Most In-Demand Careers as a Criminal Justice Graduate


There are many elements that go into determining the best career options for those with a criminal justice degree. For example, some may think the most in-demand careers are those with the greatest potential for growth while others may think that the most recommended careers are those featuring the highest starting salaries. Although there are many variables that go into determining the most in-demand careers, the general consensus among experts is generally careers that feature both qualities: job growth and salary potential.

The following is a starter list outlining some of the most in-demand careers based upon their prospective job growth as well their starting salaries. Use this list as a means of navigating your way throughout this interesting and dynamic industry.

#1 – Private Investigator

A private investigator is contracted out by private individuals or companies to uncover details regarding a crime or about the personal activities of a specific individual/company. The starting salary for this position average $60,000 per year. In many cases, you can become a private investigator by earning a certificate; however, if you wish to truly make your mark in the industry, you should opt for an associate’s degree in criminal justice with a specialization in private investigation.

#2 – Criminal Investigator

Much like a private investigator, a criminal investigator calls upon the skills learned during training to uncover  hidden details regarding a criminal case. This is a dynamic and varied career option with a starting salary averaging $85,000 per year. In order to enter this workforce, you should aim to achieve a bachelor’s degree with a graduate certificate in criminal investigation.

#3 – Insurance Fraud Investigator

Are you passionate about uncovering hidden details? Do you wish to help major insurance agencies discover fraud? If so, then an insurance fraud investigator may be your ideal choice. This dynamic career offers an average annual salary of $55,000 per year. To enter this industry, you should obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice along with an insurance fraud investigation certification.

#4 – Police Officer

As the population within the United States grows, so does the need for law enforcement officers. If you’re interested in this career option, you should strive to earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice and then be expected to complete a police academy training program. While the average starting salary can vary based upon your geographical location (smaller towns often pay less than major metropolitan cities), the average starting salary is $70,000 per year.

What Are the Best Paying Jobs for Criminal Justice Degree Graduates


If you’re considering a career within the criminal justice career – or are currently enrolled in a criminal justice degree program – then you’re probably curious about the best paying jobs within this industry. While there are many career options for those wishing to work in the criminal justice field, some of the highest paying careers aren’t necessarily the fastest-growing.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems when it comes to determining the best paying job within the criminal justice field is determining your required level of education. For some, obtaining a two-year associate’s degree in criminal justice is adequate to go for their desired position, while others must complete more advanced-level schooling to qualify for an entry-level position within their career of choice.

Another important consideration you must make when determining which career is best for you is based upon where you live. Your geographical location plays a vital role in determining the average salary for a specific position. This being noted, there are several career options those with a criminal justice degree that have a universally higher-than-average starting salary.

Highest Average Salary for Criminal Justice Graduates

The following jobs don’t require applicants to hold an advanced-level degree. These positions are obtainable by completing either a two or four year degree in criminal justice:

Police (Law Enforcement Officers) – $55,000 per year
Criminal Investigators (Detectives) – $75,000 per year
Railroad Law Enforcement Officers – $58,000 per year
Probation Officers – $50,000 per year
Private Investigators – $48,000 per year
Fish and Game Officers – $55,000 per year

It’s important to note the aforementioned careers typically require additional specialty training. For example, to work as a law enforcement officer, you’ll be required to undergo police academy training.

Highest Paying Advanced-Level Criminal Justice Careers

The following careers are the best paying advanced-level careers. That is to say, these careers are applicable for those who obtain a standard criminal justice degree, but continue their education. Typically, these careers are within the legal branch of the criminal justice system. If you’re interested in any of these careers, then you should be prepared to undergo additional training and years of entry-level work.

Legal Support/Admin – $60,000 per year
Mediators and Arbitrators – $75,000 per year
Legal Judge – $110,000 per year
Administrative Law Judge – $88,000 per year
Attorney’s – $130,000 per year

An Exploration Into Criminal Justice Core Curriculum


The criminal justice industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that over the next decade this industry will grow by 22 percent each year. Because of the rise in the general population, there is a greater need for criminal justice professionals on all levels. While not every career within this industry requires a degree, if you wish to gain swift entry into the workforce with a higher-than average salary then you’ll want to obtain either an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Although the exact coursework you’ll be expected to complete will vary based upon the level of your degree as well as your concentration. This being noted, there are several universal courses all students within this degree program will be expected to complete.

#1 – Intro to the Legal System and Law

This is an introductory course discusses the various structures, processes and history of the United States legal system. It’s designed to be understood by entry-level students and is generally the prerequisite to more specialized coursework, such as constitutional, business or criminal law.

#2 – Criminal Procedure Law

Generally speaking, this coursework cover the various laws that govern the criminal/conviction process. Throughout the course, students will learn the various tasks associated with analyzing cases and interpreting various court opinions. Common topics within this coursework include property and person searches/seizures, the processes involved with interrogations as well as post-sentencing considerations.

#3 – Ethics in Criminal Justice

All criminal justice students – regardless of their degree level – will be required to undergo this course. Ethics plays a vital role throughout the criminal justice system. This course addresses the various ethical issues that will typically arise while working within the legal system. Students will learn a solid understanding of the various ethical and moral dilemmas and how these issues can be resolved without sacrificing ethical decisions while satisfying the various judicial requirements in sentencing.

#4 – Criminal Behavior Theories

This interdisciplinary examination delves into the various elements associated with criminal behavior. Although this is an entry-level coursework, students will explore various case studies to identify and illustrate the social, economic, psychological and biological corrections within criminal activity. The primary focus is to identify the primary theories of criminal behavior and applying these various theoretical notions in such a way so students can improve their fundamental understanding of criminal behavior/motivations.

Why You Should Get a Criminal Justice Masters Degree


Many wise men have said that the real learning about a specific topic doesn’t begin until you enroll in a master’s degree program. When you study at this level, you’re required to delve into the primary topic within a more detailed manner. While many professionals within the criminal justice industry have undergone this level of training, the real question many students have is whether or not this level of study is necessary?

In the most generalized sense, a master’s degree in criminal justice is well worth the time and effort. However, what are the real reasons why you should get a criminal justice master’s degree?

Career Preparation

When you obtain a master’s degree in criminal justice, you’re becoming prepared to enter the workforce on an administrative/managerial position. Upon graduation, you’ll be considered a leader within this field, which means you’ll be able to work within supervisory roles. This level of trainign is ideal for those who wish to work in an upper-management position within law enforcement organizations, security organizations, correctional facilities or in court systems.

Higher Average Salary

Of course, when you work in an upper management position, you’ll be rewarded with a higher-than-average salary. In fact, some of the highest earners within the criminal justice industry are those who’ve earned a master’s degree in criminal justice. Generally speaking, the average master’s degree graduate within this industry earns at least $61,000 per year; however, some positions start as high as $100,000 per year.


When you have a master’s degree in criminal justice, you’re given an opportunity to specialize within a specific branch of study. Those who only have a bachelor’s degree are given a more broad understanding of the industry. However, when you have a master’s degree, you’re given a chance to become a true expert within a specific area of study within this industry. By becoming an expert within a specific branch of study, you’re able to not only excel within your career, but also demand a higher salary. In fact, you can branch off and become a consultant, which yields greater respect and pay within the industry.


While you may not be convinced about whether or not earning a master’s degree is right for you, there are many benefits (as well as drawbacks). The intriguing aspect of earning a master’s degree in criminal justice, is you can stagger your education. For example, if you wish to earn a bachelor’s degree and enter the industry, you can then use your real-world experience to determine which branch of the industry you’d wish to specialize in.