Criminal Justice

The Occupations

Law Enforcement Officer


Probation/Parole Officer

Case Managers

Security Guard


Correctional Officer

Airport Security

Court Mediator

About the Occupations

Police officers, detectives, guards and correctional officers are employed to help safeguard lives and property. They enforce the laws and regulations that protect individuals’ safety and constitutional rights. The main goal is protection and service to the community. Responsibilities range from controlling traffic and helping to prevent crimes to investigating and arresting suspects. A few officers join specialized units that assist in crime fighting and apprehension of criminals.

Private police duties vary with the service provided by their employer. In airports, they help protect the safety of the traveling public and search for contraband. In retail stores, they often work undercover. In buildings and banks, guards help protect employees, merchandise and money.

Corrections officers provide direct supervision of incarcerated people while awaiting trial. They help maintain order, enforce regulations, supervise programs, or work assignments and help maintain the security and safety of other officers and detainees.

Probation and parole officers, case managers, and counselors assist offenders, both in the community and those who are incarcerated offenders, by identifying problem areas and developing plans of action to assist the person in working toward becoming a productive law-abiding citizen. They make court recommendations, prepare sentencing assessments, and provide services for inmates, offenders, and their families.

Work Environment


Correctional institutions

Municipal, county, state or federal agencies

Businesses, schools, hotels, hospitals


Private corrections companies

Typical Schedule:

40-48 hour work week

Overtime/shift work usual

Frequent holiday/weekend/night work

Tuition reimbursement

Tools and Equipment:

  • Daily reports, inmate records, court summons & other records
  • Handcuffs, firearms, OC spray, tasers,
  • Radio, telephones, and computer equipment
  • Electronic surveillance devices
  • Patrol car

Worker Portrait

Skills and Aptitudes:

Acts quickly/makes good decisions

Handles detailed work well

Performs duties in accordance with laws & departmental rules

Takes and gives directions easily

Provides leadership

Alert, dependable, and emotionally stable

Thorough, accurate, and observant

Displays a strong work ethic and high values

No prior convictions

Role model


Enjoys working with people

Interested in performing a useful service that benefits society

Enjoys working with little supervision

Career Outlook

Outlook Occupation
Good Probation/Parole Officer/Counselor
Good Police Officer
Good Correction Officer
Good Security Guard
Good Dispatcher
Stable Detective
Position Salary Average per Year
Probation/Parole Officer $26,000-37,000
Police Officer $26,000-43,500
Correction Officer $27,340-32,100
Security Guard $18,000-26,000
Dispatcher $22,000-26,000
Detective $26,000-43,500
Airport Security $23,508-35,276

(Note: Individual earnings may vary based upon the job set- ting and position. These are ranges not guarantees of earnings.)

Sources: Horizons, Discover, the Occupational Outlook Handbook