What are the advantages and disadvantages of a career in Criminal Justice?

Before considering a career in criminal justice, perhaps you would like to research the advantages and disadvantages. Although there is much satisfaction in seeing the criminal behind bars, that is just one advantage. Like all other careers, there are some disadvantages to the criminology field, as well. Let’s take a look at a few of each to help you decide if you are suitable for a career in criminal justice.

As stated previously, a career in criminal justice can be a very satisfying and rewarding job. What could be better than getting the bad guy off the street, right? As a police officer or detective, you will experience the satisfaction of knowing you helped to make your community a better place to live by keeping the public safer. Employees who are happy in their jobs generally perform better, therefore, leading to better salaries.

There are many opportunities afforded to you if you own an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Police officer, detective or probation officer are just a few options, however, if you’d rather stay out of the field and in the lab, a Crime Lab Analyst may be for you. An important advantage of having a very versatile degree, such as a degree in criminal justice, is that it provides you with numerous career opportunities, as well as, always having the option to transfer your skills to another career if you so choose, at a later date.

Other advantages include job security and a profitable salary, especially within upper management. When other job markets are declining, a career in criminology does not seem to be effected, partly due to the high crime rate. The median salary in 2015 for a police officer was $60,270 annually, however, most police officers are subject to overtime and differential pay for night or weekend shifts. As of 2017, a police chief has a median annual salary of $102,413, with a range between $96,700 – $108,631. Your salary will largely depend on years of experience and population of the job location.

If your future retirement is on your mind, an officer in law enforcement generally is required to resign within 20 to 25 years after the start of their career. Lucrative retirement benefit options are available.

So, it all sounds good until you consider the biggest disadvantage of all that most career choices are not subject to … and that is the high rate of death or injury associated with law enforcement. In the event that a catastrophe occurs, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program was established which provides death, disability and higher education benefits to officers and/or family members. Although physical damage is a possibility, mental stress is also relevant when in a criminal justice career. You must consider that every unlawful situation could lead to a life-threatening possibility, which therefore, adds to the stress of your job and the possible decline of your emotional health.

The criminal never takes a break or makes a point to commit their crime between the traditional 9-5, so therefore, be prepared to work a variety of different hours, including the graveyard shift. Sometimes travel is required, however, you will be compensated for your long shift hours or travel time.

Mandatory retirement age, usually in your mid 50’s, is not always ideal for some individuals, although, most retirement package benefit programs in law enforcement reflect this requirement. At such a young retirement age, you may choose to continue your career in some other capacity such as a private investigator or security guard to supplement your income.

These advantages and disadvantages are all credible points for you, and your family, to consider while earning your online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. To most, the opportunity to serve in a law enforcement capacity, as a leader in your community, outweighs the dangers involved. Having said that, there are many other careers to consider in criminal justice that are less dangerous and just as rewarding.

We’ve chosen the top online schools for obtaining a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice to make the choice easy for you!