Criminal justice careers span several areas including law enforcement, courts, corrections and security. Within these fields, there are specialties and areas of employment that professionals can choose from, such as forensics and opportunities with the federal government for individuals in law enforcement.
Many of these careers require additional training to be qualified, but getting your bachelor’s degree is a perfect first step towards a rewarding criminal justice career.
Some lesser-known criminal justice careers include the following specialties:
A blood-splatter analyst visits the scene of a crime to locate blood samples and study blood patterns to provide insight into a crime. By looking at clues such as the location and shape of blood drops, stains, puddles and pools, the analyst can help determine where the victim and suspect moved within a crime scene, the trajectory of a projectile and how events may have unfolded. The analyst may take photographs, interact with biohazardous material, write reports and testify in court.
To become a blood-splatter analyst, you’ll need additional training to accurately discern available evidence. Training is offered and developed by the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA) and you can attend courses year-long across the country and around the world.
The median annual wage for forensic science technicians is $56,320, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Blood splatter analysts are crime scene investigators, a career classified under forensic science technicians.
U.S. Postal Inspector
A postal inspector uses forensics and modern technology to investigate criminal, civil and administrative violations of postal-related laws. Other responsibilities include working with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to solve crimes such as bank fraud, organized crime, identity theft and mail bombs.
Postal inspectors are paid at the Inspection Service Law Enforcement (ISLE) pay scale, which corresponds to the General Schedule (GS) pay scale for law enforcement officers, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Think of an arson investigator as two jobs in one – part detective and part fire scientist. After a fire is reported and subdued, arson investigators arrive on the scene to determine the cause of the fire and determine whether criminal activity is involved. Arson investigators work with fire departments, law agencies and all levels of the court system as part of their jobs.
The BLS estimates there are about 14,100 fire inspectors working in the United States, however, many fire departments and law enforcement agencies do not have an arson inspector on staff. Arson investigators complete additional training on fire investigation, research, analysis, the court system, criminal procedure and more. Arson investigators can also be specialized in bigger metropolitan areas, with some investigators focusing on electrical fires, others on vehicular fires, others on storage or warehouse fires, etc.
Crime Scene Fingerprint Analyst
If you’re interested in criminal justice technology, working as a crime scene fingerprint analyst may be an ideal career for you. Fingerprint analysts may work in the lab, in the field, or both, using technology to preserve, study and evaluate fingerprints as part of crime-scene investigations. After earning a bachelor’s degree, you can take additional training to qualify for this role from the International Association of Identification or other forensic research groups.
The BLS estimates that forensic science technicians, which includes fingerprint analysts, earn a median annual salary of $56,750 per year, with 17 percent expected growth in the field between 2016 and 2026. The industry growth is expected to help state and local governments handle the high case load currently being shouldered by today’s forensic technicians.
Pursuing a Career in Criminal Justice
Alvernia University’s online criminal justice degree provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to start or advance their career in criminal justice. The program takes place in a fully-online learning environment, allowing students to manage their busy personal and work schedules while advancing their career. And with your degree from Alvernia, you can begin to pursue some of these unique criminal justice careers and achieve your professional goals.