Criminal Justice Administration Jobs: Salary Info and Requirements

Those interested in the criminal justice administration field will find several job options available, such as the popular police officer, detective and lawyer career options. Most are employed in criminal justice departments at the local, state and federal levels; however, options are also available in the private sector or with security companies.

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Police Officer Salary Information and Educational Requirements

To become a police officer, applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent, though it is becoming increasingly common for agencies to hire applicants with some post-secondary education. An associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration or a related field, such as police science or public administration, can increase appeal to employers as well as the opportunity for a higher salary.

Newly hired police officers typically undergo training at an academy where they learn state laws, regulations and receive training for skills needed on the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national median salary for police officers in May 2013 was $56,130 per year; however, earnings can vary according to location, level and the department where the officer is assigned.

Detective Salary Info and Educational Requirements

The educational requirements of a detective are similar to those of police officers, as the majority of police detectives are promoted from that position. To work at the federal level, employers usually require a candidate to have a bachelor's degree, as well as a spotless background check with no prior history of criminal activity. Without previous on-the-job experience, most states require detectives to be licensed and pass an exam. The BLS reported in May 2013 that the median annual salary for a detective at that time was $76,730.

Lawyer Salary Info and Educational Requirements

A lawyer or attorney works in the court system to defend or prosecute criminal offenders or advise people of legal issues. The majority of lawyers work in private practice firms, while some work for corporations, non-profit organizations or the government. The educational requirements to become an attorney are rigorous, with most lawyers completing a bachelor's degree, typically from any field, as well as three additional years in law school and pass a state bar exam in order to practice.

According to the BLS, national employment opportunities for lawyers will increase approximately as fast as average between 2012 and 2022, but competition is expected to be very sharp, as the number of law school graduates continues to be higher than the number of jobs available ( As of May 2013, the yearly median salary for attorneys was $114,300, as per BLS data.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics