What is criminal justice?
Criminal justice deals with the criminal mind and its workings and how society plays a crucial role in curbing crime. It seeks to study the criminal justice system through a plethora of approaches that comprise legal studies, sociology, political science, psychology, forensic science, public administration, urban studies and philosophy.
Eligibility for a criminal justice degree
To study a course in criminal justice one doesn’t need to have predefined qualifications as such. However to be truly eligible for a degree in criminal justice a person needs to assess certain things about himself or herself such as:
- The current level of physical fitness
- The ability to make sound decisions under pressure
- Honesty and good personal background
- Ability to show compassion under strenuous situations
- Enjoying helping people
- Being able to handle tremendous amounts of responsibility
- Self discipline and restraint
There are several other prerequisites depending on the type of degree being pursued. For example for the Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, one needs to have at least 60 credits through a 2 year period of coursework either full time or more than 2 years if it is a part time profile. Apart from this, a minimum of 6 credits are needed for English composition, 3 credits for writing skills, 3 credits for speech, 15 credits on General education etc. Similarly a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice necessitates at least 120 credits in totality.
Career opportunities in criminal justice
A degree in criminal justice will guarantee a job in either of the following profiles:
- Police officer
- Corrections officer
- Parole and probation officer
- Police captain
- Social worker
- Special agent
- Security officer
- Military officer
- Highway patrolman
Using a degree in criminal justice a student can get a job in prison camps, county jails, state and federal correction facilities, youth correction facilities, reintegration programs, alternative schools, domestic violence agencies, immigration and naturalization services etc.
One can choose to work as a law enforcement officer. There country, city and federal positions available although the federal position is the most competitive. One can work as a U.S. Postal Inspector, U.S. Federal Marshall, in the State Highway Patrol, the County Sheriff’s office or even the localized law enforcement centers. Or else one can even choose to work directly with the court system either as a bailiff or a parole.
Range of subjects in a criminal justice degree
The range of subjects offered under a standard criminal justice degree is varied. These range from legal issues, current laws and legislations, criminal investigations, prison management, investigations, crime scene investigation, human behavior and psychology, law enforcement, monitoring offenders, sociology and communication studies etc. Some of these are compulsory courses while others are elective in nature.
Types of criminal justice degrees
There are a wide variety of criminal justice degrees such as:
- Master’s in public administration
- Emergency response policy to a Master’s of public administration in Public Safety Management
- Homeland security
- Criminal justice administration etc. among many others
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