Deciding to Start a New Career in Criminal Justice

Over the last few years, the study of crime, criminals and the procedures involved in this criminal justice field have become the most popular among other career options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many are attracted to criminal justice jobs because of the numerous opportunities and high salaries. If we carefully look at the consequences of one of the United States tragic incidents of 9/11, the emphasis on security has grown quite high. As a result, the justice as a profession has become an attractive option and in the next few years the popularity is expected to increase further. In fact, if according to the U.S. Department of Labor, criminal justice as a professional field is poised for growth in the coming decade. If we talk in terms of statistics then the demand for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers is anticipated to grow by 23.2%. The overall demand for justice professionals is also expected to boom by 29.8% by the year 2010.

Today there are many careers in the justice field, but being a professional with a background in criminal justice degree is expected to show the continued growth for the foreseeable future. Your extra education can help you improve your potential for finding a suitable position. In fact, if you are an applicant having a proper training in police science, military police experience, or both then you should have the best opportunities in the justice field. So by now if you have made up your mind for making your career in any of the criminal justice fields then to get started, it’s better you make the right selection of a program and attain a criminal justice degree from an accredited criminal justice school.

Under Criminal Justice, you have to study various subjects like law enforcements and corrections solutions, white-collar crimes, forensic behavior analysis and American criminal procedure. The faculty members who impart education on such criminal based subjects have expertise on such subjects and can help you gain the knowledge and expertise in the field properly. Today there are different kinds of Criminal Justice Degree levels, which are related to the field of Criminology like Associate Justice Programs that generally takes 2 years and Bachelor’s Justice Programs that usually takes 4 years but can be finished in 3 years. However, if you are not interested in completing a four-year justice program, these days many community colleges, with specializations including forensics and security also offer career-oriented two-year programs in justice.

The key point that you must understand is that a bachelor’s degree helps you in preparing for a better grade of entry-level positions. These days, it is the minimum degree required for jobs in the Secret Service and for different managerial positions in state or local law enforcement agencies. In addition to this, you may also follow a master’s degree if you are more inclined towards profiles like administration, policymaking or jobs with the FBI. Generally, a master’s degree is the minimum required criteria for those who are looking to make a career as FBI agents, police chiefs and college instructors.

Today every degree in criminals justice is available both online and at many colleges and universities. A degree in criminals justice can get you started in law enforcement or lead to a specialized degree in law. Nevertheless, the school or program you choose to earn a criminals justice degree, you need to be sure to research the accreditation status of each of them. Accreditation insures that the school follows a high-quality curriculum that generally includes all the coursework vital to be successful in this field.

Certainly, if we look at the current scenario then one just cannot run away from the fact that making a career in the criminal justice field has become important career options for many young aspirants. The job outlook in this field also seems to be very promising and in the next few years it may get even much better.

Criminal Justice Schools

The demand for law enforcement offices and detectives is projected to increase by 10% in the coming eight years and, in turn, salaries are expected to increase as well. These are valid reasons for pursuing higher education that can guarantee you a well paid job in this government sector. All you have to do is to select between the different types of criminal justice schools. This guide will help you with this.

You can study this discipline in a community college, a career college or a vocational school to earn an associate’s degree in it. The training usually lasts 2 years during which you learn the fundamentals of criminal justice. You will study all of the main subjects of this discipline such as criminology, psychology, law, social studies and political science. Individuals with an associate’s degree in this discipline from such criminal justice schools can find well-paid jobs as police officers and sheriffs. The average annual salary of a person with such a degree working in the criminal justice system is around $48,000.

Schools, such as liberal arts colleges and universities, also offer this discipline. These schools offer bachelor’s degree programs and master’s degree programs. It is true that such training is longer and costlier. However, you will rip greater benefits from it. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in this discipline can find jobs as detectives, deputy sheriffs, wardens and even as Secret Service agents. The average salary you can expect to earn with such a degree is around $67,000 a year.

If you have both master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in this discipline, you will have the opportunity to find a job even at the FBI. The annual job income of individuals with a master’s degree can reach $100,000, depending on the position they are taking.

All criminal justice schools offer traditional programs. The classes take place on campus during the day. However, since many people working in the criminal justice system want to advance in their profession, the number of more flexible programs has increased considerably. It is now possible for trainees to sign up for evening classes or for weekend classes. Such a program will allow you to go to work during the day and to keep your current income to support your family as well as your education.

Now you can enroll in an online program as well. You can earn an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree online through one of the schools offering such programs. It should be pointed out that even though some of educational institutions offering such courses are operating entirely online, there are also traditional colleges and universities that offer such a training option to their students. Signing up for an online program gives you greater flexibility. You will be able to study when you want and for how long you want. At the same time, you will have access to instructors as well as to learning resources.

You can readily choose between the different types of justice schools. Consider all of the pros and cons for each option.

Criminal Justice School Tests and Exams

The required exams for criminal justice school will depend on the student’s specialization. There are justice programs for court officers, corrections officers, police officers and other law enforcement professionals. There are also justice school entrance exams depending on the type of school you are going into, particularly for aspiring police officers. A justice program at a traditional four-year university, on the other hand, will likely not require any additional entrance exams than are already required for acceptance into the school.

There are several ways to prepare to take the exams for criminal justice colleges. It is important to take detailed notes in all your classes, and create study guides so you can breeze through the required information with a focus on the topics which you are most likely to be tested on. There are also publishers such as Arco that have created books specifically for mastering the exams for court officers, corrections officers and police officers, and other law enforcement exams.

Various schools might have criminal justice colleges entrance exams, as well. PhD programs also typically require comprehensive exams for all their students before they can complete the program. Other related fields such as paralegals also require specific examinations to become certified in this field. Whatever justice school tests and exams you are required to take, there are resources available to ensure that you make it to test day prepared for success.

In order to ace any exams for justice school, it’s a good idea to do some police and court activity observations before attending your justice course. Then contact the head judge of your court or the court clerk to see find if you could attend criminal court proceedings, and get your criminal justice books before the course and read them cover to cover. Also find out if the teacher is going to have role-playing scenarios so you can be prepared, and before test day make sure to review the chapters covered and brush up on the subjects you’re less familiar with. And last but not least, make sure to get a good night’s sleep.

Get A Criminal Justice Degree Online For An Exciting Career

Earning a Criminal Justice Degree Online opens a door to a vast array of career choices in what is considered the Criminal Justice field. At its most basic, Criminal Justice is the study of crime prevention and punishment of offenders and utilizes the resources of law enforcement, judiciary, corrections and probation.

Employment as a law enforcement or legal professional usually requires at least a Bachelors Degree in CJ, Psychology or Social Work, or other related field. There are Associates Degrees that may offer an opportunity for employment in some aspect of the Criminal Justice field as well. Working towards a Criminal Justice Degree Online will involve similar course work as a traditional degree program. Some of the areas of specialization are below:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Probation
  • Corrections
  • Forensics
  • Homeland Security
  • Immigration
  • Private Security

The most popular fields within CJ field are easily law enforcement and corrections from the local level all the way to the federal level. Computer Forensic Science is becoming more and more popular and even the legal field is considered part of the CJ system. In fact, an Online Paralegal Degree offers a great way to get a foot in the door to a career in Criminal Justice. That being said, a Criminal Justice Degree online might offer a minor emphasis in paralegal studies or even social work or forensics.

Colleges that offer a Criminal Justice Degree Online range from an Associates Degree program to a Masters Degree program. An Associates Degree might be satisfactory for some careers in CJ but most schools recommend a Bachelors level education. Some of the aspects of Criminal Justice that are taught in an online Criminal Justice program are theory and history, sociological factors and the impact on communities and individuals

The great thing about Online College Degrees in general is the tremendous flexibility afforded to students in regards to homework, class attendance and testing. There are two basic types of online classes, Synchronous and Asynchronous. Synchronous classes mirror actual on-campus classes in respect to class attendance and testing. Asynchronous classes are becoming much more common and do not typically follow a daily schedule of attendance or a specific time to take and complete an examination. Students are usually afforded a period of time to complete any coursework or homework as well as examinations or presentations.

Online degree programs allow students the opportunity to get a college education while at the same time, fulfilling work and family obligations that might otherwise make it impossible to attend college. Often these students are already employed in their field of interest and giving up a job to go to school would certainly be counter productive to long-term career goals.

Earning a Criminal Justice Degree Online gives a graduate numerous avenues of possible specialty emphasis and employment opportunities.

Choosing a Criminal Justice School

If you are keen on being part of the law enforcers, you would need to get yourself a criminal justice degree. This degree is offered by criminal justice schools that will prepare you well for a career in this field. There are several considerations you should make in order to find the best school for yourself.

The most important thing to decide on would be the type of criminal justice program. There should be a number of programs available, but you should choose an area of major that most interests you so that you can narrow your options to find the schools with the best ones around. Furthermore, this will help you decide on what type of electives you may need to take later, so you can plan them ahead of time.

It is also important that you find a school that is accredited, as their programs are credible and up to par. Alongside with that, you could look for quality and reputable ones as they are usually the best ones around to aid you throughout the years studying. Apart from that, you can take into considerations of the school’s size, location, teaching style and environment, student services and activities, job placement programs, or anything at all that can affect your decision.

The overall fee and approximate expenditure should be a deciding factor. If cost is an issue, you could look for less expensive ones, or apply for scholarship or student loans. The tuition fee does not exactly dictate the quality of the lessons, just the access to things, so do not worry too much about attending schools with cheaper tuition.

All in all, there are many good schools, but matching your personal preferences and needs to them will find you the best one for yourself. Do not succumb to pressure when deciding or you might find yourself with difficulties later on. Criminal justice program can be a breeze if you find the right one.