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Criminal Justice Careers

The following map displays the number of protectice service professionals (including by criminal justice and law enforcement officers) on a state by state basis in all 50 US states. Dark green states represent those states that employ the largest number of criminal justice professionals. Light green states employ the least number of law enforcement and criminal justice professionals.

The table below lists the US states where the largest number of criminal justice professionals and law enforcement officers are employed, along with the location quotient and mean wage for each state.

The location quotients, as displayed in the table above and map below, represent the ratio of the concentration of criminal justice and law enforcement professionals employed in a state to the average concentration for the entire nation. A state with a location quotient less than once indicates that the state has a larger share of employment of criminal justice professionals than the national average.

The following map of the United States displays the location quotient for criminal justice and law enforcement professionals (“Protect Service Occupations”) for each state in nation.

The following table lists those US states with the highest location quotient for protective service occupations.

Mean hourly way

Mean annual wage

District of Columbia

Salary and Wage Data

There are many factors that influence the earning potential for criminal justice professionals and law enforcement officers. These include (1) specialty, (2) experience, (3) industry and (4) location. While all these factors influence the salary and wage a criminal justice professional can expect to earn, location has one of the biggest impacts on compensation. For example, a probation officer working in Nebraska can expect to earn roughly $35,000 a year. However, that same probation officer, with the same level of training and experience, will make over $55,000 a year fulfilling the same job responsibilities working in New York City. As you consider where you want to work, you’ll also want to consider relative earnings for that region.

The following table shows the hourly and annual wage for each percentile of criminal justice and law enforcement professionals working in the United States.

The following map of the United States shows the annual mean wage for all criminal justice and law enforcement professionals on a state by state basis. Those states shown in dark blue have the highest annual mean wage, where those in light blue have the lowest annual mean wage.

The following table lists the 5 states with the highest mean wage for criminal justice professionals along with total employment, location quotient, mean hourly wage and mean annual wage figures. (Note: the Mean wage is where 50% of workers make more, while 50% of workers make less.)

Mean hourly way

Mean annual wage

District of Columbia

The following table lists the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest mean wage for criminal justice professionals along with total employment, location quotient, mean hourly wage and mean annual wage figures.

Mean hourly way

Mean annual wage

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA

Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA Division

San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division

The following table lists the the 5 non-metro areas that have the highest mean wage for criminal justice and law enforcement professionals.

Mean hourly way

Mean annual wage

Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area

Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area

Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area

Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area

Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area

Job Outlook

Unfortunately, crime is not decreasing. Our nation faces greater threats to its domestic and national security than ever before. Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job growth in criminal justice and law enforcement is expected to be about the same as the average for all other occupations, law enforcement agencies are going to be looking for criminal justice professionals with specialized skills, knowledge and backgrounds. While there are a few entry-level positions in criminal justice and law enforcement that don’t require a degree, positions will be most plentiful for those candidates that have an advanced degree in criminal justice, technology, cybercrimes, linguistics, psychology, forensic science, chemistry, computer science, and accounting. If you really want to set yourself apart from other job seekers, earning a master’s degree or Phd is recommended. Most entry-level criminal justice positions at minimum will require a 4-year college degree.

The BLS estimates that between 2014 and 2024 job growth for criminal justice occupations will average right around 12%. Law enforcement agencies will primarily be looking to hire police officer, detectives, and private security professionals. Federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DIA and DEA, will also be hiring new recruits and agents, but not as many. There will be a lot of competition for criminal justice jobs within federal law enforcement agencies. Job opportunities will be best for candidates with specializeds skills and training. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will all be seeking candidates with specialized computer technology skills.

The following table shows the projected job growth as a percentage increase between 2014 and 2024 for several of the more popular criminal justice and law enforcement occupations.

Police and Detectives

Private Detectives and Investigators

Forensic Scientist/Science Technician

Correctional Treatment Specialist

Information Security Analyst

Top 10 Articles

Criminal Justice / Law Enforcement Programs


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