What jobs can you get with an associate degree in Criminal Justice?
Whether your dream is to work in business, the nonprofit sector, or even government, an associate degree in
When you work toward an associate degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll be working toward a deeper knowledge of the world we live in. You’ll also be preparing yourself for a stable, rewarding career that will grow as you do. As you study, you’ll discover where your specific passions lie; and you’ll develop the skills to pursue them. Below are just a few of the exciting job opportunities that await you.
- Police Officer
Police officers work to protect the lives and property of the communities they serve. On any given day, a police officer might respond to emergency calls and complaints; patrol their assigned areas to keep people safe; and provide evidence and testimony for criminal court proceedings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police employment is expected to grow by 5% in the coming years — a faster than average rate.
- State Trooper
Where a police officer’s jurisdiction is the city or town in which they work, a state trooper’s jurisdiction is their entire state. (Occasionally, state troopers will assist local police in investigations.) Also known as highway patrol officers, state troopers ensure traffic safety on state and interstate roads. They may respond to auto accidents and driver emergencies, and issue tickets for moving violations.
- Security Manager
Security managers help businesses of all kinds — corporate offices, retail outlets, and even nonprofits — to protect their assets. As a security manager, you’ll have a hand in developing the protocols and procedures for theft prevention and inventory loss; and you’ll be responsible for enforcing those guidelines. You’ll hire security staff and manage your department’s budget, playing an important role in the overall health of an organization.
- Correctional Counselor
Correctional counselors work with inmates in correctional facilities to address their emotional and mental health concerns. By changing the way inmates deal with the obstacles they face, correctional counselors help them to change their lives for the better. Correctional counselors may teach fundamental life skills; facilitate job training; and meet with the families of inmates so that they can help encourage more positive choices. Not everyone knows how to take advantage of a second chance in life; that’s why correctional counselors (along with probation officers and parole officers) are there to light the way.
- Corrections Officer
Corrections officers work in detention centers, like jails and prisons, to maintain safety of both inmates and staff. They may inspect facilities for security breaches and unsanitary conditions; investigate illegal activity and rules violations; prevent disturbances and escapes; and safely transport inmates to and from their facilities.
- Criminal Court Officer
You’ve heard the phrase “order in the court?” A criminal court officer, also known as a bailiff, is the person responsible for maintaining that order. Bailiffs can have a wide range of responsibilities. They escort all parties — judges, jurors, attorneys, witnesses, and defendants — into the courtroom; and once they get them there, they make sure everyone involved is abiding by the rules of the court. As neutral parties in criminal proceedings, bailiffs also handle evidence presented on either side of a case. Their duties can sometimes extend outside the courtroom, too, as they ensure that lawyers and witnesses do not engage in any actions that might influence a jury’s decision.
- Juvenile Counselor
No one is born a criminal. Not everyone gets the guidance they need to make the positive choices they need to; and younger people in particular need help finding their way in what can be a hard world. That’s where juvenile counselors come in. Juvenile counselors work with troubled youth in both schools and correctional facilities to set them on a better path. That means offering children and their families ways to cope with adversity, giving them the resources they need to overcome problems that may have once left them feeling powerless.
- Detention Facility Coordinator
In a jail or prison, nothing happens without a detention facility coordinator knowing about it. Detention facility coordinators don’t just supervise prisoners and corrections officers. They’re responsible for overseeing the daily operation and maintenance of the correctional facility itself, including the audio, visual, and computer systems that keep the building — and the people inside it — safe and secure. Facility coordinators will also make sure that their staff is in compliance with all rules and regulations; and they’ll make sure they have the equipment they need to do their jobs properly and safely.
- Legal Assistant
Lawyers wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without trusted legal assistants by their sides. Legal assistants, sometimes known as legal secretaries, will prepare documents like subpoenas; draft correspondence; keep track of important legal appointments; and perform the many other administrative tasks that keep law offices running.
Paralegals also assist lawyers in their daily duties; and in fact, sometimes the term “legal assistant” is used interchangeably with “paralegal.” Paralegals will often research the relevant case law that can help lawyers devise their courtroom strategies. Paralegals may also draft and review legal documents, write reports, and compile evidence to be presented in court.
- Crime Scene Technician
You’ve seen them on TV — but what they do in real life goes far beyond that. Crime scene technicians, sometimes known as crime scene investigators, will collect evidence including fingerprints, weapons, and other materials that can lead to arrest and prosecution for a crime. They’re also responsible for transporting evidence to crime labs for further study, and keeping meticulous records for use in courtroom proceedings.
What jobs can you get with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice?
With a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll be well prepared for all of the jobs mentioned above. You’ll also open the door to a whole host of exciting new career paths.
To become a criminal attorney, of course, you have to fulfill further education requirements by going to law school. But you can’t get there without a bachelor’s degree. Earning a BS in Criminal Justice shows law schools that you’re dedicated to the field in which you want to serve. Whether you’re interested in becoming a prosecutor or a defense attorney, it’s never too early to build a strong working knowledge of criminal law.
- Homeland Security
Most people take their everyday safety for granted. That’s because people in the Department of Homeland Security are hard at work protecting them. Homeland security is a broad category that encompasses many rewarding careers. Whether you’re interested in becoming a criminal investigator with the TSA, working with Customs and Border Protection, or even Citizenship and Immigration Services, as a DHS employee, you can find a job that speaks to your passions.
Once you've joined a local police force, you can work your way to the rank of detective — and with a BS in Criminal Justice, you’ll be well ahead of the rest of the pack. As a detective, you’ll gather the evidence needed to solve crimes and prosecute criminals. You’ll conduct interviews with witnesses and persons of interest; keep an eye on suspects in open cases; and participate in arrests.
- FBI Agent
To become an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you absolutely must have a bachelor’s degree — and a BS in Criminal Justice is a great place to start. Where detectives work on the local or state level, FBI agents investigate violations of federal law. Any crime that crosses state lines falls under FBI jurisdiction. That can include cybercrime, financial fraud, insurance fraud, human trafficking, organized crime, drug crime, and much, much more. As an FBI agent, there’s no limit to where your curiosity and drive can take you.
- DEA Agent
To work in the Drug Enforcement Administration, you also need your bachelor’s degree — and preferable in criminal justice. DEA agents fight drug trafficking and distribution within the US, often partnering with other federal, state, and local agencies to fulfill their mission. Sometimes, their work can even take them beyond our borders, as they may work closely with foreign intelligence agencies to target international drug crime.
- Secret Service Agent
You know that the Secret Service protects important government figures like the president and vice president and their families. But did you know that they also investigate financial crimes against the government? The oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country, the Secret Service is a division of the Department of the Treasury. Secret Service agents can work on cases involving counterfeiting, fraud, and money laundering.
- Forensic Science Technician
Forensic science technicians wear a lot of hats. They’re often at crime scenes, meticulously collecting and cataloging evidence, but their job doesn’t end there. Soon, they’re back at the lab, carefully analyzing all that evidence — chemically, biologically, and microscopically. They might pull DNA from blood or hair samples, leading detectives to a suspect. And they’ll prepare detailed reports for use in court proceedings, explaining complex ideas in a way that all involved parties can clearly understand.
- Forensic Accountant
When a business suspects there may be suspicious financial activity happening within its ranks, they employ forensic accounting to get to the bottom of it. Forensic accountants examine data to investigate to determine where missing money has gone — and how to recover it. Once they’ve used their skills to root out any wrongdoing, they may present their findings as expert witnesses during legal proceedings.
- Forensic Psychologist
Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, you can go on to complete a doctorate in Psychology to become a forensic psychologist. Forensic psychologists use the principles of psychology to help judges, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and juries understand the motivations behind criminal behavior. They will often determine a defendant’s competency to stand trial; assess their state of mind at the time of a criminal offense; and determine whether the defendant poses further danger to others.
- Criminal Investigator
Criminal investigators can work for a wide variety of employers. They may work for state and local police departments, but unlike detectives, they may also find employment as private investigators. Financial institutions, insurance companies, and other businesses may hire criminal investigators to help them root out fraud and theft, while law firms may hire them to aid in their own investigations.
What jobs can you get with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice?
By earning a Criminal Justice degree, you’ll be preparing yourself for the kinds of rewarding, challenging careers that most people only ever see on TV. They’re also stable careers, with plenty of opportunity for advancement. As you work toward your degree, you won’t just gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in; you’ll learn exactly where you want to direct your professional focus. Here are just a few of the criminal justice job opportunities available to you with a master’s degree:
To practice criminal law, you’ll have to continue your education in law school. But with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll already be ahead of the pack. Not only will you show law schools that you’re dedicated to the field, but you’ll have a better grasp of issues that your law school classmates will be encountering for the first time. And when it comes time to argue a case in court, either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney, you’ll feel confident knowing that your command of criminal law is second to none.
Maybe you’d like to be a criminal investigator with the TSA; maybe you’re thinking of working in Customs and Border Protection, or in Citizenship and Immigration Services. Every one of them falls under the wide jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. The sense of security we all take for granted exists because people at the DHS work 24/7 to keep our country safe. If you feel drawn to that mission, a master’s degree in Criminal Justice is a great way to prepare yourself for it.
When the police conduct a criminal investigation, detectives take the lead. It can take years for a police officer to earn the gold badge of a detective; but with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll be ready to move quickly through the ranks. By interviewing witnesses and persons of interest, and surveilling suspects in open cases, police detectives secure the evidence they need to make an arrest. And as they work a case, they’re not just solving crimes. They’re arming prosecutors with the evidence they need to find justice in the courtroom.
Fraud is a crime; and no business, no matter how secure, is fully immune from falling victim to it. When a business notices suspicious financial activity, they turn to forensic accountants to uncover the truth. Forensic accountants examine data to locate and recover missing funds — and then bring those responsible to justice.
During legal proceedings, they will often present their findings as expert witnesses.
Once you’ve completed your master’s degree in Criminal Justice, you can go on to complete a doctorate in Psychology to become a forensic psychologist. Forensic psychology uncovers the motivations behind criminal behavior, drawing on decades of research to help explain — and anticipate — criminal activity. They may serve as expert witnesses in criminal trials, assessing a defendant’s state of mind at the time an offense was committed. They may also help to determine a defendant’s competency to stand trial; and determine whether they pose a further danger to others (which can affect their sentencing in the result of a conviction).
Criminal investigators often do detective work for private clients, including financial institutions, insurance companies, and law firms. And criminal investigators often provide outside services to state and local police departments; in fact, many criminal investigators were once police detectives themselves.
DEA agents often work in partnership with other federal, state, and local agencies to fight drug trafficking and distribution within the US. Sometimes that even means traveling outside the US, to partner with foreign intelligence agencies to target international drug crime.
Secret Service Agent
The Secret Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country. We all think we know what they do: they provide protection for government officials considered critical to national security. But that’s only part of their job. As a division of the Department of the Treasury, the Secret Service also investigates financial crimes against the government, including counterfeiting, fraud, and money laundering.
While detectives work on the local or state level, FBI agents investigate violations of federal law, including cybercrime, financial fraud, insurance fraud, human trafficking, organized crime, drug crime, and much, much more. Essentially, FBI special agents investigate any crime that crosses state lines. As an FBI agent, no matter where your interests in law enforcement lie, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pursue them — as you pursue criminals nationwide.
Forensic Science Technician
You’ll often find forensic science technicians — also known as forensic examiners — collecting and cataloging evidence at a crime scene. That’s only the part you see, though: the bulk of their work takes place in the lab, where they search for the most microscopic of clues using state of the art equipment. Using chemical and biological analyses, they might pull DNA from blood and hair samples to track down a suspect. And once a suspect has been apprehended, those same technicians will write reports for use by the prosecution.
It doesn’t matter whether your organization is large or small; private or public; or even if you’re not part of an organization at all. If you’re using the internet — and if you’re reading this, you are — you’re vulnerable to cybercrime. Every day, data thieves, identity thieves, and online predators target businesses and individuals. That’s why cybersecurity investigators are so essential in today’s world. Cybersecurity investigators are the detectives of the online world. They recover and preserve digital evidence to aid in the prosecution of cybercrime.
While detectives, forensic investigators, and cybersecurity personnel are hard at work solving crimes, intelligence analysts are looking to prevent the next ones from happening. Intelligence analysts study data from a variety of sources — confidential informants, public records, surveillance, and communications searches — to link suspects to criminal activity in the past, present, and future. They use the information they gather to predict future moves by gangs, organized crime, and terrorist groups.
Criminal profilers may have a background in forensic psychology, but their responsibilities are distinct from those of a forensic psychologist. Like intelligence analysts, criminal profilers will use data to try to anticipate a suspect’s next move. They will use evidence from a crime scene to determine a suspect’s possible age, education, personal background, as well as the motivations behind a crime. Using that information, they may also help investigators to reconstruct crimes after they have happened.
Correctional Officer Supervisor
Correctional officer supervisors are responsible for more than public safety. They’re responsible for the safety and welfare of the officers — and the offenders — under their responsibility. They may work in correctional facilities like prisons or juvenile detention centers, where they will assign, train, and evaluate their staff; keep and review inmate records; anticipate and defuse potentially dangerous situations; and, whenever necessary, lead a response to emergencies. Correctional officer supervisors may also work in parole departments, where they will oversee the work of a parole or probation officer as they monitor the progress of former offenders.
What can you do with a degree in Criminal Justice?
Choosing a career in criminal justice means choosing a life filled with purpose. It’s about doing what’s just — doing what’s right.
Justice means keeping people and communities safe. It’s about righting wrongs. It’s about living up to the promise that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. For all those reasons and more, a career in criminal justice is a fulfilling one. It’s also a stable one.
Whether you're interested in working on the local, state, or federal level, there is always a need for skilled professionals in the field. When you pursue a career in criminal justice, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve made a difference in people’s lives. And you can rest easy knowing that the career you’ve chosen has enormous potential for growth.
Read on to find out more about the kinds of jobs you can get with a degree in Criminal Justice.
What will I learn with a degree in Criminal Justice?
There are three main components to the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. As a Criminal Justice major, you’ll learn how to navigate the complexities of all of them. No matter where your interests lie, you’ll graduate knowing that you’re ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way.
Associate Degree in Criminal Justice (AS)
There are many ways to approach careers in criminal justice. You might be thinking about a career in law enforcement or security; working the court system; or even social services and counseling. Whatever your passion, when you pursue your associate degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll learn about:
- The history, theory, and practice of criminal law
- Criminal procedure and process
- Criminal investigation methods
- Punishment and rehabilitation
- Ethical issues in criminal justice
- The relationship between the criminal justice system and the communities it serves
With an associate degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll be prepared to enter a rich career with many possible paths ahead.
Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice (BS)
When you pursue your bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll build the same strong foundation that you would with an associate degree — and then go even deeper. You’ll explore other facets of the criminal justice system, including:
- Research methods in criminal justice
- Diversity in the criminal justice system, and how it affects operational practices
- Psychology of abnormal behavior
- Criminology — exploring the biological, psychological, and sociological explanations of criminal behavior
- Victimology — understanding the relationships between victims, criminal offenders, and members of law enforcement
You’ll learn the fundamentals of communication, so that you can express your ideas clearly and forcefully. You’ll also take your education beyond the classroom, with field experience built in as a part of your major. By working in police agencies, probation offices, detention and correctional facilities, and more, you’ll get to apply what you learn — and see how professionals apply it themselves.
Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice (BS)
If you’re interested in the root causes of crime; if you’re interested in creating conditions that prevent crime from happening in the first place; if you’re interested in making the world a safer place for everybody; then a career in criminal justice may be for you.
Monroe College offers excellent degree programs in Criminal Justice, including an associate and bachelor’s option. But with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the King Graduate School, you’ll be even more prepared to become a leader in the field. Whether you’re interested in working at the state, local, or even federal level, you’ll be ready to take on challenging, meaningful, and stable work at the highest level.
Read on to find out more about the kinds of jobs you can get with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
What will I learn with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice?
As you work toward your master’s in Criminal Justice, you’ll learn in depth the way our police, court system, and correctional system work. You’ll also develop proficiency in research methods and crime reduction strategies — and a large part of that is learning about the root causes of crime itself.
In addition to a core curriculum, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on one of four concentrations: Human Services, Urban Crime Policy, Homeland Security, or a General track. As you choose your area of interest, you’ll learn about:
- Criminological Theory
- The Supreme Court, U.S. Constitution and Criminal Law
- Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
- Public Policy Issues in Criminal Justice
- Perspectives on Drugs, Alcohol and the Criminal Justice System
- Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
Depending on your concentration, you’ll also have the opportunity to study specialized issues like security management, emergency management, and more, including:
- Crime Scene Investigation
- The Sociology of Juvenile Delinquency
- The Psychology of Criminal Behavior
- Crisis Management and Disaster Preparedness
- Community Violence: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
- Child Development, Trauma and the Criminal Justice System
- Urban Poverty and the Family
- Cybercrime, Intelligence Systems and National Security
- Race, Class and Crime in America
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Organized and Transnational Crime
The field of criminal justice covers many complex concepts. But by the time you finish your degree, you won’t just understand them: you’ll have mastered them.
If you’re interested in the root causes of crime; if you’re interested in creating conditions that prevent crime from happening in the first place; if you’re interested in making the world a safer place for everybody; then a career in criminal justice is for you. And with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll be able to live up to your full potential in the field.
A criminal justice career isn’t just a stable one; it’s a rewarding one. It means waking up every day and knowing you’re putting your talents to use in a way that benefits society — and in a way that builds a bright future for yourself.
A Career in Justice. A Future of Freedom.
We live in a country of laws; which means we’ll always need people to enforce them. There’s no limit to where you can go with a degree in Criminal Justice, and there will never be a shortage of opportunities. When you pursue a career in the criminal justice field, you become an essential part of the machinery that keeps society intact. And you’re taking control of your future.