Criminal Justice Salary

Many people do have a good understanding of what criminal justice is, but let's take a moment to clarify. Criminal justice involves understanding the laws regarding criminal behavior. People in this field are police, lawyers, judges, and other advocates. Criminal justice may apply to either the defense or prosecution in a trial. Protection under the criminal justice system applies not only to the accused but to the victims and society at large. The premise of the criminal justice system is to ensure a fair trial and retribution to victims. As the law is sometimes open to interpretation, a fair trial has not always been possible. That is why this field of study is so popular for civil rights advocates. Police officers in training need to know the powers they have in particular situations, such as shooting a gun, apprehension of a criminal, or using pepper spray. Many four-year undergraduate students choose to study criminal justice because of their desire to learn more about the law and individual rights and privileges. Government jobs, such as careers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency require a major in criminal justice.

Topics such as criminal law, criminology, computer crime, correctional practices, juvenile justice, sentencing and punishment, forensic psychology, ethics, and sociology are studied. Some schools cover topics in cybercrime, such as sex, violence, and crime on the Internet, as well as intellectual property theft in the digital age. It is important that those people interested in criminal justice be familiar with issues of domestic abuse, terrorism, the death penalty, and environmental and white-collar crimes.

A well-rounded person interested in criminal justice careers will want to be familiar with approaches to intercultural behavior, race and ethnicity, wealth and power, and other social problems.

If you are considering a career in criminal justice, here are a few positions to consider and the associated salaries:
  • Crime scene investigators (CSIs) are different than homicide detectives in that they work in two different departments. In order to become a homicide detective, a person needs to be a police officer and pass the detective exam. How to become a crime scene investigator depends on the needs of your department and does not necessarily require that an applicant be a police officer. The CSI OFFICER is trained in a system of preserving and processing the scene of the crime. The detective solves the crime by collecting information processed by the crime scene investigators and by focusing on all aspects, including information provided by the CSIs. Many CSIs continue their training and education in forensic science. The salary for a CSI ranges between $30,000 and $100,000, with most people working long hours and getting paid for overtime. A CSI typically has a four-year degree in forensic science. A CSI typically makes around $40,000 a year; however, the more college a person has completed, the more experience, or the larger the city the person works in means a larger salary.
  • Probation officers typically work with criminals. This is usually a dangerous situation where the possibility of violence exists. Most people enter this career because they want to help people rehabilitate their lives. Many people in this field have at least bachelor's degrees with many courses in criminal justice, psychology, and sociology. Most jobs are at the state or federal level, with earnings between $30,000 and $52,000 a year with very generous benefits.
  • A criminologist tries to understand the behaviors and motivations of a criminal from a psychological point of view. Many jobs are found within local government, scientific research and development, or university settings. The typical salary range is between $60,000 and $122,000.
  • A forensic scientist typically analyzes evidence gathered at crime scenes and serves as an expert witness during trials. They use chemical and biological techniques to analyze and document their findings in reports they provide in courts. Jobs may be obtained in forensic labs, computer and technology fields, psychology, and pathology. Average salaries are in the $55,000 to $92,000 range.

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