There is no shortage of options when deciding what to do with a criminology degree. It is one thing to be drawn towards criminal justice but another thing altogether to be able to build a career and find satisfaction in what you do. Though this field comes with certain dangers there are plenty of benefits as well. For one, you get to provide a service to society by keeping people safe and secondly it warrants a certain level of respect from people you come in contact with. All in all, it is a very good feeling whether or not you wear a uniform.
Apart from a high feeling of self worth, a career in criminal justice also provides certain monetary benefits. The first and most important factor to consider is that you don’t need a college degree to pursue a career in criminal justice. Which means, you don’t have to spend 4 long years plus thousands of dollars on college tuition, trying to obtain your degree. There are quite a few accredited and well recognized vocational training schools out there that offer certified courses in criminal justice. But before we can explore this further it is important to understand that “Criminal Justice” is a very broad term and covers at least 20 different occupations.
Before we start calculating the monetary benefits of a career in criminal justice we must zero in on one specific career option. Let’s explore the monetary benefits of different occupations in criminal justice.
1. Probation Officer
Monitoring parolees and ensuring they abide by the terms of their parole are the two main tasks of a probation officer. They also have to check in with their parolees every so often. On an average a probation officer makes up to $48,190 a year.
2. Forensic Science Technician
Forensic science technicians analyze evidence like finger prints, DNA samples, fibers etc. that is found at crime scenes. They make up to $52,840 a year. However, this figure varies from state to state as there is a higher demand for forensic experts in states like Virginia, California and Illinois.
3. Police Officer/Detectives
Police officers make $56,980 a year. This job can be dangerous at times but a lot of officers retire without firing their guns even once.
4. Correctional Officer
Correctional officers make $38,970 on an average. Correctional officers usually work with inmates inside prisons and are responsible for overseeing these inmates.
5. Private Detective
In order to become a private detective, you need some prior experience as a detective. Private detectives can charge whatever they want depending on the intensity of the cases they take on. But the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on an average they make $45,740 a year.
6. Fish and Game Warden
Fish and game wardens work with forest reserves, public waterways and national parks. They get to enjoy nature and also make an annual average salary of $50,470.
7. State Trooper
The average annual pay of a state trooper is $55,010. They work on highways ensuring that all federal vehicle laws are met.
8. Security Guard
The salary of a security guard varies based on where he is employed. But on average security guards make $24,020 a year.
9. Fraud Investigator/Claim Adjuster
Claim adjusters evaluate insurance claims and ensure that they are legitimate. They make $59,850 a year.
10. FBI Agent
FBI agents are probably seen as the most glamorous of the lot. They are paid according to a grade scale. The higher the grade, the higher the pay. They are also entitled to additional benefits like danger pay and certain bonuses.
11. CIA Agent
CIA agents who are better known as spies have become awfully popular due to certain TV shows. Because of the constant element of risk to their lives they receive a higher pay which can be anything between $74,872 and $136,771 a year.
12. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent
Immigration enforcement agents or IEAs get paid based on their educational qualifications and experience. There is a certain grade schedule that is followed when it comes to payment. Just like FBI agents, the higher the grade the better the pay.
Basically, there are many options that you can explore with a degree in criminal justice. There is a lot of room for growth and advancement, not to mention the experience and respect you would gain over time. Each job comes with its own set of benefits, so see where you fit in best and enjoy monetary benefits while serving your country.