Criminal Justice Articles

Job Expectations and Salaries for Criminal Justice Careers

Criminal justice careers draw many kinds of people - usually those who are idealistic and want to improve society. There is a diversity of jobs in the criminal justice field, some will require sitting behind a desk while others involve working in the courts or at the scene of a crime. Salaries vary according to the kind of work required. Usually, the more education required or the higher the degree, the greater the pay. The range of salaries for criminal justice employees varies from $24,000 for entry level positions to $107,000 for senior level jobs.

Correctional officers earn an average of $41,000 annually and are involved with people who are serving time in prison or on probation. Treatment specialists earn the same salary. These include those involved with rehabilitation of past prisoners and those on probation. The lower end of the scale for correctional officers is $35,000, while Administrators earn as much as $50,000. Those who are located in metropolitan areas tend to earn more.

Court reporters prepare transcripts of court cases and often take on other freelance work in addition to court reporting. Court reporters are expected to cover an entire trial, but the demands outside of providing transcripts are not heavy. They typically earn around $39,000 and require less training than regular journalists.

Criminologists typically require PhDs in criminal justice or criminology and are usually academics employed in institutions of higher education. Like other professors, they are required to give classes, publish in journals and conduct research. Full-time criminologists typically make $65,000, while tenured professors earn around $85,000. Part-time and adjunct professors usually make less than $50,000.

Detectives and investigators have a variety of different jobs. Store detectives require the least education and are paid the least, with entry-level jobs at $25,000. Security/loss prevention directors and vice presidents, who have much more responsibility, are paid as much as $77,000. Such detectives require rigorous training and education to occupy these positions. FBI agents are usually paid about $39,000 for entry level positions. These agents require intense training and are expected to put in a significant amount of overtime to solve their cases. Overtime can add up to $10,000 a year to the base salary. Advanced assignments could mean $62,000 a year, while FBI supervisors and management can earn as much as $85,000.

When investigating a crime, forensic technicians, scientists and psychologists are needed to delve further into the details of a crime. A scientist examines evidence and draw conclusions based on his or her findings. He or she is required to spend a significant amount of time in the lab looking at evidence earning around $46,000 a year. The expected salary for forensic psychologists varies according to qualifications and experience; the range is between $38,000 and $66,000.

Legal secretaries and paralegals are either trained to be secretaries or, if paralegals, they are usually law students trying to earn their way through law school. Paralegals usually get valuable experience while working on the job, and can earn between $37,000 and $42,500. The amount of money earned depends on experience, education and efficiency on the job.

Police officers are required to spend a great deal of time staying active and risking their lives to track down offenders. One must be physically fit to be a police officer, and work well under pressure. A typical police officer earns around $45,000, but captains, who require a bachelor's degree, earn between $45,000 and $75,000. Sheriffs have bachelor's degrees and usually have 10 years experience working as police officers. They earn between $81,000 and $100,000.

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