Deciding on a career path can be very exciting and overwhelming. One of the in-demand career paths today is a career in the criminal justice system. If you’re interested in having a career in law enforcement or the justice system, getting a criminal justice degree is necessary. A criminal justice career will provide individuals with a wide variety of opportunities to use in their daily lives, which can sometimes include working for private organizations such as banks, restaurants, and more.
How To Get A Criminal Justice Degree
The first step for getting started in a criminal justice career is to complete a bachelor’s degree program. It is a full-time program that takes four years to complete and is offered by most schools in the United States. It’s a rigorous academic program and requires a commitment from the student. If you’re interested in a more specialized criminal justice degree, you should consider what type of coursework you would like to complete. The first step is to select a school to study at, and then select a criminal justice major.
The next step is to decide if you want to complete an Associate’s degree, an Associate of Arts, a Bachelor’s degree, or a Bachelor’s of Science degree. You can get a criminal justice degree in less time than it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree in general studies. Many colleges offer criminal justice majors that lead straight to the Bachelor of Science degree, one of the highest degree requirements for employment in the field. Online courses in criminal justice are also a good option, as are vocational programs in the field.
You can also earn an associate’s degree while still working towards a Bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree requires a lot of work experience and classroom instruction, whereas a Bachelor’s degree allows the student to focus on lab work and clinical work. You may pursue a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, although this often requires more intensive training. Some majors or minors can help you get a higher criminal justice degree.
Here are some majors you can also choose from
All jobs that are related to criminal justice require dealing with people. Getting a major in psychology will give you insight into how people think and behave. Aside from that, a degree in psychology will prepare you to understand and respond to people’s actions when conducting investigations. Criminal justice degree holders with a minor or major in psychology are an asset to the police force. Getting an advanced degree in psychology will also allow you to become a criminal profiler or a forensic psychologist.
2. Computer Science
Getting a minor or major in computer science helps build your career in criminal justice with the number of online crimes occurring today. A degree in computer science can also help you become an FBI agent or a digital forensics expert. In today’s digital age, a computer science major will help you fast track your career in criminal justice.
Many people aiming to have a career in criminal justice take a political science degree or major. Political science mainly relates to the study of government and political systems. It also divulges how people react, develop, and choose government forms and leaders. A political science degree will help people in criminal justice navigate through local and state legislative processes. This is also a good major to take if you want to become a criminal defence lawyer.
Criminology is the study of crime, including its causes and effects. It explores how a crime exists in any given environment. Those who have criminology majors would most likely find work in public service agencies like law enforcement agencies and prisons.
Sociology is the parent discipline of criminology. Taking criminology and sociology will provide great insights on how to do jobs in the criminal justice field. Sociology tries to understand how people act in society. The concepts in sociology will help you create policies and understand how people respond to it.
Benefits Of Pursuing A Career In Criminal Justice
Wide Range Of Criminal Justice Career Paths
With a combination of classroom work and clinical experience, students with criminal justice degrees can become highly skilled and valuable criminal justice industry members. They have access to many job opportunities in the field, particularly in law enforcement, corrections, and the court system, where they work closely with prosecutors and judges.
Here are some of the professions you can pursue once you finish a criminal justice degree:
A criminal lawyer is an attorney specializing in criminal law and the defence of those charged with criminal wrongdoings. This type of lawyer often focuses on criminal cases where the victim has suffered some loss, injury, or other types of damage due to an individual’s criminal activity. This includes drug cases, burglary, and violent crimes. A criminal lawyer’s primary function is to defend the client against any charges that may be filed against them and their co-defendants.
There are many different types of criminal charges, and they include but are not limited to a felony, misdemeanour, felony assault, sex crime, DUI/DWI, weapons violations, and more. The lawyer representing you will determine which charges are brought and whether they have enough evidence to move forward with their case. The criminal defence attorney must also prove all evidence to be true. This includes finding and analyzing all evidence found during the investigation, interviewing witnesses, and investigating any evidence that does not support a case being brought against the defendant.
Probation officers are often required to enforce and follow court-ordered rules to keep offenders out of prison and back into society. They work closely with the person on probation instead of incarceration to help determine if they are truthful about their previous crimes and make sure they’re following all the conditions outlined by their probation officer. Probation officers are held accountable for keeping the state’s penal code and court system efficient and reliable. There are no minimum qualifications for this position, but it’s advisable to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, emphasizing public administration or some criminal justice-related field. This position requires that you have an Associate’s degree from an accredited institution or certification from a recognized training agency, such as the American Probation and Parole Association. You must pass an FBI criminal records check, which may be waived if it’s considered necessary by the Department of Corrections or the judge.
An investigator can also be referred to as a private detective or private agent. A private investigator is an individual who can be employed by corporations or individuals to undertake private investigative services for a fee. Some of the private investigation services include conducting criminal searches, carrying out background checks on individuals and businesses, interviewing witnesses and suspects, interviewing witnesses or suspects in a criminal case, gathering evidence, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing legal documents for a case.
This professional type can also be called on to aid law enforcement agencies, corporate executives, and private detectives. Private investigators can work alone or with other investigators. Private detectives are often required to undergo a rigorous training course to become certified. Their training is usually carried out at private agencies that train private detectives. Other private investigators may take online courses to become certified. However, many private detectives continue their education through additional education through a variety of sources.
Forensic Experts or Crime Analyst
A criminal justice degree can also help you pursue a career in forensic science. To become a forensic investigator, a student who wants to pursue this career must undergo a rigorous training program and pass a certified exam. The training program generally takes about four years, but some programs take more than ten years, and many forensic training programs have a four-year degree option.
There are different areas in which you can become a forensic analyst. These may include crime-scene investigations or crime scene processing. If you want to specialize in a particular area, you can either get specialized training, or you can acquire additional training in general forensic science. Although job opportunities may be good, it is necessary to obtain some professional experience before applying for a job. Once you get an internship, you can get started working as a forensic expert in the field. Some forensic experts are involved in various fields, including blood, hair, and saliva examinations, among others. However, their main specialization is in forensic investigation, especially concerning blood spatter analysis.
Many people get involved in criminal justice to earn a living, but they also see it as a way to give back to the community in some way. People who have worked as police officers or in other positions of influence often volunteer in local communities and work on projects. Other careers in criminal justice, although not directly, help people solve crimes and get justice in many ways. Even criminal defence lawyers try their best to defend those who are wrongfully accused. Aside from that, there are also criminal justice professionals like prison psychologists and social workers who help those who commit a crime to change their ways and join the society.
There Is Continuous Job Growth.
Every country would want to lower their crime rates. With that, the demand for criminal justice professionals continues to grow. Over the years, more people are getting criminal justice degrees and working in public safety as police officers or detectives. There’s also an increasing demand for those working in the field of forensic science.
The number of forensic technicians alone is expected to increase by 19 per cent in the current year. Meanwhile, the demand for criminal law lawyers is expected to increase by ten per cent this year. With these trends, you can expect careers involving criminal justice to continue to increase in the coming years.
There Is Opportunity For Continuous Personal Growth
The field of criminal justice is vast, offering plenty of opportunities for personal growth. Law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals are faced with many challenges, so they have to adapt to these challenges and think fast on their feet.
Choosing a criminal justice career will improve your problem-solving and analytical skills.
Aside from that, new technologies and innovations are constantly being developed. For instance, if you work as a forensic scientist or information technology personnel, you’ll learn new techniques to analyze evidence or data.
It Provides Steady Source Of Income
The good news is that there are many different fields in criminal justice today. Aside from the careers stated, you can also work in the prison system, the courthouse, crime investigation, and other types of law enforcement agencies. There are so many opportunities to choose from, so with the right training, you’ll easily get a job in a very competitive industry. With that, you can also expect to have a steady source of income.
Here are the incomes of common careers in criminal justice in the united states:
Probation Officers –average salary of $51,400 per year.
Private Investigators –The median income of private investigators today is $50,700 per year.
Deputy US Marshall – the starting pay for newly hired deputies are at $45,000 DEA Special Agent – special agents receive around $50,000 per year. Their salaries usually increase after four years and can reach $90,000 per year. Crime Analysts – experts in forensic science can earn up to $107,000 per year.
With a combination of classroom work and clinical experience, students with criminal justice degrees can become highly skilled and valuable criminal justice professionals. Working in the criminal justice system is a fulfilling job. Besides having a stable and high-earning job, you also get to help other people by keeping them safe or helping them get justice. There is also a wide range of careers you can get in the criminal justice system. You can become a lawyer, a forensic scientist, a law enforcer, or an FBI agent. All of these professions contribute to providing justice to victims of crime and, at the same time, those who are wrongfully accused of crimes.