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, as outlined by Your Police Career.

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