What good is majoring in your favorite discipline when graduation is followed by unemployment, underemployment or poverty level wages?
Blithely tripping through four years of a liberal arts education without any definite goals is largely a thing of the past. These days, it makes sense for prospective college students to take a long, hard look at their career prospects before incurring tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
The stark realities of the American economy have students flocking to STEM and business programs as a fast track to lucrative careers in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street. But where does this leave students who may not be inclined to major in the sciences, mathematics or finance?
Students in criminal justice programs study theory at the same time as they acquire practical skills that allow them to hit the ground running when they land that first crucial job. For-credit experiences in law enforcement, social services, security, state and federal agencies and with the justice system have become commonplace and are even graduation requirements at many colleges.
A concern shared by many criminal justice students is how to achieve a satisfying and reasonably paid career without the necessity of attending graduate school and thereby going more deeply into debt. More than three million people are employed in the field of criminal justice in the United States today. In terms of demand and compensation, the following are the best bachelor level criminal justice jobs available today.
Last year, the U. If you want to Entry level jobs for criminal justice graduates close to where you live, hope to return to the town where you grew up or plan to settle near family, a career in law enforcement has the advantage of being available almost everywhere. In most parts of the United States, individual counties, towns and cities have their own municipal police forces to staff.
And with aging baby boomers retiring at an unprecedented rate, there is a steady need for replacing outgoing officers with new ones who have the right education and background. Nevertheless, what you earn as a police officer straight out of college may vary greatly depending on where you are located and whether you are willing to relocate to another part of the nation where salaries may be higher. Entry level jobs for criminal justice graduates contrast, police salaries are often significantly lower than the mean in places such as the rural South.
And if you find that you want to move over from beat officer to detective, chances are the department is going to choose someone with courses in criminology, sociology, forensics and statistics over a graduate of the local high school.
Over the years, this can represent a huge advantage over employment in the private sector, where annual salary increases and even cost of living allowances may be tiny or nonexistent.
But college graduates with a criminal justice degree are finding satisfying work in Entry level jobs for criminal justice graduates areas of law enforcement that go far beyond the ubiquitous patrol officer. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. These public servants provide such vital services as protecting our borders, ensuring the safety of air travel and even serving on hostage rescue teams and intercepting coded messages.
If you are excited by the prospect of working to fight terrorism, cybercrime, human trafficking, public corruption and organized crime, then a career with our federal government may be for you.
Many criminal justice graduates choose employment in the specialized branch of law enforcement that staffs our prisons, jails and federal, state and county probation agencies.
In colleges across the country, criminal justice classes study patterns of deviance, shifting community norms and legal theory. Whether you believe that our laws established criminal penalties primarily for deterrence, retribution or correction and reintegration of offenders into society, corrections staff and probation officers are on the front lines of the criminal justice system every day.
The corrections system is at a crossroads today. While some states are revisiting criminal penalties for increasingly acceptable social behaviors such as possession of marijuana, our state and federal prison populations Entry level jobs for criminal justice graduates never been higher. The media blares out dire warnings about prisoners who are being granted early release due to overcrowding or speedy trial concerns. Inmates are suing departments of corrections civilly for alleged constitutional violations.
You may be conducting a parole hearing, writing an incident report, holding a pre-release counseling session with an inmate, participating in a cell extraction or testifying in court.
A career as a corrections officer or probation officer offers unparalleled variety and can represent the culmination of your years of college study in the field of criminal justice. Opportunities for entry level correction and probation officers have been increasing in recent years due to the construction of new prisons and as a result of hiring by private companies that are taking over Entry level jobs for criminal justice graduates contracts from municipal governments.
You may think of a teacher as someone who has to control unruly elementary, middle school or high school kids all day. Such a prospect may seem about as far as one can get from a criminal justice degree.
And yet, each year many undergraduates studying criminal justice also complete their state teaching credential. Among skills gained by criminal justice majors that are valuable to teachers are the ability to make coherent presentations, decision making skills, appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism, an understanding of ethics and moral values, and computer literacy.