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What can you do with a criminal justice degree?

Criminal justice professionals looking over data on computer

Criminal justice is a field that encompasses more careers than you might think. With this degree, you could be prepared to pursue careers as a court officer, a corrections officer or positions within the criminal justice, security and public administration fields. And as competition increases for these roles, a degree can offer more than valuable understanding of the field.

What’s involved in earning a Criminal Justice degree? This degree can provide a strong foundation for a career in corrections or the court system. It may also provide the leadership skills and global industry perspectives for this exciting field.


What jobs can you do with a Criminal Justice degree?


Detective Sergeant

As part of law enforcement, this role includes working alongside other police officers at crime scenes, investigating felonies and putting that Criminal Justice degree to work to catch perpetrators of both violent and nonviolent crimes. But this job also entails a high level of collaboration.

Detective Sergeants routinely work within the criminal justice system (including occasionally testifying in courtrooms) to help lawyers and law enforcement assess and enforce justice. Be aware that a Criminal Justice degree may only help you pursue this career if you’re already a police officer and may require outside training. University of Phoenix does not promise this outcome through its programs.

On average, police officers and detectives make $65,170 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which also notes that this role is growing by about five percent per year nationally.,


Police Sergeant

Much like a detective sergeant, criminal justice knowledge and solid management skills can be helpful in this role, but it may be required that applicants are already officers or possess certain training. Police sergeants often supervise and coordinate detectives, police officers and other law enforcement staff, which is a significant responsibility. Accordingly, police sergeants often work their way up to becoming majors or even police department commissioners.

According to PayScale, police sergeants earn $70,514 per year on average. (This will vary by location.) Sergeants can potentially earn even more if they possess a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detective applicants require a high school diploma, but some agencies or departments may require a college degree.



Loss Prevention Manager

Criminal justice careers don’t always include a background in law enforcement. Loss prevention managers, for example, often work in retail, warehouses and for companies that sell thousands of products each day.

Loss prevention managers keep an eye on customers and employees to prevent "shrinkage," or theft of inventory, money and other company resources. They oversee programs and policymaking, and often manage monitoring equipment, all to ensure minimal or reduced losses due to theft. Additionally, loss prevention managers frequently handle internal investigations into routine losses of specific products, and they work with police officers responding to major thefts or armed robberies.

The median salary for loss prevention managers can be expected to be somewhere between $74,331 to $101,640, according to, with actual salaries depending on roles, experience and geographical location. However, salary specifics are not specific to University of Phoenix graduates and may also be dependent on competition, location, experience and other factors.



A Criminal Justice degree designed by University of Phoenix

Whether you’re hoping to become a judge down the road, move up the ranks of law enforcement, or pursue a role as a corrections officer, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice can help. At University of Phoenix, the core course requirements of the Criminal Justice degree are enhanced by the following key topics:

  • Criminal law
  • Grant writing
  • Budget, finance and planning
  • Interagency communication
  • Cultural diversity


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can I get my Criminal Justice degree online?

A: Yes, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program is offered 100-percent online.


Q: Why should I get my degree from University of Phoenix?

A: These are just a few of the advantages offered by UOPX:

  • Career Services for Life. Not sure what happens after earning your degree? Ready to level up your career but not sure how? Our Career Services team is here for you, at any—and every—stage of your professional development.
  • Exceptional flexibility in scheduling. Our online university’s educators understand what it means to juggle school, multiple jobs, family and everything else life throws your way. That’s why we provide leeway in how and when you take your classes. Learn more about our flexible approach to education here.
  • Earn your degree without starting from scratch. Some previous course credits and real-life work experience are eligible as transfer credits to the University of Phoenix’s degree programs (including within the field of criminal justice). Visit our website to learn more about obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.


Q: How much do criminal justice majors make in the real world?

A: University of Phoenix does not guarantee job or salary outcomes. Salaries are dependent on characteristics specific to the individual, including geographic location, experience, and competition, among other factors.

Salaries and job opportunities also vary by career field, such as law enforcement, corrections, court systems, public administration or security. Security managers, for example, make a salary range of $72,000-122,000, according to BLS.

The University’s Criminal Justice programs are educational degree programs. For those interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, corrections or as a peace officer with any particular local, state, tribal, federal or international agency, there are numerous additional qualifications (and often disqualifications) depending on the position. Before enrolling in a Criminal Justice program, potential students are highly encouraged to check with the relevant agency for a complete list of position requirements. The University makes no representations regarding whether any particular University program will qualify a graduate for any such position.


Photo of blog author Michael Feder smiling.


Michael Feder is a content marketing specialist at University of Phoenix, where he researches and writes on a variety of topics, ranging from healthcare to IT. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program and a New Jersey native!


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