Those interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice may opt for a degree in this discipline. Criminal justice is a field that is concerned with the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice. It refers to a system that oversees a number of processes. These include:  deterring criminals, detecting criminals, investigating crime, catching criminals, punishing criminals and rehabilitating criminals. There is a great deal of crossover between careers in criminal justice, careers in law enforcement and careers in homeland security.There is a wide range of career choices available to individuals wishing to work in this field. Employment opportunities in criminal justice exist across a wide array of public (local, state and federal) and private organizations. These include the courts, crime labs, the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Narcotics control, immigration and other departments. Criminal justice careers include working in the capacity of a:

  • Criminal investigator
  • Paralegal
  • Police officer
  • Correctional officer
  • Probation officer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Crime scene technologist
  • Security manager
  • Private detective

Individuals interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice have the option of specializing in a particular field related to criminal justice. These include amongst others:

  • Legal studies
  • Forensics
  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Criminal psychology
  • Criminal law
  • Crime scene technology
  • Security management

Depending on the level of education, the specialization opted for and the level of experience, individuals can earn between 30,000 to 120,000 U.S dollars a year on average.

Criminal Justice Degrees and Programs
In order to work in the criminal justice industry it is advisable to acquire the right educational qualifications. There are a number of academic programs to choose from. In particular, the following degrees in criminal justice are available:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Entry into the field of criminal justice requires individuals to have the knowledge and the skill set to do so. An Associate degree is two years in duration. During this program, students acquire basic foundational knowledge about the criminal justice system. For more lucrative careers in criminal justice, it is advisable to pursue a Bachelor’s in the subject. A Bachelor’s degree is four years in duration. Students are exposed to greater theory and are able to cultivate a variety of needed skills. A Master’s in criminal justice enables individuals to advance their careers even further.

Areas of Study in Criminal Justice
During the course of academic programs in criminal justice, students are trained in the fundamental concepts and theories surrounding criminal justice. They are also able to consolidate a number of skills. These include communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and decision making skills. Areas of study include: theories of crime, criminology, courts and adjudication, victimology, juvenile delinquency, sentencing, corrections, probation, crime analysis, criminal procedures, criminal law, counterterrorism, homeland security, crime prevention, research methods and statistics.

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