The field of criminal justice is in demand. Not only does it encompass the fields of law enforcement and corrections, but it also includes probation officers, federal agents, court bailiffs, juvenile corrections officers, and other specialized fields. Those considering a job within criminal justice will be happy to know there are many different specialties to choose from. Read on to find out more about the field of criminal justice, as well as what it takes to receive a degree in this highly engaging and dynamic field.
Why Does Someone Get Interested in Criminal Justice?
A career in criminal justice is one of the most rewarding and engaging careers available. Those who pursue a career in criminal justice will have the opportunity to promote a positive change within their communities, reduce crime rates, help victims receive justice, and keep the nation safe from international threats.
Criminal justice encompasses a variety of careers in the courts, as well as within local departments. Upon graduation, those who complete a criminal justice program will be prepared for employment in local, state, and federal law enforcement positions, as well as positions in corrections, the court system, juvenile detention, or private security contract work.
What Jobs are Available for a Criminal Justice Program Graduate?
Because crime never stops, the job prospects for an individual who pursues a career path in criminal justice are excellent. Not only are there numerous positions in a variety of criminal justice related fields, but there is continuous upward mobility as well. Here are a few criminal justice related career paths which people pursue after receiving their diploma or degree in criminal justice:
Job #1: Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement officers oversee the protection of lives and property through the enforcement of laws and regulations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police officers, detectives, and criminal investigators typically do the following:
- Respond to emergency and non-emergency calls
- Patrol while observing people and activities
- Conduct traffic stops and issue citations
- Search databases for vehicles with citations
- Obtain and serve warrants for arrests, searches, and other purposes
- Arrest people suspected of committing crimes
- Write detailed reports of criminal and traffic investigations
- Prepare cases for legal proceedings and testify in court
Job #2: Probation Officer
Probation officers monitor and rehabilitate those that have been sentenced, offer advice, and make sure probationers attend appointments and recommended groups. They also:
- Provide advice and information to probationers
- Monitor and rehabilitate probationers
- Investigate and analyze cases
- Write reports and make recommendations to the court
- Enforce orders of the court
- Supervise probationers
- Support victims of crime
Job #3: Corrections Officer
A corrections officer may work in a prison or jail and is responsible for enforcing rules and regulations. The goal of a corrections officer is to prevent any disturbances and supervise inmates’ daily activities.
- Enforce rules and regulations
- Keep order within prison or jail
- Monitor and supervise inmate activities
- Facilitate rehabilitation services
- Search inmates for contraband
- Write reports on inmate conduct
- Inspect mail and visitors for prohibited items
Job #4: Juvenile Corrections Officer
Like a corrections officer, a juvenile corrections officer enforces rules and regulations but in a juvenile facility. This job involves preventing disturbances and supervising juveniles in corrections. At the juvenile level, more focus is placed on rehabilitation to dissuade juveniles to return to the prison system as adults. The juvenile corrections office may also help transport inmates to and from court hearings, classes, and recreational activities.
Job #5: Victims Advocate
A victim’s advocate works with victims, witnesses, and their families after a crime is committed. They serve as a liaison between all parties. A victim’s advocate provides and arranges to meet the material, emotional and informational needs experienced by victims and witnesses to allow for a faster recovery after the effects of a crime, according to the Office of the District Attorney. They may engage in crisis intervention, emergency assistance, orientation to the criminal justice system, court support, and property return.
Job #6: Criminal Profiler
An individual that works within an investigative team that uses profiling techniques to identify suspects. They compile and compare data from similar crimes to create a profile of a suspect. The FBI is one of the most common employers of criminal profilers. A criminal profiler will:
- Visit and analyze crime scenes
- Analyze evidence
- Study human behavior
- Learn about psychological profiles
- Provide court testimony
- Review reports from officers and detectives
Job #7: Crime Scene Investigator
A crime scene investigator documents a crime scene. They take photographs and physical measurements, identify and collect forensic evidence, and maintain the proper chain of custody, according to the National Institute of Justice. The crime scene investigator may identify blood and bodily fluids at the scene, detect drugs or explosives, and preserve evidence for investigations. They also collaborate with law enforcement and forensic science technicians.
Job #8: Federal Bureau of Investigations Agent
The FBI is an intelligence-driven and threat-focused governmental organization. FBI agents investigate and pursue criminal cases that violate federal law. They are responsible for crimes against federal agencies or crimes that cross state lines. Their mission is to protect the political and security interests domestically and uphold the Constitution of the United States, according to the FBI Website.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Criminal Justice Diploma Program?
The length of time it takes to complete a criminal justice program depends upon the specific degree plan that one has chosen, as well as whether one is pursuing their degree full-time or part-time. For those who are enrolled full-time in a program, it takes an average of nine months to satisfactorily complete all program requirements. For those who would like to receive their associate of science in criminal justice and receive additional instruction on specialized subfields (such as homeland security, corrections, forensic investigation, and corporate law), it will require an additional six months of study and course work.
A common misconception is that those with criminal justice diplomas or degrees must only go on to pursue a career in law enforcement. The reality is, that a criminal justice diploma or degree opens the door to many different job opportunities which you may not have previously considered. A diploma or degree in criminal justice is one of the most versatile and is beneficial in many ways. A person who pursues a job within this field will not only enjoy great job prospects and flexibility but will also know they are making a positive difference in the lives of others and creating a safer society for everyone within it.
Want to Learn More?
Our mission at ATA College is to provide diploma and associate degree training for entry-level positions in specialized fields. Our goal is to assist you in learning new skills and/or enhancing previously obtained skills, through higher education. We strive to fulfill your needs in seeking employment in our community. We are committed to providing a quality education that instills core values which will develop work ethics, professionalism, honor, and integrity, giving you a competitive edge through any economic condition.
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 the criminal justice career opportunities offered at ATA College.