Criminal justice bachelor's degree plans usually include required classes in criminology, judicial administration, and legal traditions. Students learn how to write professional documents and research guidelines and best practices. They also delve into correctional programs, complex incarceration theories, and alternative rehabilitation methods through community-based programming. Bachelor's programs enable learners to specialize their degree in fields like crime scene investigation, homeland security, and legal studies.
Undergraduate training typically culminates with an internship that allows learners to gain hands-on experience and develop career connections.
What Can You Do with a Criminal Justice Degree?
Careers for criminal justice majors include social services positions like guidance counselor, child safety advocate, and social worker. Graduates who want to pursue law enforcement positions can use their bachelor's credentials to obtain leadership positions with higher pay. Forensics represents an exciting area for criminal justice professionals.
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Master's programs in criminal justice build on the core competencies of associate and bachelor's degrees, training students in specialized skills relevant to their particular career path. Most students complete the typically credit degree plan in two years. Accelerated tracks and degree completion programs also exist at the graduate level, allowing students to engage in intensive training and graduate in as little as 12 months. Required coursework for master's programs often focuses on managerial concepts. Students take classes in criminal justice planning and program evaluation.
They train in data analytics, learning to gather, assess, and present complex information to aid organizational strategies and decision-making processes.
Degree candidates fill out the remaining credits with career-oriented electives, internships, and research-focused capstone projects. At the master's level, criminal justice careers center around leadership positions. In addition to the aforementioned emergency management director career, students are well-prepared to occupy similar roles in security management, public administration, and human resources. They can apply their skills globally, working as cyberterrorism specialists and federal intelligence officers. They also benefit from a significantly lower unemployment rate.
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To bolster their career opportunities, criminal justice professionals can obtain optional certification and licensure. The International Association for Identification operates certificate programs for crime scene investigators, analysts, and other professionals in the field.
Career Options for Criminal Justice Majors
As terminal credentials, doctoral degrees in criminal justice provide students with the highest level of academic training available. Degree plans range from 50 to 75 credits, which candidates typically complete in five years. Students usually spend the first two years taking designated classes and spend the remainder of the program engaged in research and hands-on training while preparing for their dissertation defense or applied capstone project. Two main types of doctoral tracks exist in the field of criminal justice.
Doctor of philosophy Ph. Doctor of business administration DBA programs emphasize managerial training that allows learners to advance into senior executive and director positions. Like all students, doctoral candidates can usually engage in remote learning, taking asynchronous classes powered by platforms like Blackboard and Canvas.
Classes vary greatly depending on the nature of the doctoral program. They engage in extensive research training, learning to analyze crime data and design quantitative and qualitative research methods. On the other hand, coursework for DBA candidates tends to highlight organizational management topics.
These students delve into leadership theory, strategic thinking, and consulting and intervention practices. All doctoral candidates spend the bulk of their program conducting research and overseeing dissertation projects. Criminal justice career options for doctoral degree holders include social service director and information systems manager. With this level of academic preparation, professionals can also pursue positions like forensic scientist and police chief. Furthermore, they may apply their research and teaching experience as tenure-eligible college professors. A criminal justice degree trains students to protect human lives, property, and the environment.
To these diverse ends, potential careers for criminal justice graduates vary greatly based on the level of a professional's training and the program concentrations they pursue. Law enforcement organizations and judicial bodies represent common settings for these professionals. Similarly, students can become criminologists, who analyze criminal behavior and the penal system to combat crime at the organizational and regulatory levels.
The six sections below provide an overview of some criminal justice careers. Students should access the corresponding links for in-depth information on these job opportunities.
Top 10 Bachelor Level Criminal Justice Jobs
In addition to popular occupations like correctional officer, emergency management director, and fish and game warden, growing opportunities exist in unconventional areas. Criminal justice students may apply their skills in the private sector, working as security directors, loss prevention specialists, and policy advisors. Through a criminology specialization, students develop the skills to examine, explain, and rehabilitate criminal and deviant behavior. Advanced coursework covers topics like policy analysis, intelligence and national security, and correctional practices.
Graduates can pursue all major criminal justice careers, or they may occupy specialized roles like diplomatic security advisor or research criminologist. Explore Criminology Careers. Cybersecurity concerns the evaluation and prevention of virtual crimes, including identity theft, corporate blackmail, and cyberterrorism.
Specialized classes comprise intelligence and counterintelligence, cryptography, and ethical hacking. Professionals typically earn a bachelor's degree and professional certification to access the majority of career opportunities in this field. Options include information security analyst and computer network architect.
List of Criminal Justice Jobs
Students usually pursue emergency management training as part of a homeland security curriculum. They develop the program development and leadership skills to occupy managerial roles in nonprofit, private, and government organizations. The degree plan includes advanced topics like critical incident management, disaster planning and response, and ethics in public safety agencies.
Emergency management careers include occupational safety consultant , environmental health director , and natural disaster relief coordinator. Pursuing a degree in the criminal justice field can provide solid, lucrative and rewarding opportunities in a wide range of career paths. Criminal Justice is the system in which criminals are identified by their crimes, detained, judged and punished.
The main components of the criminal justice system include law enforcement, the court system, and corrections facilities. Each part of the system works together in order to form the criminal justice system to ensure that laws are upheld and criminals are fairly judged and sentenced for their crimes. The GMercyU Difference. After graduating from criminal justice schools with an accredited criminal justice degree program, many students who choose a criminal justice major move directly into positions in law enforcement, corrections and other areas of the criminal justice job market.
Other students go on to graduate school or law school. Here are some of the most popular career paths for graduates of criminal justice bachelor's degree programs.
Police officers work to enforce laws on a local, state, or federal level while protecting the lives of citizens. Some of their responsibilities include patrolling areas to ensure welfare and safety, responding to calls regarding crime, complaints and suspicious activity, incident reporting, issuing citations, and making arrests. Correctional officers supervise those being legally held in jails, prisons, and holding cells with an overall duty to maintain order. It is a very physically demanding job with a heightened risk of injury. Some of their responsibilities include; checking inmates and visitors for weapons and drugs, monitoring activities of inmates, and inspecting facilities to ensure they meet the maximum sanitary, security, and safety measures.
Private Investigators aid in cases on the local, state, and federal level and are a crucial member in investigating legal, financial, and criminal cases, as well as locating missing persons. Criminal Profilers are special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI who provide investigators with a psychological or physical description of a suspect through intensive analyzation. Through this, they are also able to determine a suspect's motives by visualizing the crime and its events from start to finish.
Crime Prevention Specialists work closely with communities to help them determine strategies and ways to prevent crime in that given area. Their responsibility includes making recommendations on ways communities can be better prepared for crime as well as ways to ensure or implement more reliable security, such as neighborhood watch.
The Crime Scene Investigator works at crime scenes and analyzes every aspect of it, finding and collecting evidence such as DNA and fingerprints.
They also assist the Criminal Profiler in determining why and how exactly the crime happened. Drug Enforcement Administration Agents DEAs play a huge role in the war on drugs by enforcing laws on controlled substances and preventing the distribution of illegal narcotics. DEAs conduct investigations within the United States primarily, but they do conduct international investigations and work closely with Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement agents if the United States is affected. These pieces of evidence or clue could include things like DNA and fingerprints.
Jail Screeners adjust and process inmates sentences by closely analyzing their behavior. Probation Officers supervise convicted criminals who are sentenced to probation rather than prison. They keep continuous communication between them and the offender as well as the offenders family members to ensure they are meeting all of the terms of their probation.
Narcotics Officers work to prevent the selling, distribution, and use of illegal drugs. This includes the investigations of drug trafficking as well as possession. A deportation may testify in court. Deportation officer educational requirements: Typically the job requires a little more than a high school diploma or GED.
A BA in Criminal Justice is helpful. Before becoming a deportation officer, most people have a few years of experience working in standard law enforcement.