The criminal justice field includes three large areas of employment: law enforcement; the courts; and corrections. Graduates from the criminal justice program can work for local, state, or federal governments as patrol officers, deputies, correctional officers, security specialists, court officers, border patrol officers, and more. Jobs are available through the private sector in security and protective services.

Some jobs in this field require a bachelor's degree; others involve a combination of education and on-the-job training.

Important note: Some criminal justice professions require background checks as a condition of employment.

Career & salary outlook

Wages vary by specific profession. For example, a private security guard may start at $9.58 to $10.37 per hour, a correctional officer at $17.61 to $21.37 per hour, or a police officer at $24.23 to $30.46 per hour.

Sources: CareerOneStop, 2015

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