Criminal Justice: Career Outlook

Parole Officers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow 11 percent between 2006 and 2016. Mandatory sentencing guidelines calling for longer sentences and reduced parole for inmates have resulted in a large increase in the prison population. However, mandatory sentencing guidelines are being reconsidered in many States because of budgetary constraints, court decisions, and doubts about the guidelines’ effectiveness. Instead, there may be more emphasis in many States on rehabilitation and alternate forms of punishment, such as probation, spurring demand for probation and parole officers and correctional treatment specialists. Additionally, there will be a need for parole officers to supervise the large numbers of people who are currently incarcerated and will be released from prison.

Median annual earnings of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in May 2006 were $42,500. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,880 and $56,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,160. In May 2006, median annual earnings for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists employed in State government were $42,970; those employed in local government earned $43,100. Higher wages tend to be found in urban areas.

Correctional Officers

Median annual earnings of correctional officers and jailers were $35,760 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,320 and $46,500. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,580. Median annual earnings in the public sector were $47,750 in the Federal Government, $36,140 in State government, and $34,820 in local government. In the facilities support services industry, where the relatively small number of officers employed by privately operated prisons is classified, median annual earnings were $25,050.

Career Paths

  • Case Management Officer (Corrections)
  • Court Administration
  • Correctional Officer
  • Customs Officer
  • Deputy
  • Detective
  • Family Court Counselor
  • Immigration Officer
  • Insurance and Fraud Investigator
  • Parole Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Private Security
  • Probation Officer
  • Victim Service Worker
  • Youth Justice Worker