A police vehicle in the city.

7 Careers Possibilities of a Criminal Justice Major

Criminal Justice majors have the option to take their studies into numerous disciplines. Here are just a few job opportunities that can be pursued after earning your degree.

Police Officer

For many being a police officer may have been the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up” question. Police officers are expected to protect lives and property according to the laws and regulations while also making arrests, conducting interviews, testifying in court, and other duties to better the community. An ideal police officer is one who exudes professionalism, bravery, humanity, and honor.[1] Police officers work long hours and often work overtime depending on assignments during their shifts.[2] According to Glassdoor the median income for a police officer is approximately $53,000 a year. [3]

Parole Officer

A parole officer’s main job is to check in with newly released prison inmates and develops plans to assist those inmates in their transition back into society. This job requires a detailed eye for chronicling cases, strong communication, and personable skills for interacting with parolee’s and their families, and a great deal of bravery if their offenders are dangerous or may be associated with high-risk people or places. Depending on location a parole officer can average a salary ranging from $35,000 to $80,000 a year.[4]

Correctional Counselor

Of the positions on this list, the correctional counselor is probably the most unique. Unlike the other jobs on this list they do not enforce or investigate crime, they help prisoners towards rehabilitation with counseling. Counselors must be sensitive and resilient and will need specialized training when dealing with prisoners with drug addiction or mental disorders. This job may hold some risks as it involves counseling those who may be angry, resilient or even dangerous. A Correctional Counselor’s salary can range from approximately $52,000 to $82,000 a year.[5]


Imagine the white lab coats, microscopes and analyzing handwriting samples. A crime scene investigator spends much of their time uncovering evidence in a lab from the field. Keep in mind that this is not a career for the squeamish since blood, hair, and saliva would need to be analyzed. Depending on the level, an investigator can start at approximately $45,000 a year.[6]

Special Agent

If you ever dreamed of working for the FBI then you’ll be happy to know that a degree in criminal justice puts you on that path. A special agent’s tasks concern drug cartels, terrorist attacks, and other threats to national security and laws. This career is considered a high-stress career, as it requires you to be on duty at all times and heavy investigative work. A median salary for a special agent is approximately $120,000 a year.[7]

Deputy Sheriff

A deputy sheriff monitors their local sectors and maintains the laws of the area. The day-to-day of a deputy officer would include jobs like serving warrants, make arrests, assist motorists, investigate crimes among many other things.[8] According to Indeed.com a deputy sheriff can make a salary of approximately $79,000 a year.[9]

Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agents are responsible for watching and protecting the national borders by preventing illegal aliens and smugglers.[10] On top of patrolling, agents also may find duties in communicating, tracking and monitoring hi-tech equipment. Agents have been known to make approximately $35,000 a year depending on their position.  


[1] https://police.unc.edu/recruitment/officer-expectations-duties/

[2] https://work.chron.com/police-officer-working-conditions-2079.html

[3] https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/police-officer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm

[4] https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/parole-officer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm

[5] https://work.chron.com/salary-correctional-counselor-5542.html

[6] https://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/criminal-justice-careers/private-investigator/

[7] https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/special-agent-salary-SRCH_KO0,13.htm

[8] https://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/criminal-justice-careers/deputy-sheriff/

[9] https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Deputy-Sheriff-Salaries,-California

[10] https://www.cbp.gov/careers/usbp-what-we-do