Career Options with a Criminal Justice Degree

Although in this economy one wouldn’t think there are any viable career options at all, there are actually many different types of jobs that one can obtain with a college degree in Criminal Justice. And since a lot of these opportunities are in the public sector, they are relatively recession-proof. With a Criminal Justice degree, jobs can be found in various areas of both the public and private sectors.

Law enforcement is one obvious option for newly-minted criminal justice majors. Earning a college degree can give one a great head start when becoming a police officer, and police jobs are available at many different levels. Towns and municipalities, counties, and states are three echelons that hire policemen and policewomen, and these public servants form the front lines in the battle against lawbreakers. Police officers enforce the laws of the jurisdiction that hired them, ranging from traffic regulations to other laws against assault, rape, and murder.

At the Federal Level, there are just as many if not more career options for those with a degree in Criminal Justice who are interested in law enforcement. The US Marshalls Service provide law enforcement services for the Federal Court system, performing tasks such as providing protection for Federal Judges, transferring prisoners, and protecting witnesses. The Secret Service is another option, and agents in this federal law enforcement agency are in charge of protecting the President and Vice President as well as their families, former Presidents, President-elects, and Presidential candidates. In addition, Secret Service agents investigate several types of crimes including counterfeiting, identity theft, and other types of financial and computer fraud. DEA agents perform law enforcement in the realm of the illegal drug trade, while FBI agents are in charge of investigating major interstate crimes such as corruption, terrorism, bank robberies, and kidnapping, among others. INS agents enforce immigration laws along the borders and throughout the United States.

Another criminal justice career option is in the private security area. Businesses and individuals alike use the services of private security guards to protect people and property. Security guards can work directly for the companies or people who hire them, or they can work for a private security agency that provides security services to end users.

Whether at the Federal, state, county, or local level, the court system is another place where one with a criminal justice degree can launch a career. Positions such as bailiffs, court reporters, and court clerks are just some of the public sector opportunities available, depending on the strengths and interests of the criminal justice major. In the private sector, one can become a paralegal, or a legal assistant. Paralegals assist attorneys with court-related tasks such as legal research, client preparation, and writing legal briefs.

Obtaining a Criminal Justice degree is an excellent way for one to start on a path to a rich and rewarding career. Whether that career lies in law enforcement, security services, or the court system, one common thread between all these opportunities is that they are all essential in keeping our society running smoothly.


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