Criminal Justice Students’ Perceptions of Their Future Careers

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This study examines how criminal justice majors taking courses during the COVID-19 pandemic perceive their future careers. These expectations are compared to those of students majoring in lab sciences and non-lab fields. Variation by race and ethnicity are also assessed. Data were obtained from 188 undergraduate students at a single institution in Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 using an online survey. Results indicated that students’ estimates of their future salaries and job availability were accurate to current labor market conditions. Hispanics anticipated higher salaries and more salary growth than non-Hispanics. Criminal justice majors were attracted to jobs based on potential to help others, challenge, job tasks, salary, and the fun, thrill, or excitement of the job. Health majors were more drawn to features like salary and job availability. Criminal justice students were more likely than others to note power as well as prestige, recognition, or status as appealing job features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-184
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Law


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