Criminal Justice

Which Criminal Justice Pays Well In the U.S?

Criminology and Criminal Justice

The field of criminal justice comparatively receives less credit for its earning capacity than other fields such as medicine, business, or engineering. Interestingly, the majority of people don’t go into criminal justice for the pay, but the passion drives them. However, if you look in the right place and possess the right degree, there will be numerous high-paying criminal justice jobs that exceed the six figures. Since criminology is a broad field with opportunities for everyone, criminal justice has several high-paying jobs to offer to its rightful candidates.

If we talk about the U.S. the government’s main focus is to increase security, maintain law and order, reduce crime, and rehabilitate offenders. Thus, individuals who have the proper education in the field of criminal justice can achieve the qualifications and skills essential to establish a long-term, rewarding career. Moreover, several beginner-level jobs in this field have advancement opportunities that can allow a person to achieve increments as he develops his career and grows professionally. 

So, all those wanting to pursue one of the many available criminology jobs should consider the following high-paying careers:


Lawyers are the best example of a criminal justice career with a high income. With their heavy job responsibilities, the pay is normally up to $163,000 considering they possess the required education and skills. In addition, even entry-level jobs in this career pay well. It has been reported that in May 2019 the average pay for lawyers and attorneys was $120,910. 

Moreover, lawyers spread out in all the levels of the justice system, from the smallest claim courts to the most complicated of national trials. The highest-paid lawyers include those specialists who work in the private sector, charging their desired fee for their services as defence attorneys or prosecutors. This makes the job of a lawyer three-folds lucrative and raises the earning potential. However, it is essential to keep in mind that law school is no joke. A basic bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can be a starting point to enter and pass the bar exam to become a certified law practitioner.

2. FBI Agents

As cool as being an FBI agent sounds, they have some dangerous investigating jobs. Only the most qualified candidates of law enforcement land among the FBI recruits, and even then it’s not an assured process. The difficulty and complications of this career make it one of the most well-paying jobs ranging from $66,120 to $114,000, accessible only with the help of a criminal justice degree. 

Moreover, the highest paying jobs under the FBI academy is of a Section Chief with a salary of $195,023 per year. However, it isn’t a swift process. Individuals require law enforcement experience, criminal justice experience, and the potential to pass rigid background checks along with physical examinations. Only then the entry to the FBI academy is guaranteed.  

3. JUdges

Another well-paying criminal justice job is as a judge. A judge is responsible for overseeing trials and ensuring that lawyers involved abide by the rules and regulations related to their field. Apart from settling the matters in the court and declaring verdicts for the criminals, judges are also responsible for allowing warrants and determining what can be considered as evidence in the courtroom. Because being a judge isn’t easy and needs nomination as well as appointment the pay goes up to $104,000. 

4. Private Investigators

The life of a private investigator is not as glamorous as portrayed in movies. They have a tough schedule, often working long or irregular hours. Private detectives are included among the top-paying jobs due to their difficulty and complications. They tend to work in several areas as per the case and assignment. 

Furthermore, some investigators work for themselves while others for government agencies, finance, or insurance companies. In addition, the earnings may vary according to who the detective is working for; government agencies normally pay more than finance and insurance companies, but those working for themselves have the highest earning capacity. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the average income of such detectives ranges between $90,000-$93,000 per year.

5. Forensic Psychologist

Among the top-paying criminal justice careers, forensic psychologists earn exclusive dollars for their unique qualifications and advanced knowledge of human behaviour. Job roles of forensic psychologists may include a combination of clinical work and data analysis. However, they vary by industry and the given case. They get to interview suspects, counsel the imprisoned. Also, have to work with law enforcement, attorneys as well as the court system to assist the prosecuting criminals. 

To be a forensic psychologist one has to be a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialisation in criminal justice. This makes the job of a forensic psychologist significant thus the earning capacity ranges from $79,010-$85,000 annually. Today, this job is one of the most rewarding criminal justice degree jobs available. 

6. Financial Examiners

With an annual salary varying between $79,000-$80,180, financial examiners are responsible for auditing the finances of different companies. These examiners are professionally trained in financial mathematics along with law enforcement to inspect. They may work for a private business specialising in such investigations. If a firm is accused of money laundering, embezzlement, or any sort of financial fraud, a financial examiner will figure it out 


The field of criminal justice is huge, offering several opportunities for people. With so many options for well-paying careers in criminal justice, it makes this field immensely lucrative. However, it’s important to remember that all the jobs under criminal justice have immense earning potential. Whereas, to be able to access it proper education along with professional training is the requirement.

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