Studying criminal justice can be an intriguing experience. Incorporating the fields of psychology and sociology, it offers a fascinating look at human behavior and at the criminal justice system. As with any major, though, it is important to consider future employment prospects. There are several possibilities in response to the question “What can I do with a criminal justice degree?”
Become a Corrections Officer
A criminal justice degree is excellent preparation for a career in corrections. Working with an imprisoned population offers unique challenges, and a degree in criminal justice is often good preparation for that. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook the median pay for a probation officer or a correctional treatment specialist is $47,200 a year. The profession is expected to grow about as fast as average. This career may be a good choice for someone who has a strong interest in helping those with a criminal background.
Consider Police Work
Entering the police force does not necessarily require a college degree. Many officers are trained through an officer training program offered by a police department. In addition, there are often cadet programs that offer experience to those not yet old enough to be hired by a department. Nonetheless, having a background in criminal justice offers additional skills and knowledge that may benefit future police officers.
Go to Law School
Going to law school is another option. Because there is actually no set pre-law program, those who intend to pursue a law degree have many options for an undergraduate major. English and history degrees are popular, but a criminal justice degree can also be a good choice. One should, of course, investigate the law school they would like to attend before deciding to complete their degree in criminal justice.
Start a Private Investigation Practice
Becoming a detective or private investigator in private practice is a possible choice. A criminal justice degree helps to develop one’s research and observational skills, both useful for work as a private investigator. While one must usually start as a police officer before moving into detective work on the police force, there are unique niches that can be filled by private investigators in the civilian world.
Consider Paralegal Studies
There are already many degree programs aimed at preparing students to become a paralegal. Some schools now offer this as a choice of major for a bachelor’s degree program. Many community colleges offer an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. Usually, they also offer a certificate option for those who already have an undergraduate degree, which makes it a good choice for someone with a degree in criminal justice. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers more information on entering the field.
Criminal justice is an interesting major may provide a stepping stone to various graduate programs. Career-wise, it may be most applicable to those who plan to work directly with those in the criminal justice system. A degree in criminal justice is a flexible program that offers many possibilities.