It’s rare to have a career where you’re given the opportunity to be the change you want to see in the world, bettering society and your community at large. However, a career in criminal justice or the legal system allows qualified professionals to just that. With this in mind, pursuing an education in criminal justice & legal allows what for many remains a dream to become a reality.
Criminal Justice & Legal degrees teach students the knowledge required to succeed in various elements of the justice system (practice of law, the judicial system, law enforcement, and corrections). Criminal justice & legal degrees will teach students many different concepts, including the history of the justice system, its implementation, and the ramifications of policies in everyday life. The curriculum’s vary, however, depending on the level of degree and the major pursued.
A criminal justice & legal degree provides many academic possibilities for students. Some of the disciplines in this realm of study include:
* Legal Support Services
* Law Enforcement
* Homeland Security
* Criminal Justice and Corrections
Criminal Justice & Legal degree programs teach students the following skills:
* Ability to use logic and reasoning to solve several differentiated problems
* Critical thinking skills that can be applied to many other disciplines
* Ability to analyze situations and determine the various factors affecting them
* Variety of knowledge including history, English, and mathematics through liberal arts classes
* Understanding of the foundations behind our justice system, how it came to be and where it is headed
* All aspects of the law from family issues to corporate governance
Graduates of criminal justice & legal degree programs can become several different professions. The law enforcement field is a viable option as graduates can become police officers, correctional officers, FBI agents, among others. Alternatively, graduates may find work in government creating policy or running for an elected office. Those who obtain a law degree can become lawyers, while less advanced but invaluable, degree holders may become paralegals or court clerks.
Different career paths dictate different levels of compensation. Illustrating this are some of the following figures that cover the spectrum of work in the legal and criminal justice sectors. Take police and detectives for instance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these professionals earned a median salary of $62,960 in 2017. Lawyers on the other hand, earned a median salary of $119,250 the same year. Paralegals and legal assistants, which sometimes only require an associate degree, earned an average salary of $50,410 in the same year, making this an appealing occupation for those who wish to work in the legal system without burdening the cost and commitment of law school.
To get an idea of the potential for career growth, look at the same salaried jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detectives are expected to see a seven percent employment increase from 2016-2026, staying competitive with the overall job market. Lawyers follow with a slightly higher growth expectancy of eight percent in the same time span. And toppling the career growth charts is the employment of paralegals and legal assistants, which is predicted to see a 15 percent increase in the same 10-year period. As such, the areas of criminal justice/law offer countless opportunities for career advancement.