Criminal Justice

Job stability is something that everyone desires. Since the economic downturn of 2008, many people have found themselves unemployed or underemployed. Even those who are employed in their chosen profession may find themselves constantly fearing layoffs and cutbacks.
Even during an economic recession, there are some jobs which are more secure than others. The healthcare and insurance industries rank at the top of that list, followed closely by careers within the criminal justice field.

According to a study conducted in 2013 by Georgetown University, criminal justice majors can expect not only job security, but also higher salaries than those earned in other professional fields. Among the criminal justice jobs with the most stability are patrol officers and detectives, crime scene investigators, computer security, corrections officers and homeland security.

Education Required

The level of education required to work in the criminal justice field is dependent on the career within the industry being pursued.

Corrections officers, for instance, will require a minimum of an associate degree in order to work in most entry-level jobs within corrections. Correctional officers who plan to work in state or federal prisons will need a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes military experience can be substituted for a degree when working in corrections.

Police officers must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and complete training as a recruit in a policy academy prior to being eligible to work as an officer. Some positions within the field require a college degree, such as that of detective.

Candidates who wish to teach criminal justice will be required to hold at least a master’s degree; however, most colleges and universities require teachers to possess a doctorate degree in order to teach.

Those who wish to work in a Homeland Security position will be required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice discipline. Because the nature of the jobs being performed by Homeland Security changes – as well as the technology used to perform the tasks – continuing education is required for positions within this sector of the criminal justice field.

Future Outlook

On average, the demand for trained police and detectives within the criminal justice field is expected to grow by 5 percent between now and 2020. Other jobs within the industry, such as forensic scientists and investigators, are expected to increase an average of 19 percent during the same time period.

Average annual salaries for careers within the criminal justice field depend on the position held. Corrections officers generally earn $26,000 in entry-level positions, while forensic scientists can earn as much as $51,000.

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