Q: I’m genuinely interested in criminal justice and criminology; nevertheless, i really do not like guns. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a line of business where a weapon is required. It seems like every occupation in criminal justice calls for a gun (at least in United States). Is this true? Are there any career positions that i could possibly work in with a degree in Criminal Justice, Criminology, or a similar program without having to carry a gun? I am not interested in the legal field (i don’t want to be a lawyer or a paralegal).
A: There is a number of careers in Criminal Justice, Criminology, and similar fields that don’t require you to carry a gun:
- teach – high school with a Bachelor’s degree (plus state certification)
- teach community college and university level with a Master’s degree (a PhD is preferable)
- work in private security as a consultant, loss prevention officer, or private eye (PI)
- work as a researcher at a private firm, university, or a government agency
- work in forensic sciences and crime scene investigation – I would recommend a degree in Criminal Justice with a Forensics concentration, or a degree specifically in Forensic Science
- work as a correction officer – usually no gun is “required”, but gun training may be imposed
- work as a youth counselor – this position is in high demand
- work as a substance abuse counselor
- work as a probation officer
- work in local, county, state, and federal government – or – work in academia or for yourself
Consequently, the question to ask yourself is:
is the Criminal Justice, Criminology, or a similar degree the right fit for me? It may not be, as the criterion — not to carry a gun — may diminish the pool of careers available to you.
Consider the following options while keeping Criminal Justice or Criminology in mind:
- Political Science – there are concentrations like National Security and Transnational Crime which may be of interest to you.
- Forensic Sciences – more science based courses – any background in biology, chemistry, and physics may help.
Note: There are more opportunities for civilian jobs (no gun required) to those who possess a Master’s degree or better.