criminal justice Administration

Job Spotlight - Criminal Justice Administration

Earning your degree in Criminal Justice Administration can be a great way to jump start your future in areas related to the criminal justice system. This may be a perfect time to get involved in criminal justice-related work as the population continues to increase along with a growing demand for personal and public safety. By learning to work as a Criminal Justice Administrator you may find a lot of open doors for new and expansive employment opportunities.

Quick Facts: Top Jobs For a Criminal Justice Administration Degree
Occupation2015 Median Annual SalaryRecommended Education2014-2024 Projected Outlook2014 Number of Jobs2014- 2024 Estimated Job Growth
Judges$109,010Doctoral degree-1% (little or no change)44,800-400
Forensic Science Technicians$56,320Bachelor’s degree27% (much faster than average)14,4003,800
Attorneys$115,820Doctoral degree6% (as fast as average)778,70043,800
Paralegals$48,810Associate’s degree8% (as fast as average)279,50021,200
Community Service Managers$63,530Bachelor’s degree10% (faster than average)138,50013,200
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Professors$58,040Doctoral degree13% (faster than average)16,4002,100

Resource: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Criminal Justice Administration FAQs

On this website you will learn answers to some of the questions you may have about a Criminal Justice Administration degree.

What is Criminal Justice Administration?

Criminal Justice Administration is the study of theories, processes and practices of criminal justice and organizations for administrative needs of law enforcement agencies and other operations. Law enforcement is a used as a broad term to include the police, courts, victims, corrections and crime investigations. These programs will instruct students on organizational leadership, advocacy, public relations, budgeting, legal responsibilities and the practice of law enforcement.

Criminal Justice Administration can lead to a vast number of critically necessary careers that range from fighting crime on the streets to incarceration and rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. These jobs can be exciting, dangerous and overall rewarding both emotionally and financially.

How Can I Become a Criminal Justice Administrator?

Quick Info: Working in Criminal Justice Administration
Recommended Education
• Graduate high school or get GED
• Earn at least an associate’s degree
• Bachelor’s degree is highly recommended
• Post-graduate degree for better opportunities and advancement
• Get involved in an internship program
• Speak with your program advisor for opportunities
• Pick an area that most interests you

If you want to work in the Criminal Justice Administration field, it is highly recommended that you pursue a post-secondary education (college). You will find that most colleges, universities and community colleges offer Criminal Justice Administration as a degree program. The level of degree you will want to pursue is very dependent on the type of job you would like to get in to.

Plus, let’s face it, like most professions, a higher education in Criminal Justice Administration can open up a wider range of possibilities as well as a higher salary.

High School Degree

There are some jobs in Criminal Science Administration that only require a high school diploma. These jobs are entry-level with little room for advancement. However, it is possible to advance with hard work but you will be at a disadvantage against those holding a college degree.

Associate of Science Degree

You should have more job opportunities with an associate degree in Criminal Science Administration than with just a high school diploma. Advancement potential is dependent on the rules and requirements of the agency you work for. It is possible to further enhance your opportunities by going back to school for your bachelor degree.

Bachelor of Science Degree

For the most part, you will find that a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration is your best bet when you start looking for a job. By earning your BS, you will meet the minimum educational requirement for most of the positions in this field. And even though some jobs require only a high school degree or an Associate of Science, your bachelor degree in Criminal Justice Administration can give you a keen edge on your competition for the job.

Advanced Degrees

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration is a perfect way to get in to the field you want. However, if you are looking for more or would like to get a supervisory role then you may need to pursue a higher degree. Advanced degrees like a Master of Science will provide you the knowledge and tools for leadership and organizational management. Plus, it can also come in handy when trying to get a promotion in government run agencies like the FBI, INS, DEA or U.S. Marshalls.


While attending college for your Criminal Justice Administration degree, you will want to get involved in an internship program. Internships provide students a chance to gain real world experience that can be helpful when looking for a job as well as understanding the job. You should check with your program adviser to see if an internship is something you will want to have.

You should know before jumping in to an internship that the selection process can be very competitive. You will need to show your “A” game in order to get picked for an internship with most agencies. This means not only being towards the top of your class grade wise but also hitting a home run in the interview process.

Some of the national agencies that have intern programs include:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

U.S. Treasury 

On-the-Job Experience

One thing to consider is that you may have to go through hands-on instruction at any place you find employment. This typically means working with someone already experienced with the job and following their lead. In some cases, it may mean learning through a self-defense or police academy program.

Other Training Options

If school isn’t your bag you could always enlist in the military. Each branch of the military has their own law enforcement branch trained to keep the peace and investigate criminal wrong doings. This may be a great way to not only get experience in law enforcement but also get paid to do it. Not only that but traditionally military experience has been seen as an advantage for those looking to get in to law enforcement and Criminal Justice Administration.

Where Can I Find Criminal Justice Administration Schools?

There are a few ways you can find a school has a Criminal Justice Administration degree program. You can ask your high school counselor. A friend who currently works for a law enforcement agency. Or just look on the internet. The fact is, you will find that there are plenty of universities that have a Criminal Justice Administration program.

Before you apply for any college you will want to do some due diligence to make sure you are picking the right school for you. You will need to do some research to make sure that the university is an accredited institution and the Criminal Justice Administration department has a respected program. A little research ahead of time can go a long way when it comes to preparing for college.


The entrance requirements may vary from institution to institution so it will be imperative that you contact the admissions office of any college or university that you have an interest in to find out what their specific requirements are. Some of the common prerequisites for admission include:

  • A high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Be able to supply high school transcripts
  • Test scores from the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the ACT
  • Written essay or a writing sample
  • Placement exam

Are There Criminal Justice Administration Online Programs?

Yes there are! Some of the most respected and reputable accredited colleges have online programs. You will have the ability to get your Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration while studying from home or anywhere you have a strong internet connection.

If you already have your bachelor degree, you can further your education by taking one of the master degree programs. Pursuing your Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration is fairly common since most people looking to get the higher level degree are most likely already working in the field. By taking online classes, they are able to continue working while studying to improve their station in life.

How Long do Criminal Justice Administration Programs Take?

The answer to this question depends on the type of degree you would like to pursue and your focus to finish school. Below we have listed the average amount of time it takes to complete the requirements for your degree.

  • Associate of Science – 18 to 24 months
  • Bachelor of Science – 4 years
  • Master of Science – 2 to 3 years after completing your bachelor degree
  • Military service – four years

What Will I Learn in Criminal Justice Administration Programs?

While pursuing your bachelor or master degrees in Criminal Justice Administration you will cover a fairly wide range of topics related to your field. The types of classes and the core requirements may vary from school to school depending on their strengths and weaknesses, but you should still receive an education that will help you secure a job.

Even though your major may be Criminal Justice Administration you will still take a few general education classes to help round out your experience. These courses usually include English Composition, Technical Writing, History, Mathematics, Psychology and Statistics.

The core Criminal Justice Administration classes are your bread and butter. This is where you will learn the principles, concepts and practices of CJA as well as gaining the necessary management skills. Listed below are some typical programs that you will take that does relate directly with your major. These include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
  • Crime and Criminal Behavior
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Corrections, Probation and Parole
  • Diversity in Criminal Justice
  • Mental Health Crisis and Intervention
  • Victimology and Domestic Violence
  • Constitutional Law
  • Law Enforcement
  • Comparative Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Investigation
  • International Justice Systems
  • Terrorism
  • Crime Analysis
  • Corrections Institutional Management
  • Police and Community Relations
  • Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Workplace Security
  • Supervision
  • Criminal Evidence and Legal Issues
  • Organization and Administration

What is the Criminal Justice Administration Job Description?

There are a couple of different routes that you can choose with a degree in Criminal Justice Administration. These options are law enforcement or becoming part of the administrative process. Let’s look closer at these choices.

Law Enforcement

To work for the police department you will have to take and complete training through a police academy or similar type of a program. This training will give you the hands-on experience of handling firearms, arresting criminals and other duties associated with law enforcement.

Examples of Career Choices in Law Enforcement include:

  • Police Officer
  • Sheriff
  • Police Detective
  • Border Patrol
  • FBI Agent
  • CIA Agent
  • Fish and Game Warden
  • Correctional Officer
  • Customs Inspector
  • ATF Agent
  • U.S. Marshall
  • Diplomatic Security Special Agent
  • Homeland Security
  • Criminal Investigator
  • DEA Agent
  • Juvenile Corrections Officer
Administrative Work

You may or may not have to attend a police academy to work on the administrative side. This depends on the regulations of the agency or department you work for. However, since a number of jobs are dealing with dangerous individuals, some instruction in self-defense or something similar can be very handy.

Examples of administrative personnel includes:

  • Lawyer*
  • Professor*
  • Cybercrimes Analyst
  • Intelligence Agent
  • Security Analysis
  • Case Managers
  • Group Home Counselors
  • Probation and Parole Officers
  • Victim Advocates
  • Juvenile Corrections Advocate
  • Forensic Science
  • Community Liaison Officer
  • Penologist
  • Community Organizer
  • Court Reporters
  • Paralegals

*requires advanced degree

What Are the Traits of a Criminal Justice Administrator?

Even though Criminal Justice Administration is a very broad field of careers, there are still some characteristics and personality traits that seem to help someone be successful. Some of these traits include:

  • Show confidence
  • Analytical thinking
  • Ambition
  • Community oriented
  • Smart and have common sense
  • Organizational skills
  • Patient
  • Good written and oral communicators
  • Honest
  • Independent mind
  • Can work without supervision
  • Self-starter
  • People friendly
  • Ethically sound
  • Objective
  • Reasonable
  • Reliable
  • Hard worker
  • Can give and follow orders

What is the Median Criminal Justice Administrator Salary?

Due to the large number of professions that fit under Criminal Justice Administration it is near impossible to give an exact number. The best answer we can give at this time is asking you to check the detailed median salary report listed on O*Net, a government run site.

criminal Justice administration salary


What is the Outlook for Criminal Justice Administration?

Much like the salary question, this is a difficult question to answer due to the plethora of careers available under the overall heading of Criminal Justice Administration. Even though we cannot offer you concrete answers on this question you can easily find the answers on the future growth of a specific career though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publication called the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Criminal Justice Administration Expected Job Growth

What Kind of Job Can I Get In Criminal Justice Administration?

After or even before you have completed your education you will want to look at the two main paths available for those working Criminal Justice Administration. These paths are police work and administrative duties. Knowing which one interests you more may make it easier when picking classes or knowing what to expect when you finally are able to do a job search.

Police Work

Police work is what it sounds like. You will start low on the ranking system and have to work yourself up through promotions and hard work. You may start off walking a beat or riding in a patrol car. In a way, it is a lot like what you see on television shows without the gorging of donuts. This can be very dangerous work, as you would suspect. But for some, it is the only way they want to work by putting their life on the line to help to protect and serve.

Typically those who pick this career path will need to complete a police academy program that can take anywhere from 12 weeks to one year. Police academies are a lot like military boot camp. You will wake around 5 a.m. and start a long day of concentrated physical training and classroom instruction. Needless to say, you have to be in pretty good physical shape to begin with and throughout your time at the academy you will become even leaner and stronger.

Administrative Duties

Even though those working in administrative duties aren’t walking a beat or arresting suspects, they do have an important role in our criminal justice system. In a way, administrative police are a lot like a mix between a social worker and a correctional officer. Chances are you will be assigned offenders who have just been released from prison or jail and it is your job to help keep them out of trouble. This may mean regular visits to see how they are doing, Keeping an ear to the ground on rumors of their outside life or even simple things like trying to find them a job or a place to live. In a way, you are helping them readjust to life on the outside.

While it might sounds as if working in the administrative arm of a police department might sound safer, it still can be a dangerous place to work. You are still working with criminals including violent offenders who may not care where they are when the lash out in anger. You have to be in fairly good shape and keep aware of your situation to avoid possible injury or death.

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