Best Paying Jobs with a Criminal Justice Degree

Updated on February 26, 2024

Embarking on a career in criminal justice opens the door to a wide array of opportunities, each unique in its requirements, responsibilities, and rewards. For those passionate about law, order, and justice, and who possess a criminal justice degree, the following roles represent some of the most lucrative positions in the field.

Crime Scene Cleaners

  • Average Salary: $35,000 – $80,000
  • Job Description: Specialize in cleaning and sanitizing areas where crimes have occurred, handling hazardous materials safely.
  • Responsibilities: Removing blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazardous substances to restore environments.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent, with specialized training for handling biohazardous materials.

U.S. Marshal

  • Average Salary: $38,511
  • Job Description: Enforce federal laws, capture fugitives, manage assets seized from criminal activities, and ensure the security of government witnesses.
  • Responsibilities: Apprehending wanted criminals, protecting federal judiciary, managing and selling seized assets.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related field, plus rigorous training.

Probation Officers

  • Average Salary: $43,862
  • Job Description: Supervise offenders who are on probation instead of serving time in prison, helping them reintegrate into society.
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring probationers, providing guidance and resources for rehabilitation, ensuring compliance with probation terms.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or a related field.

Forensic Scientists

  • Average Salary: $54,990
  • Job Description: Analyze physical evidence from crime scenes to support criminal investigations and legal proceedings.
  • Responsibilities: Examining evidence, testifying in court, keeping detailed records of findings.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in forensic science, biology, chemistry, or a related field.

Corrections Managers

  • Average Salary: $60,000
  • Job Description: Oversee the operations of correctional facilities, ensuring safety and security for staff and inmates.
  • Responsibilities: Managing staff, developing policies, overseeing inmate rehabilitation programs.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, corrections, public administration, or a related field, with progression from lower-level correctional positions.


  • Average Salary: $104,000 – $171,007
  • Job Description: Preside over court proceedings, interpret laws, and make legal decisions.
  • Responsibilities: Ruling on motions, instructing juries, sentencing convicted offenders.
  • Required Education: Law degree and significant experience as a practicing attorney.

Customs Border and Protection Officer

  • Average Salary: $40,651
  • Job Description: Secure the nation’s borders, facilitating lawful international trade and travel while preventing illegal immigration and contraband entry.
  • Responsibilities: Inspecting cargo, vehicles, and people crossing borders; enforcing customs and immigration laws.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree, although experience and additional training can be substituted.

Information Security Officer

  • Average Salary: $94,212
  • Job Description: Protect organizational data from cyber threats, ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information.
  • Responsibilities: Implementing security policies, managing cyber risk, responding to security incidents.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in information technology, cybersecurity, or a related field, with relevant certifications preferred.

FBI Agent

  • Average Salary: $66,120
  • Job Description: Conduct investigations into violations of federal laws, including terrorism, cybercrime, public corruption, and organized crime.
  • Responsibilities: Gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and executing search warrants.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree, with preference for fields such as criminal justice, law, accounting, or computer science.

Criminal Justice Policy Advisor

  • Average Salary: $69,458
  • Job Description: Advise on policies related to criminal justice, focusing on reforms and improvements in the justice system.
  • Responsibilities: Researching, developing policy recommendations, consulting with government officials.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice, public administration, or a related field.

Final Thoughts

A career in criminal justice is not only about upholding the law and ensuring public safety; it’s also an opportunity to make a significant impact on society. The roles highlighted above offer not just competitive salaries but also the chance to contribute to justice and rehabilitation in meaningful ways. Whether through the scientific precision of forensic analysis, the strategic oversight of correctional facilities, or the vigilant enforcement of laws as a U.S. Marshal or FBI agent, professionals in these positions play a crucial role in the fabric of our legal system.

Other Jobs in Legal and Criminal Justice


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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