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Criminal justice professionals work for the community, striving to help people stay safe. If you have a passion for helping others and keeping the peace, then this could be a good career path for you. Here is a closer look at your options if you pursue training in criminal justice.

Careers in Criminal Justice

You can have many potential careers with a degree in criminal justice. By understanding these options, you will better understand why this is such a varied and valuable career path to consider.

Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Careers

An associate degree in criminal justice gives you the ability to launch your criminal justice career with just two years of training. This path could be a great way to get your foot in the door without a lengthy time in school. The field has several good career options for someone with an associate degree to start their careers. Some of these include:

  • Correctional officer
  • Security guard
  • Fish and game warden
  • Detective

The introduction to criminal law and the hands-on security and investigative training in these career paths are the ideal base for these careers.

Income potential and job growth for these careers varies quite a bit from one to the next. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detectives, which require on-the job training, can benefit from an associate degree. They are seeing average growth between 2020 and 2030. Security guards are another of these careers and they are expected to see a growth of 15% between 2020 and 2030.

Bachelor’s Degree Criminal Justice Careers

Sometimes a criminal justice career requires a bit more in-depth training. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice focuses on a deeper understanding of criminal law and criminal justice. This is the base degree required for many roles, especially those in state or federal corrections. Some of these might include:

  • Working for Homeland Security, the CIA, or the FBI
  • Probation officers
  • Emergency management director
  • Information security analyst

In general, these are higher-paying career paths than those requiring only an associate degree. Information security analysts have a 33% job growth potential, according to the BLS.

Preparing for a Career in Criminal Justice

Whether you choose an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, you will study similar things in your criminal justice training that will prepare you well for a criminal justice career. The skills learned in a criminal justice program could transfer into many different career paths. Some of the things you will study include:

  • Reporting: Regardless of the field, when you work in criminal justice you must learn how to complete reports.
  • Fingerprinting: Taking fingerprints properly is an important part of criminal justice work and integral to the training in these degree programs.
  • Forensics: Gathering, handling, and analyzing evidence will be part of the training.
  • Criminal justice ethics: How to handle people and investigations ethically and in line with the U.S. Constitution and federal and local laws is an important skill for law enforcement
  • Effective communication: In criminal justice, communication is paramount. You must communicate with superiors and people under you within the organization, and also be able to communicate with judges, criminals, suspects, and victims.
  • Security: Not all criminal justice careers are actually in criminal justice, so these programs will teach security skills as well.
  • Investigation: Learning critical thinking skills that translate into good investigation is paramount for criminal justice professionals.
  • Court processes: Most law enforcement officers end up spending time and energy in the court system, so understanding how the courts work is an important training step.

Criminal Justice Concentrations

Within criminal justice degree programs, students have the option to pursue a number of concentrations. These concentrations can fine-tune the skills someone needs for a particular career path. If you have an idea of where you would like to take your criminal justice career, then consider one of these concentrations:

  • Law enforcement: This concentration focuses on the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in law enforcement.
  • Legal studies: This concentration studies the legal side of the criminal justice world.
  • Emergency management and homeland security: With this concentration, you will learn skills necessary to rise to the occasion when emergencies happen or to seek a career within homeland security fields.
  • Correctional counseling: The goal of the criminal justice system is two-fold, and one side of that goal is to help people make better choices after committing a crime. Correctional counseling concentrations give people the skills to guide others toward becoming better, law-abiding citizens.
  • Corrections: Corrections professionals work within correctional facilities to keep the peace and ensure people are safely incarcerated while serving their time.

Is Criminal Justice a Good Career?

In general, as long as there are people, there will be criminals and a need for the criminal justice profession. This means studying criminal justice has strong career potential.

Salary ranges and job growth in this field vary significantly depending on what career path you choose, but with so many different potential places of employment and many careers that have a good, livable wage, working as a criminal justice professional can be a good career path.

Get Started on Your Criminal Justice Training Today

If you feel that a career in criminal justice is the right fit for your needs, Post University has two degree program options for you. We offer an online criminal justice associate degree and an online criminal justice bachelor’s degree, and both of these will provide a solid foundation for your future career. These programs are available both on-campus and online for your convenience.

Reach out to an admissions counselor from Post University today to learn more about your criminal justice degree options.

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.

The Associate of Science in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree are not designed to fulfill the educational requirements for any professional credential, such as a police officer certification. Professional credentials also have other requirements outside of education. Law enforcement and other public safety positions often require testing, specialized trainings, background checks, and more. Job requirements also vary by jurisdiction, involving the local, state, or national levels. Learn about law enforcement and public safety careers through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.