Monday, January 30, 2012

Is the Risk of Being a Corrections Officer Worth the Reward?

A corrections officer is a law enforcement official that works within the prison system. He or she is in charge of protecting workers from inmates and inmates from one another. This can be a highly dangerous job, especially in maximum security prisons. Very few people are willing to go through the training and the risk to become a corrections officer, mainly because they don't think the money will be worth it in the end. Before you rule out this career entirely, you may want to figure out if the money you could be paid within it would be worth the risk you have to go through for it. Here are some corrections officer salary statistics to keep in mind.

Salary by Years of Experience

  • Less than 1 year: $20,401 - $48,479 per year
  • 1-4 years: $23,030 - $49,090 per year
  • 5-9 years: $26,094 - $58,065 per year
  • 10-19 years: $27,894 - $62,167 per year
  • 20 years or more: $33,739 - $85,791 per year

Salary by Industry

  • Armed Forces: $25,000 - $41,584 per year
  • Government: $27,807 - $63,679 per year
  • Law Enforcement: $23,299 - $57,709 per year
  • Public Law Offices: $20,635 - $32,556 per year
  • Secure Correctional Facility: $23,764 - $58,424 per year
  • Security Guard Services: $32,526 - $43,281 per year
  • Security: $29,385 - $59,764 per year

Salary by Degree

  • Associate's Degree: $27,139 - $60,300 per year
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: $24,483 - $72,744 per year
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice: $20,426 - $48,936 per year

Salary by Employer Type

  • Company: $25,838 - $51,177 per year
  • Contract: $25,549 - $40,695 per year
  • Federal Government: $23,535 - $59,549 per year
  • State and Local Government: $24,209 - $58,726 per year
  • Other Organization: $24,000 - $30,723 per year

Salary by Gender

  • Male: $29,881 - $49,025 per year
  • Female: $27,452 - $36,001 per year

Salary by Company Size

  • 10-49: $19,200 - $50,000 per year
  • 50-199: $24,893 - $55,985 per year
  • 200-599: $25,438 - $59,154 per year
  • 600-1999: $26,833 - $61,480 per year
  • 2000-4999: $22,429 - $86,088 per year
  • 5000-19999: $28,626 - $80,497 per year
  • 20000-49999: $29,457 - $73,456 per year
  • 50000+ $28,500 - $53,112 per year

Salary by Location

  • California : $31,540 - $75,961 per year
  • Florida: $28,666 - $59,628 per year
  • Georgia: $23,504 - $42,188 per year
  • New York: $36,503 - $64,635 per year
  • North Carolina: $21,297 - $36,746 per year
  • Texas: $23,368 - $40,264 per year
  • Virginia: $27,957 - $52,357 per year

Salary by the Hour

  • Less than 1 year: $8.31 - $17.00 per hour
  • 1-4 years: $9.77 - $19.48 per hour
  • 5-9 years: $11.92 - $25.06 per hour
  • 10-19 years: $12.83 - $28.61 per hour
  • 20 years or more: $14.77 - $37.87 per hour

As you can see, corrections officers make pretty good money as a whole. They definitely make more money than police officers, but they don't earn as much as some other members of the criminal justice system. The main reward that may come from this profession is knowing that you are protecting other people in a time of need. If you enjoy that idea, this could be a great career for you. It is taxing, stressful, and dangerous, but it does have its perks in the long run. Think long and hard about your situation, and determine if you may make a good corrections officer in the future.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Forensic Science: The Money behind the Lucrative Career

Forensic science is a branch of criminal justice that involves the scientific evidence that go into committing crimes. There are many different kinds of forensic science jobs out there, and each of them has a different set of responsibilities that go along with it. If you decide to become a forensic scientist in the future, you should be pleased to learn that your salary levels will be high on an annual basis. You just have to go through a little bit of training to get to those salary levels. Here are a few charts to show you just how much money you could earn in this profession. You can use them to determine if the education is worth the effort for you.

Salary by Employer Type

  • State and Local Government: $30,670 - $85,402 per year
  • Federal Government: $29,087 - $128,763 per year
  • Company: $34,179 - $109,262 per year

Salary by Company Size

  • 10-49: $40,724 - $81,716 per year
  • 50-199: $37,000 - $83,500 per year
  • 200-599: $37,340 - $81,389 per year
  • 600-1999: $54,000 - $123,992 per year
  • 50000+: $22,500 - $146,000 per year

Salary by Experience

  • Less than 1 year: $27,404 - $76,596 per year
  • 1-4 years: $29,905 - $79,678 per year
  • 5-9 years: $32,787 - $123,138 per year
  • 10-19 years: $39,149 - $124,757 per year
  • 20 years or more: $75,000 - $112,000 per year

Salary by Gender

  • Male: $40,525 - $93,598 per year
  • Female: $37,151 - $62,713 per year

Salary by Location

  • Washington, D.C.: $48,980 - $213,500 per year
  • Chicago, Illinois: $54,045 - $63,879 per year
  • Seattle, Washington: $41,437 - $56,810 per year
  • Lost Angeles, California: $39,305 - $68,163 per year
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $30,167 - $110,055 per year
  • New York City, New York: $30,000 - $140,000 per year

Salary by Degree

  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry: $39,500 - $180,000 per year
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology: $29,669 - $79,713 per year
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science: $34,000 - $97,000 per year
  • Master of Science in Forensic Science: $30,201 - $74,710 per year

Salary by Industry

  • Government: $33,072 - $98,436 per year
  • Law Enforcement: $32,288 - $99,091 per year
  • Professional, Analytical and Laboratory Services: $30,139 - $88,951 per year
  • Public Law Offices: $28,993 - $84,327 per year
  • Science and Engineering Services: $29,694 - $93,196 per year

Forensic scientists may not make as much as some other people, but they certainly hold their own when it comes to criminal justice careers. They provide the foundation for many criminal trials in the modern world. That is why they make the money that they do. If you have been looking for a profitable and exciting field to pursue a life in, this could certainly be an option for you. You just have to put the time and effort to get the degree you need for forensic science. With the way this career is growing, you should have no trouble finding a job within it in the future. Research the education it may take to get involved with this lucrative career, and you could be well on your way to a successful profession in the future.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fixed Price vs. Hourly Jobs – Which Ones Pay the Most?

In the world of freelance writing, you have the option of getting paid by the hour or by the article. There are pros and cons to both options, so you have to figure out what the best one is for you specifically. I tend to make more money working by the article than I do by the hour, but that is because I can work quickly. Some other people would lose a ton of money in the day if they got paid by the article. Let's take a look at both of these options more closely so you can determine how you want to get paid in the future.

The Pros and Cons of Hourly Pay

The best part about getting paid by the hour is that you will earn the same money no matter how long it takes you to write an article. If you have to research one article extensively, you will be paid for your research time. With fixed price work, you don't have that opportunity. You just have to eat up the time and hope you can make up for it with other work.

The reason I don't like hourly pay rates is because I get a lot more done in an hour than most other writers do. Thus I am working my buns off without getting compensated for it. It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to write a 600 word article, including research time. It takes some people an hour or more to do the same thing. Thus I am actually losing money by getting paid hourly, and I have no motivation to get through my work quickly. Because of all of that, I just prefer to work by the article.

The Pros and Cons of Fixed Price Jobs

The best part about fixed price work is knowing what you will be paid from the start. You have a certain word count to abide by and a certain pay rate per word. If you get paid $.02/word and you have to write a 600 word article, you know you will be paid roughly $12 for your article – no matter how quickly you get it done. If you get three or four of those articles done an hour like I do, you can quickly see where the profits come from.

The problem with fixed price work is that it doesn't take into account the time you spend outside of writing. Some articles only take a couple of minutes to research, but others may take a half hour or more. In those situations, I usually charge a higher rate per word or ask the client if I can get paid some form of compensation for my efforts. Most people are willing to work around that to make sure I get paid for my time.

Choosing the Right Jobs for You

Only you know what sort of pay you should be getting for your work. If you are a quick writer who has a firm grasp on writing for the web, you may want to look into fixed price work. If you are more of a slow and steady kind of writer, you might fare better with an hourly paying job. As long as you find good clients to work with, you should be able to secure the pay you need no matter what. Do a little calculating to find out where you are going to make the most money, and then you can adjust your work plans to make the most money possible in freelance writing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do You Need a College Degree to Make Money as a Freelancer?

Whenever I tell people that I make money writing online, most of them ask if I have a degree in English, journalism, or something along those lines. I actually don't have a college degree at all, even though I make more money a year than most people that have college degrees. That is just because I'm dedicated to my job, and quite frankly, I'm good at what I do. Nevertheless, it seems that most people assume that you have to have a degree in order to work in this kind of profession. That couldn't be further from the truth.

You don't need to have a college degree to make money as a freelancer. In fact, freelance writing is a great way to supplement your scholarships and grants so that you can get through school without having to worry about finding a job. Let's take a look at how that balance works so you can figure out how to potentially use this career path to make money without a college degree.

Most Job Postings Ask for College Degrees

If you like to look for jobs on Craigslist, you have probably seen a ton of employers asking for at least a bachelor's degree in a certain subject for applicants to be considered for a job. While it is nice to have a degree to apply for those positions, you should not be discouraged by the fact that you don't have one. I usually write something at the very beginning of my cover letter that says…

"I realize that I do not meet the degree requirements that you outlined in your job posting, but I have been writing online for three years now. I have a significant amount of experience to back my application, and I would like to be considered for this position."

It doesn't always sound just like that, but you get the idea. I let employers know that I have read the posting and that I am aware of the requirements they have set forth. Then I explain what makes me a worthy candidate despite the fact that I do not meet all the requirements. If you do the same, you may be able to woo someone to see past your lack of a degree.

You Can Make a Lot of Money without a Degree

When you work online, you aren't limited to the employers in a certain area. I have had clients from literally all parts of the world – Australia, Germany, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, and the good old USA. Because of this trait about freelance writing online, you can make more money than you may be able to make in your home town. I live in the Midwest, which is known for having low standards of living. My clients in California pay twice as much for my services as other clients do, just because that is what they expect to pay in their area. You don't have to have a degree to get connected with this kind of money. You just have to have access to the internet.

You Can Pay for Your Degree While You Freelance

You can make a ton of money as a freelance writer just in your spare time, and then you can use that money to pay for your college degree. I actually started this career because I was going to school for an architecture degree. I was in studio for roughly 40 hours a week, and I was still able to make a couple grand a month working part time. If you go to school online, you may be able to schedule your work and your education to all come from your computer. That will give you the most flexible schedule possible, and it could lead to quite an exciting life if you develop the right plan. Check out your career and college options and you should be able to find a good balance of the two.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Using Autocorrect to Speed Up Your Work

The term "autocorrect" is most often associated with the iPhone, and it is known for producing funny messages like these…

Those are courtesy of, which is one of my favorite sites to go to when I need a good laugh. For this post though, I'm not going to be talking about autocorrect on an iPhone. I'm going to refer to the autocorrect on Microsoft Word, which I encourage every freelance writer to get familiar with. It can greatly speed up your writing time, which will improve your freelance writing pay rates and reduce the amount of work you have to do in a day. Here are some tips to help you use autocorrect effectively in your work.

What Is Autocorrect?

Autocorrect is a program in Microsoft Word that will automatically correct a word that you type incorrectly into a document. When I type the word "dificult" into a Word document, it is autocorrected to say "difficult" when I put a space after it. A lot of words are already built into the autocorrect system, but you will have to input others as you go. In time, you can customize your autocorrect to fix most of your typos for you.

How to Add Words to Autocorrect

Every person has a different set of typos that he or she makes on a regular basis. I tend to type the word "the" as "teh" or "hte," so I have my autocorrects set to fix those mistakes as I type. You are going to have to add words to your autocorrect database so your MS Word will correct your specific typos. Here are two ways to add words to autocorrect:

  • Right-click mistyped words: One of the easiest ways to add words to autocorrect is to click on them as you type. If you see a word underlined in red, you can right click on it and go to "Autocorrect." Then you can click on the word that you want to replace it with in the future. I do this all the time, and I rarely have mistyped words now.
  • Manually add words: The right click option doesn't always work if MS Word doesn't have a word suggested for your typo. In that case, you will have to manually add the word to the database. Click the "File" tab and go down to "Options." Then go to the "Proofing" section and select "Autocorrect Options." That will display a bar that you can enter the typo and correction into. Save your changes, and you won't have to worry about that specific typo in the future. You can also find this in the right click option at the bottom of the list of suggested words, if a list comes up.

Try to add as many words to your autocorrect system as possible, even if you think you will never come across them again. You never know when you may get a new client that needs you to write about the same information in the future.

Be Careful about What You Add

Think about an autocorrect word before you set it up because there may be two different autocorrect options that you would use on a regular basis. For instance, the autocorrect suggestions for "situatin" are "situation" and "situating." If you use both options on a regular basis, you need to make sure you avoid autocorrecting a word incorrectly. Just watch what you type and you should be able to get a custom autocorrect dictionary that is perfect to your style of typing.