Private Investigator is Top 5 Highest Paying Careers in Criminal Justice.


If you are thinking of entering into the criminal justice system, there are a variety of high paying careers for candidates who have diverse experience and the right education behind them.

With the U.S government focusing on increasing security, deterring crime, and rehabilitating offenders, those who choose to study programs within the field of criminal justice will gain the right skills and expertise needed to go on and have long-term lucrative careers.

Job security and financial stability are crucial factors that you must take into consideration before embarking on a career in criminal justice. Here are the top 5 highest paid roles in this sector, giving you a better indication on which route is right for you.


Lawyers (otherwise known as attorneys) represent parties in criminal and civil trials, advising their clients on what their legal rights and obligations are.

The main role of a lawyer is to act as an advisor or advocate, offering sound business advice or personal courses of action to their clients which are based upon the knowledge of laws, research, and judicial decisions. Lawyers may choose to specialize in one particular sector of law, including:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal law
  • Civil law
  • Public interest
  • Intellectual Property

If you would like to become a lawyer, you will need to undergo a 4-year undergraduate degree, as well as attend a law school for 3 years to advance to the bar examinations which are mandatory to qualify for employment. At present, lawyers can expect to make between $74,000 – $163,000 per year.

Private Investigators & Detectives

The main duty of a private investigator and detective is to provide specific law enforcement techniques which are used to maintain laws, solve crimes, gather evidence, and examine records. To gain facts, private investigators must conduct interviews, observe their clients, as well as be present for raids or arrests.

Many detectives start out as police officers after successfully completing written examinations, psychological testing, as well as physical fitness.

Professionals in law enforcement begin to advance by earning experience and additional training within the law enforcement sector. Most private investigators and detectors can expect to earn between $59,000 – $92,000 per year.

Police Officers

Police officers are responsible for maintaining public order, collecting evidence, as well as pursuing and apprehending individuals who commit crimes. They are also responsible for responding to calls from those in need of their assistance.

Police officers may work for state, federal, or local agencies where they are expected to follow a strict code of conduct regarding their duties and responsibilities, while enforcing laws.

If you are interested in becoming a police officer, there are a variety of tests that you will need to undergo, which include:

  • Medical tests
  • Written tests
  • Physical fitness tests
  • Psychological evaluations

These types of tests are used to demonstrate the individuals physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities to qualify as a police officer.

Once you have passed all mandatory tests, you can advance onto a police academy where you will undergo a range of training programs that will teach you the key skills and traits needed to succeed as a police officer. Earnings for police officers currently range between $38,000 – $64,000 per year.

Federal Marshals

Federal marshals are crucial components of the U.S. governments executive branch.

These agents are in charge of securing federal courts, guarding court officers, as well as making sure the judicial system operation is effective by maintaining security, issuing arrest warrants, as well as transporting prisoners. Other duties that a federal marshal must do include serving court documents, managing and selling assets, as well as protecting federal witnesses.

To become a federal marshal, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, as well as have a number of years of work experience behind you.

Before qualifying as a U.S. marshal, you will also need to attend an academy which involves 17 weeks of basic training consisting of course studies and practical experience. Once you have gained the right skills and credentials, individuals who gain employment as a federal marshal can find themselves earning $38,000 – $48,000 yearly.

Forensics Analysts

A forensic analyst works within the criminal justice system. The main roles of a forensic analyst are to gather, evaluate, and identify physical evidence linked to law enforcement investigations. Forensic analysts work in all sorts of environments, including:

  • State crime labs
  • Morgues
  • Crime scenes

A forensic analyst also works closely with police departments, medical examiners, hospital staff, and toxicology lab technicians. There are various fields that a forensic analyst can specialize in, such as handwriting, biochemistry, and fingerprinting. At present, forensic analysts can have salaries ranging between $37,000 – $58,000 per year.

Gaining Skills & Qualifications

No matter what sort of career you would like to go into, a role in criminal justice will require you to undergo thorough training and education. For example, if you would like to become a private investigator or detective, there are various degrees that you can study for which will equip you with everything you need to know.

A police studies degree is crucial for this role, so studying for an Honours BA in Policing can provide you with the credentials and foundations you need to accomplish your goals and help you stand out from competitors.

There are various other roles that many graduates from a BA Hons in Policing go into, including:

  • Chief of police
  • Deputy chief of police
  • Inspector
  • Sergeant major
  • Staff superintendent

If you have a passion for helping those in need and are willing to put the hard work in, a career in criminal justice may be the perfect option for you. Regardless of the sector you would like to go into, it’s crucial that you have the right skillset, qualifications, and credentials in place first in order to qualify.

In addition to having experience and qualifications, you will need to possess a range of crucial skills such as knowing how to communicate effectively and being confident in your abilities, and you need to have the confidence and drive to ensure those you serve are protected and safe.