There are numerous career options in the criminal justice system that have healthy salaries and are suited to individuals who possess diverse experience as well as the right educational background. If you are passionate about helping those in need but are unsure about what career path to go down, there are many criminal justice careers that can provide you with job security.

If you are interested in a career in criminal justice, having job satisfaction and security should be your number one priority, so here are 10 of the highest paying careers that you may want to consider going into.


The main duty of a lawyer is to represent and assist a party in a criminal or civil trial, letting them know about their legal rights and obligations. A lawyer will act as an advisor, providing their clients with expert advice on what action to take. There are various fields that a lawyer can specialize in, such as:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Intellectual property
  • Civil law
  • Public interest
  • Probate law
  • Criminal law

To qualify as a lawyer, you will need to undertake a four-year undergraduate degree, following on to three years at law school, as well as complete bar examinations and licensing programs that are mandatory to qualify. At present, lawyers can expect to earn between $75,000 to $160,000 per year.

Private Investigator

If you are interested in a career in policing but would prefer to not be on the front line, a private detective may be the perfect role for you. Some of the main techniques that a private detective must utilize include:

  • Insurance investigations
  • Collecting evidence
  • Examining records
  • Finding people

Private detectives gather facts conducted via interviews, observation, as well as researching records, which are used to assist in raids or arrests. Many detectives begin their career by working as a police officer, which will require you to undergo written examinations and physical fitness routines to ensure you’re suitable for the role. Most private detectives can expect to earn between $60,000 to $95,000 per year, however, this will depend on education and experience.

Police Officer

Police officers are accountable for maintaining public order, collecting evidence, as well as pursuing and detaining those who commit crimes. Police officers also respond to those in need, providing assistance when needed. To qualify as a police officer, there are numerous medical, physical, and written tests that you will need to undertake, as well as psychological evaluations. At present, police officers can earn between $38,000 and $65,000 annually.

If you already have at least one years’ experience in policing and would like to go into a leadership role, completing an online BA in Policing by Laurier may be the right path for you to take. Throughout this type of program, you will learn about what it takes to become a good leader, with many individuals who have completed the course going into higher positions such as:

  • Chief of police
  • Staff sergeant
  • Inspector
  • Detective
  • Staff superintendent
  • Deputy chief of police

If you would like to learn more, you can visit, which can take you through the application process and the benefits you can gain from the degree.

Federal Marshal

Regarded as one of the most important members of the U.S. government, Federal Marshals are responsible for:

  • Protecting court officers and structures
  • Securing federal courts
  • Maintaining security
  • Transporting prisoners
  • Serving arrest warrants

To qualify as a U.S. Marshal, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, hold three years’ work experience, as well as have a clear background. Individuals interested in this career must also undergo physical, psychological, and written assessments in order to gain admittance. The yearly salary of a Federal Marshal currently stands between $38,000 to $48,000.

Forensic Analyst

A forensic analyst is in charge of collecting, classifying, identifying, and analyzing physical evidence that is related to law enforcement investigations. A forensic analyst can be employed and work in numerous settings, such as offices, crime scenes, and morgues. Forensic analysts work closely alongside:

  • Police departments
  • Toxicology lab technicians
  • Hospital staff
  • Medical examiners
  • Researchers at colleges and universities

There are various fields that a forensic analyst can specialize in, including ballistics, fingerprinting, biochemistry, and handwriting. To qualify for this position, candidates must obtain a four-year bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. At present, forensic analysts can expect to earn between $37,000 and $59,000 per year.


A paralegal can work in numerous environments, such as a law office, law firm, organization, or bankruptcy firm. Paralegals are in charge of researching and collecting data which is then used for hearings, meetings, and trials. Other duties of a paralegal include:

  • Maintaining case files
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Arrange meetings with clients, witnesses, and lawyers
  • Contact clients to investigate their case, keeping them updated throughout
  • Attending to basic clerical tasks

Paralegals are also required to assist in the preparation of estate planning, tax returns, and building trust funds for clients. If you are interested in becoming a paralegal, you will need to obtain a two-year associate degree at the minimum within a paralegal program. The yearly salary of a paralegal at present ranges between $36,000 and $58,000.

Probation Officer

The main duty of a probation officer is to supervise and rehabilitate offenders who fall into the categories of:

  • Being convicted of a crime
  • Are currently on probation
  • Awaiting sentencing
  • Not incarcerated

Probation officers also assist offenders who have been released from incarceration and keep track of their day to day activities. Other duties of a probation officer include investing the offender’s background, environment, and history, as well as presenting report findings to court officials. To work as a probation officer, there are numerous written, oral, and psychological tests that you must undergo first, as well as obtain an undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the bare minimum. The salary you can expect to earn in this field ranges between $35,000 and $60,000 annually.

Correction Officer

The role of a corrections officer is to monitor incarcerated offenders in prisons, detention centers, and jails. Some of the duties of a corrections officer include:

  • Maintaining security levels
  • Upholding institutional policies and regulations
  • Minimizing disturbances
  • Controlling prison populations
  • Preventing escapes

A correction officer is also responsible for transporting inmates, completing reports regarding inmate conduct, as well as carry out inspections of facilities to identify any hazards that could compromise the safety and security of the inmate. To qualify for a position as a corrections officer, you will need to undergo training and have a high school diploma behind you. In recent years, candidates have had to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a field related to criminal justice, combined with three years’ work experience. At present, a corrections officer can expect to earn between $29,000 and $51,000 per year.

Victim Advocate

A victim advocate tends to work within hospitals, jails, and district attorney offices, with their main job to help assist clients who have been traumatized by domestic abuse. The main duty of a victim advocate is to help their clients work through the legal and recovery process, providing clients with available resources, emotional and psychological support, and accompany their clients to court hearings. Victim advocates also:

  • Investigate complaints
  • Provide administrate support
  • Improve client support services
  • Provide emotional support
  • Give information on legal rights and protections
  • Assist victims and their family members when submitting statements to the court
  • Intervention with creditors, landlords, and employers on behalf of the client
  • Assistance in navigating the medical systems

To work as a victim advocate, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree combined with work experience, or earn a master’s degree within the social work, psychology, or criminal justice field. Present earnings for a victim advocate currently stands at $25,000 to $31,000 per year.

Court Clerk

A court clerk is responsible for providing clerical support within the court system, federal licensing agency, and municipalities. There is a range of administrative duties that a court clerk must perform on a day to day basis, such as:

  • Researching and retrieving information from judges
  • Collecting fees
  • Preparing dockets for court hearings
  • Maintaining financial records
  • Maintaining fiscal accounts
  • Issuing licenses and permits
  • Drafting bylaws for city or town councils

In addition to these duties, a court clerk is required to undergo a technical program provided by a vocational school or earn a two-year associate’s degree. To date, court clerks can expect to earn between $23,000 and $77,000 per year.

If any of the criminal justice careers listed above spark your interest, it’s important that you read into the entry requirements first, as you may need to undergo training and education in order to qualify for the position. For those who like to help others and solve crimes, a career in criminal justice may be the perfect fit for you.

There are many courses that you can undertake in criminal justice that can be completed online too, meaning you can carry on in employment, while simultaneously studying for your degree. If you are passionate about making a difference but are worried about how to fit in your learning, choosing to study online may be the best option to pick.