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Criminal Justice Careers

Criminal Justice Careers

A career in criminal justice can be incredibly exciting and rewarding, both personally and professionally. Criminal justice professionals often work in law enforcement or corrections but may instead choose a criminal justice career path that involves private security or investigations, among other options.

Generations College’s Criminal Justice program was designed to prepare students for a variety of criminal justice careers. The course of study focuses on specific areas of the law, training students to think critically and apply forensic methods. Our instructors also address some of the ethical pitfalls that professionals in criminal justice roles may encounter. 


What does a criminal justice job entail? Depending on the role, criminal justice duties and responsibilities differ. Here are some of the most popular career choices:

  • Police Officer: The police officer role is arguably the most popular — and most recognized — of all the criminal justice jobs. Police officers play an important role in upholding the law, protecting their communities, defending citizens and safeguarding property. The job is demanding and can be stressful and dangerous at times, but for motivated criminal justice professionals, there can be immense satisfaction in knowing your work is making a difference. For program graduates, criminal justice degree salary may meet or exceed the 2019 national annual median wage of $65,170.
  • Corrections Officer: While police officers work primarily in their communities, corrections officers work in our nation’s jails or prisons. Corrections officers are responsible for overseeing and protecting people who have been arrested on suspicion of having committed crimes, as well as those who have been sentenced to time behind bars. The national criminal justice degree salary for corrections officers was $45,180 in May 2019. This position is often physically demanding and potentially dangerous. Corrections officers play an important role in protecting suspected criminals, those convicted of criminal activities and the public.
  • Probation Officer: The criminal justice job description for probation officers usually involves periodic meetings with people who have been sentenced for crimes and are in custody awaiting parole. It may also entail meetings with those who have already been paroled. Parole officers have a unique opportunity to help rehabilitate convicted criminals, creating individualized plans that are achievable and can keep them out of trouble. This job can be stressful and, at times, disheartening if a parolee is not able to meet the program goals. In other cases, however, it can be extremely rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives. The median annual wage for parole officers in 2019 was $54,290 per year.
  • Private Investigator: For some Criminal Justice program graduates, working as private investigators may suit their personalities and skills. Private investigators can work for themselves or for PI firms. They often spend their working hours digging into specific topics. Some private investigators focus on background check verifications while others locate missing persons or gather evidence for use in legal proceedings. There are also those who conduct detailed financial fraud investigations or specialize in cybercrime cases. Successful professionals in this position are usually detail-oriented and enjoy helping clients find answers. The average annual salary for a private detective in the U.S. is $50,510.
  • Security Guard: Another criminal justice career path for program graduates is working as a security guard for a private organization. Security guards can be found in a variety of retail stores, office buildings or public spaces. Criminal justice duties for security guards may include patrolling the premises; reviewing video and/or audio feeds in a security observation room; and providing assistance to patrons as needed. The national median annual wage for security guards in 2019 was $29,680, although pay can vary widely from employer to employer.
  • Fraud Investigator: Other graduates choose to work as fraud investigators. With the advancement of technology and cloud-based systems, instances of fraud are unfortunately increasing. Fraud investigators may specialize in certain types of fraud, but often focus on credit card or other financial scams and insurance schemes. Fraud investigators manage all aspects of the process, communicating with stakeholders and conducting interviews and research. The average hourly wage for fraud investigators in the U.S. is $18.91/hour.


Generations College — located in the heart of Chicago — offers both in-person and online classes for an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice. This program is designed for motivated adults who are ready to take their careers to the next level. Our program is fully accredited, and courses are taught by professionals with working knowledge of today’s criminal justice system. We have been educating students for more than a century, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and chart a fulfilling career path. 

If you are interested in learning more about our Criminal Justice program and the exciting careers you can pursue upon graduating, contact us or apply online today.

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