7 Well-Paying Jobs You Can Pursue With A Criminal Justice Degree

For those enthusiastic about defending justice and keeping law and order, a degree in criminal justice opens up a world of opportunities. Although many people connect careers in criminal justice with more conventional positions like law enforcement, the area provides various fulfilling and lucrative positions. A criminal justice degree opens doors to many career opportunities in public safety and the justice system. While many individuals are drawn to this field out of a deep sense of justice and a desire to make a positive impact, it’s only natural to also consider the financial aspect of pursuing a career in criminal justice. The good news is that numerous well-paying jobs are available for those with a criminal justice degree.

In this post, we’ll look at seven lucrative career options if you have a degree in criminal justice.

  1. Intelligence Analyst

Within the realms of law enforcement and national security, intelligence analysis is a crucial discipline. Intelligence analysts gather, analyze, and interpret data and information to provide useful intelligence reports. These reports help policymakers comprehend and respond to threats to national security, criminal activity, etc.

An advanced degree in the field might improve your knowledge, abilities, and marketability in the industry. A masters in criminal justice administration includes specialized courses in leadership, data analysis, intelligence analysis, and research methodologies. By opting for this degree, you can gain a greater grasp of intelligence-gathering methods, analytical approaches, and the organizational dynamics at play in intelligence agencies.

The federal government, state and local governments, military intelligence units, private businesses, and organizations all employ intelligence analysts. Additionally, salary varies according to company, geography, education, and experience. They often fall within federal agencies’ General Schedule pay structure, where higher grades are associated with greater salary and career advancement options.

  1. FBI Agent

Being an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a prominent and well-respected professional choice. FBI agents are in charge of looking into federal offenses, including drug trafficking, cybercrime, public corruption, terrorism, and organized crime.

The FBI does not necessarily require a criminal justice degree but prefers applicants with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Moreover, competitive background checks, physical fitness assessments, written tests, and in-person interviews are all part of the application process. Candidates must also be United States citizens between the ages of 23 and 37.

FBI agents are well-compensated based on the General Schedule pay structure, which ranges from GS-10 to GS-15. Health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off for vacation and illness, and training opportunities are just a few perks.

  1. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants play a critical role in uncovering financial fraud and white-collar crimes. Forensic accountants are experts in examining financial data to recognize fraud, theft, money laundering, and other financial crimes. They collaborate closely with numerous groups to investigate shady transactions, track illegal funds, and calculate financial losses. Moreover, accounting expertise, knowledge of investigative procedures, attention to detail, analytical thinking, and excellent communication are essential talents for this profession.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a similar discipline is often necessary to work as a forensic accountant. To strengthen their qualifications, some professionals earn a master’s degree or credentials like Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr. FA) or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Law enforcement organizations, accounting firms, and businesses all hire forensic accountants. 

  1. Crime Scene Investigator

Crime scene investigators (CSIs) collect and analyze physical evidence at crime scenes to assist in criminal investigations. The physical evidence that CSIs methodically record and gather includes, among other things, fingerprints, DNA samples, fibers, and guns. They examine and interpret this data to pinpoint suspects, recreate crime scenes, and give detectives useful information. CSIs can also testify in court as expert witnesses and offer their findings.

Moreover, CSIs work closely with law enforcement organizations, detectives, and other specialists to ensure the correct gathering, preservation, and analysis of evidence. The advantages of a CSI profession include competitive pay, prospects for career progression within specialized roles, and the satisfaction of solving crimes.

  1. Legal Consultant

Legal advisors who thoroughly understand the criminal justice system can provide insightful opinions that affect legal tactics. They can analyze the evidence, evaluate prospective outcomes, and appraise the strengths and weaknesses of a case thanks to their understanding of criminal procedures, regulations, and policies.

The potential income for legal advisors varies depending on experience, specialization, reputation, and clientele. They frequently bill by the hour or project and can make good money, especially if they have specialized knowledge or a narrow focus. Legal consultants can also benefit from flexible work arrangements, such as contract or freelance work, which offers independence and work-life balance.

  1. Private Detective/ Investigator

Private investigators offer services to individuals, businesses, and attorneys, including background checks, evidence gathering, surveillance, locating the missing, and investigating fraud or other unlawful conduct. They also have some autonomy and flexibility in their jobs, which enables them to select their cases, create their timetables, and work alone or with a team.

Private investigators could make significant sums, particularly when handling high-profile cases or working for wealthy clients. A background in criminal justice can offer valuable information and training in investigation methods, evidence gathering, and legal procedures, even though there are no rigorous educational prerequisites. 

  1. Criminal Justice Professor

For those who are enthusiastic about learning and sharing their knowledge, a career as a criminal justice professor offers a gratifying opportunity. A master’s degree in criminal justice or a similar discipline is normally required to become a professor of criminal justice, while many colleges prefer candidates with Ph.D. degrees. 

Creating a teaching portfolio, earning experience through adjunct or teaching assistantships, and networking within the academic community can all help you stand out from the competition when applying for academic roles.


A degree in criminal justice can lead to several lucrative and rewarding job opportunities. These jobs offer competitive salaries and opportunities for growth, advancement, and professional fulfillment. Whether you aspire to work in law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, legal services, or the federal government, lucrative options are available to suit your interests and skill set.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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