Criminal Justice Education
Criminal Justice: What's It All About?
From law enforcement to legal matters, criminal justice has always been among the most respected and in-demand career fields in the country. In the wake of events like 9/11, fields like security and law enforcement in the United States have expanded greatly; at the same time, they also require staffing of an ever higher caliber.
A criminal justice degree is proof to potential employers that you are that higher caliber, equipping you with a firm foundation in legal issues and the science of the law. By specializing in one of many concentrations, such a degree can smoothly pave your way into any number of potential career paths.
How Much Education Do I Need?
As with most fields, it depends on what sort of career path you want to take. Careers in law enforcement, court reporting, and paralegal work (to name a few) often require an Associate's Degree at minimum, though additional certification or a Bachelor's has become increasingly sought after. More advanced positions within the judicial system, like that of lawyer or judge, require far more extensive schooling��a doctorate is par for the course, but some go back for multiple degrees and supplemental certificates.
What Is The Current Job Outlook?
The current employment atmosphere for criminal justice degrees is fairly good. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, paralegals and legal assistants held down almost 240,000 jobs in 2006, while police officers and detectives held over 860,000��79% of which were employed locally by city governments. Most criminal justice careers see the most employment luck in heavily-populated cities (crime��and therefore justice��happens where the people are), but the potential for employment can be found in nearly any structured town.
What Is My Future Job Outlook?
Employment expectations in the criminal justice field are promising. While opportunities for aspiring police and corrections officers are expected to grow by 11% over the next ten years, on par with the national average for all occupations in general, opportunities for paralegals are expected to skyrocket to 22% by 2016. Those with experience and certifications are expected to be in the highest demand.
What Will My Salary Look Like?
Depending on the career you decide to go into, your criminal justice salary can vary greatly. On one end of the spectrum are administrative assistance-type positions with limited duties and education requirements, while on the other end are high-stress and high-stakes positions high on the chain of command within law and the police department. For all positions, the low end of the salary scale balances at around $30,000 annually, but the high ends can be vast depending on experience and skill within one's career.
Interested in learning more about how much you can make in this field? Check out our criminal justice salaries section!
Do I Have What It Takes?
Just like any other profession, not everyone is cut out for a career in criminal justice. Do you have what it takes?
• Criminal justice isn't like most other careers��practically every facet of the field requires extensive exercising of responsibility and judgment. Thusly, these sorts of careers are best suited to those with a strong grasp of ethics and responsibility in the workplace.
• Criminal justice is also related to social work in many ways. Whether you're a police officer on the beat or a paralegal in the office, dealing with people (from clients to perpetrators) is a given. Anyone working in this field, therefore, must work well with people. In addition, one must be able to maintain a positive image and be responsible in everyday events, as a blotch on your own image could in turn become a blotch on your entire department.
• No matter what sector you work in, criminal justice can be a fast-paced and high-tension career. In a job where death, injury, and grievous crime scenes are all in a day's work, emotions can run high. Success in a criminal justice career, therefore, requires a level-headed individual that can keep cool and stay rational in stressful situations.
Does any��or all��of this sound like you? Then you may be perfectly suited for a career in criminal justice! If you are still interested, read on for information on what kind of criminal justice careers are available, and what sort of salary prospects you can hope to receive! Easily find and compare additional online degree programs options at Get Degrees.