The Criminal Justice Program at Roane State reflects the growing academic emphasis of the discipline. The degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in criminal justice and to provide an academic foundation for those seeking a professional degree from a four-year institution.
A number of the careers listed under work settings require four-year or advanced degrees; thus, it is important that each student consult in the early stages of the enrollment process with the program director concerning career and academic goals.
The program is based at the main campus in Harriman. However, criminal justice courses are also taught at the Oak Ridge campus.
Careers in criminal justice cover a wide variety of activities. Most common are the uniformed officers who form our local, county and state police agencies. However, many people are also employed in an enforcement capacity by such government agencies as the FBI, Secret Service, Border Patrol, Treasury Department, and National Forest and Park Service. Some of these agencies require a four-year degree. One may also find employment in related criminal justice occupations including corrections, retail and industrial security, probation/parole, insurance work and private investigation.
Salaries for criminal justice professionals vary greatly depending on where and for whom they work. Many jobs offer an hourly wage. Most careers with government agencies or other organizations offer salaried positions. The average starting salary for criminal justice personnel in state government is around $28,500, with starting salaries in city and county government usually a bit lower. With experience, many criminal justice professionals in East Tennessee have an earning potential of $40,000 or more.
The federal government features a graduated pay scale, with earnings based on experience and seniority. Federal agents typically earn their high-paid positions by moving up through the ranks in law enforcement or the military. Federal law enforcement agents work for a range of U.S. government agencies: the FBI, DEA and Department of Homeland Security agencies such as Customs and Border Patrol.
Federal agents earn salaries in the GS-10 grade, $48,000 and above. With overtime, they are eligible for LEAP (law enforcement availability pay), which boosts earnings 25 percent.