Criminal Justice Careers and Salaries

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Farida Palupi

The field of criminal justice is very vast and offers a student interested in it, a wide scope for employment. The criminal justice career options are quite varied hence in this article, I will outline the basic criminal justice degree careers which may interest you.

Criminal Justice Career Paths

Like is the case in any chosen career path, criminal justice careers too start with getting a masters or an associate degree in criminal justice. Some colleges may even offer a specialization in a specific course of study. So here are some of the criminal justice career options along with the criminal justice job salaries for you to choose from.

Criminal Justice Career in Federal Law Enforcement

ATF Agents: An ATF agent is one who works specifically in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau of the US Treasury. The job of an ATF agent is to regulate the possession and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and firearms in the country. ATF agents can also conduct raids in places where they suspect these products are being illegally held and sold. Their salary may range from $32,000 - $50,000
Customs Agents: Customs agents are in charge of collecting customs and other associated taxes on the import of goods into the country. Their job is to check and ensure that nothing illegal is being brought into the country and the correct taxes are paid for all the items being brought into the country. Their salary may range from $23,000 - $45,000.
US Marshal: A US Marshal is in charge of making sure that no harm is done to the items and people that may be involved during criminal proceedings. This is one of the most dangerous criminal justice careers. An entry-level US Marshal is paid $27,000 while a GS2 Grade Marshal takes home $50,000 annually.
DEA Agents: This is a highly specialized job in the field of criminal justice. A DEA agent works with the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The job of a DEA agent is to look into any instances of illegal trafficking of drugs. The DEA agent may have to conduct a surveillance into an area where he suspects the illegal use of drugs and seize them. The criminal justice salary for DEA agents is between $35,000 - $65,000.
FBI Agent: We all know about the FBI agent. The job of the FBI agent goes beyond simply relaying the law, but involves investigations and getting your hands dirty. The job of the FBI agent encompasses investigations into various types of illegal acts, right from drug peddling to terrorism and organized crime. For his efforts, the FBI agent salary is quite high, the starting salary is $50,000.

Criminal Justice Careers in Courts

Bailiff: The job of a bailiff is relatively quite simple and a low risk job. A bailiff is in charge of maintaining order in the courtroom, monitoring the members of the jury, the plaintiffs, the defendants and ensuring that the court proceedings go on uninterrupted. The bailiff gets paid about $25,000.
Court Clerk The Court clerk is in charge of all the administrative work in the court, such as filing and maintaining the documents related to the proceedings, ensuring that the court notices are sent to all the parties involved in the case and maintaining the minutes for the case. Court clerk earns about $27,000
Probation Officer: A probation officer is one of the most prominent criminal justice careers. When a criminal is released on parole, it is the probation officer's job to ensure that the criminal is no longer driven to crime again. The person who was imprisoned may have to report to his probation officer regularly and recall the details of his activities. The probation officer salaries are quite variable but the average is around $37,959.

Criminal Justice Careers in Police/Law Enforcement

Crime Scene Investigators: Crime scene investigators are a part of the police department which help facilitate investigations. Crime scene investigators help get the witnesses and other people to be investigated together and carry out the preliminary inquiries and investigations. The criminal justice salaries for this field range between $20,000 and $50,000
Forensic Department: Forensic scientists perform the function of gathering the evidence and conducting DNA analysis. Many crimes require this sort of evidences to conclusively trace the crimes. Forensic scientists do just that. Forensic scientists are paid about $30,000.
Police Officers: One of the most common criminal justice jobs is one as a police officer. A police officer is supposed to conduct patrols in his area, make a record of all the crimes and be there at the scene of the crime to make the official record of the crime scene. The average police officer salary is $44,560.

Criminal Justice Careers in Legal Practice

Lawyers: The job of a lawyer is one of the most basic criminal justice careers. The lawyer needs more than just the criminal justice degree and will need a specialized degree in criminal or corporate law from a law school. A lawyer, basically, argues a case for his client in the court of law and tries to defend his client with the help of his knowledge of the law. Lawyers earn a fee based on their experience and their clients. So the job of a lawyer can be one of the highest paying jobs around!
Paralegals: Paralegal duties include helping the lawyer make a case, and helping him in all the documentation associated with the case. Paralegals help the lawyer write a brief and are basically under the tutelage of the lawyer. Paralegals earn pretty well, the average salary is about $52,979.

So this was all about the career in the criminal justice system. As you can see, there is a wide scope of employment is this field.