Pursuing an online degree program is an adventure! Part of any great adventure is discovering new challenges and interests.

Michael Lightner, a recent graduate of Grantham’s 100% online criminal justice degree program, talked about his career path in a previous blog post.

“When I started pursuing a criminal justice degree, I was thinking I was going to be a state trooper or something," he said.

"But I found out, through my own research, that a criminal justice degree doesn’t just mean being a police officer or a detective. There are so many opportunities out there to use your degree” remembers Lightner.

While being a detective or police officer are viable career paths, don’t forget that you have a number of options in terms of what you can do with your criminal justice knowledge.

Here are four growing career fields to utilize your degree in criminal justice:

1. Probation Officer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), the employment growth rate for probation officers is expected to be 18% through 2020.

Probation officers have the unique experience of working with offenders to prevent them from committing/repeating crimes, translating to a high-impact role for the criminal justice professional.

You will make a difference in the lives of others, as one of the primary job facets of a probation officer is to develop and implement rehabilitation plans that include home and work visits, counseling referrals and overseeing drug tests, according to criminaljustice.com.

BLS also reports that the median annual salary for probation officers was $47,200 in 2010. However, salaries can vary upon location and experience level.

2.Transportation Security Officer

As a transportation security officer, your primary goal will be to protect people and property at high-traffic transit centers such as airports, rail stations or seaports.

As a transportation security officer, you can be sure that no day will look the same and each day will offer new challenges and experiences.

According to criminaljustice.com, as a transportation security officer your primary duties will include: screening passengers and baggage for weapons, explosives and illegal items, guarding vehicles to ensure nothing is stolen during loading or unloading, and watching for criminal activity.

The BLS job growth outlook for transportation officers is expected to grow by 10% through 2020, with an average median salary of $37,070.

3. Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol agents are responsible for the general security and welfare of those entering or exiting the United States.

Job duties include being present at international airports and/or seaports and ensuring taxes and duties on goods are paid, that no illegal substances are being transported and that people have the proper identification and authorization to travel.

According to criminaljustice.com, this job is expected to grow due to the heightened security risks posed by terrorism and illegal immigration. New border patrol agents are hired at grade levels GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9, based on their qualifications.

As of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the base starting salary for GL-5 border patrol agents was $38,619. For GL-7 and GL-9 pay grades, such agents were paid $43,964 and $49,029, respectively.

4. Crime Scene Examiner

In this position you will collect, classify and analyze evidence found at a crime scene, as well as take photographs of the crime scene and evidence itself.

As a crime scene examiner, a keen eye for detail is vital, as this job depends on thorough examination and collection. According to indeed.com, the median salary for a crime scene examiner was $48,000.

Whatever path interests you, Grantham University’s 100% online degree programs are taught by qualified field-experienced instructors in eight week terms that allow you to pursue your education in a flexible, rigorous and engaging environment.

To find out more about making the most of a criminal justice degree from Grantham, fill out the form on the page.