Average Salary With a Criminal Justice Degree

With a degree in criminal justice, you’ll be afforded a variety of job opportunities that can begin career development. You’ll be able to work in commonly consider roles such as a crime scene investigator or police officer, but also much more specific positions like a drug enforcement agent or juvenile court counselor. This kind of work pays well, but your exact salary will depend on a number of factors, namely specializations and experience from coursework taken in school. Let’s take a look at the average salary you’ll earn as a criminal justice graduate, along with how to make more money in this field.

Criminal Justice Salary by Job Title

Since your job title has a profound effect on the amount of money you can expect to earn as a graduate with a criminal justice degree, let’s start by looking at the salaries you can expect based on this factor. Here are some common roles criminal justice students take after graduation, along with average salaries:

  • Legal Secretary: $42,940
  • Paralegal: $50,080
  • Mediator: $63,250
  • Court Reporter: $52,460
  • Police Officer: $55,180
  • Federal Government Law Enforcement: $73,170
  • FBI Special Agent: $48,159
  • FBI Supervisor: $89,115
  • Forensics Technologist: $55,070
  • Probation Officer: $50,500

Jobs in the criminal justice field frequently have a need for overtime and there are usually many opportunities to utilize this and increase pay significantly. With these extra bonuses, you can expect to make up to $20,000 more annually. By taking this into account, there’s definitely a chance to make a six-figure salary in many of these fields as you gain experience.

Salary by Location

Location is going to be a factor in salary in almost every field. In criminal justice, you’ll typically be paid more in areas where there’s a high need and/or areas with higher costs of living. At the same time, when demand is higher, you’ll often see that the candidate field is much more competitive than in lower paying areas with less demand. Locations that pay most in criminal justice depend on your job title, but here are the top-paying states for police officers, which is one of the most common job choices for criminal justice degree students:

  • California: $78,690
  • New Jersey: $77,660
  • District of Columbia: $67,830
  • Illinois: $66,050
  • Washington: $64,620

Keep in mind that you’ll typically earn more as a police officer or any kind of criminal justice worker if you work in a large city. For example, while Illinois is at the top of the list of highest paid positions list, you’ll earn much more if you work in Chicago than if you work in a rural area of the state.

Ways to Impact Your Salary as A Criminal Justice Major

A plethora of factors can impact a salary in any area and criminal justice is no different. Want to make more money as a graduate with a criminal justice degree? Here are some of your options:

  • Go back to school – By far, one of the most common options, when you have more education you inherently have more experience, thus opening the door to make more money.
  • Seek security clearances to you can take leadership roles – Many government positions have particular security clearances that open pathways to sets of jobs that those without the credentials cannot apply for. Seeking certain security clearances can open up great job opportunities.
  • Get certified in specialties – If available in your area, having a specialty is another good way to differentiate yourself from the other individuals applying for certain positions. Rarely will you be in a job where you’ll be “doing a bit of everything”, so look for ways to refine your skill set and be better than others.
  • Choose your employer carefully – Some employers pay much more than others. Sometimes getting a better paying job is as simple as finding an employer who is willing to pay you more to do the same job you are already doing.
  • Work more overtime hours – It seems simple enough, but if you want more money, work more. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t want to work more, work smarter and refer to one of the factors above.

Popular Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Kaplan University
Associates in Criminal Justice
Bachelors in Criminal Justice
Masters in Criminal Justice
BSCJ in Juvenile Justice
Kaplan University -The accredited criminal justice degrees offered by Kaplan are fully online programs which allow you to study and take exams on your schedule. Kaplan remains one of the most popular universities for criminal justice students because of this flexibility and affordability. Kaplan has several Criminal Justice degrees available like an Associates, Bachelors, or Masters in General Criminal Justice or specializatioins like Juvenile Justice.
Ashford University
BA in Criminal Justice
BACJ in Homeland Security
BACJ in Corrections Mgmt
BACJ in Forensics
BACJ in Government
Ashford University -For students who want to quickly achieve their career goals, Ashford University has added many online programs in the field of Criminal Justice to its course catalog. These programs can often be completed much faster than their campus counterparts. Several accredited bachelor degrees are available covering a multitude of specializations, including Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Corrections Management, Forensics, and Government.
Northcentral University
DBA in Criminal Justice
DBA in Homeland Security
MBA in Criminal Justice
MBA in Homeland Security
Northcentral University -Northcentral University has several Criminal Justice degrees available through online programs. These online courses can be completed on your own timeline from the convenience of your home PC. In addition, assignments worked on and turned in at any time before or on the deadline, perfect for students who balance school with work schedules. NCU has online degrees available for DBA in Criminal Justice, DBA in Homeland Security, and an MBA in Criminal Justice.
Walden University
MS: Human Services - Criminal Justice
DSW: Criminal Justice
PhD: Social Work - Criminal Justice
Walden University -Walden, an accredited online university, offers criminal justice degree programs on the bachelor's and master's levels and PhD programs with specializations in criminal justice. Programs include the MS of Human Services in Criminal Justice, a DSW in Criminal Justice, and a PhD of Social Work in Criminal Justice. Bachelor specializations include human services, information systemes, and management and administration.

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