Career Spotlight: Criminal Justice

New Degree at NYSCAS Prepares Grads for Real Life CSI Jobs

November 30, 2015

This spring, New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) a division of Touro College and University System, is meeting this demand head on, by offering a new Associate’s Degree program in Criminal Justice (CJ). “We need trained professionals to protect people in this world from real harm and the ever increasing range of criminal activity,” said Prof. Brent Cutler, who is spearheading the program.

According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 780,000 jobs in criminal investigation in 2012.  Jobs for private investigators  are projected to grow 21 percent by 2020 and jobs for police officers and detectives are expected to grow 7 percent by that time. The need for forensic technicians was also predicted to grow substantially over the next few years. 

The CJ curriculum features a broad array of essential topics− from forensic science and criminal investigation to ethics and the law.  It is designed for highly-motivated individuals interested in the field, from high school graduates to entry-level investigators seeking to advance their careers.

Career Opportunities in Criminal Justice:

  • Crime Scene Investigators
  • Crime Lab Technologists
  • Cybercrime and Cyber Security Investigators 
  • Digital Forensics Specialists
  • Police and Corrections Officers 
  • Private and Government Security Guards and Surveillance Officers
  • Customs Agents
  • Fraud examiner  

Where the Jobs Are:

  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Transportation Security  Administration
  • District Attorneys’ Offices
  • Local, State and Federal Investigation, Correction and Protection units
  • Sheriffs’ Offices
  • Private Investigators
  • Risk Management Companies
  • Science and Mobile Labs
  • Private Security Firms
  • Domestic and International Military Investigative Units

Starting and mid-career salaries

The starting salary for a police officer with an Associate’s degree is around $40,000 depending on the area of the country. Criminologists can earn up to $65,000; the average salary for a border patrol agent and forensic investigator is $55,000 and $55,600 respectively.

Skills and strengths needed to succeed in this field:

  • Critical thinking
  • Intuition
  • Computer literacy
  • Interviewing ability
  • Knowledge of legal structures
  • Oral and written presentation and communications 
  • Broad understanding of criminal law and the criminal justice system
  • Ability to identify and analyze social problems and develop solutions

Kinds of  People that Do Really Well in Criminal Justice:

People who are perceptive, decisive, inquisitive, definitely not clock watchers are well suited for this career. It helps to be detailed oriented, a take charge personality, judicious, and ethical. Strong interpersonal skills are required in order to succeed as is the ability to adapt to and work with different personality types.

Biggest Misconception about Careers in Criminal Justice:

According to Prof. Cutler, “People think that technology replaces hard work and investigative skill.  But the two go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other” he said, adding, “a good investigator uses technology to assist, but it doesn’t replace wearing out the leather of the shoes.”

For more information about the Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree program at NYSCAS, contact Prof. Brent Cutler at or 212-463-0400.