Top Criminal Justice Careers For Veterans

Many veterans return to civilian life unsure of where to transfer their skills. As many military careers possess a civilian analog in criminal justice, the field often proves a good choice for veterans. Criminal justice careers make use of skill sets emphasized in the military, from law enforcement to paralegal work. Most criminal justice jobs also feature positive projected growth rates. For instance, according to the BLS, forensic science technicians can anticipate a 17% growth rate from 2016 to 2026. Read on for a list of some of the most common criminal justice careers for veterans, salary and job growth expectations, and job duties.

Police and Detective

Many veterans find work in law enforcement. While police enforce laws and safeguard lives and property, detectives collect and secure evidence to solve criminal cases, and prepare cases for trial. On a typical day, a police officer or detective may respond to emergency and nonemergency calls, and search vehicle records and warrants.

Police and Detective Statistics

Similar Military CareerInfantryman
Required DegreeHigh school diploma
Salary and Job Outlook$63,380; 7%

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians gather and analyze evidence for criminal investigations. They conduct biological, chemical, or microscopic analyses of evidence, typically in a lab environment. On a typical day, a forensic science technician might locate and preserve pieces of evidence including hair, tissue samples, and fingerprints for further analysis.

Forensic Science Technician Statistics

Similar Military CareerSenior military police sergeant
Required DegreeBachelor’s degree
Salary and Job Outlook$58,230; 17%

Loss Prevention Manager

Loss prevention managers coordinate policies, procedures, and systems to prevent the loss of assets. Managers assess how risk exposure and potential liability affect risk control measures, typically in the retail industry. A loss prevention manager’s daily duties may include auditing merchandise, monitoring employee activities, or contacting law enforcement in case of theft.

Loss Prevention Manager Statistics

Similar Military CareerSecurity forces
Required DegreeBachelor’s degree
Salary and Job Outlook$107,480; 5-9%

Corrections Officer

Correctional officers manage prisoners awaiting trial, or serving time in prisons and detention centers. Some correctional officers work as bailiffs, maintaining security and order in courtrooms. On a typical day, a corrections officer might supervise or move inmates, report on inmate conduct, and discipline as needed.

Corrections Officer Statistics

Similar Military CareerCorrections and detention specialist
Required DegreeHigh school diploma
Salary and Job Outlook$44,400; -7%


Firefighters put out fires and respond to emergencies with destructive risk to life, property, or the environment. On a typical day, a firefighter might put out fires, rescue people from emergency situations, and conduct fire drills and physical fitness training. Firefighters tend to concentrate on either municipal or forestry work.

Firefighter Statistics

Similar Military CareerFirefighter
Required DegreePostsecondary nondegree award
Salary and Job Outlook$49,620; 7%

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors plan and coordinate procedures to ensure safety during natural disasters or other emergencies. They form the front line of emergency response, working closely with nonprofits and local, state, and federal government to allocate relief effectively. They usually work for the government, but also fill positions at hospitals and nonprofits.

Emergency Management Director Statistics

Similar Military CareerBattle management system operator
Required DegreeBachelor’s degree
Salary and Job Outlook$74,420; 8%

Fire Inspector

Fire inspectors examine buildings for fire hazards, ensuring that businesses and organizations uphold local, state, and federal fire codes. Some specialize as fire investigators, determining the origin and cause of fires, or as forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists, working to prevent outdoor fires that threaten public and residential areas.

Fire Inspector Statistics

Similar Military CareerCannon crewmember
Required DegreeHigh school diploma
Salary and Job Outlook$60,200; 10%

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help settle legal disputes outside of the court system. They typically work in local and state government or the legal services industry. On a typical day, one might prepare settlement agreements for disputants’ review. They also make appointments for disputing parties to convene for arbitration or mediation.

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator Statistics

Similar Military CareerHuman resources technician
Required DegreeBachelor’s degree
Salary and Job Outlook$62,270; 10%

Explore Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice prepares you for a variety of entry level positions in the field. It can also lead to higher pay for those positions that do not require it, such as firefighters. This page provides useful information on how to earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice.

Explore More Careers in Criminal Justice

This guide only covers a limited range of careers in the criminal justice field with common appeal to veterans. Each veteran’s unique skills can apply to a range of other careers in criminal justice attainable through a bachelor’s degree. Follow this link for an idea of more criminal justice careers for veterans to explore.