If you’ve got a passion for law and order, public safety, community service, and crime and punishment — a criminal justice career could be your life’s calling. This is one of the fastest growing and most versatile sectors in the United States.
The large number of entry-level jobs and high-paying career paths in the criminal justice field provide many opportunities to match your interests, skills, and education level. You’ll find a myriad of exciting jobs to choose from at the federal, state, county, and local levels, as well as in the private sector.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016, approximately three million workers were employed across all subfields of the criminal justice sector, including:
- Law enforcement
- Forensic science
- Homeland security
- Private security
- Legal services
Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice not only grants you access to work in a relatively stable and growing sector, it provides a sense of fulfillment knowing you’re contributing to the health, welfare, and safety of your local community and/or your country.
What will you learn in an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program?
In addition to gaining a solid foundation in general education requirements, your associate program will introduce you to criminal justice, law enforcement, corrections, and security. This overview helps you get an immediate feel for the area of specialization best suited to your goals and interests.
Your introduction to criminal law will provide a working knowledge of the structure of the American criminal justice system as well as a clear understanding of the U.S. Constitution (Bill of Rights), and how to apply its provisions to criminal laws and procedures. You’ll leave your program with a demonstrated understanding of crime and punishment as well as of your own ethical and professional responsibility.
What can you do with your Associate of Science in Criminal Justice?
An associate degree in criminal justice can lay the foundation for a successful future in law enforcement, crime scene investigation, forensic science, and the court and correctional systems. Examples of dynamic career choices include:
- Homicide detective
- Forensics ballistic expert, crime scene investigator, and blood spatter analyst
- Correctional officer
- Private security guard
- Fish and game warden
What will you learn in a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program?
With the one-on-one support you receive from experienced faculty and a dedicated academic advisor, you can tailor your Criminal Justice bachelor’s program to your career goals. In addition to core classes in criminal law, criminal justice, and criminology, you’ll start fine-tuning your career path by choosing one of the following concentrations:
- Law Enforcement – juvenile justice, police administration and management, white-collar crime
- Emergency Management and Homeland Security – emergency mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, terrorism
- Correctional Counseling – equal focus to criminal justice, sociology, human services
- Legal Studies – business law; environmental law; e-commerce; patent, trademark and copyright law
What can you do with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice?
Your bachelor degree prepares you for criminal justice jobs in the Federal Marshals Office, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of Homeland Security, or IRS. You also qualify for employment as a U.S. Postal police officer, courtroom security officer, corporate security officer, or state/federal corrections employee. Some popular career choices include:
- FBI, CIA, or Secret Service agent
- Homeland Security air marshal
- Probation officer
- Information security analyst
- Emergency management director
- CIA analyst
You may find the criminal justice field so exciting that you decide to seek further education in the form of a master’s or law degree to give you access to the highest-paying and most intellectially rewarding careers such as attorney or forensic psychologist.