Criminal justice is a highly-respected, specialized, and also quite rewarding field. Whether one is shifting career paths or intending to join college, this post will prove quite helpful to those considering a career in criminal justice.
Understanding Criminal Justice
Most people use the terms criminal justice and criminology interchangeable. However, the two are quite different. Criminology involves the study of crime, its causes, charges, and consequences. On the other hand, criminal justice studies crime from the system’s perspective. Therefore, students are taught how to detect crimes and how to detain, try, and punish criminals.
Many aspiring students have lots of questions. Is a criminology degree useful? How is the learning process? What are the criminal justice degree benefits?
Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth it?
A criminal justice degree is worth it for the following reasons:
Students have an opportunity to give back to the community
The essence of the criminal justice course is to keep populations, communities, and individuals safe. People in this field achieve this by investigating crimes and enforcing laws that ensure that everyone’s safety is a priority. This makes it a great course if you want to give back to the community.
There is a wide variety of career options
After earning your criminal justice degree, you can work in the judicial system, corrections, teaching and research, social services, or work as a consultant.
It is ideal for people who like challenging career paths
Most positions in the criminal justice field require one to have strong problem-solving skills and think on their feet. This is because the vast majority of the cases these professionals handle are intellectually demanding and completely different.
What Kinds of Jobs are there in Criminal Justice?
Careers in the criminal justice field can be found at the local, county, state, and federal levels. One can also get a job in the private sector. Students who are fresh from college with a Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree may want to consider looking for entry-level criminal justice jobs which include:-
- Child protective services workers – people who work in this field are in charge of looking after the social and psychological needs of the children. Such workers are the first line of defense as far as helpless children are concerned.
- Parole officer – parole officers, help convicted individuals who are released from prison readjust and find their footing on the society. They also monitor the ex-convict’s criminal behavior.
- Customs and immigration law enforcement officers – people in this field monitor the country’s security at its entry points. They do this by monitoring passengers and cargo that moves into, and from the U.S. They are also in charge of upholding import laws and regulations.
- Correctional officers – they often work in prison facilities.
- Police officer – this is perhaps the first job that comes to mind when the public thinks of a criminal justice employee. Police officers do not have to possess a college degree. However, most police officers start at the patrol officer level.
- Private detective – persons who work in this field perform such duties as analyzing data, interviewing suspects or witnesses, conducting surveillance, looking for missing persons, and so on. Most states require private detectives to pass a licensing examination.
Starting with any of these entry-level criminal justice jobs prepares you for a fun and rewarding career. As one advance, they may go on to other criminal justice jobs such as becoming a paralegal assistant, a forensic expert, or a teacher or trainer in the criminal justice field.
To get careers that are relevant to your area, you might want to begin by looking for criminal justice jobs near me.
How Much Can I Make in Criminal Justice?
After going through the education process, any students would want to get a position that professionally and personally gratifying. The criminal justice salary one earns depends on the career path they choose or whether you get a criminal justice salary per hour. Earning a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice can increase your earning potential and qualify you for jobs in higher level law enforcement, like the FBI. Here’s some brief information on what people in some positions of the criminal justice field earn.
- Law enforcement officers – The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that law enforcement officers earn about $63,380 annually. The specific earnings vary between jurisdictions and agencies.
- Probation officers – correctional specialists earn about $53,020 annually. In most cases, people joining this field are required to have a bachelor’s degree.
- Forensic scientists – people with a science degree might decide to pair it with a criminal justice degree, thus becoming forensic experts. Forensic scientists earn an average salary of $58,230 Criminal justice trainers or instructors – people in the criminal justice filed sometimes go back to school to learn how they can teach their colleagues. These people will earn an average criminal justice degree salary of $72,400. Criminal justice trainers are usually employed by law enforcement units, higher education institutions, and other training facilities seeking to provide criminal justice employees with lifelong learning opportunities.
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Students who undertake a career in criminal justice have a path to a challenging and dynamic career. The path one chooses depends on their educational experience and their interests. Although deciding what career field one should take is a personal decision, it helps to talk to people already in the field or those that might help one make the right choice. Obtaining a criminal justice degree helps open up plenty of options.