5 Things You Need to Know Before Studying Criminal Justice

marble clad steps of a courthouse buildingIf you’ve always desired to work in the field of Criminal Justice, we applaud you! This line of work isn’t always for the faint of heart. Fighting crime and contributing to making society a better place can be mentally and physically challenging depending on the type of work you do in the field. 

Criminal Justice has a variety of branches you can pick and choose from. Whether you prefer to investigate behind a desk or get out into the field, the possibilities are endless. Jobs in the Criminal Justice field are everywhere. They can be found on all levels from private, county, state, and federal, state.

Studies Show… 

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the highest levels of employment in the Criminal Justice field are: colleges and universities, junior colleges, state government, business, and technical schools. They further reported that the top paying industries were schools and state government agencies. 

Kinds of Jobs Available in Criminal Justice 

That is not to say that all of the top paying jobs will be found there. These are merely statistics that show where you’ll find most of these jobs. So, if you’re looking to become an Air Marshall, DEA Agent, ATF Agent, Postal Inspector, Fish and Game Warden, Police Officer, TSA Officer, Homicide Detective, Probation / Parole Officer, Corrections Officer, Prison Warden, or work as a Crime Scene Investigator or Crime Lab Analyst, the chances are highly likely that you can find some decent-paying jobs there as well. Sometimes, even with a college degree, you may have to start off at an entry-level position and get promoted to certain jobs like this. This is because a level of trust needs to be built in this profession. You need to provide a proven track record of exemplary work and years of trusted service. 

So what else do you need to know about pursing a career in Criminal Justice? 

  1. Know the Law 

This is an important one. If you are looking to “clean up” society, you want to be sure that you’re doing it the right way. Knowing the law is critical to making the right judgment. In order to work on behalf of the law, then you need to know the law! Some people might be under the misconception that you only need to know the law if you study to become a paralegal or attorney, but that is not the case. Any job in the Criminal Justice field is going to require some knowledge of the law.

Florida National University (FNU), a regionally accredited university has a great bachelor’s degree program in Criminal Justice that offers the following classes in law:

  • Introduction to Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • The Law of Evidence
  • Criminal Law
  • Tort Law
  • Correctional Law
  1. Know and Understand the Roles within The Judicial System 

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just know the law. You also have to understand the roles within the judicial system and why it’s so important for professionals in this industry to know the law, and most importantly, how it applies to their field of work. Having a better understanding of how things work within the judicial system, like when cases are transferred to another department or entity is a vital part of the system. It’s also important to understand how your role fits into the judicial system, what your role will be, and how you’ll be enforcing the law in your position. Obtaining a bigger picture of the judicial system as a whole will give you a better perspective of how you can contribute to the criminal justice profession.

  1. You’ll Need More Than the Law On Your Side 

Along with the law and common sense, there are other skills that will be exceptionally useful working in the field of Criminal Justice. Skills like critical thinking, public speaking, and multi-tasking are all talents needed in this field of work. In the realm of Criminal Justice, a great deal of work involves solving problems. In order to do this well, you’re going to need to take some basic college courses like:

  • Introduction to Statistics
  • College Study Skills
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Procedures
  • Methods of Research in Criminal Justice
  1. Get Experience 

As aforementioned, most of the higher paid jobs in the field of Criminal Justice are promoted from within. For high-level positions in Criminal Justice, you need to make sure that you’ve established a good resume that shows you have the experience to take on more responsibilities in this particular field of work.

  1. It’s Not Like Television 

For some people, they’ve decided that they want to pursue a career in Criminal Justice based off television shows they’ve seen. Sometimes these shows glorify the criminal justice world in such a way where it may seem fun and even glamorous to work in, but the reality is the amount and type of crimes that are being committed around the world, and in your community are alarming to say the least. This can oftentimes place some type of psychological stress on some professionals. This is why we say that this field of work—depending on which branch you choose to work in, isn’t always for the faint of heart. 

FNU prepares you for the real world and will not sugarcoat it for you! Our university is equipped with the knowledge and technology you’ll need to ready you for any job in the field of Criminal Justice. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our advisors and become an FNU graduate!

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