Criminal Justice Inside and Out

March 30th, 2011 by admin

One of the most popular degrees at community colleges, technical schools and universities alike is that of criminal justice. Whether it’s an associate’s degree or a more well-rounded bachelor’s degree from a university Criminal Justice Inside and Out ts_dv563013or college, criminal justice covers a broad range of careers; this diversity has drawn people from all backgrounds as they pursue careers in anything from corrections (guarding prisons) to victims’ advocacy and crime scene investigation.

While most people associate a criminal justice degree with a four-year university, the program is increasingly popular at community colleges and technical schools where an associate’s degree in criminal justice can be obtained with just two years of study. And, for those on the fast track to a career in the field, there are certification programs offered through numerous community colleges, universities, and technical schools that can provide a specialized certificate for entry-level workers in a criminal justice occupation.

Of course, a bachelor’s degree carries the added reward of a more well-rounded education and higher earning potential, but the abundance of careers in the criminal justice field affords prospective employees a little flexibility in their studies and training.

Criminal Justice Careers

Criminal justice is an increasingly broad field of study and occupation. Those studying for their associate’s or bachelor’s degree will no doubt be introduced to concepts ranging from forensic science and crime scene investigation to more subjective work like advocating for both the victims and perpetrators of crime, to dealing with criminals in a probationary manner.

It’s actually quite true that the “CSI” series of television programs on CBS increased awareness of this area of criminal justice. Educational institutions also noticed and increase in the program’s popularity. Crime scene investigators are the people responsible for photographing a crime scene, examining evidence such as weapons, guns, or even fingerprints, and even interviewing witnesses and looking for clues that might help solve the crime or put a suspect behind bars.

America’s criminal justice system contains a vast network of prisons and correctional institutions, and that means there is high demand for the people who guard those buildings and keep inmates in line. Corrections officers are generally prison guards, making sure that security procedures are followed and helping to ensure the safety of all inmates in what can sometimes be a hardscrabble environment.

A probation officer is responsible for doing everything a corrections officer does — but they do it outside the walls of a prison. Probation officers help keep criminals in line by ensuring they’re following the law, performing any court-mandated community service or other work, and meeting the terms of the probation or parole (release from prison). They’re also responsible for reporting any failure to meet these obligations.

Because criminal justice professionals are skilled in the inner workings of the legal and justice systems, they’re a great resource for victims of crime. These victims’ advocates help the victims of crime seek counseling, help them communicate with law enforcement, and help them fill out and file extensive paperwork related to their incident. They also help victims pursue legal options, and act as a sort of “middleman” between the victim and the legal system.

These are just a few of the many careers possible with a degree in criminal justice. Because the criminal justice system is so vast — and is in fact one of the largest industries in the United States — the careers span the gamut from those directly involved with criminals to those who are working within the system, aiding the victims and helping to punish offenders. Its broad applications and numerous career options make it a solid degree for a large number of people with diverse interests.

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