Popular Law Jobs for Criminal Justice Majors

If you want a career helping others or want to make a difference in your local community, a degree in criminal justice might be an excellent fit for you. The criminal justice field offers many rewarding job opportunities in areas like crime prevention and investigative work. 

There are also many great opportunities for growth in this field. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the criminal justice field are growing fast and are expected to continue to climb. 

Here are some great career options to consider with a Criminal Justice Degree:

Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agents are responsible for 24/7 security of international land borders and coastal waters between ports of entry. 

Agents help ensure the safety of American citizens from terrorists, weapons, drug smugglers and prevent the entry of illegal and undocumented aliens. Border Patrol Agents surveyed over 6,000 miles of international land borders between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as over 2,000 miles of coastal borders. 


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Possess valid driver’s license
  • Reside in the U.S. for at least 3 of last 5 years
  • Eligible to carry a firearm
  • Must be selected before 40th birthday

The minimum salary is approximately $52,600, with agents making over $97,000 by their 4th year!

Correctional Counselor

Many correctional counselors work in federal or state prisons, jails, community corrections, and juvenile detention centers. 

Correctional counselors work directly with inmates in one-on-one interactions to work through mental, emotional, and health concerns. Their main job is to help engage the inmates and assist with their rehabilitation to prevent future criminal activities. 


  • U.S. Citizen over age 20
  • No felony on criminal history
  • Pass oral, written, psychological and physical examinations
  • Certification tests might be a requirement, depending on where you are applying to
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Social Work, Psychology, or another related major

The average salary is roughly $40,000 per year.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to jail or prison to serve their time. 

This job has one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, primarily because they work in correctional institutions and have to confront inmates directly. 


  • Meet state age requirements: Generally between 18 and 21
  • High school diploma: although some institutions prefer some college
  • Federal prisons: Bachelor’s Degree, preferably Criminal Justice; or 1-3 years of relevant experience
  • Successful completion of the training academy; duration varies by state

The average salary is $45,200 per year. 

Crime Scene Investigator

Crime scene investigators work on crime scenes and in laboratories. They assist with collecting and analyzing evidence. 

Collecting evidence includes taking photographs, making sketches, gathering physical evidence at the crime scene, or reconstructing the crime scene. 


  • At least 21 years of age
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Forensic or Physical Science is generally required
  • Certifications such as International Association for Identification (IAI) certification may be required and will vary based on the job and location
  • Valid Driver’s License

The average salary is $58,300 per year.

FBI Agent

FBI Agents are responsible for enforcing over 300 statutes. Agents compile and gather information to build cases against criminals. They work alongside local law enforcement teams and sometimes find themselves investigating foreign operatives, criminals, and in some cases, terrorists. 

Agents also interview suspects and, in some cases, participate in raids and make arrests.


  • U.S. Citizen at least 23 years of age
  • Able to obtain a Top Secret SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearance
  • Must be compliant with FBI Drug Policy
  • Preferred Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree (Criminal Justice) and 2 years of full-time professional work experience or Master’s Degree.
  • Meet FBI Physical Fitness Standards

The average salary is $137,400 per year.


Paralegals perform and complete tasks to support lawyers. They will assist in investigating the facts of a case, conduct research on relevant laws, organize and maintain documents, draft legal documents and help on any necessary tasks requested by the lawyers they work with. 


  • Many employers prefer paralegals at least 21 years of age
  • Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies; Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and other related fields preferred
  • The preferred requirement is the completion of a paralegal certification program

The average salary is $51,800 per year.

Parole Officer

Parole Officers assist in the rehabilitation of criminals on parole. The work environment is sometimes in high-crime areas or institutions and can be stressful and dangerous. A majority of the work will is conducted in the field. 


  • 21 years of age
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Social Work, or Behavioral Sciences
  • Certification test: this requirement varies from state to state
  • A probationary period of 1 year as a trainee (depending on where you are hired on)

The average salary is $54,300 per year.

Police Detective

Police detectives respond to emergency and non-emergency calls while patrolling their assigned areas. They are responsible for gathering and securing evidence from crime scenes. 

Their work also includes writing detailed reports and filling out forms to use in their criminal cases. Many detectives present their case in court as well.


  • U.S. citizen at least 21 years of age
  • Graduate from the police academy
  • High school diploma, although 4-year degrees (preferably criminal justice) are becoming more sought after for detective applications in many departments
  • Pass physical exams
  • Valid driver’s license

The average salary is $65,000 per year.

Prison Warden

Prison Wardens are responsible for creating actions plans for corrections personnel. They oversee staff performance and correct employee performance issues. 

Wardens must make sure that all prisoners are classified by their threat level to the general population and prison personnel. They also manage the budget and maximize resource utilization for prison operations.


  • Extensive experience in the corrections field
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice; Preferred education is Master’s Degree or higher in Business Management, Corrections Management, or Criminal Justice
  • Pass criminal background check and drug test

The average salary can range from $77,000 to over $186,000, depending on years of experience.

Probation Officer

Probation officers assist in the rehabilitation of criminals on probation. Since most of the work is conducted in the field, probation officers may find themselves working in high-crime areas and institutions. The work environment, as a result, can be stressful and dangerous at times. 


  • 21 years of age
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Social Work, or Behavioral Sciences
  • Certification test: this requirement varies from state to state
  • A probationary period of 1 year as a trainee (depending on where you are hired on)

The average salary for this job is $54,000 per year.


These ten careers provide just a glimpse of the diverse opportunities available in the field of criminal justice. Pursuing a degree in this field can open doors to a rewarding and impactful career.

Whether you are interested in law enforcement, investigations, rehabilitation, or administration, there is a path for you to contribute to a safer society. Start your journey in criminal justice today!

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