5 of the Highest Paying Criminal Justice Careers
Many positions are expected to see at least an 11 percent increase in job opportunities by 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
From patrol officers to forensic psychologists, the job opportunities are as diverse as those who fill them. Salaries vary, but if you are interested in pursuing a career among the most lucrative, here is a look at five of the top-paying jobs in criminal justice.
Private investigators are hired to find and analyze information about legal, financial and personal matters. Services can include verifying people’s backgrounds, investigating computer crimes and tracing missing persons. Depending on the case they are working on, private investigators may spend their time in the office conducting research or in the field conducting surveillance and interviewing subjects.
The median salary of a private investigator is about $42,000. Employment of private detectives and investigators is expected to grow 21 percent by 2020 due to increased security concerns, according to the BLS.
Forensic Science Technician
Forensic science technicians assist in crime investigations by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Most technicians specialize in crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. Crime scene technicians spend their time in the field, sometimes working long hours, depending on the scope of a crime. A lab technician tends to work regular weekday hours. Forensic science technicians earn about $51,570 annually. Employment is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, but competition will be strong due to increased interest in the field. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required.
Police detectives follow up on crimes by conducting crime scene investigations and witness interviews. Detectives also prepare arrest warrants and testify in court after someone is charged with a crime, among other duties.
The median salary of a police detective is $58,700. Employment in the field is expected to grow 7 percent by 2010. The demand for increased public safety is expected to create new openings at law enforcement agencies, but state and federal jobs will be more competitive, according to the BLS.
Forensic psychologists are licensed clinical psychologists who work with government groups, law enforcement and/or courts to analyze criminal behavior.
They help to determine an offender’s mental state and criminal intent, as well as assess the competency of an offender to stand trial for a crime.
The average annual salary of a psychologist is about $69,000. To pursue a career in forensic psychology, a minimum of a master’s degree is required.
A criminologist’s job is to examine all aspects of crime and develop ways to prevent criminal behavior by compiling statistics and identifying patterns in crimes, as well as analyzing location and demographic data. They may work for state, local or federal governments, police advisory boards, law enforcement agencies or universities.
The median salary of a criminologist is about $72,000 per year. Some positions require a master’s degree. Employment in the field is expected to increase 19 percent by 2020, higher than the average for all jobs.