Best Entry-Level Criminal Justice Jobs

Get Your Foot in the Door With One of These Great Criminology jobs

It's rare, if ever, that you will walk right out of high school or college and right into a $70,000-plus per year job. Like in most other fields, there are often plenty of dues to pay and lessons to learn before you end up in the job of your dreams. It takes time to build a professional resume and gain the experience you'll ultimately need, and you're going to have to start somewhere. To help you get your foot in the door, I've made a list of some great entry-level criminal justice careers that will prepare you for a better future.

Police Dispatcher Jobs

911/Police Dispatcher
Police dispatchers serve as the lifeline between officers and crime victims. St.Louis County Government, MN

While a job as a police dispatcher is an excellent career in its own right, it's also a great way to begin learning the ins and outs of police work and other functions related to the criminal justice system.

Dispatchers interact with a variety of people and learn valuable communication skills that can serve them well wherever they go. The best part is, you don't usually need a degree for the job, which means there's a good chance you qualify for it right now. More

Loss Prevention Jobs

Loss Prevention Specialist
Loss prevention specialists monitor inventory and prevent retail theft. U.S Airforce/JBSA.af.mil

There are very few minimum requirements to work in loss prevention, but there are a lot of benefits to starting your career there. For one, a lot of times the jobs can be part-time, which means you can gain valuable job experience while you're still in school.

For another, loss prevention jobs offer great opportunities to learn and interact with the criminal justice system, which will serve you well later in your career. The best part is that entry-level loss prevention jobs can grow into great full-time careers.

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    Security Guard Jobs

    TSA Security Officer Jobs
    A Transportation Security Administration Officer greets travelers. U.S. Department of Homeland Security/TSA

    Working as a security guard - especially building, store or other site security which requires you to interact with the public - is an excellent way to hone your communication skills and learn more about what jobs in criminal justice are really like.

    These can also often be part-time jobs, which can free you up to finish school while still getting great job experience. Security careers are great first steps toward becoming a police officer, and can even help you on your way to finding federal law enforcement jobs. More

    Police Patrol Officer Jobs

    Police cameras and videos
    A police officer on camera on a traffic stop. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

    If you're at all interested in working in law enforcement - as a special agent, a detective or investigator, a criminal profiler or any number of other specialized careers - the fact is that you're going to have to get flat feet first.

    Working the road as a street cop is a requirement for just about every other law enforcement or investigative career out there. The bottom line is that, for a lot of great criminal justice jobs, you're going to have to get your start as a police officer.

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      Get Your Foot in the Door to a Great Career

      Everybody has to start somewhere, and for most of us that start is at the bottom of the ladder. By getting your start in one of these or other entry level criminal justice jobs, you'll be preparing yourself for a fun and rewarding career in the future. What's more, if you talk to many people who have found success in their jobs, they will probably tell you they look fondly on their humble beginnings as some of the best times of their long careers.

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