14 Careers in Criminal Justice (With Salaries and Duties)
Updated 25 July 2023
From public-facing roles to office positions, there are many jobs for those with transferable skills in the criminal justice field. While this field may interest recent graduates with a criminal justice degree, a variety of positions are also suitable for those with different educational backgrounds. Learning about these positions can help you find one that suits your talents, interests and professional goals. In this article, we explore 14 careers in criminal justice, including the average salary and primary duties for each role.
14 careers in criminal justice
Here are 14 careers in criminal justice for you to consider if you're exploring jobs in the field:
National average salary: $56,774 per year
Primary duties: Customs officers enforce customs, immigration and agricultural laws at points of entry into the country. Also known as border force officers, they manage border security, counter-terrorism and immigration. Their primary duties involve inspecting people, cargo, luggage and postal packages to prevent illegal contraband from entering the country. Customs officers often work at airports and ports throughout the country, and some also monitor marine activity to identify and minimise smuggling activity.
National average salary: $68,697 per year
Primary duties: A legal assistant is an administrative professional who helps lawyers manage their tasks. They may work with a judge, solicitor, barrister or another type of lawyer. Also known as assistant paralegals, legal assistants typically handle documentation for court proceedings, maintain digital and physical court records, maintain order in the court and help other legal professionals with miscellaneous duties. As officers of the court, legal assistants may also serve people with important legal documents like subpoenas and eviction notices.
National average salary: $70,488 per year
Primary duties: A police officer is a law enforcement officer who maintains public safety within a particular assigned area. The duties and types of crime an officer encounters depend on their jurisdiction, which may be a large city, small town or special unit. Some primary duties of a police officer include patrolling their jurisdictions to watch for criminal activity, apprehending criminal suspects, investigating offences, gathering evidence from a crime scene for evaluation, directing traffic and writing reports about incidents.
National average salary: $78,355 per year
Primary duties: A juvenile correctional officer is a law enforcement professional who maintains the safety and security of detainees at a juvenile facility. These facilities house people under the age of 18 who face allegations of committing a crime, so juvenile correctional officers often have experience working with children. Their primary duties often include providing meals and medical care to detainees, de-escalating conflicts, managing court cases, transporting detainees for court proceedings and monitoring the facility to maintain order.
Related: How to Become a Correctional Officer
5. Case manager
National average salary: $80,435 per year
Primary duties: A case manager is a criminal justice professional at a correctional facility who helps offenders manage their court cases. They typically manage several cases at once, although their caseload may depend on their level of experience and the facility where they work. The primary duties of a case manager often include evaluating each offender's case, creating plans to prevent them from committing crimes in the future, providing interventions, ensuring offenders follow court orders and creating reports on the cases they manage. Case managers may work with other law enforcement officers to influence correctional facility policies.
National average salary: $82,248 per year
Primary duties: A forensic accountant is an accounting professional who investigates suspected cases of financial fraud within companies and organisations. They work with law enforcement agencies to investigate financial crimes like fraud, money laundering and embezzlement, by evaluating financial documents to identify areas of concern. They report their findings to criminal investigators. Some forensic accountants choose to specialise in one of many practice areas, such as identity theft or trademark infringement.
National average salary: $87,733 per year
Primary duties: An intelligence analyst is a data professional who specialises in identifying, minimising and mitigating potential security threats to organisations. Their primary duties include examining many sources of information, often from digital platforms, to learn about vulnerabilities and possible breaches, using critical thinking and analytical skills to solve complex problems and suggesting ways to prevent future threats. Intelligence analysts can specialise in many areas, including counter-intelligence and counterterrorism.
National average salary: $90,830 per year
Primary duties: An investigator is a criminal justice professional who works with law enforcement agencies, individuals and organisations to investigate crimes. They often find evidence to support criminal cases by conducting surveillance on potential suspects, researching laws to determine if suspects committed a crime, gathering evidence such as photographs and videos to help secure a conviction and writing detailed reports about their findings. Investigators may work in the private or public sector, and many run their own agencies.
National average salary: $92,323 per year
Primary duties: A law enforcement officer is a criminal justice professional who ensures citizens adhere to the laws, rules and procedures of their communities. They may work at different levels of government, and their assignments determine their specific duties. Law enforcement officers might pursue suspects accused of committing crimes, make arrests, issue citations for minor infractions and transport offenders to correctional facilities. Law enforcement officers may also work for agencies outside of traditional policing, such as military or national security agencies.
National average salary: $96,017 per year
Primary duties: A probation officer is a law enforcement professional who ensures convicted criminals released on bond adhere to the rules of their parole or probation. Also called a probation and parole officer, their primary duties often include helping inmates prepare for release, assisting them in finding work or community service opportunities, communicating with caseworkers and solicitors on their behalf, monitoring people on in-home probation, providing risk assessments to parole boards, checking in with parolees frequently and writing reports about each person's case.
National average salary: $99,742 per year
Primary duties: A detective is a law enforcement officer who investigates criminal cases and prosecutes offenders. Working as a detective requires extensive experience as a police officer, which provides candidates with the knowledge and practical skills to understand how criminal cases work. Their duties typically involve investigating motor vehicle accidents and crimes, securing crime scenes, collecting evidence, interviewing suspects and witnesses, supporting crime victims and their families and providing detailed reports for court proceedings.
National average salary: $105,201 per year
Primary duties: Lecturers who teach students about law enforcement topics may instruct classes on subjects like criminal justice, criminology and forensics. A lecturer is an educator who teaches courses at a university level. Universities require lecturers to have postgraduate degrees to demonstrate their expertise in their subject area. Their primary duties include developing curricula and syllabuses for their students, instructing students on key concepts, topics and skills within a subject area, administering assignments and exams, scoring students' work, helping students with their work outside the classroom and writing recommendation letters for students as requested.
National average salary: $132,397 per year
Primary duties: A fraud investigator is a criminal justice professional who investigates allegations of fraud that affect government agencies, private companies or non-profit organisations. They look into different types of monetary fraud, such as insurance claims, work injuries, legal claims and other fraudulent activity. Their primary duties often include identifying suspected instances of fraud, reviewing evidence, conducting interviews to determine potential involvement, analysing documentation and taking steps to prevent fraud in the future. Fraud investigators report their findings and may testify in court proceedings.
National average salary: $134,267 per year
Primary duties: A forensic specialist is a criminal justice professional who helps law enforcement officers solve crimes by collecting and analysing evidence from crime scenes. Also known as a crime scene investigator or crime scene technician, a forensic specialist may gather physical evidence at crime scenes, interview witnesses and bring specimens to the laboratory for examination. Others perform the analysis themselves in the lab. They often specialise in a certain area, such as testing samples, examining weapons, comparing fingerprints or taking crime scene photographs.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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