Positive employment results from the investment in a university or college education to earn a degree in criminal justice. Graduate often experience a rock-solid career with plenty of jobs and lots to learn throughout a working life.
Criminal justice is one of North America’s growth career fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for correctional officers, law enforcement officers and security officers is projected to increase as much as 35%.
Criminal Justice Careers Include Wide Range
These days, those interested in pursuing a criminal justice career can earn a degree online or at a traditional university or college campus. Graduate can expect as much variety in the specialty field chosen as the type of employers.
Criminal justice degree graduates can be found in court systems at the local and broader levels, in correctional facilities, police forces, military, security, educational institutions, the non-profit sector, government and a spectrum of other justice related workplaces.
Certainly, the need for highly educated, trained professionals, usually possessing a university or college degree in criminal justice, will continue to grow.
Those interested in criminal justice careers are usually people who enjoy seeing justice done, have good problem-solving skills, are disciplined individuals and like having a career that demands good physical and mental conditioning.
Jobs in Criminal Justice in High Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that criminal justice degree graduates will continue to be in high demand by police forces alone. It reports, for example, that the employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 11% in the decade.
The Bureau credits a more security conscious society and population growth as the largest contributors to the increasing demand for these types of police services careers.
Other jobs available to criminal justice degree earners include those as:
- Correctional Case Management Officer
- Correctional Officer working in a correctional facility
- Criminologist, whose career is spent studying crime
- Customs or Border Agency Officer
- Deputy Sheriff
- Paralegal or Legal Assistant
- Parole Officer
- Youth Justice Worker
- Insurance Adjuster
- Investigator for an insurance or fraud agency
- Victim Service Officer
- Domestic Violence Counselor
- Military Officer
- Public Service Administrator
- Security Officer for government, non-profit or private sector organizations
- Crime Scene Investigator
The volume of jobs available in many of these criminal justice degree careers is increasing. Getting an education in criminal justice, such as a bachelor’s or graduate degree, is necessary for anyone considering a career in this wide-ranging field. However, the job prospects from the educational investment appear to by rosy with no expected downturn in available positions.
How to Choose an Online Criminal Justice Program
Distance learning is a great way for adults to advance their careers and earn a degree. Justice requires educated adults and a criminal justice degree is an excellent way to increase one’s earning potential while helping the community. However choosing a criminal justice program online can be frustrating – with so many options it’s easy to get confused or feel bogged down. Before looking for a criminal justice course have a clear idea of what’s desired in an adult education course and keep the following criteria in mind.
Focused Career Goals and Criminal Justice Colleges
Having a career goal in mind will help greatly when wading through criminal justice course options. Many online schools offer various degrees, justice programs, and specializations under the criminal justice umbrella. For example, Kaplan University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice offers specializations in computer crime, homeland security, crime scene investigation, law enforcement and others. A criminal justice degree can lead to several different careers – having a career goal will help greatly when choosing courses.
Many online criminal justice colleges also offer a choice of an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree as well as Certificates for specific classes. Education goals may depend on career goals. Researching a career and finding out its educational requirements can help an adult decide on what specialization or justice degree level to pursue.
How Much Time is Required in the Criminal Justice Course
Adults with full time jobs and families often turn to distance learning for the flexible schedule it offers. However, a criminal justice class online can be quite rigorous and it may take up more time than expected to earn a degree. Justice programs may require students to log in a certain number of hours each week, participate in projects, and complete weekly homework.
The University of Phoenix requires students to log in four to five times a week in its online degree program. Some justice colleges, including Kaplan University, offer justice degree internships that also require time. Before enrolling into a program be sure to ask what the daily and weekly time investment will be and just how flexible those requirements are before enrolling.
Criminal Justice Classes Online – Balancing Price and Quality
The quality of an online degree program should be reflected in its price. How a student balances quality and price will depend on his preferences and resources. It is a good idea to look at the credentials of the professors teaching the courses, what resources the online campus offers, and whether the criminal justice university is accredited – when choosing a degree.
Justice programs may also offer resources such as an online library, internship programs, and a career center to help students find a job after graduation. When gauging how much the online criminal justice school will cost ask if the tuition includes books, enrollment fees, or any other extra costs. Also check whether the tuition is different for State residents and non-residents.
What Does an Online Criminal Justice Classroom Look Like
Before enrolling into an online criminal justice school, make sure the home computer can support the online classroom. Also make sure the classroom is comfortable to use as a student. Many online universities allow students to take a look at their classroom tools before enrolling. For example, American Intercontinental University offers virtual tours where students can look at sample courses online.
Choosing a Criminal Justice College
Ultimately the best criminal justice program will depend on the student seeking the degree. Justice programs vary in the focus of their studies and a student hoping to become a corrections officer will take different courses than a future lab analyst. Keep career goals in mind as well as the time requirements, quality and price of courses when choosing a criminal justice degree program.