When you consider possible criminal justice jobs, you may think of police officers catching criminals or detectives unraveling a case. Though the criminal justice field does include police and detective positions, it expands far beyond criminal arrests. Criminal justice professionals can also work as probation officers, private investigators, or legal assistants. In fact, while police officer positions are seeing slow projected growth over the next few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), other criminal justice jobs are growing at a rapid rate.
The demand for careers in criminal justice may be attributed to the increasing population. A population increase leads to a greater likelihood of crime and thus, a greater demand for criminal justice workers to work on cases, protect residents, and rehabilitate offenders. For this reason, the best opportunities for employment in the field will be in the most populous cities.
In particular, probation officer positions are expected to grow by 18% by 2020, according to the BLS. This position brings in around $47,200 annually. Private detective positions are expanding at an even faster rate, with growth projected at 21% by 2020, according to the BLS.
This position averages around $42,870 annually. The BLS also reports that paralegal positions earn a comparable salary and are projected to grow 18% by 2020. Although salary figures and job prospects will vary according to experience and location, getting an education in a criminal justice field can open up a variety of job opportunities, which can help students launch their careers after graduation.