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Guide to Criminal Justice Jobs

Types of Criminal Justice Jobs


The opportunity to work as an analyst presents individuals with the chance to work within the criminal justice field while enjoying some of the typical perks of working within an office. This type of position allows individuals to focus on reviewing evidence for a case or handling many of the important documents which are known to hold information about clients or cases. More specifically, analysts have to review this information to help create an opinion or a stance regarding the situation in question. Often times, they are used to help plan what actions should be taken next in order to ensure that justice is achieved.


Usually, when people think of agent positions, they tend to generalize them to one specific role. However, there are many different opportunities available for those who are interested in becoming agents. These positions can be easily found within the department of justice, homeland security, IRS, and many other sectors of the government. Although every agency has their own focus, there are also many divisions that individuals can choose from when they are considering their role as an agent.


There are many different types of officer positions that can be found on a state, county, and city level, depending on what type of work the individual is willing to do. These can include the opportunity of working as sheriff’s deputies, detectives, bailiffs, or crime scene investigators. Individuals also have the opportunity to explore this position on a variety of different levels and skill sets in order to determine which role may be the most suitable when based on their skills and experience.

Support Personnel

Although the position of support personnel is commonly thought of being purely a criminal justice job, the opportunity actually extends to a few other industries. This means that individuals who are interested in working within criminal justice but are not as interested in working directly for the government or within a law enforcement agency can find a position that is perfectly ideal for them. The role of support personnel leads to working with other criminal justice professionals and can include opportunities such as working as a nurse, penologist, physician, accountant, social worker, psychologist, or paralegal.


The role of the investigator is very similar to what individuals experience when working as officers. However, officers tend to focus more on an overall case or the main details of the case, while investigators have more of an opportunity to focus on the “field work” aspect of the situation and learn more about what may be happening under those circumstances. Investigators commonly work together with officers to provide them with more information about each case.

Analyst Jobs

Another criminal justice employment opportunity that is ideal for those preferring office jobs can be found within the role of the analyst. This is often a good option for those who would rather work within the office and focus on information and statistics instead of having to deal with some of the risks that are associated with handling typical “field work”. People who work as analysts are typically responsible for reviewing the documents that have information about evidence or some of the main points about what has happened to the people involved with the case. Their opinions are generally used to help determine the next plan of action within the situation.

The role of an analyst can be fulfilled the most appropriately by following a bachelor’s degree program. Although some of the basics of skills that involved with being an analyst can be found and acquired during an associate’s degree program, these skills are not truly refined and mastered until the individual has attained their bachelor’s degree. Working on an internship is also highly recommended because it allows students to gain insight into what the typical requirements and daily tasks of an analyst may be and how it fits into the criminal justice background as a whole.

In most cases, analysts do not make a substantially large amount of money when they first begin their role within the industry. The typical salary is around $55,000. However, it is a salary that can increase and change, depending on where the individual is employed, how long they are employed, and other related aspects. If someone is considered to be the top analyst within their area or their expertise, there is a good chance that they are going to be paid a much higher salary than what is traditionally listed for entry level analysts.


The role of the analyst is very important to a vast amount of criminal justice professionals within the industry. Without the use of an analyst, it would be impossible for other professionals to get a different perspective on what may have happened within the scenario. Whether the analyst is dealing with statistics or other important information, their ability to review the information and share it with other professionals within the team is crucial towards the overall success of bringing justice to the case. An analyst may work on a high level of cases throughout the week, requiring them to also be able to separate the information from other cases and keep the team focused on their current plan of action for each scenario.

Agent Jobs

Although agent jobs are usually generalized into one specific role, there are numerous variations of this role and the opportunities that are associated with it. An individual can be considered an agent while working for the IRS, homeland security, the department of justice, and many of the other areas of the government. Each agency has a specific focus to which they attend to, but there are other divisions within each agency which individuals are able to choose from while determining their own role as an agent.

Depending on the type of work that is being done, the role of an agent is best fulfilled by someone who has a master’s degree. However, this tends to vary depending on the position. A master’s degree is more appropriate for agents working within homeland security, but likewise, a bachelor’s degree could easily provide the education needed for working within the IRS. Different agencies of the government have their own requirements for employment, so it is important to consider these points in addition to anything mentioned in the programs provided by your college or university of choice.

Agents work together with officers and investigators, as well as many other professionals within the criminal justice industry. Although agents have more power within the scenario because they deal with more private information, they rely greatly on the assistance of other professionals within their industry. It is also possible for officers and investigators to eventually become agents, so it is not uncommon for agents and other professionals to interact together on the basis of providing more insight into the role during an internship or for general informational purposes.

Most people who are employed as agents of most of the well-known government agencies have a fairly decent and substantial salary. This tends to increase depending on the amount of time that the individual provides their services to the government – in example, someone who has worked in homeland security for around ten years will have a much more commendable salary than someone who has just recently joined the team. However, it is a role that requires a large amount of focus and dedication, long after the educational programs have finished. Unlike other roles within the criminal justice industry, working as an agent is highly demanding and competitive. Individuals who are set on this type of position will need to work actively on a regular basis and focus on constant improvements and refining of their skills in order to succeed over other agents and provide the most high quality results to the agency of their choice.

Officer Jobs

One of the most common jobs within the criminal justice system can be found in the role of officers. Though many people don’t realize it, they interact with officers on a daily basis. Sometimes they may be sheriff’s deputies or the police, other times they may be bailiffs. There are many different levels and opportunities associated with the role of being an officer. It is a position that is available on a city, state, and county level. Depending on the amount of experience and expertise that the individual has attained, there can be many different employment opportunities available.

The educational level needed tends to depend on the role that the individual wants to attain professionally. For general officers, most have to attend some type of school or academy in order to learn the skills that they need for the position. Some of these schools combine this with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, however it is not always mandatory. Most people have the option of attending a regular college or university simultaneously with their studies. However, there are some types of officer jobs which are more suited towards those who have earned their master’s degree, such as those who are working within a crime scene investigator position.

Salary varies depending on the type of position that has been obtained as well. Many officers find that their salary increases based on the amount of time that they spend working within their desired field. Other times, it may increase based on if they have moved on to a higher level of officer roles within the industry as well. In this sense, there are a few entry level officer jobs that can be considered to be a good starting place for those who are seeking to get a general understanding of their industry. As they continue to work within their position, they can begin to determine whether they would like to focus and specialize in various other areas of the industry or continue with their education in order to pursue higher roles instead.

Officers often have the option of moving on in their role to become investigators, if they are willing to devote themselves to some extra work and available programs. The responsibilities of these two roles are very similar, although entry level investigator roles tend to pay more than entry level officer roles. However, the work of officers is more suitable for individuals who feel that they would not be suited for “field work” or any actual situations that may be happening in real time; as a result, officers tend to review information about cases more often than handling cases personally.

Investigator Jobs

Working as an investigator can be an ideal option for individuals who are seeking to be more involved with the field work aspect of the criminal justice industry. Although this position is very similar to the role of officers, it tends to have a more “hands on” approach and allows for individuals working within the role to focus on all of the details of the situation on a real time and more personalized basis. Investigators typically work together with officers and support personnel in order to gain more information and insight into what is happening in the overall situation.

Perhaps the greatest aspect that separates the role of the investigator from the role of the officer can be found in the amount of educational experience that is necessary in order to attain this role. Investigators typically have at least a master’s degree or are working towards attaining it during their employment. They may have participated in several internships during their years of study or may have worked as an assistant to more experienced investigators. Having this type of “on the job” experience helps them to gain insight into their responsibilities and their own general approach to solving a case or handling a situation. Some investigators focus on specializing in certain areas, such as crime scene investigators. Other times they might work as detectives, but specialize in certain fields, like kidnappings or domestic abuse cases. It all depends on the person’s preferences and what their skill set may lead to. The salary can vary depending on the amount of experience that the individual has and also the overall educational level. For example, an investigator with a master’s degree tends to make more money than an investigator who is still working towards their master’s degree.

Although the role of the investigator always remains to be in demand, it’s not considered to be a highly competitive position. This is in the sense that although investigators and criminal justice professionals are always needed, it’s not an industry where potential candidates may overrule or outshine each other because they all ultimately work together in some form or aspect. As a result, it’s an ideal occupation for those who are seeking to find their place within the criminal justice industry and don’t want to run the risk of being intimidated due to being new within their field.

Generally, attaining the role of an investigator requires some extra studying and work. Most people begin as an officer or some form of support personnel before they determine that they would like to work within the investigator position.

Support Personnel Jobs

Assuming someone is not completely comfortable with the idea of working “on the field” within the criminal justice industry, working within the role of support personnel can be an ideal option to consider trying out instead. People commonly forget about the role of support personnel within the criminal justice industry because the positions associated with this role tend to blend into other industries too easily, quite frankly. Those who are working within this position are commonly more well-known as physicians, accountants, social workers, nurses, and many other roles within our society. However, their experience level allows them to work easily within the criminal justice field, often providing a lot of necessary information that other criminal justice professionals need in order to solve or handle a case.

Generally speaking, it’s important to understand the true role of these types of professionals within the criminal justice industry. Although they may qualify as healthcare workers or may fit into other industries, there’s a generally a good chance that a lot of their work is primarily more focused within criminal justice. In example, even though a coroner may technically be a medical industry job, it’s more focused towards the skill set of someone working within criminal justice because they provide insight into many of the aspects which are essential in order for certain types of cases to progress and eventually garner some type of action or response.

The salary associated support personnel jobs tends to vary based on the position. Obviously, a doctor is going to make substantially more than a social worker would, for example. It also depends on the amount of educational background that the individual has earned over a period of time. Those who have a master’s degree or doctorate are more likely to make more money and have a more powerful position within the support personnel field. Support personnel are rarely ever considered to be working out in crime scenes or “on the field” with the criminal justice professionals that they support; they are the individuals that professionals refer to in order to gain more insight into a situation or have information analyzed from a different perspective.

It can take around four years of experience and academic studies in order to attain the position of the support personnel role. It depends greatly on the type of career that the individual wants to attain and any of the extra programs that may be required to attain that role. Some positions will have internships or residencies as a requirement while others may be able to be attained by earning certification or earning a minimal degree.


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