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Thinking about working in criminal justice but not sure exactly what you want to do? There are many career options in this field, so it can be hard to decide. One factor that may impact your decision is whether or not the career offers a lot of future opportunities. Choosing a career that is projected to be in high demand means you’ll be more likely to find a good job once you get your degree. And of course you want that.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many criminal justice careers will need workers in the coming years. Those careers include police and detectives, probation and corrections officers, private detectives and investigators, cybersecurity experts, security management, paralegals and court reporters.
Police and Detectives
Police officers protect lives and property; detectives gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations. Population growth is fueling the demand for police. Also, many workers will be retiring or leaving local agencies for federal jobs or private-sector security jobs.
The median pay for this career choice is about $55,000. If you think this may be a good option for you, an advanced degree may not be necessary. Depending on the agency and the position you desire, a high school degree, a college degree or an advanced degree may be required. Also, you’ll need to graduate from the agency’s training program. Checking out online criminal justice degree programs is a good place to start.
Probations and Corrections
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with and monitor offenders to prevent them from committing new crimes. Employment is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, or about as fast as average for all occupations. There is not a lot of interest in this area, and more emphasis is being placed on the importance of this role, so if it interests you, you’ll have a good chance of finding a job.
The median pay for this career choice is about $47,000. To get a job, a bachelor’s degree is necessary. Plus, most employers will require additional testing for new hires.
Private Detectives and Investigators
Private detectives and investigators find facts and analyze information about legal, financial and personal matters. Employment is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than average. Growth is projected in this field due to heightened security concerns, increased litigation and the need to protect confidential information and property of all kinds.
The median pay for private detectives and investigators is about $43,000. Workers usually have a college degree, although most learning comes from working on the job. A license is required in most states.
Cybersecurity is a growing concern nationally and internationally. The Department of Homeland Security plans to hire thousands of people in the coming years.
There are a variety of career options in this field for people with technical knowledge. For example, needs for computer systems analysts are expected to grow faster than average, and salaries can average about $78,000. Information security analysts, Web developers and computer network architect positions are expected to grow faster than average and make about $76,000. Most jobs will require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and possibly some advanced training in cybersecurity.
Paralegals, or legal assistants, do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research and drafting documents. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average. Competition for jobs will be strong, but experienced and formally trained professionals will be able to find jobs.
Median pay is about $47,000. Most have associate degrees or certificates in paralegal studies. A bachelor’s degree is sometimes required.
Court reporters have unique skills, which are in demand. They attend legal proceedings and public speaking events to create word-for-word transcriptions. Some of them provide captioning for TV and at public events. Demand is expected to grow about as fast as average.
Median pay for court reporters is about $48,000. Most attend postsecondary certificate programs, and many states require them to be licensed.
About the Author: Omar Jacobi is currently getting his online leadership degree. He has worked as a police officer for 15 years and hopes to use his leadership skills to teach younger officers.
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