Criminal justice careers might sound exciting, but as with any type of job, it comes with its own set of challenges. The good news is that this type of career is not only thrilling, but it also offers you the chance of contributing to society and having a job that’s really fulfilling.
Before you jump head first into your criminal justice career, it might help for you to get to know a little more about it, including what you can expect from the day you start studying to your first day on the job. Remember, the more prepared you are for the job, the better the chances will be that you’ll take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.
What is a Criminal Justice Careers all about?
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that this isn’t just one type of job- this is a field of work that could take you on many different paths. This is a really positive aspect of this type of career because if one specific job doesn’t suit your skills and personality, there’s always another one that might.
This field offers a wide range of job types, from FBI work to forensics (where you might be expected to work within a laboratory). The environment in which you work could be vastly different too, from work outdoors collecting evidence to indoor work, filing paperwork.
What are the Advantages of this Type of Job?
When you work in the field of criminal justice, you’ll benefit from the variety and the sense of purpose of this type of career. Not only will you be helping people from all walks of life, but you’ll also likely find that your work is varied and exciting.
What is more, it is more than likely that you will have many opportunities of developing your skills and actually advancing in your career. If you’re not the type of person who wants every day to be exactly the same as the last, this might be a good option for you to consider.
Where Do I Begin My Career in Criminal Justice?
There are a wide range of starting points for someone who wants to enter into this field. In some instances, you might require nothing more than a high school diploma in order to begin your training, while in other cases, you might need to earn a degree; it all depends on the specific position with which you are looking to start.
For those starting their criminal justice bachelor’s degree, it might be a good idea to consider supplementing these studies with additional work, such as courses in computer sciences, biology or chemistry. All of these fields are helpful within this career and they could help you to get a jump ahead when it comes to applying or that promotion.
How Will Psychology Benefit my Career in Criminal Justice?
If you’re intending on pursuing a career in criminal justice, it might be helpful for you to consider taking some courses in psychology, for a wide range of reasons.
Firstly, psychology courses could help you in improving your overall skills in working with people – something that’s invaluable no matter what your position is – but it can also assist you in managing your own psychological needs as you go about tackling some pretty serious subject matter.
Should I Stop at a Bachelor’s Degree?
If you’re completing a bachelor’s degree in order to advance your career in this field, you might want to think about taking it one step further and going for a master’s or even a doctorate. This could assist you in specializing within your field – and it also opens up further prospects for you further down the road.
With a doctorate, for example, you could end up being able to teach, conduct research and even work as a consultant, rather than sticking with one department or organization. Keep in mind that if you’re thinking about obtaining a higher degree, it’s usually best to have a better idea about your area of specialty – if you’re not quite there, take some time to consider this before investing in another qualification.
What Types of Jobs Can I Apply For?
Joining the criminal justice sphere usually means that you’ll be working within the field of upholding the law and this means that the job types are extremely varied. Firstly, you could opt for a job as a police officer.
These professionals are responsible for reporting and responding to criminal activity, and their day-to-day activities are extremely varied. Another option for someone entering this field is a forensic scientist. These individuals make use of scientific methods to analyze crime-scene evidence. The working environment for this type of professional is usually a laboratory of some description, although it also includes field work.
What If I Want to Work with Children?
If you are interested in working with children – and supporting them in turning away from a life of crime – you might want to consider a career as a youth correctional counsellor.
In this role, you’ll be supporting underage offenders, offering them guidance and supporting in their transition from the institution to ordinary life. This type of task is an important one as the aim is not to punish, but to rehabilitate these individuals so that they can become contributing members of society.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn?
The type of salary you can expect to earn within a criminal justice career will largely depend on your role, your experience levels, qualifications and how long you’ve been in the job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can expect to make about $62,960 if you join the police, while a forensic scientist will earn about $57,850.