If you have ever been to a restaurant – good or crappy – then you will know just how hard it is to scroll through a menu and decide on one thing to eat; that one dish that grabs your fancy above all the others that grace those laminated pages. It is why you tell the waitress you need another couple of minutes three times. Don’t get us wrong, having a choice is great; it is part of the freedom’s we love and cherish. But it is also a pain in the butt, especially when it comes to choosing your career.
Just knowing what sector you want to devote a huge portion of your life is hard enough. But, for some people, this can just be the start as they are faced with a long and delicious menu of different roles within that sector. You’ll find this is absolutely gospel if you’re looking to start a career in law enforcement of any kind.
Of course, a big factor when making a decision of this magnitude is always money, which is why we have pulled together a list of the top paying criminal justice careers. If nothing else, it may reaffirm something you were already feeling, or it may see you consider a whole new area that you didn’t even know existed.
- Lawyers Lead The Way
To give you the short story, lawyers and attorneys are the people that represent both parties in a trial, whether it be a civil case or criminal one. Their role is to simply advise their clients on their legal rights, obligations and put their argument forward within the constraints of the law. In a way, it is a lot like a game of chess because you need to have your wits about you and your head screwed on. That means having an unrivalled knowledge of the law, knowing what judicial decisions could be made and doing all the research you possibly can. If this has pricked your ears and spread your eyes, then you want to know what is required to earn a bachelor of criminal justice? It is worth noting that the choice doesn’t end there because within the profession of being a lawyer there is a multitude of different areas you can specialise. Bankruptcy, criminal, intellectual property, civil, family, probate, environmental and much more. Yes, advancing to the bar examinations is tough and lengthy but the financial rewards can be massive. We’re talking anywhere between $75,000 and upward of $200,000.
- Perfect The Art Of Investigation
This may not be as glamorous and some of the films and television shows you have seen, but being a private investigator or a detective comes with its fair share of action. This is because a private investigator or detective provides specialist techniques to uphold the law, collect evidence, solve crimes, analyse the facts and catch the bad guys. It takes a special kind of mind to make it to the top, the kind of brain that is able to conduct research, pull the pieces together and make observations that many would miss. What makes this role most attractive is the fact there is no examination process like becoming a lawyer. Instead, it is mostly based on experience. Of course, like everything else, your options are open. We would recommend you become licensed if you want to make this a serious career, but where you go from there is your call; assisting police departments, joining a private firm, or joining an interagency firm. What you make depends on your experience, but you could hope to make anywhere between $58,000 and $93,000.
- A Career As A Police Officer
This is about as close as any career can take you to being directly involved in law enforcement as you serve to maintain public order, protect citizens, respond to calls, collect evidence, apprehend suspects, testify in courts of law and investigate suspicious activities of just about every kind. The job description is wide and all-encompassing, and the level you work at depends on your abilities and ambitions, whether it be local, state or federal. As for the big, flashing question of “what is required to become a police officer?” there are different forms of assessment that you need to pass in order to qualify. There are medical requirements, written tests that need passing, fitness tests you need to surpass and psychological evaluations that you will need to undergo. The reasons why are relatively simple: you need to prove you have the right capabilities at a physical, intellectual and emotional level before they can be signed off for employment. More and more law enforcement agencies, however, are asking for candidates that have bachelor degrees in law enforcement or something of similar value. Of course, this will command a better salary and a higher entry point. The typical earnings for a police officer range between $39,000 and $65,000.
- Never Forget the Forensic Analysts
The role of a forensic analyst can never be downplayed because it is their responsibility to glue an investigation together by collecting and classifying evidence, identifying what this evidence means within the context of the investigation and then providing a very educated indication of what may have happened. The relationships they have stretched far and wide too as their role requires them to work alongside medical examiners, police agencies, hospital staff, toxicology labs, morgues and crime scene investigators. In terms of your options, you can choose to specialise in a wide variety of fields; ballistics, biochemistry, fingerprints, calligraphy and handwriting and any number of other areas. The entry requirements are quite high with a bachelor’s degree often cited as the very minimum expected from you educationally, which would see you partake in a four-year course specialising in forensic science. In return, though, you will be granted a salary between $37,000 and $60,000 depending upon experience.
If none of these piques your interest, then the other areas of law enforcement worth investigating include becoming a paralegal, probation officer, correction officer, a victim advocate, court clerk or even a federal marshall.