Criminal justice graduates, rejoice! As one who is well-versed in the inner workings of the law, criminal justice graduates are the guardians of society – they investigate crimes, patrol the streets for criminals, and oversee the enforcement of laws. Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, however, does not doom the young graduate to a life on the community police force or local law enforcement. Graduates with bachelor degrees in criminal justice find a variety of employment opportunities at the city, state, and federal levels, from homeland security to forensics.
Criminal justice graduates with bachelor degrees can easily find work in protective services. This covers occupations involved in patrol work, like serving as corrections officers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, working as a US Border Patrol officer for the Department of Immigration, or acting as an agent for the US Marshals or Federal Bureau of Investigations. The Drug Enforcement Agency also employs graduates with bachelor degrees in criminal justice. Employment at these agencies requires attendance at designated training academies. Because of the physical demands involved in patrol work, graduates should be strong physical and emotional form before applying to these positions.
Criminal justice bachelor degree graduates may also find rewarding careers within the court system. Graduates serve as court counselors and victims service counselors. Many seek advanced training and educational opportunities and emerge as lawyers and prosecutors in District Attorney’s offices and in private firms. Others work as paralegals or as legal counsel in corporations. Careers in the law carry lucrative financial benefits, and are the crown jewel for the graduate of criminal justice.
The popularity of television dramas like CSI has propelled other graduates of criminal justice bachelor degrees to seek employment as crime scene investigators. Crime scene investigators go out to crime scenes and collect forensics evidence to be processed at the crime lab. The pay may not be as lucrative as that of the lawyer, but any individual with a liking of the natural sciences and a mind for analysis would find satisfaction in a career as a crime scene investigator.
Graduates that have psychology backgrounds and experience in investigations could find glamorous work as psychological profilers in regional and federal enforcement agencies. Criminal justice bachelor degree graduates looking for work as a psychological profiler should continue their criminal justice studies to the master’s level and have some forensic science training to get a competitive advantage for employment in the field.
Criminal justice graduates with bachelor degrees can serve the public in civil positions. Those with a desire to communicate their experiences to future generations can elect to teach criminal justice at the community college level or volunteer in civic organizations. A person with an educational background in criminal justice can put their knowledge to use as a writer or beat reporter for newspapers and broadcast networks. Others can elect to use their knowledge of criminal justice to help others, as in psychological professions, or social work.
Thus, an educational degree in criminal justice does not doom one to police work. Knowledge is power, and with criminal justice, it is the power to do good for society as a whole.