What To Do With Your Criminal Justice Degree

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February 19th, 2014 by schoolbound

The most popular shows on TV are CSI or Crime Scene Investigation shows, there has to be ten of them on at any given time. Ok maybe I am exaggerating a little bit. If it’s not CSI then it is police shows and movies, heroes, villains, “cleaning up the streets” and crime solving, and has been since I was a kid. Police dramas have always been popular and it is no wonder these careers are popular as well, with all  the drama, the intrigue, the excitement… good cop chasing bad guy… what’s not to love?

A Criminal Justice Degree is a very popular course of study due in large part to the glamorization by TV, but despite that fiction it is a very exciting field to be involved in. And there are lots of options for this type of degree. You may only need an Associate’s or Bachelor’s as a foundation for many Criminal Justice careers, additional certifications if you decide to become a cop, and an advanced degree if you want to become a social worker, criminal researcher or a lawyer. Most Criminal Justice jobs fall into one of two categories, either applied or theoretical Criminal Justice. Applied refers to jobs like policing. Theoretical refers to jobs that deal with the causes and the response to crime like criminology or forensic psychology.

Here is a list of the types of careers you can pursue with a Criminal Justice Degree and more information on each of these careers can be found on our site:

  • Baliff
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Corrections Officer
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Criminologist
  • Customs Agent
  • Federal Special Agent
  • Game Warden
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Military Police
  • Parole Officer
  • Police Detective
  • Private Detective
  • Private Investigator
  • Probation Officer
  • Security Police
  • Sociologist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Transportation Security Administration Officer

And the following careers are also in the Criminal Justice field but require for the most part, advanced degrees:

  • Attorney (Defense or Prosecutor)
  • Court Reporter
  • Judge
  • Paralegal

The time it takes to complete a criminal justice degree is dependent on a variety of factors including the specific major or concentration you decide upon; the level of your degree; how many credits or classes you take per semester; and whether you are a full-time  or part-time student.

  • Associate’s Degree: An associate’s degree usually requires 60 to 64 credits, or about 18 months to 2 years for the average full-time student.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree usually requires 120 to 128 credits, or about 4 years for the average full-time student.
  • Master’s Degree: After earning a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree usually requires 30 to 33 credits, or about 20 months to 2 years for the average full-time student.
  • Doctoral Degree: After earning a master’s degree, a doctoral degree usually requires 72 to 92 credits, or about 5-7 years for the average full-time student.

There are a lot of options in this career path and most do not require intensive education. A lot of the learning is on the job training and if you like what you do it will not feel like work. And you can always decide at a later point to continue your education and advance your career later. There are few careers where you can feel you are making a difference both socially and morally, and this is one of them.