On December 19, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for 2014-2015, with new employment projections for the decade 2012-2022. (The OOH may be viewed at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/)
The updated OOH profiles “334 occupational profiles covering 580 detailed occupations”.
We’ve gone through the list to identify some of the fastest growing criminal justice-related careers for 2012-2022. Note that job growth is not the only factor to consider, which we discuss further below.
Fastest Growing Criminal Justice Careers
According to the BLS, the average employment change for all occupations in the United States is 10.8% growth between 2012 and 2022.
Some of the criminal justice careers projected to be the fastest, or relatively fastest, growing between 2012 and 2022 include:
|Information Security Analysts: 36.5%||This reflects a growth of 27,400 information security analyst jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 39,200 job openings are projected due to growth and need for replacements between 2012 and 2022.|
|Paralegals & Legal Assistants: 16.7%||This equates to a growth of 46,200 paralegal/legal assistant jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 91,200 job openings are projected between 2012 and 2022.|
|Private Detectives & Investigators: 11.2%||This equates to a growth of 3,300 private detective/investigator jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 11,800 job openings are projected between 2012 and 2022.|
|Security Guards & Gaming Surveillance Officers: 12.0%||This equates to a growth of 130,200 security guards /gaming surveillance officer jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 296,300 job openings are projected between 2012 and 2022.|
|Political Scientists: 21.3%||This equates to a growth of 1,400 political scientist jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 2,500 job openings are projected between 2012 and 2022.|
|Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Teachers (postsecondary): 13.1%||This equates to a growth of 2,100 postsecondary criminal justice/law enforcement teaching jobs between 2012 and 2022; additionally 4,600 job openings are projected between 2012 and 2022.|
* The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (To view the entire occupational data table, visit: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_102.htm)
What’s intriguing about the above list of criminal justice careers is it is a range of entry- to senior-level positions. Perhaps this may inspire you as you create short and long term education and professional plans.
Other Factors to Consider
If the criminal justice career you are pursuing is not in the above list, that does not mean there is cause for concern. There are other key factors to consider.
The job growth stats from the BLS do not reflect the entire number of job openings projected to arise between 2012 and 2022. Job openings do not only come from the creation of new positions but also the need to replace those who retire or leave an occupation for other reasons. “Job openings due to replacement needs are expected in every occupation, even in those projected to decline in employment,” states a BLS press release from December 19, 2013. “…While growth will lead to many openings, more than two-thirds—67.2 percent—are projected to come from replacement needs… In more than 4 out of 5 occupations, openings from replacement needs are projected to exceed openings from growth.”
For example, while the projected employment change for law enforcement workers (which includes police and sheriff’s patrol officers, detectives and criminal investigators, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc) is 5.1% (64,400 new jobs) between 2012 and 2012, the estimated number of job openings is 425,500 positions.
Additionally, not all occupations are included among the BLS’ findings. (According to the January 8, 2014 BLS press release the 580 occupations represent approximately “84% of total employment in 2012”). The latest OOH includes new occupations not listed in previous years (like information security analysts and emergency management directors) but does not list other titles like victims advocate, forensic psychologist, coroner or criminologist (although they may be considered part of other occupational profiles).
It’s also important to consider geographic location as certain states and metropolitan areas hire more of a particular position than others. (You can look up that kind of information in the BLS’ OOH too).
If the career you are interested in is more competitive, don’t disqualify yourself! Work hard, stay focused, talk to those in the field, find out what experience and education will set you apart and actively pursue your ambition!