In the state of Oklahoma, criminal justice jobs are some of the most well paid and secure jobs in the state. As such, the competition for these jobs can be somewhat fierce. If you, then, are planning on having a career in criminal justice in the state, it’s important that you take efforts to make yourself stand out above the competition.

Go above and beyond the minimum educational and/or training requirements for the position you want, and once hired, always strive to make yourself invaluable. If you can do this, you’ll not only earn a higher salary, but you should also be given many opportunities for promotion.

One particular career that is fairly well paid and full of opportunities for advancement is becoming a police officer. Police officers in the state bring home a median average of approximately $36,560. A few steps up the career ladder, criminal investigators and other detectives earn a higher yearly salary of approximately $51,890.

When all jobs in criminal justice are averaged, however, the overall average salary is approximately $33,740 per year, which means that, no matter what you do in the field, you can make a fairly decent living.

Of course, however, everyone hopes to be on the higher end of the salary spectrum, and there are some things you can do to increase your chances of earning a higher salary right from the start. First, understand that some jobs within the field simply pay more than others. Investigators make more than police officers, and police officers make more than security guards, and on and on it goes.

It’s important to know what kind of a salary to expect before you begin working or training for a particular job. That way help you to set realistic expectations and avoid disappointments. Also remember that you should never go into a particular job just for the money alone. The important thing is to do something that you actually love, and to worry about the salary later!

No matter what you do in the criminal justice field, your level of education can have an impact on your salary. If you have only an associate’s degree, for example, you can greatly increase your salary just by opting for a bachelor’s degree in your field.

The same is true for bachelor’s degree holders, who can progress to being master’s degree holders, and even master’s degree holders who can progress to being PhD holders. Even after earning the highest level of education possible, you can still increase your worth and your salary by taking continuing education or certification courses. Those who are lifelong learners will definitely see lifelong increases in their salaries.

In addition to paying attention to your educational level, you should also give a good look at where, exactly, you live in Oklahoma. Some areas, usually the larger cities, pay much better than others, due to a higher demand for qualified criminal justice professionals.

If you’re not having much luck getting hired or are unhappy with your current salary, considering a move or a commute might not be a bad idea. Just remember that it’s not always the size of the area that matters—sometimes you just have to find a place where your particular area of expertise is in high demand.

Remember too that your experience level can influence your salary. If you’ve been working in the criminal justice field for twenty years, then you’re probably going to be making more than someone who has worked in the field for only five years. Though you can’t magically increase your years of experience, you can make the most out of the experience that you do have.

Whenever possible, try to get your experience and your work history in one central area or career. If you’ve bounced all over the place, this often isn’t favorable on job applications or when reviewing your work history. Try your best to stay with your employer for as long as possible and to stay at the same position or, at least, the same general type of position. Finally, keep in mind that a lot of salary boils down to hard work, so always give your job your all.