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Criminal Justice Careers by Field

The terms criminal justice and criminology are often used interchangeably, but the two fields are different. Criminology explores the anatomy of crime and criminal behavior, includig its causes, consequences and costs. Criminal justice, refers specifically to the societal system(s) established to deal with crime, with focus on the detection of crime, detaining of criminals, and criminal prosecution and punishment. There are three main components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts and corrections. Students pursuing career opportunities in criminal justice will have the opportunity to study the different components of criminal justice system. Students pursuing a career as criminologist, will study the backgrounds, psychology, behavioral patterns and sociological trends of criminals. While both fields are different, criminologists and criminal justice professionals work together to fight the criminal element.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice are diverse career fields--providing hundreds of exciting job opportunities both domestic and abroad. The first step to launching a successful career in law enforcement is to explore the different career options available. Below you can explore a large variety of criminal justice jobs organized by category.

Criminology

Criminology
Criminology is the study of the anatomy of a crime, specifically its causes, consequences and costs.

Courts

Courts & Judicial System
The primary purpose of the courts is to determine the guilt or innocence of suspected criminals and pass sentencing.

Corrections

Corrections & Rehabilitation
The U.S. corrections system is responsible for enforcing punishments and carrying out sentencing as mandated by the courts. The corrections system is made up of incarceration, probation and parole.

Employment Statistics

Protective services occupations include law enforcement and criminal justice occupations such as Police and Detectives, Detectives and Criminal Investigators, Correctional Officers, Jailers, Sheriffs Security Guards, Private Detectives and Investigators, and various other protective service professionals.

The industries that employ the largest number of law enforcement, criminal justice and protective service professionals include those listed in the following table.

Industry Employment % of Industry Employment Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Local Government 1,378,200 25.1% $26 $53,170
Investigative and Security Services 668,400 80.1% $13 $26,600
State Government 391,000 17.8% $25 $51,000
Federal Government 147,800 7.4% $31 $65,000
Elementary and Secondary Education Institutions 69,900 .8% $39 $81,000
The map below shows the number of protective service professionals by state throughout the United States. Protective service occupations include both law enforcement and criminal justice professionals.

The states that employ the largest number of protective service and law enforcement professionals are listed in the table below.

State Employment Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
California 353,000 .98 $25 $52,900
Texas 284,500 1.06 $19.5 $40,600
New York 276,800 1.30 $25 $52,300
Florida 222,000 1.21 $19 $40,000
Illinois 145,500 1.04 $23 $47,600
The location quotient is the ratio of the concentration of protective services professionals employed in a given state to the national average concentration. A location quotient that is less than one indicates the occupation has a greater share of employment than average.

The map below shows the location quotient for protective service service occupations by state as of 2013.

The states that have the highest location quotient and concentratoin of protective services jobs are listed in the following table.

State Employment Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
District of Columbia 28,400 1.73 $27 $56,500
Hawaii 21,000 1.42 $20 $40,600
Nevada 38,600 1.36 $20 $20,700
New York 276,800 1.3 $25 $52,300
Arizona 77,600 1.28 $21 $44,200

Salary and Wage Data

Salary and wages for protective service and law enforcement professionals is influenced by several factors: level of education, industry, specialty and location. All things being equal, location is one of the biggest factors influencing salary and wage level for law enforcement workers. For example, a corrections office working in California on average can expect to make about $55,000 a year. That same worker, handling the same responsibility, in Oklahoma will make about $30,000 a year. When considering where you want to work as a law enforcement professional, average compensation level for each state is something you'll want to consider.

The table below shows the national percentile wage estimates for protective service and law enforcement professionals in the United States.

Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $9.13 $11.73 $17.68 $27.34 $38.03
Annual Wage $18,990 $24,390 $36,770 $56,860 $79,100
The map below shows the annual mean wage of protective service and law enforcement professionals across the United States. (Note: the mean wage is the middle wage - 50% of workers make less then the mean wage while 50% make more.)

The table below shows the states that offer the highest wage and compensation level for protective service and law enforcement professionals.

State Employment Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
District of Columbia 28,400 1.73 $27.15 $56,500
New Jersey 99,000 1.05 $26.80 $55,900
California 353,000 .98 $25 $52,900
Alaska 7,890 1.00 $25.25 $52,500
New York 276,800 1.30 $25.15 $52,300
The table below shows the top metropolitan areas in the United States offering highest wage and compensation level for protective service and law enforcement professionals. Again, wage level shown below is the Median - about 50% of professionals make less than the mediam wage, while 50% make more.

Metro area Employment Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Hanford-Corcoran, CA 3,780 4.11 $34.50 $71,700
El Centro, CA 3,840 3.01 $32 $66,500
Salinas, CA 4,300 1.12 $31.50 $65,500
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 2,960 .99 $31.45 $65,400
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ 2,820 1.97 $31.20 $64,900
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 2,940 1.17 $30.70 $63,880
Bakersfield-Delano, CA 9,290 1.31 $29.70 $61,770
Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA Division 2,760 1.25 $29.65 $61,700
Bellingham, WA 1,600 .85 $29.65 $61,700
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division 24,760 .96 $29.40 $61,150
The table below shows the nonmetropolitan areas with the highest pay for protective service and law enforcement professionals.

Nonmetropolitan area Employment Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area 3,480 2.32 $31.30 $65,000
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area 2,580 2.78 $30.20 $62,800
Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area 1,240 1.90 $29.35 $61,100
Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area 2,020 1.11 $28.70 $59,700
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area 4,720 3.25 $28.20 $58,700
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