Highest Paying Jobs in Criminal Justice

Earning criminal justice degree can lead to a fulfilling professional life; you will be doing your part to make this world a better place to live in. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are also tangible benefits to having a criminal justice career.

Even during tough economic times, one industry that continues to grow in terms of employment is criminal justice. Crime will always be present – that’s just the hard truth. A variety of opportunities can be open to you once you earn a degree in criminal justice, whether you want to work pursuing criminals in a squad car or in the courtroom.

Rewarding Jobs

Ask anyone who has gone through law school or police academy, or other such paths that can lead to careers in criminal justice field why they decided to go the law enforcement route and they will probably tell you that they wanted to serve other people, make a difference in their community, or do their part to make this a safer place for all. These are certainly commendable objectives and people who choose to risk their lives on a daily basis deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.

This is why criminal justice careers that involve directly putting their lives in danger, such as apprehending felons, are some of the highest paying in the field. However, some of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree or masters degree in criminal justice. There are various colleges and universities that offer on-campus and online degree programs in criminal justice.

Below are some of the criminal justice jobs with the highest pay:


Becoming a lawyer involves 4 years of undergraduate study followed by 3 years of law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Most universities require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Admission is competitive due to the fact that the number of applicants is much greater than the number that can be admitted by universities.

Being a lawyer involves representing and advising individuals, businesses or organizations on legal issues. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an annual median wage of $112,760 for lawyers in 2010.


Those who work as judges are often mandated to have a law degree as well as experience working as a lawyer. For this reason, they also earn a law degree, and most have master’s degrees in public policy, law, and other related fields of study. In addition, most have to be appointed or elected into judge positions.

The BLS states that judges earned a median annual salary of $91,880 in 2010.

Police and Detectives

The educational requirements for police officers and detectives and criminal investigators range from a high school diploma to a college degree, or higher. Most of police officers and detectives are required to enter and complete their cop training at police academies and undergo on-the-job training.

Police and detectives earned an annual median income of $55,010 in 2010 according to BLS.