Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It? in 2023

Is a criminal justice major or a criminal justice degree worth it? that’s we’re going to be going over today talk about personal finance college degrees careers and opportunities that are going to lead you to success and we also go over how you can avoid some of the common mistakes that so many people end up making.

What is a Criminal Justice Major?

As a criminal justice major, you would be studying law enforcement techniques as well as emergency management strategies. you’d also be working on the skills that you would need in order to work in a court or a correctional facility.

Now, this is a very common major and a lot of people graduate with it every year there are also different versions of this one so, for instance, there’s one that’s a criminal justice and law enforcement administration degree with 15,000 graduates.

And another one that’s criminal justice and safety studies with 30,000 graduates and depending on which field you want to go to different programs throughout the country are going to have different concentrations.

Now of course one career path you could go into is becoming a law enforcement officer but you could also study forensics you could go into criminal justice administration you could work as a prison guard.

There are a lot of different career paths you can go down with this one and we’re gonna get into that a little bit later. now with these Post when it comes to evaluating these different degrees I like to break it down into four different categories.

Salary or Earning Potential

Salary or earning potential now according to pay scale people who graduate with this degree are going to make around $40,000 a year starting out and $66,000 in mid-career pay.

Now when you compare this to an extremely high-paying degree like petroleum engineering or a low-paying degree like recreational therapy you see that it is kind of on the lower side.

Now like i said before one career path you might go down is becoming a police officer or a detective and they’re gonna make around $65,000 a year.

however when you look at the amount of education that you need you’re going to notice that it says see how to become one and the reason it has a link to something else is because it’s complicated the educational requirements are going to change depending on the state you live in the city you live in and all kinds of other factors.

so for instance there are many law enforcement positions that don’t require any degree whatsoever sometimes you have to go to a police academy sometimes you have to wait until you’re 21 years old in order to apply for the police job there are certain jobs that require you to take a few classes there’s some that require an associate’s degree some require a bachelor’s degree.

however very few of them require you to specifically get a criminal justice degree and that is a big problem which we’re going to touch on a little bit more later one career path that typically is going to require you to get a degree would be a probation officer or a correctional treatment specialist.

they make around 54,000 a year but usually, you don’t have to get a criminal justice degree in order to get into that career path either and there are honestly a ton of other careers out there that you could get into if you’re interested in criminal justice and most of them don’t require you to have a criminal justice degree.

now there’s a lot of variability in this degree so for instance you can graduate with a bachelor in science or a bachelor of arts and there’s also a lot of variabilities depending on what school you go to and what their focuses are.

now with that being said most people consider this one to be a social science degree and these types of degrees make around 2.5 million dollars over a lifetime which is slightly above average which is 2.4 million for all different types of college degrees. so overall all things being equal I’m going to give this one a salary score of 6.5 out of 10. 


best jobs for criminal justice students

satisfaction and I’m going to break this one up into two different areas we’re going to talk about meaning and then job satisfaction so the meaning is basically how much do you think your job positively impacts the world and job satisfaction is how much do you enjoy doing your job so when it comes to meaning according to pay scale a criminal justice degree is going to have a score of about 56 percent which means 56 of people think that their job positively significantly impacts the world.

you can compare this to a really high meaning score like most of the health-related degrees have high scores or a really low meaning score like plastics engineering technology

and you’ll see that this one is relatively average it definitely doesn’t pop out but it’s also not really bad. now when you look at specific careers on pay scale like let’s say you become a detective or a criminal investigator they say that the meaning score is around 78 percent and job satisfaction is going to be 74 you can compare this to one where both are really high like clergy or one where both are really low like parking lot attendant

and you see that this one is going to be average or even higher than average so that’s definitely going to be a good sign and I would say a lot of the time if you go into law enforcement you’re going to end up working in a government job now whether that be state local sometimes you might even work for the federal government.

government jobs tend to be relatively high when it comes to job satisfaction they’re relatively chill as well I’m not going to get into too much detail here and depending on what the job is I mightm be completely wrong here but a lot of the time government jobs tend to be relatively low stress.

this is what I’ve experienced when I’ve done internships for instance and what my friends have experienced when we’ve talked about different careers that they went into and I’m sure that will be different depending on the career path that you go down.

now when it comes to the amount of people who regret getting their major social science degrees tend to be some of the highest regretted types of majors so for instance they’re the fourth most regretted type of major at 29 of the people who get a social science degree regretting it and the reason is that they’re too general impractical and it’s hard to find a job without further studies however i will say here that a lot of the time it has less to do with the actual job that you work in and more to do with the company that you work for or sometimes even the industry that you work in as well

it’s also extremely subjective there are so many different things that can change your satisfaction it could be the people that you work with the area that the job is in for instance is it in a big city or is it in the middle of nowhere.

so satisfaction is extremely subjective you know for one person it could be 10 out of 10 and for another person, the same exact job could be 1 out of 10. but with that being said i’m going to give this one a score of 8 out of 10.


when it comes to demand this is usually the most important metric because demand tends to influence everything else if there are skills that you learn with your degree that are high in demand people will tend to pay you more you’ll have a lot more options you can live in more places businesses will also tend to treat you a lot better so you’re going to have a lot more opportunity to move up in the business.

you might get a lot of benefits and perks so usually demand is the most important thing but it can get a little bit weird when you talk about government jobs a lot of the time when it comes to government jobs they’ll hire people even though there’s not a lot of demand for that skill on the open market.

and like i mentioned before this is a degree that will probably lead quite a few people to go into a government job but with that being said when it comes to the demand police officers are growing at about 5 over the next 10 years which is a little bit faster than average.

and probation officers or correctional treatment specialists are growing at four percent which is about average so one thing that I like to talk about on this Website sometimes is if you get a degree where there’s not a lot of demand for the skill on the open market sometimes it’s a good idea to look into government-related jobs.

now with that being said one test that I like to do this isn’t a perfect test by any means but it can tell you some really important things is I’ll look on either or and type in the degree name so for instance, when you type in the keyword criminal justice degree you’ll see that 9,600 jobs pop up.

you can compare that to a degree that’s high in demand like computer science where 141,000 pop up or one that’s low in demand like anthropology where 829 jobs pop up and you see that it’s actually not that bad it’s higher than average when it comes to the number of people who have that as a keyword in the job description.

now with that being said the big issue here and this is something that i mentioned before and it’s kind of a red flag to look out for with a lot of different degrees is that a lot of the jobs you can go into don’t actually require a criminal justice degree.

so when you look at a lot of these different job descriptions and you click on them you’ll see that criminal justice degree is listed there but it’s not a requirement many of them you can apply for with just a high school diploma and if they do require a degree you can get into it with just about any degree out there. so that’s kind of a big issue and because of that I’m gonna have to give this one a six out of ten when it comes to demand


this is basically anything that we didn’t mention before so a lot of the time I’ll talk about how likely something is to be automated or outsourced and I like to go into how valuable the skills are as well as how flexible the degree is in general.

now like I mentioned before the census bureau says that social science degree graduates are going to make slightly above average at 2.5 million dollars over a lifetime which the average is around 2.4 million.

and that’s going to vary quite a bit depending on what career path that you end up going into so for instance if you want to become a manager with a social science degree they make on average 3.4 million over a lifetime which is a lot more.

so if you’re able to combine your social science degree skillset with a leadership kind of management skill set you can make quite a bit of money but with that being said when it comes to how much the market values these skills.

the skill of criminal justice it’s not very much unfortunately so according to ZipRecruiter software engineering is valued at 88 out of 100 industrial sowings is 8 out of 100 which is really low and criminal justice comes in at 15.

so it’s definitely on the lower side and that’s not to say the skill of criminal justice doesn’t have value this is more a gauge of how much demand there is on the open market at this particular time in history for this skill set.

this is actually pretty common for a lot of government-related jobs where there’s not a lot of demand for it because the government is already taking care of it and you can see why there’s such an imbalance here because it’s one of the most popular degrees lots of people graduate with it every year but unfortunately, there are not all that many jobs out there for people who have that particular skill set that the major teaches.

criminal justice degree is a waste

like I mentioned before there are tons of jobs out there that don’t require a criminal justice degree so you’re competing against just about anybody out there who has a degree or sometimes people who just have a high school diploma now when it comes to the likelihood of automation or outsourcing this is where the degree really shines.

so a lot of these social science-related degrees are never going to be outsourced because robots simply will never be able to have the soft skills that social sciences teach so for instance there’s only a one percent chance that forensic science technicians are going to be automated.

however weirdly there’s a 34 chance that detectives and criminal investigators are going to get automated according to this study that’s probably because we have all this new technology that’s popping out with cameras everywhere and all kinds of stuff like that and so they don’t need as many detectives to do the same job.

now going back to my point about soft skills that’s where a lot of these social science degrees really shine so they might not directly lead to you making a lot of money there’s not a lot of jobs out there for many of these social science degrees but they’ll teach you skills that will end up indirectly helping you out in many areas of your life including financially.

things like communication giving a speech formulating an argument are things that you’re going to learn in spades with a lot of these social science degrees but with that being said I have to be fair and objective here and when it comes to the numbers there’s clearly an imbalance here between the people who graduate with this degree and the actual need on the market.

and so I’m going to have to give this one a 5 out of 10 when it comes to x-factors so some of the pros here are that it’s going to have good job satisfaction a lot of the time you’re going to end up working in government jobs which depending on your personality might be really good for you.

there’s also a relatively low chance of automation we’re always going to have police and detectives out there some of the cons here are the pay is going to be relatively low and this is kind of just government jobs, in general, the pay does tend to be kind of low but they have pretty good benefits.

some of the cons are that there might be some occupational hazards so obviously if you’re a police officer you’re going to be putting your life on the line and many of the occupations don’t actually need a degree and the ones that do need a degree specifically they usually don’t need a criminal justice degree.

so overall I’m going to give this one a score of 6.375 out of 10. I think it’s very important that you do your research if you want to go for this major a lot of the time if you do your research you’re going to find that you don’t actually need to get a college degree in many cases and specifically a criminal justice degree in order to get into the career path that you were looking into.

if you do your research and you talk to people in that career path and you ask them hey is a college degree going to help me and they tell you yes it will help you if you want to try to go for this then by all means you should definitely go for the degree and also keep in mind that this is extremely subjective for one person this might be a ten out of ten and for another person it might be a one out of ten.

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