4 Careers in Criminal Justice

When many people think of a career in criminal justice, they automatically think of a career as a police officer. However, there are many more professions within criminal justice that may be of interest to you.

1. A Career as an ATF Agent

ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. An ATF agent enforces the laws governing the sale, possession and use of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Agents work closely with other agencies of law enforcement, including local law enforcement and other federal agencies. In order to become an ATF agent, you must have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. You must also be a US citizen and at least 21 years old. You must submit an application to the agency, and undergo physical and academic testing. Once completed and accepted, you will undergo intensive training. The starting salary of an ATF agent is approximately $30,000 at a G5 level (which is the hiring level), and salaries continue to go up through the G13 level.

2. A Career as a Court Clerk

Court clerks are the backbone of the court system, as most administrative positions are. Court clerks organize all of the documents, schedules and information behind the scenes in order for court proceedings to run smoothly. Court clerks in addition to other tasks, prepare the schedule of court cases to be heard, proof read legal document and forms, manage and maintain court document and keep minutes of trials. Though a college degree is not required for many court clerk positions, it is desirable. Also, for a position in a federal court it is usually required, and further, advanced degrees may be required as well. To apply for a court clerk position, you apply directly with the court system within which you want to work. A court clerk's average salary is about $28,000.

3. A Career as a Customs Agent

Customs agents are law enforcement agents that are responsible for investigating money laundering, drug smuggling and arms dealing, as well as other areas of the law that involve both foreign and domestic investigations. To become a customs agent, a bachelors degree in criminal justice is required. Applicants must apply to the US Department of Homeland Security, and must be US citizens of at least 21 years of age. Applicants, like ATF agents must undergo physical and academic testing. Once accepted, customs agents also undergo an intensive training program. The salary of a customs agent is similar to that of an ATF agent, and with similar upward mobility.

4. A Career as a Bailiff

Bailiffs provide the security throughout the courthouse, including inside the court room. They keep order in the court per the judge's instructions, and also announce the judge's arrival or departure from the court room. Bailiffs also escort prisoners, and witnesses, as may be necessary. Requirements for a career as a bailiff differ in different locations, but it is recommended that one have an associate's degree in criminal justice. The starting salary of a bailiff is approximately $27,000.

Criminal justice careers are available for varying degrees of education, but it is recommended that applicants considering criminal justice have some related education. Certificate programs, in addition to associates degree and bachelor degree programs are available.