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Types Of Criminal Justice Jobs
Criminal justice is one of the most needed facets of society. It truly sets a baseline for the expected behavior of society, and for many, it is all that stands between them and a life of crime. But criminal justice seems to be a singularity in the minds of many whereby we often forget that it is comprised of many components that work together to ensure the safety of society as a whole.
We usually think of police officers as law enforcement and criminal justice. Still, there are multitudes of criminal justice jobs that maintain peace and ensure the world is civil. Such roles include lawyers, detectives, police officers, forensic specialists, and more.
Let us take a look at what criminal justice is, the importance of its role in society, and the multitudes of jobs that this field has to offer.
What Is Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice refers to the laws, rules, and regulations that uphold society and it is the societal standard that has been set to ensure a clear line between what is allowed and what is not.
While we may think a moral compass should be enough to let people know what is right and wrong, some people don't possess this innate moral compass. Having a criminal justice system in place allows for the elimination of morally grey areas, ensuring a clear line between right and wrong.
Without these basic societal constructs, the world will fall to pieces, there would be nothing holding anyone accountable, and the humanity will cease to exist. Instead, it will be taken over by anarchy and become a lawless wasteland.
Those who work in criminal justice hold, enforce, and embody the gold standard to which civilians should aspire. They not only apprehend and reprimand those who have broken the law, but they also set an example for the type of behavior that society should portray. The responsibility of those in the criminal justice system is immense.
Those who work within criminal justice are required to work towards identifying and stopping criminal acts and apprehending those who are guilty of committing crimes. Although greatly admired by stand-up citizens, many of those within the criminal justice system are often despised.
Developments In The Field
While it may not seem, criminal justice is much like the medical field. Constant developments are being made in terms of forensic advancements, new crimes like cyber crimes are being invented by criminal minds, and the criminal justice system needs to constantly keep up with these crimes and work towards mitigating them.
This is why a career in criminal justice is extremely lucrative and will present you with countless growth opportunities should you pursue this career path.
Criminal Justice Jobs
There are a number of jobs that you can pursue with a criminal justice degree. We will look at those that provide a great outlook for the future, allowing you to narrow your options while keeping your options open.
Before looking at different types of criminal justice jobs, it is important to note that there are many facets of criminal justice. There are federal, state, and local law enforcement divisions, and criminal justice is present in each of these spheres.
There are also three components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Multiple divisions within each component play individual yet vital roles in meeting the ends of justice.
All of these roles work together to make sure that the ends of justice are always met. Some of the most popular jobs within criminal justice include lawyers, forensic psychologists, homicide detectives, paralegals, criminal profilers, and crime scene investigators.
Police Officers And Police Detectives
Probably the most common role that we think of when we hear about criminal justice is the role of a police officer. Police officers and detectives are a present and physical reminder of the law that we are required to obey and uphold.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers and police detectives earn a median annual salary of $66,020. The job outlook expects a 7% projected growth in the next decade between 2020 and 2030.
Police officers and detectives work in local, state, and federal government, and they can hold various positions. At the very least, police officers are required to hold an associate degree in criminal justice, and detectives must have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
In the field of corrections, prison wardens are at the top of the hierarchy. They oversee correctional facilities, and their roles go far beyond just overseeing that criminals are kept behind bars. Their role is all-encompassing ensuring that correctional facilities and prisons are well-oiled machines and that the facilities lack for nothing.
What is often an extremely stressful job also requiring them to complete budgets, create schedules, and oversee prisoners and all prison employees.
According to the BLS, correctional officers and bailiffs earn a median annual salary of $47,920, and the employment rates are expected to experience a decline of 7% in the next 10 years.
Forensic psychologists, while not directly getting their hands dirty, get their minds into the thick of it. Forensic psychology is a very niche and sought-after field within psychology and criminal justice.
A forensic psychologist doesn't only need to understand the mind, but they need to understand the mind of a criminal. Through their knowledge of psychology, forensic psychologists use their expertise to analyze crimes and criminals.
They use this knowledge to delve into the psyche of someone who would commit heinous crimes, while also looking at crime scenes and evidence to try and deduce what type of criminal would commit such crimes.
When you think of a forensic psychologist, you think of someone sitting with a prisoner trying to figure out why they have committed the crimes they did. And you would be correct in assuming so. They try to determine the motivation behind certain crimes and uncovering this information often means risking exposure to some of the world's worse criminals.
Their success requires extensive academic knowledge and acquired hands-on skills. Their academic knowledge would need to come from a master's degree in forensic psychology and a license from an official board that stipulated that they are qualified to practice psychology.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for psychologists is $81,040. The job outlook shows a projected growth of 8% over the next decade between 2020 and 2030.
While many may look at the annual salary and decide that this is the field within criminal justice that they wish to pursue, getting to this point requires intense effort.
One of the worst crimes that can be committed is murder. Homicide detectives are those individuals placed in the difficult position of investigating a crime scene and compiling a case full of witness statements and crime scene analyses to determine who the suspects are, intending to eventually pinpoint the guilty suspect.
Homicide detectives are required to play a very hands-on role in examining a crime scene and it is often found that they focus on a particular case, with keen interest. But they also often work on more than one case at a time, carrying a very heavy workload.
At the very least, Homicide detectives are required to have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Since it is a senior role, they often have had police academy training before taking on the role as a detective.
According to the BLS, homicide detectives hold the same salary scale as police and detectives, earning an annual median salary of $66,020.
A field that has gained immense popularity in recent years is that of paralegals. Paralegals, while not qualified to practice law, have extensive knowledge of the law, and have the keen ability to draft up accurate legal documents, compile files for lawyers and attorneys, and have the ability to be a link between lawyers and civil society.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for paralegals is expected to see a projected 12% growth in this next decade between 2020 and 2030. Additionally, paralegals earn a median annual salary of $56,230.
While we don't often think about it this way, lawyers and attorneys form a major part of the criminal justice system and play an important role in meeting the ends of justice.
To practice as a lawyer, you would need an LLB degree, you would need to pass the state bar examination for the state where you are going to practice law, and you need to pursue courses that will assist you in your specialization in criminal law.
According to the BLS, lawyers can expect to make a median annual salary of $127,990 and the job outlook expects a 9% growth between 2020 and 2030.
Crime Scene Investigators
Another field within law enforcement that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, whether it is from television shows or because of its extremely interesting job description, is that of a crime scene investigator.
Crime scene investigators do the job that is pretty much stated in the job title. They collect evidence from the crime scene, maintain the integrity of the evidence, conduct onsite and lab analysis of the evidence, and draft detailed reports that often contain enough damning evidence to convict a suspect.
According to the BLS, forensic science technicians earn a median annual salary of $61,930. Their jobs aren't often the easiest and sometimes require a strong stomach given the cases they have to work on. But it can be extremely rewarding when a guilty party is caught through their skills and expertise.
The need for cyber and computer detectives has become more prominent. The world is moving rapidly into a fully digitally integrated system, leading to a new world for criminals to explore new cyber-crimes.
Cyber detectives have therefore become a role of great prominence in the field of criminal justice and law enforcement. Cyber detectives focus on crimes in the digital space, from preventing unsolicited contact to preventing fraud.
According to the BLS, cyber detectives fall under the private detectives and investigators category and earn a median average salary of $59,380. The job outlook also expects a 13% increase from 2020 to 2030 showing how much the cyber-attacks are expected to increase.
What Is The Best Job In The Criminal Justice Field?
Judges and hearing officers earn the highest median annual salary, according to the BLS, is a median annual salary of $128,710.
This could be seen as the best job within the field of criminal justice because it is high paying, but the answer to this question would be subjective depending on the passions of the person being asked.
What Are The Different Types Of Criminal Justice?
The three pillars of the criminal justice system are law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.
Is Criminal Justice A Career Path?
While not defined as a career path, it is a field of study and a degree a person can hold. This degree can unlock jobs within this specific field just like a medical degree can unlock jobs within the medical field.
The field of criminal justice has something for everyone. It is one of the few fields where you would never need to ask what you can do with a criminal justice degree.
Whether you are hoping to be front and center in the thick of the action, chasing down criminals, and actively pursuing arrests, or whether you prefer sitting behind a desk, assessing and analyzing the evidence that has been brought to you, or even if you prefer sitting in a lab with the soft hum of lab equipment in the background, you are guaranteed to find a spot in this area.
Every job within the criminal justice system has a role to play in the greater scheme of things, and it is through them that safety is maintained, and the world is made a better place, albeit one step at a time.
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