The field of criminal justice varies greatly, as well as the salaries of criminal justice professionals. Depending on what field you specialize in, and in the type of work that you do, will all reflect in criminal justice salary scales. Below are some of the more popular, and varied, criminal justice professions, their duties and their corresponding salaries.

Police Officer

Duties may vary depending on state or local affiliation, but police officers keep regular patrols of a specified area. They respond to calls as they come in, assess a situation and take the proper action. They have the legal authority to detain and arrest law violators. Police officers often find themselves in a dangerous situation, but with the proper training and protective gear, more often than not they are safe.

Police officers and patrollers work in urban areas, rural areas and everything in between, like schools and marinas. They can specialize for different units or response teams like SWAT (special weapons and tactics), or even in different things like horseback, motorcycle or harbor patrol. Detectives are trained to interview suspects and find evidence of a crime. Police officer specialization is huge, and salary figures will reflect those differences.

Police Officer Mean Salary: $ 55,180
Fish and Game Warden Mean Salary: $ 54,950
Transportation Officer Mean Salary: $ 52,350
Detective Mean Salary: $ 65,860

Probation or Corrections Officer

In a 2009 report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were over 7 million prison inmates, people on probation or parole. You can be sure that with a high number, there are plenty of corrections and probation officers keeping convicts and ex-convicts in line. These men and women are frequently dealing with violent people, or at least ones that have led hardened lifestyles. Different types of training are needed for each segment of this incarceration nation – from people trained to guard cells to those that are help ex-convicts and their families get back on their feet.

Probation or Correction Officer Mean Salary: $ 50,500


One of the more “prestigious”criminal justice careers, this field requires a lot more education than the previous ones. Lawyers are adept at interpreting the law, providing counsel, and guiding a defendant through a court case for the best outcome for their party. Lawyer specialties range far and wide as well, anything from divorce court, estate, or international laws. Since each specialty will require more specific education or experience, different lawyers may have higher or lower salary than the average.

Lawyer Mean Salary: $ 129,020

Criminal Justice is a decidedly huge field. Choosing the right career will require research and knowledge of what you want to do at the start. Each career will require a different amount of education, training and experience. But as you continue up the ladder, take note that salaries of criminal justice professionals rise as well.

Sarah writes about Online Education for – a resource site for those interested in earning a degree online.

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