Criminal Justice — From College to Career

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This month’s featured degree is criminal justice, a concentration that is at once steeped in tradition and ever-changing, growing, and advancing to meet evolving cultural, economic, and technological realities. If you are passionate about maintaining justice and order in society, an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in criminal justice may be an ideal path of study. These programs develop an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system, including theories of criminology, punishment & rehabilitation, law enforcement & crime prevention, and criminal investigation.

An associate degree prepares you for entry-level careers in the criminal justice field, such as police or corrections officer. However, more advanced degrees, such as a bachelor’s or master’s, can open up a variety of career opportunities. Indeed, many police officers with a few years of experience in the field choose to return to school and earn degrees, through accelerated residency programs or online programs, to advance professionally to senior or administrative roles in criminal justice. Criminal justice doesn’t just limit you to police work, however; the field includes forensic science and psychology, paralegal work, counter-terrorism, cyber-crime prevention, and information security.

You may even want to use your education in criminal justice as a jumping off point to study law and become a lawyer, lawmaker, or judge. Whatever your career goals, if you are interested in being involved in our legal system, a criminal justice degree can get you started on your path.

To learn more, find out what you can do with a criminal justice or law degree.

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Check Out These Fun Facts

Career Opportunities

The following information, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reflects common careers for criminal justice degree holders, median annual salaries for 2017, and job outlook growth predictions, 2016–26.

Five Things I Wish I Had Known…

While criminal justice can be a rewarding field of study, it isn’t always easy. Below are five things many criminal justice students wish they had known before entering the field.

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