What Jobs Can I Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?
Do you have a strong moral compass and a desire to help others? A career in criminal justice may be right for you. As a citizen, you’re probably familiar with the three components of the Criminal Justice system—law enforcement, the courts, and corrections—which exist to identify, apprehend, and punish those who violate the law. But are you aware of the different types of jobs that are available in the field? What jobs can you get with a degree in Criminal Justice? From police officers and sheriffs to corrections and parole officers, there are many opportunities.
Law Enforcement Jobs for Criminal Justice Graduates
With a degree in Criminal Justice, you’ll have a strong foundation for a career in law enforcement. Here are a few jobs you can get in this area:
- Police Officer: As a police officer, you would respond to emergency calls, patrol areas, conduct traffic stops, and arrest those suspected of criminal behavior. But you would also need to obtain search warrants and collect evidence, write reports and keep detailed records. You may even be required to testify in court. When you start out in the field, you’ll probably be a patrol officer, but with hard work and dedication, you could rise in the ranks. A CJ degree doesn’t automatically mean you’ll become a police officer. However, it will set you apart from other candidates at the police academy. Because it provides you with comprehensive knowledge about the system and an officer’s role in it, you’ll be a step ahead.
- Deputy Sheriff: A deputy sheriff has similar duties to a police officer, but you would have a different jurisdiction. As a police officer, you might work in a small town or city, but as a sheriff, you’re more likely to be responsible for an entire county. That means instead of one city or town, you might cover many. Your duties would also be a bit different from a police officer. Instead of spending much of your time issuing tickets and responding to calls, you’re more likely to have administrative and security responsibilities. To become a deputy sheriff would also require additional training.
- State Highway Patrol Officer: As a state trooper, you would be responsible for the safety of roadways and travelers. You would often be the first responder at the scene of a highway accident. As such, you would need fast critical thinking skills so you can immediately assess a site, secure, and deliver aid to those who were injured. Another responsibility would be to enforce highway rules, like safe driving and speed limit requirements.
- Private Security: If you aren’t ready for the additional training required for a law enforcement career, you could take the knowledge and skills you acquire in our BS in Criminal Justice program and enter the private security field. Many private businesses, including airports, casinos, and retail stores, need security guards and loss prevention specialists to keep employees and citizens safe, while protecting the assets of their employers. You could also become a private bodyguard, or work in security operations.
Criminal Justice Professionals Work in the Courts
Once suspects are apprehended, the next step is to take them to court. Here are some position in the court system where your degree will be a worthwhile foundation:
- Court Clerk: Court clerks play an important role in the courts. In this role, you would manage the docket, or the court’s calendar. You would schedule cases and communicate with lawyers and witnesses about when they would need to appear in court. You would also prepare and file legal paperwork, prepare and issue orders of the court, manage staff schedules, and swear in members of the jury.
- Court Bailiff: Order is essential in the court, and as a bailiff, your job would be to maintain order and peace when court is in session. You’ll escort defendants to and from the courtroom, hand evidence to the judge, and manage the jury as they enter and exit the courtroom. A sheriff’s deputy can also fill this role, but you don’t have to have law enforcement experience to be a court bailiff.
Criminal Justice Corrections Careers
In this area of Criminal Justice, those who violate the law serve their time and the system attempts to rehabilitate them. Here are a few jobs you could qualify for in corrections:
- Corrections Officer: As a corrections officer, you would oversee people who have been arrested and are awaiting their day in court. You would need to make sure that, as inmates, they follow the rules, behave appropriately, and don’t sneak any contraband into the jail. You’ll also inspect the facilities for health and safety issues and bring inmates to the court.
- Probation Officer: Once an offender has been sentenced to probation, a probation officer will oversee them. In this role, you would need to make sure the person no longer participates in criminal behavior. You’ll also write reports on their treatment and progress while on probation.
- Parole Officer: Once an offender serves their sentence and is released on parole, they can have a difficult time re-entering society. As a parole officer, you’ll help them re-acclimate to life outside of jail or prison by providing them with information on job training and substance abuse programs. You’ll also make sure that they follow the rules of their parole.
If you’re ready to start a rewarding career in criminal justice, contact National American University today. Our Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice program will give you a strong foundation in the knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ll need for an entry-level job in the field. Fill out the form to request more information.