What are the Different Criminal Justice Jobs?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Police officers on foot patrol.
Police officers on foot patrol.

Criminal justice jobs run a wide gamut from those dealing with the court system, to those on the front line of law enforcement. The job requirements will be different depending on the area of expertise, but the overall goal is still the same - to make sure all laws are enforced. The benefit for those interested in criminal justice careers is that there is great variety, and something to fit nearly anyone's interest.

Forensic technicians may conduct autopsies.
Forensic technicians may conduct autopsies.

Those who have interest in medicine or science may find the best criminal justice jobs involve working in a crime lab. Those in these forensics careers work to test DNA and other evidence to see if subjects of interest and victims can be identified, conduct autopsies, and determine how a crime may have occurred. In some cases, the work is not based in biology, but in physics. For example, the angle a bullet enters a body or another object may help identify who the shooter is, or at least where the shooter was.

Crime scene investigators work in the criminal justice field.
Crime scene investigators work in the criminal justice field.

Many criminal justice jobs involve working very closely with people. These jobs include police officers, probation officers and court positions. Each of these jobs may involve slightly different skill sets, and slightly different educational requirements. Some may require a Bachelor's Degree. Others may simply require certification by a law enforcement academy. Those who have an idea of what they would like to do should research the career requirements ahead of time, and devise a plan to prepare adequately.

Judge is one career in criminal justice.
Judge is one career in criminal justice.

A clerk of court, or an assistant in that office, will work with lawyers, prospective jurors, and even those accused of crimes from time to time. Dealing with a wide range of personalities may be difficult for some people, but is key to successfully working in these types of criminal justice jobs. This person will be responsible for scheduling court dates, processing payments, and keeping track of all court-related files. Many public inquiries will also be handled by this office.

Law enforcement officers include those with local police departments and sheriffs' offices, as well as federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals Office. These criminal justice jobs involve investigating crimes, handling calls for service, and making arrests. These individuals will also be the ones who are typically called upon by prosecutors to testify in court. Dispatchers could also be included in this group, but most of the time they are not sworn law enforcement officers, though they will go through some of the same training.

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Discussion Comments


I have a bachelor's degree criminal Justice. The closest I've come to use it, is I worked in a law office. I'm 39 and I live overseas. Are there any jobs available in this field regarding the internet ? What other jobs are available for someone of my age?


if your family member has a bad record, can you still work for the police or will this affect your career in the future?



Other jobs in the criminal justice field involve becoming a prosecutor or a public defender.

Both the prosecutor and the public defender require a law degree on top of the preliminary Bachelors. For law school it really does not matter what your major is, but a degree in criminal justice would be helpful.

In addition, you have to pass the bar exam in order to receive your license to practice law in your state. Most lawyers that start out in the prosecutor’s office work as an Assistant DA or district attorney.

Here you are given a geographic territory as well as possible specialization of cases. For example, if you are an Assistant DA of Queens, you may handle cases regarding the Flushing section of Queens, while another Assistant DA handles the Ozone Park area.

There are multiple Assistant DA’s. To get to the next step you have to run for office, because the prosecutor or District Attorney is elected by the people he or she serves.

A public defender is hired by the public defender’s office and is assigned a caseload in which he or she has to take on. This is defending the indigent defendants that could not afford their own attorney.


Jobs in criminal justice vary. Criminal justice graduate jobs involve working as a police officer although further training at the Police Academy is required.

Other jobs with a criminal justice degree involve becoming a probation officer. A probation officer has to maintain contact with a convicted felon to ensure that they are maintaining their probationary agreement.

Often the probation officer has to report the progress of the felon as well as note if he or she is not following procedure.

For example, a convicted offender might be order to go to rehab because of drug related offenses. If the convict misses rehab or does not attend these courses they can have their probation revoked and be sent right back to prison.

You can also work as a correctional officer although this career path does not require a college degree, but it does require you to pass a civil service exam.


It was really useful. thank you.

I will be graduating in a year and I was clueless regarding the requirements in becoming a lawyer.

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