Criminal justice degrees give you entry into a legal career. But what is this field all about? Criminal justice is the law enforcement system that is charged with dealing with apprehension, prosecution, defense, sentencing and incarceration of those suspected or charged with committing a crime. The field of criminal justice offers a range of diverse jobs for all levels of education. Studying criminal justice can lead to a career as a probation officer, substance abuse counselor, sheriff, police officer or drug enforcement officer. In most programs, the applicants must be 18 years old and also hold a high school diploma or GED. In some schools and states you must also have at least one or two years of college education. You can also expect to get further training on the job. Criminal justice programs include court reporting, justice administration. You can earn a certificate through a one-year program and the certificates can act as an introduction to criminal justice to help you pursue more advanced degrees.
Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Programs
Criminal Justice Program and Degrees are offered at the associates, bachelors, and masters degree level at these accredited colleges and universities. Earn your degree in several specializations which include law enforcement, crime scene investigation, private detective, forensic science, corrections, homeland security, public safety, security management, and cybersecurity or cybercrime investigation. Learn more about campus and online criminal justice degrees.
Criminal Justice Education and Training
Criminal justice degrees online can also help advance careers by allowing the criminal justice professional to specialize in perhaps a new area of the criminal justice field. For example, you can earn a certificate to work as a crime scene technician.
Associates criminal justice degrees can be earned in two years and will help you enter the workforce as a law enforcement officer, corrections officer or paralegal. Many graduates go on to earn bachelor’s degrees and they transfer the credits earned in associate degree programs toward the bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s criminal justice degrees online take about four years to complete and can help you advance in your current career or start you in a new career in fields like parole, juvenile justice or law enforcement. Advanced degrees in criminal justice, as well, help advance careers through the acquisition of advanced specialized skills and knowledge. A master’s degree or doctorate in criminal justice is useful if you want to become an FBI agent, detective or lawyer.
The field of criminology field uses the skills found in sociology, psychology, politics, and economics so as to analyze criminal behavior. Someone with a degree in criminology plays the role of a journalist because they use the five W’s in order to solve crimes and capture criminals.
They work closely with police officers and/or FBI agents to solve cases like murder and major bank robberies. Jobs in the criminology field include criminologists who gather basic facts on the crime, professor, police officer, FBI agent, security officer, and private investigator.
Criminal justice degrees and criminology degrees will give you a chance to examine a variety of issues related to crime and criminal justice. Students learn to approach these themes from a perspective that is sociological in nature. You will study the causes of criminality and the response from the criminal justice system.
The programs focus on giving students the skills they need to collect, interpret, and evaluate information in the field. Students can choose from undergraduate and graduate degrees, including the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Ph.D.
Undergraduate programs give students a solid background in the basics of the discipline, while graduate programs allow students to pursue more specialized study. Undergraduate study in criminology is also good background for pursuing graduate studies in such fields as public administration, urban planning, business, sociology, and community planning.
Criminal Justice Careers
Careers in criminal justice include working in corrections, homeland security, law enforcement, probation, immigration, security services, forensics etc. This requires a good understanding of the criminal justice system and knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences.
Careers also include working as a social work assistant, forensic scientist, law office assistant, private detective, probation officer, computer and information security, parole officer, police officer, and corrections official.
Criminal justice careers involve those with backgrounds in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, social work, human services, computer forensics, etc. Criminal justice employment is available in the police force, courts, forensics, homeland security, corrections, juvenile justice, and private businesses.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that police and sheriff patrol officers earn about $45,000. The median annual salary of police and detective supervisors is about $64,500. The median annual salary of detectives and criminal investigators is about $54,000. Depending on your career track you can expect to make between $17,000 and $77,500.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that growth in criminal justice careers will grow by 9% to 17% through 2014. You can join this career path by enrolling in online criminal justice degrees.
Criminal Justice Programs
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