Is Criminal Justice A Good Major Top 15 Criminal Justice Major Full Guide
Every society needs a set of rules and regulations to ensure the safety of its public and property. What goes into the police department? How does the judiciary system work? What are the roles and responsibilities of LEO’s? What are punishable crimes? Which crime can be punished to which extent? Whether Drug addicts should be treated in the police department or drug rehabilitation programs? How do law enforcement agencies work? What are the laws? Students go through all of these questions in criminal justice degree.
You want to serve and protect. You want to investigate and explore. You want to bring down the bad guys. Does that sound about right? Then, perhaps, just maybe, a criminal justice major is for you! It is never easy to select an educational path as you enter into an institution of higher learning, but criminal justice is one major that is worth at least looking into. If selected, this degree can give you multiple, steady career options with great pay and great rewards.
What does a major in criminal justice entail? This degree is a social science degree that delves into the psychology of a criminal mind, social patterns of criminals, and different ways to deter or decrease criminal activity. A criminal justice degree can help you into a career as a police officer, special investigator, crime scene investigator, or public administrator. All of these positions are challenging, engaging, and rewarding.
Why major in criminal justice?
There are a couple of reasons. First, it does provide steady, stable employment. With this degree, you gain entrance to a world of salaried careers, and in high demand. State positions are often some of the most stable, as the public sector has much bureaucracy, making it more difficult to make cuts or layoffs. Moreover, crime-related jobs are always in high demand, so the chances of you getting a position right after earning your degree are pretty good.
Moreover, a degree in criminal justice is interesting from an educational perspective. You get to take classes from a broad spectrum of genres, including psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, and business. The variety, in and of itself, is a reason to consider the major. On top of that, the classes in these subjects apply to the real world. In other degrees, a frustrating component may be the requirement of classes that students (and often graduates) consider useless in their professional lives. The classes you will take in a criminal justice program teach you lessons you will use every day on the job.
Finally, criminal justice can be an advantageous career path. If you end up using your degree as a police officer, you benefit from knowing that you are protecting your community daily. If you are someone who enjoys puzzles and challenges, the work of a crime scene investigator or special investigator can provide you with the type of work that will keep you engaged in your career daily. If you are interested in politics, a criminal justice degree can give you the credibility you need to get into office and make a difference from a legal standpoint. All of these aspects make criminal justice a rewarding field indeed.
We can say they study law, every aspect of the law and judiciary system, how this system works, and everything related to sociology, psychology, law, people management, and administration.
The main question every student has in mind, which Criminal Justice Major needs to choose, is to try to answer this question and leave you with some great criminal justice majors options.
What is the criminal justice degree?
In criminal justice, students explore crime, law, and the judiciary system.
Before majoring in criminal justice, one should take introductory classes in it. These classes will prepare you for the next high level of education and know-how to go through this degree. You cover a little bit of every major topic in criminal justice.
Criminal justice is not only about law. It covers the dimensions of human behavior and the need to change that. Criminal justice degree offers to understand the connection between law, its need, its implications, and its psychology. Furthermore, it knows the policing styles, probation, court system, and parolees.
If you have the interest to know the law or why people behave differently from society’s rules, then you should go for a criminal justice degree.
Major in criminal justice is recommended only if you are ok with introductory classes first and feel like having more knowledge or to explore the field more. Know your interest and get a degree in criminal justice.
Top 15 Most Useful Criminal Justice Majors Full Guide Requirements, Salary, Jobs, Internship, Top Colleges.
Top 15 Most Useful Criminal Justice Major:
Students who want to do major in the justice system are encouraged to pursue a degree in criminal justice.
However, which major to choose can be difficult. There are so many fields that this degree offers. Students sometimes get confused about which side to go to.
Criminal justice is such a diverse degree within law enforcement that students need to be clear about choosing. Future planning seems challenging and overwhelming at the same time. It is an emotional phase for students, and they need to choose wisely as their whole future depends on this.
Criminal justice offers a major in
How does the law work? Moreover, how to make sure the applicability of law? is studied in law enforcement. A person who wants to join the police, sheriff, detective, probation officer, prison management, DEA Agent, CIA, FBI, or want to work in law enforcement agencies must get a degree in law enforcement.
A time always comes where you need to apply the law. Furthermore, to apply the law “law fully ” one must know where and how to make sure that the law is applied and followed correctly? Some people do not abide by the laws. Criminology deals with this.
In criminology, one study about why crimes take place? And all the social and physiological issues behind it.
What are the social pressures or psychological motivations that derive someone from becoming a criminal? What are the possible charges that can be pressed against the suspect? Why did someone choose to become a criminal? Moreover, studying possible reasons and punishments for deviant behaviors. All this is covered in criminology.
Rehabilitation helps people improve their personality and become decent members of society, but it also helps prevent crime before they even occur. Students who do major in rehabilitation get to work with many careers within the justice field. It also gives you satisfaction as it has an aspect of social benefit in it.
Corrections are a part of a more extensive criminal justice system. In this law, enforcement agencies and other law institutions deal with punishment, jurisdiction, and supervision of people convicted of different crimes. Correction officers also have a career as a probation officer or police.
For becoming a social worker, a person needs a degree in criminal justice followed by social Work in the field. Social worker deals with the adoption of children, foster cares, and elders or children who suffer from substance abuse. Social workers will find employment through federal, state, or private institutions.
People who are good with numbers are encouraged to apply for research methods. In research methods, one must be good with statistics. A degree in criminal justice with a major in research methods will promise you a promising career.
After obtaining an associate degree, one can major in paralegal as early as one year.
Law needs to be followed in a certain way, and a major in paralegal provides all the necessary knowledge to deal with law proceedings.
A person who obtains a major degree in law after criminal justice will pursue a lawyer’s career. A Bachelor’s degree in law is enough to become a lawyer, but higher degrees can help achieve a professional attorney career.
Psychology is essential, talking about why crimes happen and how to control them? A person can have an exciting career in psychology if he has a degree in criminal justice.
A person with a major in psychology can work with probation and rehabilitation also.
No one can deny the importance of information technology in the modern era. Information technology has brought great revolutions in the crime and justice field. It helps with investigations and preventing crime. IT also helps a lot in forensics and has given new dimensions to investigations. People with a degree in criminal justice and a major in IT can have an up-and-coming career.
In this program, students learn about how to prevent terrorist activities in the US and worldwide.
In this program, students will know about terrorist operations, how intelligence works, and how to stop any possible terrorist threat before affecting society.
Students have to get a four years bachelor’s degree in counter-terrorism.
In this degree, students will learn about crisis management.
People holding this degree will deal with management issues needed in natural disasters like disease, hurricane, floods, tornados, or pollution.
You must have heard about white-collar crimes. Forensic accounting teaches people to deal with the investigations of these white-collar crimes. Students will learn to deal with fraud investigations and possible aspects of fraud. Usually, these investigations include the banking system to look for possible frauds, illegal money transferring, money laundering, etc.
Crime Scene Technician Certificate
Handling a crime scene is not an easy job. Carefully looking for evidence and preserving them for court and further investigations is the job of crime scene technicians. They collect and preserve the evidence for further investigation. A crime scene technician certificate can take from 6 to 18 months.
Criminal Justice Administration
Criminal Justice Major Requirements:
A degree in criminal justice is usually a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Nevertheless, there are many associate degrees also available. An associate degree is the first two years of a Bachelor after completing the full four years. You get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
You need 120-128 credit hours to get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Some people start with an associate degree and then decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. A criminal justice major degree can earn you a wide choice of careers.
To get a criminal justice major, whether, in science or arts, students need to learn some general courses. These general courses take 40 to 60 credit hours of the Bachelor’s degree. Some schools make sure to take general courses first and then go for criminal justice majors.
If you want to do Bachelor arts in criminal justice, you will learn general courses like Algebra, English composition, history, English literature, language, etc.
Furthermore, if you are going for a bachelor’s degree in science in criminal justice, you will learn general subjects like statistics, economics, geology, management, etc.
After getting a degree in Criminal Justice Major, what jobs students will get based on different majors?
Criminal justice degree offers a wide range of exciting and promising careers.
Unlike other studies, criminal justice is a more practical and real-world field. Students can always get a job that suits their skills and personality within criminal justice.
Here is a list of the top ten jobs students can get based on different criminal justice majors.
Students, after getting their Bachelor’s degree, can have a promising career in law enforcement. You can start your career as a police detective, sheriff, or state trooper.
Every state and town has its own municipal police offices to operate. So you have the advantage of getting located near your home from where you can return every day. However, with this degree, people can also move too far states or cities for better salaries. As salary in New York or Chicago is comparatively higher than in rural south places.
Moreover, many law-enforcement institutions prefer their employees with higher degrees while considering for promotion or higher-level jobs. Their internal employees with a bachelor’s degree will benefit from high school diploma holders while considering higher ranks. For example, a degree in criminal justice major can promote you to become a lieutenant or sergeant in the police department.
Teacher or Trainer
A degree in criminal justice can earn your credentials for becoming a teacher or trainer in this field. Criminal justice offers a wide range of courses that can help you to become a good teacher.
Many law enforcement institutions hire individuals who can train and teach criminal justice students.
Criminal justice is not only learning about how law institutions work. It also enhances your abilities as a learner, observer, decision-making skills, and ability to work in diversity. All of this can become very excellent for becoming a teacher.
Adult learning is also very much in demand in both the public and private sectors. Moreover, a bachelor’s degree can promise you a fascinating career as a trainer.
Correction Or Probation Officer
To understand and deal with the deviant behavior of people is the duty of the correction officer.
Correction is an umbrella term used for the punishment of criminals. Different law enforcement agencies deal with jurisdictions and criminals’ punishment, providing you an opportunity to join as a correction or probation officer.
Due to the increase in jails, job opportunities for probation officers are also getting high.
State And Federal Courts
People with a degree in criminal justice have the opportunity to work in court and help different people. The available roles and duties for students with a major in criminal justice are bailiff, courtroom assistant, criminal law supervisor, court clerk, court manager, case administrator, court operation specialist, pretrial services officer, and family law mediator.
Sometimes a court needs to take quick action on the demand of a citizen, or people may need assistance and help from the court urgently. Students with a criminal justice degree can help these people who need it at the moment.
Forensics is a significant and active field in criminal justice. It is a mix of science, arts, and technology. No investigation is possible without learning about the crime scene or evidence, and forensic help us.
People with a degree in criminal justice can seek a career in forensic as
- Forensic Serologist
- Ballistics specialist
- Blood spatter analyst
- Forensic Toxicologist
- Crime scene investigator
- Forensic Anthropologist
- Forensic Accountant
- Forensic technician
- DNA analyst
- Fiber technologist
- Forensic odonatologist
- Homicide detective
- Psychological profiler
The need for private security is growing in recent years. People hire people to protect and guard them or their property. Private security plays an essential in sensitive areas or institutions. A private security guard can develop various duties—most business people and rich wealthy trust their private security. A private guard handles bodyguarding, dealing with suspicious activity or person, checking the parcels before being opened, or delivering sensitive documents on behalf of their owners. Private security people are like rented cops, and their job is no less risky than police officers. They are more infield and ready to face the circumstances. With a major in criminal justice, one can go for private security jobs.
In Criminal justice, students learn about the psychology of crime and how it can be prevented. Moreover, how can we help people affected by different crimes? Here comes the job of a social worker.
Students with a degree in criminal justice can earn a career as a social worker, guidance counselor, rehabilitation, human services assistant, family law mediator, and child custody recommending counselor.
Human Resource Generalist
Law enforcement is a diplomatic career, and you need to handle things carefully. The human resource generalist is responsible for hiring, firing, promotions, or maintaining discipline.
A person with a degree in criminal justice is very well aware of how law enforcement institutions work and can effectively allocate the right people to matching jobs. Human resource generalists are also responsible for job descriptions, interview forms, and vital role in company policymaking.
Saving millions from fines or litigation costs is a duty of the compliance manager. They act as a balance between company and state. Compliance manager also helps a company cut down extra costs caused by unnecessary operations or actions that do not meet state or federal standards and lead to legal fines.
A paralegal assistant helps courts handle documents, perform legal research, maintain files, and assist clients with routine paperwork. Those who want to save time from law schools can start working as a paralegal assistant. Students with a degree in criminal justice can have a promising law firm opportunity as a paralegal assistant.
After Criminal Justice Major Average Salary For Jobs Mentioned Above
Along with job satisfaction, you can always choose your desired job based on the financial outcome. Here is an approximate list of salaries that you can get after major in criminal justice.
Statistics show that law enforcement people can earn up to$58000 annually. Moreover, if you move to metropolitan cities, it can raise from $60,000 to $88,000.
Teacher OR Trainer
A teacher or trainer earns from $63,000 to $78,000 annually.
The salary range is $40,000 and raises according to experience.
State And Federal Courts
Salaries in state and federal courts ranging from $38,000 to $1,00,000 annually.
The security guard has a salary of $14 per hour and can range according to the client that hires private security.
These people can earn up to $50,000 annually.
Compliance managers can earn from $37,000 to $90,000 annually, with a median salary of $67,000.
Human Resource Generalist
Human resource generalists can earn up to $100,000 annually.
What Classes Are Required For Criminal Justice Degree
For a degree in criminal justice, students need to learn a mix of core courses and advance courses. There are various courses that a student can take for criminal justice degree depending on their field of interest. The courses covered teach a student about how the whole law system works. They also study how law enforcement institutions work and how the correction and jurisdiction system follow specific protocols.
The courses include different law, psychological, science, and information technology subjects.
These courses are aligned under different groups. The following are the groups of courses covered under the criminal justice degree.
The socio-political context of crime
Bio psychological- social analysis of crime
Criminal justice research
Criminal Justice Major Internship
Internships are always beneficial for students who have career-oriented studies. Internships are like real world scenarios and add valuable experience to your learning before joining the entire field.
The internship does not only serves as an experience but as training before performing on actual grounds.
Internships are necessary for students who seriously want to pursue a career in criminology. It also provides you with sound knowledge of the field in which you want to pursue a career.
The internship also gives you a close view of people’s daily lives working in the criminology field.
You experience these professionals’ first-hand life and become well aware of the risk and challenges that your field may require.
It is always fruitful to apply your book based knowledge in the real world. An internship in criminology provides student to explore their analytical and communication skills along with decision making power. Putting your efforts in real-life scenarios is always a different experience from what you study theoretically.
Students do not only experience working in real scenarios but also gain learning from other professionals working in the field.
Internships in criminal justice can be paid or unpaid, but they add credits to your resume. Moreover, earn you valuable experience.
Students need to communicate with their college counselors about their internships. They can sort out some better choices with their help. Some of the internships include
Law enforcement agencies
Internship in the local, county or state law enforcement agencies helps students work in positions like police officers or detectives. Students can apply their skills in real fieldwork and can earn a great experience.
Law offices have great opportunities for criminology students. They get to know about the jurisdiction system more closely. This type of experience is very relevant for a correction officer career or as a law attorney.
Federal government agencies
These provide with very fruitful internship experience. Working directly on the federal level is very satisfying and boosts your learning and understanding of the field very much. However, it is not easy to get an internship in a federal agency, and students may need to apply early.
Youth based centers
Criminology Students who want to work with youth or are more interested in the social work field should go for an internship in youth-based centers.
Top 20 colleges based on ranking for criminal justice
Here is a list of the top 20 colleges based on ranking for criminal justice Degree.
CUNY John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
University of California
Florida State University
University of Miami
Texas Christian University
La Sierra University
University Of Florida
Citadel Military College Of South Carolina
University Of Mary land
College Of The Ozarks
Mary’s University – Texas
Monroe College – Bronx
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
- American Bar Association: All about the benefits of ABA membership for paralegals.
- Free Criminal Justice and Law Lectures: Our Free Criminal Justice Lectures resource provides video and audio lectures from 15+ criminal justice and law-related college courses that are available to watch or listen to online for free, taught by professors from top US universities like Harvard, Yale, New York University, and UC Berkeley.
- National Federation of Paralegals: Education, news, certification, and other information for prospective and current paralegals.
- NALA: National Association of Legal Assistants: A nationwide paralegal organization offering professional development programs and continuing education for paralegals.
- NALS: The Association for Legal Assistants: An education and certification resource for paralegals and legal assistants.
- National Paralegal Certification: Learn about the different paralegal certification options available and the requirements for earning certification.
- The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.: A membership-driven professional resource for paralegals.
- Top Paralegal Blogs: Criminal Justice Degree Schools has published a list of the Top Paralegal Blogs from thought-leading bloggers to provide insights and career advice for aspiring paralegals who are interested in acquiring a degree and beginning a successful career in this field.
- Top Criminal Law Blogs: Learn about the criminal area of the legal field by viewing our top criminal legal blogs.
- Top Divorce Law Blogs: Read about divorce law on our top divorce law blogs list.
- US Directory of Paralegal Associations: Our comprehensive directory features over 140 US paralegal associations organized by state. Joining a association can help you network and advance your career. Find the associations near you.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
2. 2018 NALA National Utilization and Compensation Report: https://www.nala.org/sites/default/files/files/users/2018%20Utilization%20%26%20Comp%20Summary%20of%20Findings.pdf
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#st