Criminal Justice Administration Vs. Criminal Justice

Nov 29, 2019

Criminal justice administration and criminal justice are closely related professions with some key differences in work settings and responsibilities. Explore salary, job outlook and career paths in both fields.

Comparing Criminal Justice Administration to Criminal Justice

Criminal justice administrators manage daily operations of criminal justice agencies while criminal justice professionals work to uphold law and safety in societies. Criminal justice administrators may pursue a degree in criminal justice administration to learn about the business and legal aspects of successfully overseeing organizations, while criminal justice professionals may pursue a degree in criminal justice which would equip them to analyze crimes and criminal behavior.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Criminal Justice Administrator Bachelor's Degree $96,180 (Administrative Services Managers) 7% (Administrative Services Managers)
Criminal Justice High School Diploma (Bachelor's Degree may also be required) $63,380 (Police and Detectives) 5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities in Criminal Justice Administration vs. Criminal Justice

Both criminal justice administrators and criminal justice professionals have leadership skills and promote public safety. They are both often employed by government agencies. Both roles require an understanding of the criminal justice system, including laws, policies and ethics. Since criminal justice administration and criminal justice college courses include a law education, both degrees provide the groundwork for graduates to pursue a degree in law. Criminal justice administrators are often found in an office environment, while criminal justice professionals work directly with crimes or criminals and in various settings.

Criminal Justice Administration

Criminal justice administrators manage prisons, court systems and law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Environmental Protection Agency and Secret Service. They must make decisions and lead organizations in democratic societies with ever-evolving issues. Criminal justice administrators may choose to act as legal consultants and mediate issues or advise criminal justice organizations on government or industry regulations. They can also work in social service agencies and non-profits. Many roles may require related work experience in criminal justice and typically have full-time work schedules.

Job responsibilities in criminal justice administration include:

  • Oversee budget and financials
  • Hire, train and supervise employees
  • Create an organization's procedures and protocols
  • Understand research on crime and criminal justice policy
  • Interact with the public and diverse communities

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice professionals include police officers, detectives, correctional officers, government agents, private security guards and crime scene investigators. Their work can be physically demanding, emotionally difficult and dangerous. Criminal justice professionals often work full time and in shifts. Besides preventing street crime, criminal justice professionals may investigate cybersecurity breaches or international terrorism. Many criminal justice professionals must undergo both classroom and on-the-job training through their agencies before starting their roles.

Job responsibilities in criminal justice include:

  • Identify new potential safety threats
  • Respond to criminal activity or emergencies
  • Investigate crime scenes
  • Advise community members on safety precautions
  • Research cases and testify in court
  • Write reports and fill forms

Related Careers

If you're interested in criminal justice administration, the role of a health care administrator may be interesting as it also involves managing organizations. Those interested in criminal justice can explore a career in private investigation as it requires similar skills.

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