Criminal Justice Degrees

Individuals earning a degree in criminal justice are able to obtain employment within the criminal justice system upon graduation. Jobs may include parole officer, correctional officer, prison guard, police officer, or various jobs within the court system. Criminal justice studies focus on covering the basics on how the criminal justice system functions from the time of arrest through trial, sentence and appeal. Criminology, on the other hand, focuses on crime scene investigation including collection of physical evidence, lab testing and other crime scene investigative procedures. These are two entirely different areas of study and are not to be confused.

To work in the criminal justice system, a degree in criminal justice or social work is generally required. There are some exceptions to this rule, especially in the area of law enforcement. Often, law enforcement officers are able to attend accelerated training programs, such as the police academy, in lieu of college. A college degree in criminal justice can benefit a future police officer by providing more opportunity for advancement than a person who bypassed college and went straight into the police academy.

If you’re considering pursuing a career which falls in the criminal justice system, it is best to do a little research. Look into the requirements for the position in which you are most interested and set about meeting them. It is also important to consider advancement later down the line. If an advanced degree is beneficial, it is best to lay out a financial and time plan for that before beginning your coursework. Having a plan is the best way to ensure you will succeed!