Criminal Justice Salary Guide

If you’re thinking about a career in criminal justice, you’re likely considering potential salary options. This guide provides helpful criminal justice salary information, with a wide range of employer options and income levels.

Once you determine which job in the criminal justice field best fits your professional and personal goals, you can better plan your education and career path.

Criminal Justice Salary Information

Careers in criminal justice may require a two– or four-year degree depending on the specific job and employer. As with many career fields, salaries tend to be higher for college graduates compared with those for workers without an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Let’s look at national salary data for a variety of potential career paths for professionals who hold a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice:

Average Annual Salary By Job
Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officer $62,769
Correctional Officer/Jailer $46,750
Paralegal $53,180
Transit and Railroad Police $67,850
Detective or Criminal Investigator $81,490
Probation Officer $55,380
First-Line Supervisor, Police and Detective $88,400
Private Detective and Investigator $53,530
Claims Adjuster, Examiner and Investigator $64,990

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Updated: May 2016

Salary potential and employment opportunities for candidates with a criminal justice degree are based on factors such as specialty, demand, employer, geographic area and experience. Educational qualifications can also determine career advancement opportunities, with supervisory and management positions often calling for a BA in Criminal Justice.

Criminal Justice Careers at the Federal Level

In addition to opportunities with police departments, correctional facilities and other local and state agencies, criminal justice degree holders may seek careers at the federal level, including:

  • FBI Special Agents: investigate violations of federal laws.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents: enforce laws associated with drug trafficking.
  • Deputy U.S. Marshals: provide security for the federal court system and apprehend fugitives.

Other career paths within Homeland Security include Border Patrol Agent, Customs and Border Protection Officer, Homeland Security Investigations Criminal Investigator, Secret Service Officer and Transportation Security Officer.

Salary Range By Job
FBI Agents $47,630-$61,922
DEA Special Agents $49,746–$55,843
Deputy U.S. Marshals $35,359-$45,970
U.S. Secret Service Officers $43,251-$56,229

Note: Potential salaries vary according to geographic location, among other factors.

Sources: FBI; U.S. Department of Justice; Secret Service; and Customs and Border Protection. (Salary data retrieved January 2017)

For candidates with the relevant educational qualifications and training, the field of criminal justice can offer a diversity of rewarding opportunities and the potential for career advancement.

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