If you’re looking for a rewarding and challenging career, check into a criminal justice degree. While some people might use this degree to further their career in the court system, some go into police work, private investigations, security, or even work for some of the alphabet agencies in the federal government like the FBI or CIA.
Regardless of what field you choose, a degree in criminal justice can give you the education and credential you need to serve your community and your career. It can also help set you apart from others applying for the same positions.
Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth it?
For those who aspire to serve within criminal justice, a criminal justice degree can be a gamechanger—whether you’re entering the field or advancing on your career path. Not to mention it’s more convenient than ever to pursue a degree in criminal justice with flexible online programs.
What can you do with a criminal justice degree? Many people use a criminal justice degree as a pre-law course or take this degree when they plan on going into police work, especially if they plan on being a detective. Others might consider getting a degree before starting a company that provides security and compliance services.
Top Five Benefits of a Criminal Justice Degree
If you want to get into the active jobs that bring excitement to your day, you’ll want to work for an organization that has you on your feet, organizations like federal agencies—the FBI, CIA, DEA and more. Having this degree also gives you a leg up even in places where only a high school diploma is required.
Plus, when it’s time for a promotion, employers will look at your jacket. The criminal justice degree, combined with a good work ethic and relevant experience, will be more enticing than a co-worker without the degree. Advancement opportunities can include supervisory, leadership and administrative roles.
Many criminal justice career paths can be lucrative. Check out the median annual wages for a few potential careers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Correctional officers and bailiffs—$45,300
- Fire inspectors—$60,230
- Police officers and detectives—$63,150
- Detectives – $83,170
- Fish & game wardens – $57,500
- Security guards and gaming surveillance officers—$29,710
If you take your criminal justice into academics, you could earn upwards of $72,000 per year as an instructor.
Criminal justice jobs are always in demand. According to the BLS, the job growth outlook for several criminal justice positions is expected to maintain this trajectory over the next decade:
- Police officers and detectives—5 percent
- Fire inspectors—8 percent (faster than average);
- Firefighters—5 percent
- Private detectives and investigators—8 percent (also faster than average)
- Security guards and gaming surveillance officers—4 percent
Because people leave the occupation every year—retirement, moving to another city (or county or state), or take a supervisory position in another agency—jobs in this career sector will continuously open up.
Some states and cities pay higher than others. Whether it’s population density, the nature of the work or the local economy, some just pay more. For example, criminal justice jobs in California, New York or Florida often pay higher than the same jobs in Alabama, Georgia or Tennessee (with the possible exception of larger cities such as Nashville or Atlanta). Salaries also vary on how much education and experience you have. A criminal justice degree usually commands more money than having a high school diploma or even a degree in another field.
While completing your degree program, you will also have a chance to review the different criminal justice fields and tailor your studies to the field you choose. You may want to do police work, work for the federal government or start your own security company. Customizing your education to your future goals just makes sense.
Flexible Learning Options
From work to family to volunteering, students often have to juggle a lot of responsibilities. It can be hard, especially for those that go back to school to change careers or those who started a family before going to school. You need to be able to schedule classes around your work schedule and other responsibilities. Flexibility is a must.
At Post University, we offer classes during the day and in the evenings. We also offer online courses to help those who need to keep working in their current jobs while working toward a new career in criminal justice.
When you are looking for a four-year program to help achieve your criminal justice goals, visit Post University. Our online criminal justice bachelor’s degree gives you the foundation required for many criminal justice careers. You’ll learn things like how to apply the U.S. Constitution to contemporary issues, assess causation of crime, distinguish the categories of crimes and their penalties and defenses, interpret your ethical and professional responsibility, and develop effective communication skills related to the criminal justice field.