What can you do with a degree in "Criminal Justice?"
Criminal Justice Career Map

Criminal justice careers include professional positions in probation departments, law enforcement agencies, correctional institutions for juveniles or adults, parole offices or community treatment and service settings.

Law Enforcement
- positions in city, town, county, state and federal police departments and agencies.

Probation Officer - employed in local, state and federal courts to handle the cases of offenders being brought to the attention of the courts.

Institutional Counselor - hired by adult and juvenile correctional institutions as counselors and social service providers.

Custodial Supervisors - work in security institutions supervising custodial staff and help provide safety and security of the institution's population.

Parole Officer - responsible for the supervision of adult and juvenile offenders released by state or federal agencies.

Community Correctional Worker - employed in a variety of community agencies ranging from state community correctional centers to volunteer, private agencies such as Youth Service Bureaus.

Investigator - employed by private and public agencies to investigate civil/tort claims as well as criminal activities. Opportunities may exist in prosecutor's offices or with insurance agencies.

Victim/Witness Advocate - employed in local, state, and federal agencies to assist victims of crimes and witnesses to crime.

Asset Protection - employed by business and corporations to assist in the protection of assets, both from internal and external forces.

Related Careers

Research personnel in law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions; auxiliary personnel in specialized fields of communication and laboratory work; private investigative agencies; counselors; rehabilitation counselors; staff personnel in private youth agencies such as Big Brother/Big Sister programs, halfway houses, and residential treatment centers.

Criminal Justice is an excellent pre-law program for persons planning a career in public law (prosecution, defense, government legal representation).


The bachelor's degree is required for most state and federal positions and is becoming increasingly important for municipal and county positions. Personnel with less than four years of college may still be hired in some municipal and county agencies, but career advancement may be limited. Civil service entrance examinations or other specific examinations may be required on the local, state, and federal levels. Most law enforcement agencies have a minimum age requirement of 18.

Field Experience

Internships provide an opportunity for full-time work with supervision provided by the employing agency and the University. Spring and Fall semester internships are 15 weeks in duration and Summer semester internships are 12 weeks in duration.

Salaries and Earnings

Salaries tend to vary greatly based on the type of position but starting salaries tend to be higher in metropolitan areas. Generally, salaries reported have ranged from $30,000 to $50,000 annually. Federal salaries tend to be higher.

Additional Information

Career Planning in Criminal Justice by Robert C. DeLucia and Thomas J. Doyle. Available from Anderson Publishing Co.

Career Paths: A Guide to Employment Opportunities in Criminal Justice by Gordon M. Armstrong and Sheila C. Armstrong. Available from Prentice Hall Publishers.


Criminal Justice USA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (2009)

Advice About Careers in Forensic Science

How to Get a Job in Criminal Justice

Graduate School Information