Advancing Your Career With a Criminal Justice Degree
posted December 16th, 2014 by Tricia Hussung
When it comes to jobs with a criminal justice degree, you have a lot to choose from. You can decide to work in law enforcement, corrections, the courts and other government and community roles. In the past, most criminal justice professionals held only a high school diploma along with academy training, but this is no longer the case.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost 30 percent of customs inspectors today hold bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or a related field.
Though some criminal justice professionals are high school graduates without a college education, it is becoming more and more common for bachelor’s degrees to be a requirement for careers beyond entry level. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost 30 percent of customs inspectors today hold bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or a related field. And over 80 percent of compliance officers are college graduates. Whether you want to jump-start your criminal justice career or move up the ranks, earning an undergraduate degree in criminal justice is a smart way to get started.
Jobs Requiring a Criminal Justice Degree
It’s important to keep in mind that the amount of education and on-the-job experience you need in the criminal justice field depends on your job. You’ll need academy training to work as a corrections or law enforcement officer, for example. However, other career paths require much more extensive education.
The following careers typically require an undergraduate or graduate degree at entry level:
- Probation officer (bachelor’s degree)
- Forensic science technician (bachelor’s degree)
- Corrections treatment specialist (bachelor’s degree)
- Forensic psychologist (master’s degree or doctorate)
- Criminologist (master’s degree or doctorate)
Even for careers where a college degree isn’t necessarily required, it can still be a smart idea for you to pursue higher education.
Skills You Will Learn
Though there is no substitute for real-world experience, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can give you essential job skills and the qualifications you need to advance your career beyond entry level. The communication skills you learn in the classroom will be invaluable when it comes to writing reports and interviewing witnesses, for example. Also, you’ll gain strategic thinking and public speaking skills that will be useful in all of your community interactions, such as press conferences and fundraisers. It may seem simple, but the test-taking skills you develop while earning your degree will also come in handy when it’s time to sit a written test, a traditional part of the criminal justice hiring process.
Real-World Criminal Justice Skills
- Written and oral communication
- Strategic thinking
- Public speaking
- Test-taking strategies
Qualifications You Will Earn
In terms of qualifications, for the past three decades it has become more and more common for agencies and departments to hire candidates who have college experience. In fact, don’t be surprised if some of the law enforcement jobs you apply for after graduation require a degree. Some larger police departments in major cities are requiring officers to hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field, according to Timothy Roufa, a criminology careers expert. And keep in mind that earning an undergraduate degree now sets you up for graduate school in the future. Interested in working as a profiler or special agent? Your chances are better if you have a strong educational background.
Features of King’s Criminal Justice Program
- Training in restorative justice
- Accredited undergraduate degree
- Accelerated program
- Diverse curriculum including juvenile corrections, criminal law and more
No matter what your career goals are, earning your degree is a great first step. You’ll be qualified for more, better-paying jobs from graduation onward, and may be ready for promotions quicker. Of course, it all depends on what job you choose and the experience you have, but education is an asset in today’s criminal justice field.
Criminal Justice at King University
The online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program at King University will get you ready for the criminal justice career you want. Learn key concepts such as restorative justice, strategic thinking and how the criminal justice system works in America. Our program prepares you for careers in diverse areas like probation, parole, state and federal law enforcement and the courts. The bachelor’s in criminal justice is a degree completion program that allows you to complete your degree in just two years.
The quality criminal justice education you’ll gain at King University allows you to enter into the complex and challenging criminal justice field with confidence. Learn more about our criminal justice program and get started today.