Career Outlook and Industry Trends for Criminal Justice Students

The criminal justice field spreads over many different areas – and careers aren’t limited to police officers. Most of those working in the criminal justice field work in government agencies, either local or federal, or in private corporations. Because justice is a serious business, there are jobs just about everywhere.

Parole or Correctional Officers

Parole officers work with recently released inmates to help aid in their transition back to society. They monitor their progress through helping them find – and make sure they report to – drug testing, counseling, and job training and employment. All of these steps help them serve out the terms of their parole, as well as make them less likely to commit additional offences. Most parole officers work closely with many clients, traveling around to check their progress and report back to the state on their progress.

Probation, parole, and correctional officer type jobs – which all work with people who have committed offences against the law and have served time in the name of justice – are growing on pace with the average rate of job growth. Jobs in this category of criminal justice tend to earn around close to 50,000 a year.


Working in the law side of the criminal justice system is completely important and critical work. Lawyers have been around for centuries, working to ensure justice for the injured or protect the rights of the accused. They are also able to represent the rights of businesses and even governments. They do this through the interpreting of laws and by analyzing all of the evidence presented in a case.

It’s helpful to have a solid background in criminal justice through an undergraduate degree, and then go on to law school with a focus in criminal law.

In the criminal justice system, there are really two kinds of lawyers: prosecutors who bring up charges against the accused parties, or defense attorneys who defend a client against those accusations. Many of these cases get settled in court, but there are also lawyers who, as part of being an effective part of the system, suggest a client settle outside of court.

A laywer’s job is varied – full of these inside and outside of court cases – as well as visits to law libraries, offices to file paperwork, and working with legal support staff. Many responsibilities stretch their hours well over the traditional 40 a week. Because of this, the average lawyer well into their career earns about 112,00 dollars a year.

The growth of this sector of the criminal justice world is about average for the rest the economy – about 10% over the next ten years.

Correctional Officers

Correctional officers tend to work specifically in prisons, jails, and correctional facilities. They help to oversee inmates, help keep orderly paperwork and files, and some are assigned to maintain parts of the prison as well as watch for potentially violent scenarios between prisoners.

To work as a correctional officer, an individual doesn’t usually need an advanced degree, but to be able to work in a supervisory role or in an administrative capacity, a higher education would be necessary.

Those working these jobs make an average of $39,000 dollars a year, but many make more in certain parts of the country or in federal institutions. The average job growth rate for these positions is slower than some positions, but these are certainly needed and important jobs.

There are plenty of jobs for people who are interested in criminal justice to pursue. Students of justice should not feel limited to any particular field, but should know that the field is full of opportunities.

PhD in Criminal Justice Online Programs

Walden University PhD: Criminal Justice PhD: Criminal Justice - Homeland Security PhD: Criminal Justice - Admin PhD: Criminal Justice - Law & Policy Walden University › Walden University is a provider of higher education, focused more on offering master and doctorate degrees like the PhD in Criminal Justice with several specializations available like Law and Public Ploicy or Homeland Security. Walden is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has almost 50,000 students enrolled currently.
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Northcentral University PhD: Business Admin - Criminal Justice DBA: Criminal Justice MBA: Criminal Justice Northcentral University › If you want to take your Criminal Justice career further, Northcentral University has several options available. The two doctorate programs it offers are the PhD in Business Administration in Criminal Justice and the DBA in Criminal Justice (Learn more about the differences between the programs by contacting the school with the links provided).
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Purdue University MS: Criminal Justice Purdue University › Purdue University is one of the most recognized names in higher education with over 53,000 students currently enrolled. The school does not offer PhD programs in criminal justice, but there are several master-level degrees that will be required on your way to earning a PhD. These include the MS and MPA in Criminal Justice along with a specialization in Corrections.
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Liberty University MBA: Criminal Justice MSCJ: Public Administration Liberty University › Liberty University is a long-standing college with its roots tied to academic integrity and excellence. Liberty has now added online programs to its course offerings in order to better serve its students, including an MBA in Criminal Justice as well as a MSCJ in Public Administration. Boston University is a private, research university with over 31,000 students enrolled online and on-campus.
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