An Exploration of Career Options for Criminal Justice Graduates


Unlike the common belief that earning a degree in criminal justice limits your potential job options, the reality is much different. Those who decide to major in criminal justice have a wide array of career options outside of the standard options of corrections and law enforcement jobs. In fact, the private sector, local, state and federal agencies all call upon criminal justice graduates to fill a variety of professions.

If you’re interested in earning a criminal justice degree, but are wary of limited career options, take a moment to explore some of the lesser-known careers open to you upon graduation. If one of these options interests you, spend time delving into the unique requirements for that job. It’s important to note some careers require advanced degrees or specialty certifications alongside a standard criminal justice degree.

Career #1 – Anti-Laundering Operations Agent

This is perhaps one of the most unique career opportunities for those with a criminal justice degree. These professionals work according to the Financial Services Authority guidelines and are primarily responsible for minimizing the various opportunities for persons to launder money. These experts within their field are tasked with a wide variety of roles and responsibilities, such as monitoring sales and marketing activities.

In order to work as an Anti-Money Laundering Operations Agent you will generally be required to hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. On average, these professionals earn anywhere from $55,000 to $60,000 per year.

Career #2 – Background Screening Agent

Have you ever wondered who actually performs background checks? Background screening agents are tasked with the role of personally investigating persons to see if they’ve been convicted of criminal activity or involved in any unsavory scenarios. These professionals conduct a wide array of research into the personal and professional life of candidates. As a background screening agent, you can be called in as a witness in court hearings and your job duties play a pivotal role in the hiring process for upper-level employees.

To work as a Background Screening Agent you must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The average salary for this career ranges from $60,000 to $65,000 per year.

Career #3 – Classification Officer

Have you ever wondered what goes into the sentencing of a convicted criminal? While there are many variables associated with determining this task, one of the most integral persons involved is a classification officer. These professionals are trained in psychology and utilize their understanding of criminal activity. The goal of this profession is to ensure the sentencing of a criminal is appropriate based upon their history and conviction.

To work as a Classification Officer you should earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The typical salary for this profession ranges from $40,000 to $45,000 per year.