When entering college as a criminal justice major, many students think that law enforcement is their only job option, but there are a number of criminal justice careers that do not require being a peace officer. Peace officers are those who protect the streets from criminals and include police officers, state troopers, customs agents and border patrol guards. While law enforcement is the most popular career path, you can use your degree in a variety of settings.
Social work is one of the more popular criminal justice careers that do not require being a peace officer. They often work with individuals and families, but they can also work with small groups. Social workers essentially keep the peace and help people battle the problems that affect their daily lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the jobs available in this field will grow at a faster than average rate and that by 2022, the field will add more than 110,000 jobs. Though some facilities require that you have a graduate degree or pass a licensing examination, other facilities will hire workers right out of college.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor is someone who works directly with those dealing with drug or alcohol abuse. As a counselor, you cannot prescribe medications or treatments, but you can counsel patients and talk with them about why they started using drugs and how those substances affected their lives. Most substance abuse specialists work in public and private abuse centers. Some work for community organizations that support homeless people and those who fall below the poverty line, while others work with patients in a more upscale and private setting.
If you love working with the elderly, consider using your degree to work as an elderly specialist. Hospitals often hire elderly specialists to work with new and existing patients. You can examine the patient for signs of abuse or neglect, help them better understand their diseases and conditions and offer support. Specialists often arrange for transportation home to other facilities, find beds in rehabilitation centers and arrange for private or long-term care at home. Other employers who hire elderly specialists include retirement and nursing homes, extended care facilities and community centers.
Do you like the idea of working in the legal field without actually interacting with criminals and convicts. Those interested in criminal justice careers that do not require being a peace officer often choose positions as court reporters. Court reporters are the men and women sitting in the courtroom tasked with recording the proceedings and keeping an accurate record of everything that occurs. You must be neutral and record everything that happens without inflicting any personal bias in your report.
Law enforcement ranks as the most popular career path for criminal justice students, but working in the law enforcement is far from your only option. The skills that you learn in school translate well into a number of different fields. Some of the top criminal justice careers that do not require being a peace officer include social work, court reporting, counseling substance abuse patients and working with the elderly in hospitals and retirement homes.