Criminal Justice Jobs & Careers — Average Salaries
Individuals who are interested in a criminal justice career often pursue these careers because they feel a desire to protect other citizens from injustice. But, money is a concern, as policemen, FBI agents and criminologists all need to eat and put a roof over their heads. But, each job within the criminal justice field offers various salaries. You might want to learn more about how far you can go in these jobs, including the education levels and experience required to obtain a certain salary level.You may learn that many criminal justice jobs are contained within the government, such as the FBI, CIA, DEA or ATF agent jobs. These jobs all are measured by a government standard of wages based upon skill and number of years in service to the government. Many agents, for instance, begin at the GS-5 or GS-7 levels after obtaining a required bachelor’s degree for the job. Some agents may not achieve the GS-7 position until after one year on the job.
The salaries at the GS-5 to GS-7 levels vary, but currently range between $35,000 to $50,000 per year. If you enter a criminal justice job with less than a four-year degree and little to no skills, however, you might earn as little as $27,00 per year to start. The individual who chooses a government career can gain experience and reach the highest level – a GS13 – usually within three or more years. These jobs pay anywhere from $39,000 and up, depending upon the job. Most current criminal justice jobs within the government do not exceed over $100,000 per year without overtime.
There is a money-risk factor involved in many criminal justice jobs as well. For instance, some secret service agents can make up to $100,000 per year after just four or more years of service. But, after two decades, that salary may drop as the agent ages and is no longer capable of working “in the field.” On the other hand, FBI agents who have executive capabilities can earn as much as the secret service agent in the field. And, the executive FBI agent may not see a drop in salary as that agent ages.
Criminal justice jobs outside government positions can earn just as much money over time and with the right skill sets. For instance, probation officers can earn as much as $67,000 per year and a crime scene investigator can earn as much as $77,000 per year or more.
You can search for wages within the criminal justice field at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For instance, they offer one page for Police and Detectives salaries and job descriptions. Also, you can search for various jobs and salary levels at the Federal Employees 2008 site. Criminal justice salaries outside the government will depend upon the job location. Look to various job-hunting sites to find that information.