An associate’s degree in criminal justice will provide entry for you into the low to mid-level employment opportunities in the field. This level of study should qualify you for work as a paralegal, for certain jobs in corrections, security and some courtroom functions. An associate’s degree is also a solid foundation should you choose to move up the ladder at a later point, into a professional position that requires education beyond a two-year degree.
Paralegals generally function as support troops for attorneys. As the profession has grown, so has the depth of responsibility that attorneys can, and do delegate to their paralegals. This will certainly include legal research and may include writing briefs based on the research. They identify appropriate laws, previous judicial rulings and legal articles that may apply to the case. They may also draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court.
In the corporate world, paralegals assist with employee contracts, stock option and employee benefit plans. They also assist in the preparation of financial reports and make sure they are filed properly. A paralegal may oversee government regulations as they pertaining to the corporate business and monitor for regulatory and legal changes.
You can obtain an associate’s degree in criminal justice with specialization in court activities. The job of a court clerk is to keep the courtroom’s daily activities flowing. A court clerk will call cases off the docket and have the case file ready to hand to the judge. Upon completion of the court’s actions regarding that case, the court clerk will take the file back and see to it that the judge’s actions are carried out.
Often, this will mean a document or set of documents sent to other arms of the court system relaying the judge’s directives on the case. The court clerk tracks appearances and non – appearances, and generally keeps the paper flow and case work moving in the court to which he or she is assigned.
Some county court systems have a corps of bailiffs that is separate from the county sheriff’s office. An associate’s degree many qualify you for the position of court bailiff. These individuals provide security in the courtroom while court is in session. Often, they escort detainees from their cells to their court appearances. They may find themselves searching the hallways for an attorney regarding a case before the court. The bailiff acts as an assistant to the judge in many ways, just as the court clerk does. A bailiff, however, is a uniformed security officer who maintains order among defendants and all other courtroom occupants.
Security and corrections opportunities might include prison guard or counselor. Private security opportunities might include lower level supervisory roles for security firms or in corporate security departments. Some police departments might find an associate’s degree sufficient for an application as police officer. There are a large number of job opportunities in the criminal justice system that are available to persons holding AA degrees and many of them are interesting – particularly in the paralegal field.