Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
Have you ever considered a career in criminal justice? Criminal justice is a broad field that includes many different aspects of law enforcement, investigative work, and public administration and safety. The emphasis is on performing jobs that deal with enforcing laws and bringing those who do not follow the law to justice through criminal court proceedings.
What is Criminal Justice?
Criminal Justice is a field that deals with the implementation and enforcement of public law and regulations that have as its goal to bring criminals to justice. Graduates of the criminal justice field can find employment in several different areas of the law including local law enforcement, investigative services, and the legal field.
Criminal Justice programs deal with the skills and knowledge that are needed to complete a degree in the field of Criminal Justice. You’ll likely be required to take a variety of courses that cross over into several areas of the Law and administration of the Law in your state. The types of courses and information you’ll be required to complete will be dependent upon the requirements in your state as well as the national and local standards where you live. You can visit your local sheriff’s office or city hall to find out what these requirements might be if you plan to work in your immediate area.
A Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice normally consists of around 120 credit hours of training. There are additional electives you can take if you want to increase your chances of expanding your career and specialize in a specific area of the Law.
If you are planning to enter the field of Criminal Justice, you should prepare to take courses related to the following categories:
- American Legal System
- Criminal Justice: Ethics
- Criminal Behavior and Analysis
- Law and the Criminal Court System in America
These courses give students in the Criminal Justice field a broad but focused view of the types of things they will encounter when seeking a career in this exciting but challenging field.
The course titles may vary, but the substance contained in the courses will be similar to the categories we have listed. It’s a good idea to get a sense of the types of courses that are offered in your state before beginning the program by researching the schools in your area.
Potential Job Titles
Persons who finish the program and training can expect to work in law enforcement, private investigations, or digital forensics, to name a few. There is a large list of potential outcomes regarding career positions and salary that you can begin if you are successful in completing the basic requirements.
Some of the titles you might have upon completion include:
- Private Investigator/Detective
- Police Officer
- Social Services Coordinator
- Constitutional Law Expert
- Correctional Facility Consultant
This will depend on the other courses that you take along the way and whether you also graduate from a police academy to receive the proper training for law enforcement. In some cases, the degree in Criminal Justice includes all of the requirements for becoming a police officer. Check with your program before signing up to see what is required in your state.
Continuing Your Education
Police officers, case workers, and private investigators are all expected to follow certain standards including continuing your education or training from time-to-time as provided by your local justice system training programs.
Much of this information is available on your state website regarding criminal justice continuing education or at your regional training facility.
If you decide to pursue a master’s degree in the field of Criminal Justice, you may be able to command even higher salary potential than if you have the bachelor’s degree alone. Graduates in the field of Criminal Justice on the master’s level can make over $60,000 per year, depending on the position you hold. Possible job outcomes might include teaching in community college as a Law Enforcement training officer, serving as a commander of a central crime unit, or any other position that involves a higher level of training and education.
Career and Salary Outlook
The highest paying salaries in law enforcement can be found in the District of Columbia, California, and New Jersey areas. This is because there is an emphasis on solving federal crimes there, where other areas focus more on state or regional crimes and investigations.
People who enter the Criminal Justice field are trained to be prepared to work in the law enforcement field and public safety fields. The program is usually based on theoretical concepts and skills related to the investigative process. Police officers who successfully complete the course requirements in this field earn an average of $48,656 annually. For those who go on to complete a bachelor’s degree in this field, you can earn up to $56,172 per year.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the Criminal Justice field, congratulations! This field is in high demand all over the country, and it will continue to be a much-sought-after career choice. The requirements are rigorous but achievable with a dedicated and determined outlook. You can find courses online or look to your local city hall or community colleges to check for course offerings.
Once you complete your degree, you may want to continue your education to open up even more doors of opportunity in the Criminal Justice field.
Check online for requirements in your state or visit the FBI or other federal law enforcement sites to learn more about the requirements. There is plenty of information available through the FOI (Freedom of Information Act) in local areas that reveal the requirements for seeking careers in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.