While looking at their online degree options, too many students assume that the only career option associated with a criminal justice degree is working as a law enforcement officer. While many of the best law enforcement officers in the country are graduates of criminal justice degree programs, there's actually a variety of other positions available in this expansive field.
One of the most common criminal justice questions that students have is, "Is the criminal justice field a difficult field to enter?" The answer is a resounding: "No!" That is, as long as you have the experience and education necessary to succeed in this field.
Earning an online criminal justice degree provides students with an opportunity to learn about the field as a whole while also specializing in a unique niche which will help them kick-start their career after graduation.
These tips can help students get an understanding of the positions available in the criminal justice field and show just how easy it is to get a valuable job in this industry.
Explore the Various Career Options Available for Those With a Criminal Justice Degree
The course work that you complete during your criminal justice degree program will introduce you to the various career paths that are available for those entering the field. However, it helps to know the different types of positions that graduates often secure after they have earned their degree. Outside of working as a law enforcement officer, some of the most popular career options for those with a criminal justice degree include:
Paralegal — A paralegal is an individual who provides administrative support to lawyers and attorneys. They will complete any necessary research for a lawyer, requiring them to have a solid understanding of the criminal justice system. They also need to create documents for lawyers and maintain the files for their employers.
Private Investigator — A private investigator provides a variety of investigative services for their clients. They may assist with criminal cases, search for specific information about an individual, or investigate financial matters. Private investigators have the opportunity to work in an office setting or in the field. Given the nature of their position, an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and the criminal justice field as a whole is necessary.
Probation Officer — A probation officer works directly with those who have been released from the prison system or who have recently been cited by a law enforcement officer. They provide these individuals with support and monitor their progress during the time that they are on probation.
Join Criminal Justice Professional Organizations While in School
In many cases, entering the criminal justice field requires graduates to have developed contacts within the industry. Creating a professional network can be challenging for students, particularly those who are balancing their education along with other professional responsibilities. However, one of the simplest ways to get to know professionals in the criminal justice field is to join professional organizations while you are in school.
These professional organizations often host meetings and networking events where those in the field gather together to learn about the latest resources, technological advances, and industry news. It is an ideal place to start building a network of contacts that may help you enter the field after graduation.
Students who are working on an online criminal justice degree should identify the type of position they might want after graduation and select a professional organization that is associated with that industry. For example, those who are interested in becoming a private investigator might be interested in joining the American Society of Criminology, which often shares scientific information about the criminal justice industry with its members.
There are many different professional organizations available for those who are interested in entering the criminal justice field. By identifying the organizations that you want to join and getting involved, you are more likely to secure a valuable position in a field that you enjoy after graduation.
Secure an Internship to Earn Professional Experience
As with many industries and fields, those who are hiring recent graduates from criminal justice programs are looking for candidates who not only have an educational background but who also have professional experience. Securing an internship during your online degree program can help you learn more about what day-to-day life is like in a particular position in the criminal justice industry, while also giving you valuable experience that can help you get into the field after graduation.
Many different types of criminal justice internships are available, including both full- and part-time positions, as well as paid and unpaid internships. In any situation, it is important to remember that the most valuable part of any internship is the experience that is gained from it.
Advisors in the criminal justice degree program often have connections to various agencies that are looking for well-qualified criminal justice students to fulfill their intern positions.
In addition, you can contact those that you have met through professional organizations to see if they have any internship opportunities available. The first coveted internship will be your introduction into the life of a criminal justice professional and can be the stepping stone that you need to begin your career after you have earned your criminal justice degree.
Earning an online criminal justice degree provides you with the flexibility you need to explore this career field while also balancing your current employment responsibilities. In addition, you can earn an affordable degree that allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor rather than feeling burdened by your education.
Throughout your coursework you can work directly with advisors who can help you tailor your degree program to your own needs and interests, allowing you to have a head start after graduation when it comes to finding the right job for you in the criminal justice field. If you have any criminal justice questions, you can contact the advisors at Central Christian College of Kansas Online today.