Criminal justice degrees are popular with undergraduate students because they learn transferable skills that qualify them to work in many different areas of the criminal justice system. Career options include law enforcement, corrections, and the private sector.

A criminal justice graduate may eventually work in a crime lab or as a police detective. Other opportunities include working for a private company focused on loss prevention or as a fish and game warden. The versatility of the degree is one of its main attractions. 

Whatever criminal justice job graduates choose, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to take on leadership positions and prepare them for the most challenging jobs in the criminal justice field.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

An online criminal justice degree program gives students the flexibility to earn a degree while working in their current jobs. For professionals already working in criminal justice, the degree program prepares them to take the next step up the organizational ladder.

While a college degree is not a requirement for some law enforcement jobs, that is increasingly the case, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The federal agency reports that some federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, require a bachelor’s degree. Fish and game wardens also need a bachelor’s degree.

A criminal justice bachelor’s degree provides graduates:

  • A wide variety of career options
  • Job stability
  • Competitive salaries
  • Generous job benefits and retirement plans
  • Strong job satisfaction

Criminal Justice Careers and Salaries

What jobs can you pursue with a criminal justice degree? Graduates enjoy many different options. The jobs below reflect the variety of careers. All salary figures come from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Unless otherwise noted, the salaries are the national average annual salary.

Police Officer

Salary: $65,790

Police officers are essential in keeping our communities safe, whether from crime or during emergencies like natural disasters. They work at various levels—city, county, and state—to watch over their areas, looking out for any criminal activity. They’re always on duty, ready to respond to urgent 9-1-1 calls, ensuring help is on the way wherever it’s needed.

Private Detective

Salary: $52,120 

Private investigators are skilled professionals who step in to solve complex issues, like insurance fraud, that may fall outside the typical reach of the police. They’re not just sharp detectives; they’re also savvy business operators, often running their own agencies. Many have a rich background in law enforcement, bringing a wealth of experience from their time as police officers or federal agents. This unique mix of detective know-how and business insight allows them to tackle investigations with precision and professionalism, offering a discreet and effective service to their clients. Whether for individuals or companies, private investigators are dedicated to uncovering the truth with a thoughtful and expert approach.

Fish and Game Warden

Salary: $59,500

For individuals who love the great outdoors and are seeking a career in criminal justice, earning a degree in this field could open the door to becoming a fish and game warden. These professionals primarily operate on state or federally owned public lands, dedicating themselves to the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. Their role is crucial in safeguarding the natural environment and ensuring the safety of visitors who come to enjoy these public spaces.

Probation Officer

Salary: $59,860

Probation officers play a crucial role in supporting convicted individuals on their journey toward rehabilitation and societal reintegration. They engage with individuals both in custody and those released on probation, crafting personalized rehabilitation plans that address each person’s unique needs. By connecting these individuals with vital resources, probation officers facilitate their successful transition back into society, fostering an environment where second chances are possible and constructive change is encouraged.

Homeland Security

Salary: Varies depending on the position.

There are many different career paths within Homeland Security. The federal department was created after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC on Sept. 11, 2001. The BLS provides detailed information about the many different careers within the department. They include:

  • Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Office of the Inspector General
  • Transportation and Security Administration

What Students Learn in a BS in Criminal Justice Program

Students in a criminal justice program learn skills and knowledge that give them an edge on the competition for the best criminal justice jobs, especially jobs that do not strictly require a bachelor’s degree. The availability of online degree programs also makes it easier than ever for working adults to earn a degree while maintaining their current job.

The online criminal justice degree program from Northern Michigan Global Campus offers a curriculum that focuses on a wide variety of criminal justice topics. They include:

  • Introduction to Policing
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Introduction to Criminal Courts
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Use of Force and Less Lethal Weapons
  • Legal Issues in Corrections
  • Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation
  • Community-Based Corrections
  • American Street Gangs

A bachelor’s degree opens the door to the best jobs in whatever criminal justice career graduates decide to pursue. Few degrees better prepare professionals to excel in so many different lines of work.