10 High-Paying Jobs for the Criminal Justice Major

Posted May 16, 2014 | By csponline

If you are thinking about a career in the criminal justice field, you probably want to help people, serve your community or make a difference. Those are all great goals, and studying criminal justice is a smart way to meet them, but it’s important to keep your return on investment in mind when deciding to go back to school. You may not think that criminal justice programs can lead to a particularly high-paying career, especially at the bachelor’s degree level. However, we have some good news: there are more high-paying criminal justice jobs than you think. At Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP), we understand that continuing your education is an investment. For that reason, we want to make sure you know how to make your degree work for you, in terms of both job satisfaction and financial reward. These criminal justice jobs have high salaries and give you the chance to help others in your day-to-day work. Of course, work experience as well as education plays a role in the hiring process.

  1. Detectives and private investigators: $45,000


These professionals collect evidence and facts through interviews, observation and research to assist in arrests. Detectives can be licensed or unlicensed, depending on their employer. Most detectives and private investigators work for task forces, police agencies, private firms or individuals and can specialize in disciplines like forensics, fraud or homicide.

                  Degree recommended: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Security managers: $50,000

Security managers work in the private sector, so this career is ideal if you are interested in criminal justice outside of the government. They are in charge of security management detail for commercial buildings and complexes. These professionals are often employed by independent security firms or work directly for private companies.

Degree recommended: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Police officers and deputy sheriffs: $55,000

These criminal justice professionals are directly involved in controlling crime in their communities. They respond to calls for service and patrol, and also investigate minor crimes and traffic crashes, among other duties. Police officers and deputy sheriffs also work with investigators and other law enforcement professionals to prevent future crimes from taking place. There are around 800,000 uniformed police officers currently working in the U.S., and a demand always exists for these professionals.

Degree recommended: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Fire investigators: $55,000


These professionals work for local fire and police departments and investigate suspicious fires. They conduct arson investigations as well. Fire investigators are also specially trained and have investigation and law enforcement responsibilities. They respond to calls at fire scenes, write reports, prepare warrants and make arrests based on the findings of their investigations.

Degree recommended: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Fish and game wardens: $60,000


Fish and game wardens are also known as conservation officers. Their primary responsibility is to enforce laws that pertain to environmental protection and conservation. They perform functions of marine patrol officers and wildlife officers and deal with hunters, boaters, fishers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts to make sure that wildlife and nature are safe.

Degree required: bachelor’s in criminal justice or wildlife management


  1. Corrections officer managers and supervisors: $60,000

Supervisors and managers in the corrections system are responsible for the daily workings of their staff. These professionals have often previously held corrections officer positions. They work in prisons and jails to ensure the efficiency of operations and the safety of the officers and inmates they supervise.

Degree recommended: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Criminal justice educator: $60,000


These post-secondary instructors teach courses in criminal justice, corrections and law enforcement administration. This role includes both teachers who are primarily engaged in classroom teaching and those who do mostly research.

Degree required: master’s in criminal justice


  1. Immigration and customs inspectors: $65,000


These professionals include members of the United States Border Patrol, as well as officers from customs and immigration enforcement. They enforce laws regarding entry to the United States and ensure that dangerous individuals and materials are kept out of the country.

Degree required: bachelor’s in criminal justice

  1. Criminal profiler: $70,000

Also known as forensic psychologists, these professionals provide descriptions of suspects, including generalities like age, race, and geographic location as well as specifics like personality traits and behavior patterns.

Degree required: master’s in criminal justice and/or psychology


  1. Intelligence analysts: $80,000

Some of the highest paid law enforcement professionals are those working behind the scenes. Intelligence analysts make sure that evidence is correctly processed and also analyze data to solve cases. Some of these professionals work at the state and local level, but most are employed by the federal government.

Degree required: bachelor’s in criminal justice

Criminal Justice at CSP

Our Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program provides you the knowledge and skills you need for the careers featured here. It is designed for busy adult students who are interested in obtaining their degree in a flexible format. This program also gives you a deeper understanding of constitutional law and the administration of criminal justice. Once you complete our criminal justice degree program, you will have strategies for maintaining balance between your personal life and your professional career. Concordia graduates are also able to apply systems thinking, ethics, diversity and historical context to their chosen career path within the criminal justice system.

If you are looking to take your criminal justice career even farther, we offer graduate degree programs as well. Our online master’s in criminal justice leadership and Master of Arts in Human Services with an emphasis on Forensic Mental Health are both great options for criminal justice professionals who are interested in more advanced education. These degrees qualify you for careers involving public policy, criminal profiling, criminal justice education, criminology and administration.

Applying for either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice is easy and fast. Click here to get started.

Also published on Medium.