So you’ve decided you want get your criminal justice degree online, but you’re not yet sure what kind of job you’re going to pursue with it. Well, the two most important aspects considered by most students during the decision-making process are: job demand and wages. In other words, “is the job going to pay well” and “will it be easy to find a position after graduating?” Those are the key questions students should ask themselves if their primary goal is to build a stable and lucrative career. With that said, here are three popular jobs in criminal justice that offer the best of both worlds:
1. Police Officer
With about 650,000 police officers currently employed in the U.S. and about 25,000 annual job openings in this field, this one easily deserves the top spot. The only profession in criminal justice that has more employees would be Security Guard, with more than a million security guards in America alone. However, security guards only make an average salary of about $28,000, while the average salary for a police officer is about $61,000, so we couldn’t list security guard as one of the highest paying, but it does qualify as one of the most in-demand jobs. Although additional training is required to become an officer, you can earn your criminology degree online in as little as 24 months and go from there.
2. Correctional Officer
There are almost half a million correctional officers in the U.S., with about 15,000 annual job openings in this sector. They make an average annual salary of about $45,000. With a criminal justice degree and a high school diploma or GED, you’ll be in an ideal position to be hired at just about any correctional facility.
3. First-Line Police Supervisor
First-line police supervisors make excellent salaries, with the average yearly income being about $85,000 in this sector. There are about 100,000 positions actively filled in the U.S., with about 4,500 openings popping up each year. If you think about it, wherever there is a police department this position is in high demand. However, keep in mind many departments will require that you first have some prior experience in law enforcement, so you might have to start with one of the aforementioned positions or another police-related job before climbing to this rank.
Not Satisfied With Any of the Above Options?
Of course, if you’re interested in specializing in a very specific niche of criminal justice, and ease of employment or education are not really concerns, then don’t hesitate to follow your intuition and go with the career path that seems like it would be the most fulfilling in your eyes. Sometimes the longer, more difficult road is more satisfying in the long-term. For example, if we were going for jobs based on demand and salary alone, we would have to list lawyer as the luckiest profession in the criminal justice field, with an average salary of about $135,000 and more than 15,000 annual job openings. However, at the same time it’s important to consider that they have to earn much more than a criminal justice degree to get into that position, so it’s a larger commitment that isn’t ideal for everyone.