With no system in place to deal with criminals and to protect the rights of citizens, the United States would be a very different place today. This country has an abundance of law enforcement agencies and a complex criminal justice system that attempts to punish criminals while upholding the rights of citizens. The study of the justice system and the crimes and criminals that move through it is called criminal justice administration. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can prepare you for jobs in law enforcement, social services, corrections and court.
Law Enforcement Careers
Criminal justice graduates are qualified to pursue a number of career opportunities in law enforcement. Over 80 percent of people working in law enforcement work as city police officers. Other law enforcement careers in city or state agencies can include detectives, dispatchers and police records. In federal law enforcement agencies, your bachelor's degree may lead to employment as an agent or support staff with the U.S. Marshals, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security and Border Patrol. Graduates seeking employment with private companies may be employed in retail loss prevention or private security. An average annual salary in law enforcement can range from $27,240 to upward of $100,000 for a CIA special agent.
If you are more interested in the field of corrections, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration can prepare you to work as a corrections officer, probation officer or a parole officer. Corrections officers work in federal or state prisons overseeing the activities of inmates and ensuring the security of the prison and its staff. Probation and parole officers are responsible for ensuring offenders meet the conditions of their probation or court release. The average salary of a corrections or probation officer in 2010 was $47,200.
Social Services Careers
Social services is another industry that employs graduates of criminal justice administration programs. A bachelor's degree can qualify you for positions such as a child support specialist, group home counselor, victim advocate and case manager in a social service agency. Child support specialists work with parents to ensure children are financially supported. Group home counselors, victim advocates and case managers all work with people needing various types of assistance. For example, they may work in group homes for troubled youth or as a case manager for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. The average salary for social and human services assistants was $28,200 per year in 2010.
Although many legal careers require advanced degrees, candidates with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration can work as court reporters, bailiffs and paralegals. Court reporters are responsible for transcribing court room dialogue. They earned an average salary of $47,700 per year in 2010. Bailiffs maintain order in the court room, which can earn them an average annual salary of $39,840. Finally, paralegals assist attorneys in the preparation of legal documents and with matters pertaining to legal cases. The annual salary for a paralegal was $46,680 in 2010.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Security Guard
- Police Employment: City Police Jobs: What You Need to Know
- University of Alabama: What Can I Do With a Degree in Criminal Justice?
- U.S. Central Intelligence Agency: Inspector General - Special Agent/Investigator
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Paralegals and Legal Assistants
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
- Portland State University: Why Should Social Workers Learn Criminal Justice
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Social and Human Service Assistants
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Bailiff
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Court Reporters
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