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Careers In Criminal Justice

There are many paths one can take in their career in criminal justice. You can work at the local jail or prison as a corrections officer or you could patrol the streets as a police officer. If neither of those interests you, you could look at becoming a lawyer and defending the law from either the governments perspective or the defendants perspective. Below StudentsReview has explained what each career choice in Criminal Justice involves.

Police Officer

As a local city, county or state police officer you will most likely be on street patrol taking calls dispatched to you that range from traffic accidents and home burglaries to domestic violence and murder. There is plenty of room for advancement in law enforcement. No college education is required to become a police officer, but with a college education you can see yourself advancing further in your law enforcement career.

Fish and Wildlife Officer

As a fish and wildlife officer your job is to protect wildlife. You will find yourself enforcing laws related to whether or not an animal can be hunted or not. If the animal was allowed to be hunted is the hunter within the legal catch limits. Like police officers, fish and wildlife officers are allowed to make arrests. Fish and wildlife officers are also allowed to conduct traffic stops and in some instances do not require a search warrant to search a vehicle or building.

Federal Agent

Insurance Investigation

As an insurance investigator you will be investigating the validity of insurance claims. Insurance fraud is on the rise across developed nations as more and more people are committing insurance fraud. People may try to exaggerate their injuries for a bigger settlement, a group of people may stage an accident together, a spouse or family member may try to take out a large insurance policy against another family member.

Fire Investigator

As a fire investigator you will be responsible for determining whether or not a fire was set deliberately and if so how was the fire set. Fire investigators collect evidence from the scenes of fires or explosions to be analyzed at a lab for chemical evidence. As a fire investigator you may also find your self investigating whether or not the fire suppressing systems worked properly or not. You will need to make a conclusion as to how and why the fire was set and who is liable. In the past fire investigators did not need more than a high school diploma, but this is changing.


There are many career paths to take as a lawyer. You could work as a federal, state, or local prosecutor and prosecute those who break the laws. You could work on the other side in the court room as the defendants lawyer against the states prosecution. If criminal law is not your thing you can work as a family lawyer, a divorce lawyer, a personal injury lawyer or as a business lawyer.


A judge presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the parties of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury. In inquisitorial systems of criminal investigation, a judge might also be an examining magistrate.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Paralegals or legal assistants are individuals who on behalf of a lawyer conduct legal research for legal proceedings. Paralegals can not offer legal advice or charge a fee like a lawyer. Paralegals can find themselves drafting up legal papers in probate cases, investigations, divorces and bankruptcies. A paralegal is not a lawyer and is not allowed to represent anyone in court for a legal proceeding.

Probation Officer / Corrections Officer

As a probation officer you will oversee individuals who have committed crimes and been released from prison/jail or who avoided jail by agreeing to probation. You will find yourself micro managing individuals lives, making sure they follow all the rules of their supervised release and in the event they do not follow the rules you will have to report back to the court and have them rearrested.

As a corrections officer you will find yourself working in a local jail or state prison. Your job will have you directly interacting with convicted felons from all walks of life with all sorts of convictions from theft to murder.

Detective / Criminal Investigator

As a detective or criminal investigator you will find yourself working to solve crimes ranging from property crimes, financial crimes, violent and sexual crimes.

Security Officer

A security officer protects property, assets, and people or all of the above. Some security officers are armed while others are not. Security officers can make arrests when advised by law enforcement, but most of the time if a security officer does decide to arrest someone they are doing so as a citizen and they are making a citizens arrest. Security officers must go through training and be certified in most if not all states, some security officers learn first aid, cpr and the proper use of a defibrillator. Security officer jobs are in demand and expected to continue to grow.

Loss Prevention Manager

A loss prevention manager is in charge of loss prevention be it retail theft by individual customers or employees. A loss prevention manager will typically work inside of a retail store where they will monitor customers for suspicious activity. With over a million shoplifters and dishonest employees being arrested every year and companies losing billions of dollars annually, there will be a continued need in the future for loss prevention managers.

Computer Forensics

Computer forensics is the collecting, analyzing and reporting on digital data in a way that is admissible in to the court of law. Computer forensics can be used to detect a crime that has already happened and to prevent a crime from happening. Computer forensics is very similar to other forensic sciences. Because computers are typically more and more being used to commit crimes and therefore are scenes of crimes, there is a ever growing demand for computer forensic technicians.

Criminal Justice Educator
Corrections Officer$38k/annually
Fire Inspector$53k/annually
Private Investigator$45k/annually
Security Guard$24k/annually
Court Reporter$48k/annually
Arbitrator / Mediator$61k/annually
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