Criminal Justice Classes

April 4th, 2011 by admin

An education in criminal justice prepares students for careers in the protective services, including law enforcement, adjudication (the court system), and corrections (the prison system). A very basic definition of criminal justice is the process of crime and punishment as it relates to the application of justice for those involved in crime, both the criminal and the victim, and the law as constructed to protect society.

The study of criminal justice includes the study of criminology, although these two areas are not the same. Criminology focuses more on criminal behavior and the causes of crime. Although the degrees differ, the program of study for each will incorporate many of the same subjects. Similarly, a degree in criminal law is vastly different from criminal justice. Criminal law focuses intensely on the legal ramifications of crime. There will be an introduction to criminal law when studying criminal justice, but studying criminal law is more for those pursuing a career as an attorney, for example.

criminal-justice-classes ts_stk161427rkeAn associate degree in criminal justice typically includes courses in police administration and operations, criminal law, criminal investigation, sociology of deviant behavior, psychology, a review of criminology, and a basic study of forensic science. A bachelor’s degree would include the same subjects as an associate degree program, but with a strong focus on criminal law and procedure, as well as work on statistics, theories, and research methods. The master’s and doctorate degrees follow in this same path, with the greatest concentration of work focused on the student’s chosen specialty.

All criminal justice college degrees require the fulfillment of general education requirements. To specialize in criminal justice, the program of study will include a basic introduction to the subject, which covers constitutional aspects, procedures and agencies, and the history and development of criminal justice. The study of deviant behavior examines theories of social control, conformity and deviance, and the dynamics of deviant behavior in society, including juvenile delinquency and adult crime. A general overview of forensic science involves the techniques of sampling a crime scene and the use of physical evidence to solve cases. Some study of death analysis may be included as part of the forensic science overview. Death analysis includes an emphasis on cause, mechanism, and manner of death. The subjects studied and the amount of time spent on each will vary depending on the degree program selected.

The teaching methods for these classes are generally lecture and question-and-answer. Classes concerning forensic science often take place in a science lab and may include on-site demonstrations.

Criminal Justice Careers

The criminal justice field encompasses an extraordinary range of careers, which includes police officers, private investigations, crime lab analysis, corrections officers, and border patrol agents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job availability in the criminal justice field should increase an average of 17 percent in the next ten years. These careers offer above average salaries and an excellent potential for advancement. Once employed, many people choose to continue their criminal justice education, and a number of employers offer financial assistance for job-related continuing education.

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