A criminal justice diploma program prepares students like you to enter law enforcement, corrections and security jobs with confidence. Working in criminal justice is challenging work, and you need the right communication skills and psychological knowledge to improve your community. If you’re passionate about bringing greater change and reform to the world through legal service, then our diploma program in criminal justice can put you on the right track.
What Jobs Can I Get with a Diploma in Criminal Justice?
Trade schools can prepare you for a variety of entry-level jobs in state, local or federal positions. Potential careers include law enforcement officer, corrections officer, prison guard, parole officer or private security officer. The classes will enable you to enter multiple fields depending on your passions and areas of interest.
A thorough study of criminal justice, the American legal system, criminal psychology, and public safety grants you the confidence you need to perform your job to your best ability. In addition to being well-versed in the main disciplines of filed, as a graduate of the criminal justice diploma program, you also have the option to extend your program into a degree track for an additional six months.
What Do You Learn in a Criminal Justice Diploma Program?
While most people may think criminal justice is solely about understanding the motives for crime, it is much larger and diverse. Criminal justice is designed to not only promote positive reform but also help understand and decrease the risks that lead people to commit crimes in the first place.
Below is a list of some of the courses you will take in the criminal justice diploma program. We will explore them in more in-depth to help you understand exactly what each subject entails and how it can help you in your future career. These courses include:
Intro to Criminal Justice
You begin your studies by gaining a detailed overview of the field of criminal justice. You will learn how to define criminal justice, its various sub-disciplines and how it affects public safety as a whole. Criminal justice is a broad term that comprises all the laws, procedures, institutions, and figures that impact the apprehension, sentencing and rehabilitation of offenders.
There are many different areas you may decide to specialize in, but a formal knowledge of criminal justice in America is the first step. During this course, you are introduced to the two central ideas of criminal justice. The first is that a system should protect victims of crimes at all costs and always ensure they are granted their due rights. Second, there should be set laws and procedures in place that ensure criminals are tried and fairly punished for any crimes they commit.
A truly just legal system not only protects victims but also helps identify and reduce the risks that lead to criminal offense in the first place. With the right programs and resources, many offenders go on to become valuable members of their communities.
Criminal Law Fundamentals
Criminal law is closely connected to criminal procedure, but they are distinctive in their objectives. Criminal law outlines what is permissible and illegal in a society as well as the penalties for breaking any laws established by the government. Criminal law also helps protect people who may be falsely accused or a crime.
In addition to establishing laws, criminal law also addresses a person’s rights in society. It established the framework for fair treatment, prevents abuse and ensures that punishments for crimes are never greater than the crime itself. Criminal defense is largely rooted in criminal law, and defense attorneys use these laws to help lower their clients’ sentences without compromising the justice a victim deserves.
Criminal Procedure and the Constitution
American rights are laid out in the Constitution. For over 250 years, America has worked to be a land that supports equality, fairness, and freedom. Upholding such ideals requires procedures that punish people who violate the laws and infringe on the rights of others.
Criminal procedure falls under constitutional law, and it examines the methods and practices law enforcement officials investigate, examine, and prosecute offenders. The balance between justice and human rights is closely assessed, and you will gain a thorough understanding of the constitution’s amendments and how they apply to criminal suspects and the US court system.
Intro to the American Criminal Court System
After someone is charged with a crime, they are placed in police custody and held in jail until their first court hearing. What happens after, during court and after a sentence is issued is all regulated by law in the American court system. The US court can be complex and overwhelming, especially for victims and their families who are often coping with anxiety and post-traumatic stress. The aim of this course is to help you define the American court system, understand what legally constitutes a crime under US law and learn the systematic procedures that underscore the criminal investigative and conviction processes.
For someone who aspires to work in law enforcement as a police or parole officer, you will need to closely understand how your own actions impact the people you work with. Officers can only act under the authority of the law, so making an arrest on false claims or without due reason can result in facing charges of your own. Parole officers must report to the court to relay all their clients’ activities and ensure that they are cooperating with the terms of their release.
Communication and Report Writing
Anyone who works in criminal justice must have excellent verbal and written communication skills. The type of communication someone employs in their line of work will vary largely depending on their chosen profession; a police officer must be able to remain calm under stress, gather information from victims or witnesses who may be hysterical or distraught, interview suspects and maintain an air of authority at all times; a parole officer must be able to read their clients and gather the right information from them in order to present detailed reports to the court.
Report writing in law enforcement ranges from a police officer’s report from a crime scene to a security guard’s incident report. Being able to write reports in clear, concise language that follow a sequential order of events and contain only relevant details requires practice. In class, you gain the skills necessary to lead, communicate and delegate a variety of situations you may encounter on the job.
Intro to Homeland Security
In addition to recognizing threats that exist in your community, you will also learn about risks facing the country at large. Homeland security introduces you to the field and a variety of contemporary issues such as border control, counter-terrorism measures, and emergency response. You will learn how the government’s infrastructure impacts the nation’s risks and discuss ways policymakers and law enforcement can help mitigate those risks on a variety of levels.
Homeland security presents you with interesting challenges that you must logically discuss and examine with your peers; instructors with backgrounds in law enforcement present detailed case studies to help you understand the real applications of the principles and concepts you learn in class.
Intro to Corrections and the American Prison System
The psychology of a person’s transition into the system is a process known as prisonization. Why do prisoners wear the same color or have uniforms? It’s not just about the ability to identify them. Establishing and maintaining order in a prison system full of both violent and non-violent offenders requires strong communication, leadership and a variety of psychological elements.
The American prison system’s structure, inmate behavior, conflict resolution and management will all be discussed throughout this course. Students who wish to enter corrections as a prison guard or corrections officer will learn the fundamental concepts and skills required to maintain a safe work environment for themselves, coworkers, and inmates.
How Long Is a Criminal Justice Diploma Program?
The diploma takes as little as nine months to complete full-time. You can further your education and career opportunities by adding an additional six months for a degree. There are also many benefits to attending a criminal justice diploma program.
What Are the Benefits of Attending a Criminal Justice Diploma Program?
You will gain first-hand access to a diverse, experienced faculty of real law enforcement professionals. You can apply what you learn to a multitude of jobs in the criminal justice field and give yourself an edge in the competitive market. You also get support from our trade school’s career services, which help you build resumes, prepare you for interviews, and land the jobs you are most passionate about.
We invest in our students as much as they invest in us; all of our programs are built to help you thrive far beyond the classroom. Additional services ensure you get the level of support you need to graduate as confident, empowered professionals.
If you would like to learn more, please contact us today. We can help you answer all the questions you have about jobs in criminal justice and walk you through the enrollment process.
Criminal Justice & Public Safety Diploma
After completing the 9-month diploma program at our El Cajon | San Diego criminal justice school, students have the option to continue with courses in the Associate of Science program. The criminal justice associate degree is available in multiple emphasis pathways and can be completed in an additional 6 months after general education courses.
Contact us today to learn more about criminal justice career opportunities offered at ATA College.