Benefits of Getting a Criminal Justice Degree

by Nancy

Earning a degree is a valued method of increasing employment opportunities and salary expectations. Courses leading to associate, bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees all help boost your value as a potential employee. When pursuing one of the many careers involving law, or the enforcement of law, a criminal justice degree is of specific benefit.

Earning a degree in criminal justice allows you to pursue employment in a wide variety of legal, law enforcement and security-based professions. If you are uncertain which specific career you want, the broad and extensive education criminal justice courses provide helps. It can guide you to a place where multiple career paths are available. If you know the exact type of career you are pursuing, courses in criminal justice can set you on a direct path to achieving your goals. Read on to discover many more benefits of getting a criminal justice degree.

What is the Study of Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice studies cover a wide range of topics including areas of the legal system, philosophy of crime and punishment, correctional systems, and political science. They also include psychology, behavioral studies, forensic science, and the ability of social structures to govern over criminal behavior. Technically a social science, the study of criminal justice also teaches you how to effectively use your education in compliance with a set of accepted, ethical parameters. The study of criminal justice is designed for those who wish to contribute in specific ways to the law and order of their communities and society.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?

The types of jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree are varied. Some depend on which degree you have earned. Some jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree include:

  • Security Guard
  • Bailiff
  • Probation Officer
  • Police Officer or Sheriff
  • Detective or Private Investigator
  • Lawyer (if further legal studies are pursued)
  • Forensic Psychologist or Forensic Accountant
  • FBI, Secret Service or Homeland Security Agent.

Certain jobs require additional training and experience beyond the scope of a criminal justice degree program. For example, becoming a lawyer requires additional and extensive studies in law school. Becoming a police officer or FBI agent also requires specific academy training and extended educational. The amount of additional training and education you need depends both on the job being pursued and the level of criminal justice degree you earned.

What Courses Are Required to Earn a Criminal Justice Degree?

As with most majors, general education courses are required in additional to courses specific to the field of criminal justice. English, literature, history, mathematics are all a part of general education requirements. Certain schools allow for placement examinations to be taken, which allow you to receive credit for courses without actually taking them. The catch is that you must pass the examinations with a minimum percentage or higher.

Required courses might vary slightly from institution to institution. Most colleges include an Introduction to Criminal Justice course in their respective first semesters. Introduction to Criminology is sometimes used in place of or in addition to Introduction to Criminal Justice. Other course required to earn a criminal justice degree can include:

  • Law Enforcement Administration.
  • Juvenile Delinquency.
  • Ethical Behavior in Criminal Justice.
  • Drugs and Crime.

There are many more courses required to earn a criminal justice degree. The number of courses and their subject matter depend on the college you attend. They also depend on the type of degree being earned.

Benefits of Different Criminal Justice Degrees

Criminal justice certificates are available in addition to associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. The certificate programs help you quickly get into entry-level positions as a bailiff, security guard and more. An associate degree provides better opportunities to become a police or probation officer and helps you become employed in the gaming fields, handling security and/or surveillance at casinos. A criminal justice bachelor’s degree propels you into the fields of forensic science, mediator and hostage/de-escalation negotiation.

Master’s and Doctorate degrees in criminal justice have advanced benefits. Master’s degree programs in this field are designed for those pursuing careers in homeland security, profiling and other intelligence services. The Doctorate degree, also known as a Ph.D., helps you acquire professor positions, government contracting and intelligence analyzation jobs.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Criminal Justice Degree?

The length of time it takes to get a criminal justice degree depends on the degree being pursued and rules of the individual institutions facilitating the courses. An associate degree can be completed in two years or less. Bachelor’s degrees are generally four-year programs. A Master’s degree is possible to earn in two years provided you already have your bachelor’s degree. A Doctorate degree in criminal justice can take an additional one to two years of study. In short, a criminal justice degree can be earned in two to ten years depending on the level of study in which you engage.

Benefits of Getting a Criminal Justice Degree

These days, many criminal justice degree programs are available as online courses. The main concept behind criminal justice studies is to consistently improve society, reduce crime and educate citizens about social injustices and causes behind criminal behavior. Since the year 2020, these goals have been emphasized with urgency. Being in quarantine and having reduced social engagements can create the extra time needed to pursue life, societal and career-changing education online.