Many of the people who consider an online criminal justice program wonder exactly what it is they will be able to do after earning their degree. The truth is that there is no exact answer.
Criminal justice is a very broad field with a wide range of job opportunities. Grads can find themselves working against crime at the local level as a police officer or at the federal level as an FBI agent.
Specific job opportunities also depend upon the program that is completed. Although the liberal arts orientation of most criminal justice programs is designed to prepare students for criminal justice work at almost any level, different programs focus on different aspects of the field.
For example, some online criminal justice programs emphasize the administration side of criminal justice, while other programs focus on security management and criminal investigations. The type of program you take will impact your ability to do certain types of jobs within the criminal justice field.
Common Career Paths
Some of the most popular career paths for criminal justice majors include jobs as police officers, security guards, body guards, parole officers, corrections counselors, game wardens, and park rangers. After earning an online criminal justice degree, you should be able to obtain any of these entry level positions.
Entry-level jobs are also available at the Department of Homeland Security, which employs thousands of law enforcement workers through its many agencies. Jobs are available as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, an immigration inspector, a customs inspector, or a Federal Air Marshal.
If you have law enforcement experience or an advanced criminal justice degree you may also be able to pursue opportunities with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as other government organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Other jobs that often require some work experience include police detective and private detective. Both of these careers can be pursued by people who have a criminal justice degree as well as experience as a police officer or law enforcement professional. Police detectives typically work for government agencies, while private detectives work for themselves or private firms.
Alternative Career Paths
Although most criminal justice majors use their online degree to pursue a job in law enforcement or a related field, there are some grads that use their credentials to move into other areas of social science, such as law or public policy. Job opportunities exist within courts, law firms, and advocacy groups. Specific job titles include court administrator, legal assistant, law clerk, and policy advocate.
Criminal justice majors can also move into social work, victim services, or similar jobs that call for knowledge of law enforcement, courts, and human rights. Although some of these jobs may require additional education or professional certification, a criminal justice program will give students the academic foundation for higher education programs as well as the skills needed to succeed in fields that deal with the political, social, and psychological aspects of society.
Guest post from Karen Schweitzer who writes about colleges online for OnlineColleges.net.