A criminal justice certification in combination with a degree in the field is beneficial for preparing graduates with a specific skill set to pursue a particular career path. Whether interested in working with youth or in digital analysis of crime scenes, there is a certification to enhance a criminal justice undergraduate or graduate degree.
Leadership and Management
There are a number of options for students who are interested in beginning a career in the management or in a leadership position in an area of the criminal justice field. Options include certifications in security management, corrections leadership, law enforcement leadership, and juvenile justice leadership. In addition to general courses in management techniques, interpersonal communication, and behavioral psychology, these certifications also include area specific course work.
In a security management certification, some common courses include risk management in criminal justice, white collar crime, homeland security, special security problems, terrorism and criminal justice organizations, security applications, private security, and security administration.
Corrections leadership courses often include community justice, law and social control, criminal justice sentencing, human resources management in criminal justice organizations, and criminal justice planned change, while law enforcement leadership certificate programs courses might include policy development in law enforcement, crime prevention, criminal justice management, criminal justice organizations, public organizational management, foundations of law enforcement, and the nature of crime.
Juvenile justice leadership focuses not just on the criminal side of knowledge but also on intervention techniques and support delivery. Common courses include juvenile justice systems, child abuse treatment, program evaluation techniques, administration of justice, and substance abuse intervention.
In addition to leadership or management focused on juvenile justice, there are also certificate programs to prepare graduates to work as youth intervention specialist and other similar positions. Juvenile justice certificates often include courses such as sex offenders in the criminal justice system, juvenile justice system foundations, social work theory, crisis intervention, crime victims, juvenile justice and delinquency, juvenile courts, and youth advocacy.
Victim advocacy certificates are similar, focusing more on the social work side of the criminal justice system. Course examples include justice agency operations, domestic violence, effects of victimization, guardianships, crisis intervention, and victim rights. Additional information can be found at the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims website at www.responsetovictims.org.
Community policing focuses on outreach. With a background in many of these and similar social work-based courses, graduates with this certificate are prepared to work with members of communities and resource organizations to develop programs and coordinate services for crime prevention and reintegration.
Technical Crime Specializations
In technical crime specialization certificates, students gain the skills needed to perform jobs such as crime analysis, crime scene investigation, criminal profiling, and digital forensics. In these certificate programs, many students will gain hands-on experience in addition to advanced course work knowledge in topics such as investigative analysis, crime intelligence, investigative analysis, leadership and ethics, crime mapping, pattern analysis, criminal profiling, fingerprinting, and criminal justice technologies.
Criminal justice professionals work with offenders, victims, community organizations, and other legal specialists. A criminal justice certification offers opportunities to gain the advanced knowledge and skills to begin making a differences in these areas.