Criminal Justice Careers

"The most important defense against growing old is your dream. Nothing is as real as a dream. Your dream is the path between the person you are and the person you hope to become. Success isn’t money. Success isn’t power. The criteria for your success are to be found in your dream, in your self. Your dream is something to hold on to. It will always be your link to the person you are today, young and full of hope. If you hold onto it, you may grow old, but you will never be old. And that is the ultimate success. -Tom Clancy, author

Criminal Justice emerged during the 1970’s as a vital and unique academic discipline, simultaneously emphasizing the professional development of students who plan a career in the field and attracting those who want to know more about a difficult social problem and how this country response to it. Criminal Justice incorporates a broad range of knowledge from a variety of specialties, including law, history, and the social and behavioral sciences, each contributing to our fuller understanding of criminal behavior and of society’s attitudes toward deviance.

American society expects a great deal of improvement in the delivery of services by Criminal Justice Agencies. The drive to improve services and professionalizing of criminal justice professions has gained momentum in the past few years. We at Illinois Valley Community College endorse the concept of professionalism through education. In the next section we will illustrate the type of Criminal Justice options available at Illinois Valley Community College.

The Criminal Justice curriculum at Illinois Valley Community College is broadly based and covers the three main components of the Criminal Justice System: Law Enforcement, the Court, and Corrections. It embraces other academic disciplines, and serves to provide our graduates with a broad understanding of problems within the Criminal Justice field.

In order for the student to successfully compete in the marketplace for positions in the Criminal Justice System, it seems apparent that a two-year associate degree is essential. Many of our graduates opt for the four-year degree award from the major four-year institutions with Criminal Justice curriculum. The four-year degree serves to further enhance the prospective practitioner in the eyes of the hiring agency.

Not all Criminal Justice agencies require a college degree at this time. However, it is increasingly apparent that the trend toward this requirement is on the increase.

The Criminal Justice Program at Illinois Valley Community College also offers opportunity for the in service practitioner to gain expertise and increased education in order to compete for promotions within their agency and/or to seek more lucrative positions with other agencies.

Opportunities in the Criminal Justice field exist on the local, state, and federal levels. There are also opportunities for specialties in other governmental regulatory agencies.

The private sector offers increasing employment in the related area of security and safety. There are more private security police than public in the United States. The trend seems to be a long range one. Graduates may find employment with private firms in such capacities as Private Detectives, Private Security Patrol Officers, Safety Officers, and others.

As our society becomes more populous and more affluent, it is clear that the need for better quality personnel in both the private and public sectors will continue to grow. The serious candidate for positions within these areas will prepare themselves educationally and enter the job market with an edge over those who did not choose to further their educations.

Salaries will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Many factors will influence the rate of compensation which one may expect to receive. Generally, it is fair to say that salaries for Criminal Justice personnel have greatly improved in the last decade in most areas. Most positions offer excellent retirement and fringe benefits. Some departments or agencies will offer incentive pay for those persons who have achieved an education degree.

In conclusion, we would like to point out that there are many positions or careers which offer more monetary rewards than Criminal Justice careers. However, it is equally true that Criminal Justice positions offer much in terms of personal satisfaction and growth. It is also evident that Criminal Justice practitioners possess high levels of "Job Security" as it is unlikely that the need for Criminal Justice services will diminish.

Ph. D.

  • Criminal Justice Administrator
  • University Professor
  • Criminologist
  • Criminal Justice Researcher



  • College Professor
  • Criminal Psychologist
  • Attorney
  • Juvenile Officer
  • Case Worker
  • Judge
  • Counselor
  • Court Administrator
  • Criminal Justice Planner
  • Forensic Science Specialist



  • Criminologist
  • Recreational Specialist
  • Vocational or Academic Teacher in Corrections
  • Probation Officer
  • Parole Officer
  • Law Enforcement Administrator
  • Correctional Counselor
  • Field Service Representative
  • F.B.I. Agent
  • Department of Conservation Officer
  • D.E.A. Agent
  • Federal Aviation Officer
  • Case Worker


  • Court Reporter
  • Patrol Officer
  • Sheriff
  • Investigator
  • Private Security
  • County Deputy
  • Forensic Specialist
  • Criminologists
  • Community Relations Officer
  • State Trooper
  • Juvenile Officer
  • Jail or Prison Correctional Officer
  • Dispatcher
  • Game Warden
  • Bailiff
  • Court Clerk

For more information on careers in Criminal Justice try these Web sites: