EMPLOYMENT IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Be advised that not all places in all jurisdictions may have all the positions discussed on this page, and many of them cannot be obtained via lateral entry or simply with a college degree in hand (although some of them can). In most cases, as with anything else, you have to work your way up from the entry-level. However, the more you learn, the more you earn. This is also not a page which should be relied upon for official figures or salary estimates. The most authoritative source (and highly recommended reading) is the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and there, you'll find police and public safety-related job prospects discussed under their "Service" category and court and correctional job prospects discussed under their "Professional" category. The BLS Handbook will also tell you which career fields are growing "faster than average" and "slower than average" as well as which states have the top salaries for any chosen job title.
GENERAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE JOB TITLES: This is "the list" or, in other words, the most commonly-seen list that most CJ departments put on their websites, brochures, and other publications.
|Agent or Inspector
Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Border Patrol Agent
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Bureau of Land Management Ranger
Bureau of Prisons Case Manager
Community college instructor
Community service worker
Correctional Officer (state, federal, private)
Court Translator (or Court Reporter)
Crime Scene Technician
Criminal Investigator (police or prosecutor's office)
Bureau of Land Management Ranger
Deputy U. S. Marshal
Domestic relations specialist
Drug Enforcement Administration
DWI Court Specialist
Enforcement Officer (various)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Protection Service Officer
Fines and restitution specialist
Game & Fish Officer
Halfway House Staff
Immigration & Naturalization
Internal Revenue Service
Juvenile Probation & Parole Officer
Law school or Graduate School
Motor Transportation Officer
Municipal Police Officer, County Detention Officer, or Sheriff's Deputy
National Park Service Ranger
Policy Analyst (or Research Analyst)
Pretrial Services Officer
Probation & Parole Officer (State, county, or federal)
Program Director/staff (or Program Evaluator)
Secret Service Agent
Special Agent & Internal Investigator
State Park Ranger
State Police Officer
State Prison Classification Officer
Teen Court Specialist
Trainer (police, courts, or corrections)
University Police Officer
U.S. Customs Service
U.S. Forest Service
Victim’s assistance provider
SAMPLE LAW ENFORCEMENT JOB TITLES: The following lists come from various government publications, state employment job sites, and the claims of various job-finding firms.
|Arson investigator||Attache/Police Liaison Officer||Ballistics Expert||Booking Officer||Border Patrol Agent|
|Chaplain||Chief of Police||Chief of Staff||Commander||Commissioner|
|Communications Specialist||Community Policing Officer||Community Safety Officer||Community Service Officer||Conservation Officer|
|Crime Prevention Specialist||Crime Lab Technician||Crime Scene Technician||Customs Agent||Data Processing Specialist|
|Deputy Chief||Deputy Sheriff||Detective||Detention Officer||Document Examiner|
|Director of Research/ Development||Director of Scientific Services||Director of Standards & Training||Dispatcher||Drug Enforcement Agent|
|EMS Coordinator||Evidence Technician||FBI Special Agent||Fingerprint Expert||Firearms Instructor|
|Forensic Scientist||Gaming Enforcement Officer||Gang Crimes Investigator||Inspector||Instructor|
|Intelligence Analyst||Investigator||Jailer||Juvenile Specialist||K-9 Handler|
|Lawyer||Law Enforcement Planner||Law Enforcement Representative||Manpower Allocation Specialist||Narcotics Officer|
|Patrol Officer||Personnel Specialist||Photographer||Pilot||Polygraph Examiner|
|Psychologist/ Psychiatrist/ Psychometrician||Public Relations Officer||Public Safety Director||Radio Communications||Records Management|
|School Liaison||Scientist||Secret Service||Security Specialist||Serologist|
|Sheriff||Street Crimes Investigator||Superintendent||S.W.A.T.||T.A.C. officer|
|Technologist||Traffic Analyst||Trainer||Treasury Agent||Trooper|
|Undercover Operative||Undersheriff||U.S. Marshal||Water Patrol Officer||Witness Protection|
SAMPLE COURT-RELATED JOB TITLES
|Arbitrator||Assistant Administrator||Assistant Prosecutor||Background Investigator||Bailiff|
|Bondsman||CJ Systems Planner||Court Clerk||Court Reporter||Courthouse Security|
|Defense Attorney||Deputy Assistant||Diversion Specialist||Expert Witness||Grants Administrator|
|Investigator||Judicial Assistant||Law Clerk||Lawyer||Legal Research|
|Manager||Mediation Specialist||Paralegal||Parole Officer||Probation Officer|
|Process Server||Sentencing Analyst||Victim Restitution|
SAMPLE CORRECTIONAL JOB TITLES
|Affirmative Action Officer||Budget Analyst||Business Officer Manager||Chaplain|
|Chief of Programs||Chief of Security||Computer Specialist||Correctional Clerk||Correctional Counselor|
|Correctional Officer||Employee Development Specialist||Facility Manager||Food Service Supervisor||Health Systems Administrator|
|Juvenile Detention Officer||Juvenile Worker||Leisure Time Activities Specialist||Medical Records Supervisor||Ombudsman|
|Personnel Officer||Placement Officer||Psychiatrist/ Psychologist||Public Relations Officer||Records Office Manager|
|Teacher||Trainer||Transport Officer||Unit Management||Vocational Specialist|
Note: Be aware that many of the careers listed are distributed by educational qualifications/experience and constantly being upgraded. Take into consideration that administrator, instructor, criminologist, counselor, lawyer, psychologist, psychiatrist, researcher, and chaplain jobs usually require a graduate or professional degree.
A WORD ABOUT ENTRY-LEVEL SALARIES (in 2008 figures)
Federal jobs at the entry-level usually start at about $39,500, at or near the national average, although more selective agencies like the U.S. Postal Inspectors and U.S. Marshals may start out at $46,000 or more. State jobs, on average, start at about $34,000 but may vary as much as 3,000 to 5,000 in an upward direction. County jobs, on average, start at about $29,500 and don't tend to vary as much although there is much disparity between rich and poor counties. City jobs vary the most, depending upon the city, but the average starting pay is usually anywhere between $31,000 and $41,000, mostly because there are more poor than rich cities. There has been a national movement in the last year or so to get municipal entry levels up, but many agencies have a tendency to start you out low, then give you a big raise after the first year or two, where you stay salary-wise until about five years later when you usually get another big raise. Of course, a lot depends on promotion, too. It is possible to make six figures a year as police chief in many of the nation's major metropolitan police departments, but you'll have to work your way up to that. Competition is tough for law enforcement jobs. Currently employed officers are constantly moving around from city to city in search of higher salaries. At the entry-level, where everyone starts, you have to really want it, bad.
Jobs in the court sector, like probation and parole, have salaries that vary widely. Entry level pay ranges from $30,000 to $40,000, but federal positions range from $40,000 to $55,000 (some of the highest paid starting salaries in criminal justice are in federal probation), depending upon experience. Pre-employment in corrections or investigative work is usually the best preparation besides having a college degree, and just having a college degree is mostly OK in this field if you have good office management skills besides. Raises are not that common, but when they happen, they are across the board and usually moderate. Don't forget that the permanent hiring of college interns takes place quite often in the judiciary branch of the criminal justice system because they figure that anyone willing to take an interest in working in such a hectic, confusing environment is worth keeping. Court systems usually welcome interns and volunteers with open arms.
Correctional pay varies tremendously from state-to-state. The national average is about $33,000 with places like Arkansas starting fairly low and places like New York and New Jersey starting very high. Federal corrections approximates the pay of top states, and has better benefits. In corrections, you will most likely receive regular salary increases every year along with easy-to-get merit raises until you are making about $40,000 or more by your fifth year. Promotion is very rapid in this sector due to high rates of employee turnover. A lot of people live happily and comfortably working in corrections; others use it as a stepping-stone to another career.
Fringes (in any CJ job) include: a take-home vehicle, clothing, equipment, other allowances or impunities, tuition reimbursement, educational incentive pay, bilingual incentive pay, paid insurance, paid holidays, paid vacations, a pension plan, accumulation of sick leave and comp time, family benefits, early retirement, and the chance to take promotional exams early. You probably won't find all of these in any one place, but you may find more than is listed here.
To maximize your income potential, consider large agencies with lots of job titles, especially civilian ones. Big cities are your best bet, but bigger is not necessarily better if the murder rate is higher than the mortality rate. If you like the idea of working at the county level, remember that when the U.S. was divided up, more counties were allocated down East than out West, so places like Georgia, for example, have more counties than Western and Midwestern states. Try to gravitate toward the comraderie of people like yourself.
LAW ENFORCEMENT-RELATED: see CALEA for a list of accredited police agencies and APAI for a 1996 list of agencies requiring the 4-yr college degree.
The Legal Employment Search Site Plan to spend at least half a day with this one. Lots of links.
Quid Pro Quo's List of Legal Jobs A site designed to help law students & job seekers.
The ABA's Internships and Jobs site Helpful page with legal and nonlegal resources.
Corrections Connections The premiere corrections-related site devoted to nationwide coverage.
The ACA Jobs Bank Job listings from this professional association.
Tennessee Dept. of Correction, NC Division of Corrections, OTHER STATES: Massachusetts, Florida.
NYS C.O.'s Information Page Correctional jobs openings/issues in New York State area.
JailNet State-by-state information at this well-organized site.
POLICE DEPARTMENTS THAT USUALLY HAVE OPEN RECRUITMENT:
Your BEST starting point to search for federal jobs is the site at RIGHT======> UsaJobs
PoliceEmployment.com Quick access to some
information which is free (example: the U.S. Marshals when they have an "open
period"). This place charges ten bucks ($10) for their exam prep booklets and other
stuff, which doesn't seem like a bad deal. Of course, OPM will send you exam prep
materials free anyway, which in most cases, is more than adequate, but this place is also
starting to sell booklets for state-by-state trooper jobs and correctional officer exams.
An even better FREE link is at Govtjobs.com.
Recruitment Pages of Federal Agencies This site claims to index these pages for as many federal agencies that do this, but in most cases, the links take you to the agency page.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the official Personnel Office for all federal agencies. Their HUGE jobs page is at usajobs. You need to make note of the vacancy announcement and any supplemental qualifications statement for each job title you're interested in with special interest focused on the 6-digit control number for the vacancy announcement. To browse through the announcements, it may help to know that many careers are split into two categories: Professional Careers and Entry Level Professional Careers. You will need Form OF-612 and a resume to apply for most federal jobs. If you have trouble downloading the form, you may find it helpful and convenient to visit one of the regional OPM Service Centers to pick up the form.
Civil Service/OSP/DES Personnel Offices at the State Level:
|New Hampshire||New Jersey||New Mexico||New York|
|North Carolina||North Dakota||Ohio||Oklahoma|
|Oregon||Pennsylvania||Rhode Island||South Carolina|
|Wisconsin||Wyoming||District of Columbia|
STARTING POINTS FOR BEGINNERS: See the List
of Job Titles (here) if you are unfamiliar with CJ terminology and want a peek at average
starting salaries. There are some unusual job titles in the CJ field. Also, be sure to
learn how to use the Occupational
Outlook Handbook for sample job descriptions, working conditions, salary data,
and what's growing. For law enforcement careers, you may want to
familiarize yourself with the Reciprocity POST
which contains POST Standard equivalencies between states. You might want to visit Indeed.com's "Ten
Tips for a Successful Online Job Search" for a quick look at how
to begin your job search.
How to Apply for Positions Advertised on the Internet: Have your resume and cover letter prepared and stored on diskette in text format, sometimes called ASCII or DOS text format, or whatever format is called for by the service you plan to use. Word-wrapping, embedded word processing commands, running headers and footers, and PostScript characters don't e-mail well, so have your word processor save your resume in text format (resume.txt), and check to make sure it looks good when opened by various programs on your computer (Notepad, word processors, e-mail to a friend, etc). Tips: use asterisks (*) or plus signs (+) instead of bullets, use dashes (---) to separate sections; DON'T UNDERLINE ANYTHING; Don't use bold type; avoid italics; and don't try to color highlight any headers or sections of your resume. Don't include photos or graphics.
How to Apply for Positions by Resume: When you mail a resume to an employer, be sure to mention the job title and include any numerical codes for the position that they use. If you are "cold calling" someone, put your objective "To obtain a position..." in the "Subject" line. When you are posting your resume with a listing service, make sure your resume is in its final (or generic) form, because once you post it, many database providers charge money for updates. In all cases, follow any specific instructions from the employer or the listing service. Be apologetic if you are sending "unsolicited" resumes. In most cases, it's best to go through your school's Career Center to get some help with resume writing, or alternatively, a good place to get such help is Paula Olson's site, http://www.sampleresume.net.
WEB SITES in this area defy categorization, but generally can be divided into three types: ADVICE sites; JOB DATABASES, and RESUME DATABASES. The advice sites sometimes offer the other two services. Job Databases usually consist of job openings that have been extracted from state employment office listings, other sources, and the occasional headhunter or employer recruitment campaign. Resume Databases allow you to post your resume, and are based on the idea that recruiters browse through these in searching for a pool of applicants. Each site has its own "hype" about how many and which kind of employers browse their databases. I recommend the following full-service sites:
AfterCollege (ADVICE, JOBS, INTERNSHIPS) A good site for everything from entry-level jobs to post-doc opportunities.
Careerbuilder.com (JOBS) This is a great place to post your resume for free, and look at over 200,000 fairly executive-level jobs in a variety of fields. The companies that post the ads are usually employment search agencies or executive recruitment firms, but in many cases, it's the agency itself looking to find someone for a hard-to-fill position.
CareerJet (JOBS) This is a comprehensive employment search engine.
Indeed.com (JOB) This is a comprehensive search engine for jobs.
JobApplications.com This places has printable online applications.
JobIn (JOB) An insider referral
network for job.
Monster.com (ADVICE, JOBS, RESUMES) A frequently pointed-to large site that allows you to post your resume and do other things that employers will notice (follow the "hype"). They have a geographic-based jobs database, some advice pages, and other unique information. Tends to absorb resume-posting sites like America's Job Bank.
NationJob Network (ADVICE, JOBS) An online job
listing service rated as one of the top 5 in this area. They have a variety of services
for job seekers, extensive speciality sites
by occupational area, and job openings and company
information for thousands of employers worldwide.
If you're not into posting your online resume and just want to browse, try one of the HUGE, but lamer sites, such as: Career Magazine (the best of this group), CareerNet, CareerSite, or JobTrak. These will provide you with enough links to keep you busy for days. Career Magazine, for example, scans Usenet Newsgroups and provides Forums to ask questions. JobTrak might require you contact your College Career Office for a password. See Internet Resume Tips and Salary and Negotiation Strategies when you're ready to talk business.
If you're ready to POST YOUR RESUME (congratulations if you are, because 80% of people wimp out at this stage), then here are the places to go. Don't dismiss the ones I've listed as "partially fee-based" because they might be free to you, but cost the employer to look. Sites with revenue sources usually do a better job of presenting your stuff.
USEFUL TOOLS: Salary Calculator, Geographic Locator,
TOP EMPLOYMENT WEB SITES (by rank order):
INTERNSHIPS: One of the worst mistakes you can make when seeking an internship and/or job with a CJ agency is to call them yourself via telephone. Most agencies tolerate the usual calls about job openings ("We list through the State Employment Office" or "See our Recruitment Page on the Web"), and some agencies actually do process the unsolicited resumes that are sent to them via e-mail. PHONE CALLS are another matter, especially when asking about internships. In almost all cases, it's best to initiate the process of obtaining an internship through your college or university's internship officer or other official, unless of course, the agency or department you're calling has someone officially designated as the "internship coordinator."
OTHER FIELDS (not all links kept updated):
Last updated: July 04, 2011
Not an official webpage of APSU, copyright restrictions apply, see Megalinks in Criminal Justice
O'Connor, T. (2011). "Employment in Criminal Justice," MegaLinks in Criminal Justice. Retrieved from http://www.drtomoconnor.com/employ.htm accessed on July 04, 2011.