justice" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Criminal Justice Majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.

Bureau Of Labor Statistics

The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.

In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.

And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.

Updated July 15, 2020