5 potential career paths for Criminal Justice graduates

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By Erin Eagan

Choosing a career path is no easy task. But, as always, we're here to help. For a career with a stable outlook, look no further than Criminal Justice. Careers in criminal justice offer long-term job security in a challenging and fulfilling field and can be found at the federal, state, county and local levels, as well as in the private sector. And getting hands-on, practical and intensive training is right around the corner at your local technical college.

So now that we're on the subject, what can you do with a degree in Criminal Justice? As part of the Law, Public Safety and Security career cluster, an education in Criminal Justice can offer a diverse range of career paths. Graduates of Criminal Justice programs go on to a wide variety of high-paying, rewarding careers, including, but most definitely not limited to:

Police Officer — Police officers are responsible for maintaining public safety, preventing criminal activity, and apprehending criminal offenders within their jurisdiction. Meet a Madison College graduate who is a sergeant K9 handler for the UW-Madison PD.

BLS Average Annual Wage in WI: $54,220 

Paralegal — Paralegals work under the supervision of lawyers in a range of tasks: researching the law; investigating; preparing for hearings, trials and real estate closings; interviewing clients and witnesses; and preparing legal documents and other legal correspondence. Paralegals cannot give legal advice or represent clients in court.

BLS Average Annual Wage in WI: $46,970

Security Guard — Because the work environments for security officers can vary depending on the environment in which they work, the training required can be different for each position. In general, all security officers receive some form of on-the-job training, but specific security training can encompass everything from computer systems to firearms training.

BLS Average Annual Wage in WI: $26,370 

Probation Officer — Probation officers monitor parolees, people who were convicted of crimes and sentenced to probation instead of incarceration. They ensure parolees abide by the terms of their probation while coordinating rehabilitation and arranging job training.

BLS Average Annual Wage in WI: $49,530

Police/Fire/Ambulance Dispatcher — Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers work in emergency communication centers where they receive calls for emergency and nonemergency assistance. Once information is obtained from the caller, these dispatchers activate the services necessary to respond to the nature of the call for help. Meet Amanda Moeller, a Gateway graduate who is a full-time dispatcher for Lake Geneva PD.

BLS Average Annual Wage in WI: $42,000

Keep in mind these are just five of the wide range of roles available in Criminal Justice. With so many options available, you can find a job that best suits your interests, skills, talents and salary expectations.