Criminal Justice Careers

Your Career in Criminal Justice Starts Here

This guide to criminal justice careers is here to tell you everything you need to know about the wide-ranging field of criminal justice, from basics including degrees needed for certain jobs, what careers fall under the umbrella of criminal justice, how to apply for jobs and more.


Career Outlook

To really look at what kind of criminal justice careers are available, we’ll talk about some of the specializations, including police officer, detective, homeland security, probation officer, and security management. As a criminal justice professional, you can start with a degree in criminal justice and end up working on crime scene investigations, giving you even more career options in criminology and more.


Preferred Jobs

Getting a degree is just the beginning – then you must find a job! We cover several ways to find the job you want including how to ask for the right salary and read salary ranges, how to work with recruiters, attend conferences related to your career path and join associations that can give your career a boost.

Criminal Justice Salaries and Jobs

Jobs in criminal justice range greatly in salary and job responsibility, and our different guides will explain the differences, give salary ranges, and explain the requirements to get certain roles, including degrees and licensure.


More Than Policy Work

Many people see criminal justice as a way to ‘lock people up,’ but in truth, there is a lot more to this career field than just police work. There is administrative work, jobs in security and risk management, and even Homeland Security.

Find Your Ideal Ideal Criminal Justice Career

Once you have completed this career guide, you’ll be ready to start down your new career path, and usually that means starting on your education. You can check out our Guide to Criminal Justice Degrees for a broad overview of the different degree options for this career field and dig in a little deeper to get more specific based on your specific career. You can make a difference in the world and in the criminal justice system by taking this next step.

​Let’s begin learning about your new career in criminal justice!

Juvenile Probation Officer

A juvenile probation officer is a part of the criminal justice system that is focused on the rehabilitation of a youth offender.

Police Officer

Probably the most thought-of member of a criminal justice team is the police officer. Learn about their educational requirements here.


A criminalist determines what evidence should be collected depending on the type of case and works with many members of the criminal justice team.

Crime Scene Investigator

A crime scene investigator secures and manages the crime scene, working both with police and with the forensics team.

Air Marshal

A federal air marshal works for TSA as part of their major law enforcement arm, protecting crew and passengers in the skies.

FBI Agent

An FBI agent goes through a rigorous application and training process to work in one of the most well-known aspects of federal law enforcement.

Police Dispatcher

A police dispatcher, or 911 dispatcher, works with police and other departments to field emergency and non-emergency calls and launch the right services.

National Park Ranger

A National Park ranger is a highly coveted position and an incredible opportunity to work in one of our nation’s beautiful national parks. 


A paralegal is a trusted and important part of the legal profession, working closely with attorneys to advance the legal process along.

U.S. Marshal

A U.S. Marshal is appointed by the government and has lots of arresting power in the United States.

K9 Officer

A K9 Officer is a special type of police officer that works and lives with a K9 member of the police force to work on special police assignments.

Private Investigator

A private investigator can work for a company or for themselves gathering information on people, places and things to assist law enforcement.

Parole Officer

A parole officer is the first person that someone that will work with after they leave a correctional facility. They help people acclimate to society.


A detective may investigate arson, homicide, vandalism, burglary, assault and white collar crimes. 


Earn Your Degree

A bachelor of science in criminal justice is often the first step in your criminal justice education. You may be able to enter the field with an associate’s degree or a certificate, or advance your career or research with a master’s in criminal justice or even a Ph.D. Be sure your degree comes from an accredited institution.


Get Licensed

To work in the field of criminal justice, you may need to have a license. For example, in private investigation, security or corrections, you may need a license from your state that will allow you to work in the field. Be sure to research job descriptions, degree options and licensure requirements to make sure you are on the right path..


Begin Your Career

There are a lot of career paths in the field of Criminal Justice, and it is certainly never boring. From Security Management to Cybersecurity, even to Paralegal and working as a Police Officer, there is a lot you can do to control criminal activity in a variety of ways.  You can work for the government or in private practice as well.