Criminal Justice Degree Options - Video

Thinking about earning a degree in Criminal Justice? You're not alone. Many students are drawn to these programs by the diverse career opportunities available to graduates. From criminologists to corrections officers and forensic scientists to FBI agents, Criminal Justice graduates play a vital role in public safety. That is not to mention the wealth of positions available for police officers, detectives, paralegals, court reporters and other professionals involved in preventing and prosecuting crime. Learn more about whether a Criminal Justice degree program may be right of you.

Description of Degree

Earning a degree in Criminal Justice can lead to many different careers in crime prevention, investigation and prosecution. Criminal Justice programs can help you land police, corrections, and other law enforcement jobs detrimental toward the safety and welfare of the population. As a criminal justice professional, you can also work as a member of the court in violators' punishment and rehabilitation. Officers of the law and courts might deal with everything from minor offenses (such as traffic violations) to more serious incidents of violent behavior. Criminal Justice degree programs can prepare you for employment in all of these areas and more.

Skills Obtained/Typical Courses

Criminal Justice degrees incorporate study of wide ranging disciplines, including sociology, psychology and political science. Studies in this academic area are designed to give graduates insight into how and why criminal behaviors occur and what can be done to limit them. Degree programs include detailed study of criminal psychology, judiciary procedures, forensic science, rehabilitation, counseling methods and other studies helpful in field, court and corrections settings. Criminal Justice degree programs may be tailored to meet specific professional aspirations. Often the first portion of these programs cover general study in criminology and prevention methods with subsequent coursework being more focused on your chosen area of expertise. You may also be required to complete intensive field training or an internship within the courts or a law enforcement agency. After enrolling in a Criminal Justice program, you can expect to take courses in:

  • Policing
  • Criminal Law
  • Forensic Science
  • Criminology
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Corrections
  • and CyberCrime

Career Options/Occupational Outlook

Criminal justice professionals may choose jobs that range from policing and corrections to probationary work and investigative duties. In addition to this breadth of opportunities, there are many capacities in which these professionals might work. Law enforcement officers are required at local, county, state and federal agencies. At each of these levels, criminal justice professionals of all stripes are responsible for carrying out core duties in their respective jurisdictions. For example, police officers employed by a city are often responsible for preventing crime and apprehending offenders primarily within a city's limits. On the other end of the spectrum, officers in federal agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the Federal Bureau of Investigation) may be engaged in law enforcement activities throughout the world. Similarly, judiciary officials may work in local, state or federal courtroom settings.

Wrap Up

Earning a degree in Criminal Justice is a good option for those who are interested in jobs that allow them to promote public safety. These careers can provide significant earnings and exciting opportunities for advancement. They can also be counted among the most rewarding professions as they allow graduates to witness firsthand the positive effects of their work in communities.

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