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Highest Paying Jobs with a Criminal Justice Degree

A criminal justice degree qualifies graduates for many high-paying careers that vary in their particular job duties. Learn about some of these jobs, their expected job growth rates, median salaries and any additional education requirements.

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Highest-Paying Career Options with a Criminal Justice Degree

While there are even higher paying jobs that require professional school after earning a criminal justice degree, such as a lawyer, there are several high-paying careers for those with a bachelor's degree in the subject. Some of the highest paying of these jobs earn an annual median salary greater than $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here we discuss some of the highest-paying careers with a criminal justice degree.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $78,120 5%
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers $59,680 7%
Fish and Game Wardens $51,730 4%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $50,160 6%
Financial Examiners $79,280 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Highest-Paying Jobs with a Criminal Justice Degree

Detectives and Criminal Investigators

The BLS reported that detectives and criminal investigators made a median salary of $78,120 in 2016. These professionals work to solve criminal cases by collecting a wide variety of evidence, including documents, videos or other physical evidence, which typically incriminates a suspect. Throughout the case they may interview victims, suspects and witnesses and then arrest a suspect when they think they have enough evidence against them. Detectives and criminal investigators usually need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or law enforcement and must meet a variety of physical standards, be a U.S. citizen, be at least 21 years of age and complete extensive training.

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

In 2016, the BLS stated that police and sheriff's patrol officers made a median salary of $59,680. These officers protect communities from all kinds of criminal activity by carefully monitoring areas for suspicious activity and enforcing laws and making arrests as needed. They also assist community members in emergency and nonemergency situations and may be called to testify in court concerning various cases. Like detectives and criminal investigators, police and sheriff's patrol officers must be U.S. citizens, 21 years of age, meet various standards, complete training at the academy and on the job and usually need a bachelor's degree.

Fish and Game Wardens

Fish and game wardens are unique positions that combine wildlife and nature with law enforcement, and these professionals made a median salary of $51,730 in 2016, per the BLS. They usually patrol recreational and outdoor areas to make sure that patrons of the area are obeying various hunting and fishing laws. They are also available to respond to any outdoor accidents or problems in the area and many of these professionals also provide education to patrons of the area concerning wildlife laws. Fish and game wardens usually need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, wildlife science or another related field and some on-the-job training.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists also include parole officers and pretrial services officers, and all of these professionals together were recorded as making a median salary of $50,160 in 2016, according to the BLS. They play various rolls in the rehabilitation process of law offenders, including monitoring parolees and probationers and connecting them with various social and community services and resources. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must keep detailed documentation and reports on each offender that may include the offender's rehabilitation plan, court documents, treatment progress and more. These professionals need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work or another related field, and must meet other requirements, such as holding a valid driver's license, passing drug and competency tests and submitting to a background check.

Financial Examiners

According to the BLS, financial examiners made a median salary of $79,280 in 2016, and some of these examiners may specialize in criminal cases and investigating issues of monetary fraud. Those working in the area of criminal justice may examine financial records of individuals or organizations to find signs of embezzlement or money laundering and prepare detailed reports for police and authorities that can be used in the courts. In general, financial examiners also train other financial examiners and stay up to date on current financial regulations and policies. Financial examiners can have a bachelor's degree in various fields, including criminal justice, but need to have courses in accounting and be trained by a senior financial examiner.

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