This past summer, the Career Center hosted a seminar on Careers in Criminal Justice and Private Investigations, featuring two guest speakers. The first speaker was Professor Dan Cain of the Criminal Justice Department of Bossier Parish Community College. The second presenter was Chris McCullough, a Special Investigator for the FBI.
Why Choose Criminal Justice?
Many people enter into a Criminal Justice Career to help others. You can use your skills to aid victims of crime, perform counter-terrorism and surveillance, counsel and rehabilitate criminals, or oversee the progress of a parolee. It’s worth noting that, although most people equate “criminal justice” with “police officer,” there are many more options in this field.
What Careers are there in Criminal Justice?
- National Security Agency Police Officer: keep NSA facilities safe and secure. Requires at minimum an associate’s degree; however, pay may be more with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. The average salary for this career is $50,283.
- Fraud Analyst: follow a trail of clues back to the individuals who steal money or identities from banking customers. Typically requires a bachelor degrees in computer science, finance, banking or a related field. Expect to make an average salary of $46,344.
- Ranger: Do you love the great outdoors? Do you love National Parks or Wild Life Preserves? Then you can make a career enforcing the law in these places as a ranger. Rangers are the first responders to natural or manmade threats to forest areas and rangelands. They help combat forest fires, respond to criminal activities, and perform search and rescue missions. To become a forest ranger, you must be able to possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in environmental or life sciences. You can expect to earn an average of $57,000.
- Federal Air Marshal: in a post-9/11 world this career has become much more important to providing the safety of air travel. A federal air marshal is the first line of defense in a threat in the sky. A Marshal must be armed at all times and will be able to recognize suspicious behavior while at the same time blending in with other passengers. A master’s degree in criminal justice, police science, aviation management, or similar specialties may improve their chances of obtaining a job as a federal air marshal. Expect to earn an average of $47,000.
- Private Investigator: get information for individuals, law offices, and corporations. Private investigators often have histories of police service and are required to have licenses to function legally. A private investigator creates a business and keeps track of expenses as well as organizes information gathered for clients. To become a private investigator, there is no formal education process, but there are some agencies that require a Certificate in the field. It wouldn’t hurt to have a degree in criminal justice. Expect to make $45,000 in this field.
- Transit Office: make sure subways, busses, and public trains are safe. Transit and railroad police may receive training in emergency preparedness. These individuals must be comfortable working in large groups where accidents and disasters are ever present. The minimal level of education often accepted by most police departments is a high school diploma or a G.E.D certification. However, many departments around the country require at least a couple of years of college coursework, such as an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Expect to earn around $52,000.
Criminal Justice can be a lucrative and rewarding field. One must remember that you don’t have to be a police officer to serve the public. Every career in the criminal justice field is essential. You can find more information on Criminal Justice education programs in Baton Rouge at the BRCC Criminal Justice website.
Written by Alvin Coleman