Choose Your Career Path

A career in criminal justice can take on many forms, many interests, and require a wide range of skills and different types of training. It can be the physical conditioning required of a police officer in chasing down criminals on city streets, to the forensic scientist who calmly repeats the same experiment in the laboratory. A Criminal Justice degree that provides an education into the many aspects of the criminal justice system can focus your decision on which career path to choose.

Planning a career as a police officer may mean putting your life on the line at any given moment in time. It is one of the most highly respected careers in law enforcement, but it can also challenge you both physically and mentally. The ability to remember the details requires a great deal of listening, retaining, and writing down of the facts. The ability to understand and comprehend the multitude of laws requires a sense of logical thinking and critical problem solving in dealing with crime.

A federal agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) serves a unique role and responsibility for investigating violations with respect to federal law of firearms, explosives, arsons, alcohol, and tobacco. Their investigations may involve long hours of surveillance, creative means for information gathering, interviewing suspects and witnesses, serving arrests, and executing search warrants. A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent is also on the front lines of federal investigations including bombings, mail fraud, kidnappings, serial killers, and identity theft.

Although the movies may portray the job as glamorous, and even dangerous, the private detective spends most of the time as an information collector for companies, organizations, attorneys, and individuals. This information could be evidence related to a crime, an individual’s identity, marriage infidelity, child custody issues, missing persons, or insurance claims.

A criminal justice education that culminates with a PhD prepares an individual for an understanding of how the theories of the criminal justice system can be implemented when managing and structuring law enforcement agencies. It can also prepare an individual for policy writing at such organizations as the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A correctional officer’s primary responsibility is to maintain law and order within the community, state, and federal prison facilities. This includes a watch over individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting their trial in prison, as well as those individuals who have been convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison.

Working in criminal justice can also mean a laboratory setting, such as in the science of forensics, where education and training leads to asking questions, answering questions, and solving crimes. It is highly detailed work that gets down to the level of the human blood cell, taking long hours of patience, and often asking the same question over and over again.

Choosing a career path in criminal justice means deciding your interests, knowing your temperament, and determining the level of education that you want to obtain. The comprehensive nature of a Criminal Justice degree will also lead to selecting your career path that much easier. | © Copyright 2019 | All Rights Reserved