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Graduates with a degree in criminal justice have a wide variety of options available to them. A criminal justice degree prepares a graduate for a degree in a variety of different fields. Some of these fields include policing, courts, law and correction. Additionally, students may wish to specialize in criminal justice niches such as working with crime and abuse victims to dealing with offenders who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. An example of some of the titles held by criminal justice degree graduates includes parole officer, legal assistant, private investigator, court clerk, prison warden, youth counselor, police officer, crisis counselor or bailiff.
Obtaining a criminal justice bachelor degree will vary slightly depending on the program you choose to attend. While the degree requirements may vary somewhat, students should expect the requirements to be rather similar and should be wary of programs that promote significantly less work than others.
The general requirements for obtaining a bachelor degree in criminal justice should include completing approximately 120 credit hours and taking courses such as public policy, behavioral science and general education. This is usually in addition to core course in the curriculum, which will likely focus on aspects of criminal justice such as history, practice and the science of criminal justice. In general, these core courses are taken early in pursuit of the degree and more specialized courses are taken after these core courses are completed.
Graduates with a degree in criminal justice are likely to experience a large fluctuation in salaries depending on factors such as their title and their location. Criminal justice degree salary variations can fluctuate widely and it is not possible to pinpoint an average salary for graduates with this type of degree. Some of the significant variables will include the graduate's title, as well as his location.
Title is very important in determining salary requirements for graduates with a degree in criminal justice. This is because graduates with this type of degree may fulfill a variety of roles in the workplace. Positions such as those requiring specialized skills may typically be associated with higher wages while positions of minimal responsibility are often associated with lower wages.
Additionally, the graduate's location factors into the salary equation as well. This is because salary is often closely related to cost of living which can vary widely throughout the country. In general, large metropolitan areas have a higher cost of living and therefore those working in these areas are typically compensated more handsomely than those working in areas with a lower cost of living such as rural areas and areas with a depressed economy.
Students who opt to obtain a criminal justice degree online often cite convenience as one of the most important benefits of this type of program. Although the course requirements for online degree programs are typically just as stringent as the requirements for traditional programs, there is often a great deal of flexibility incorporated into the program which enables the student to work around his own schedule to attend lectures and complete coursework.
Students who are interested in this degree of flexibility should take care to carefully evaluate the program requirements before enrolling in an online criminal justice program to ensure they will have the flexibility they need to complete their degree requirements. This is significant because some online degree programs require participation in live lecture sessions. This requirement limits the amount of flexibility in the program and can make it more difficult for a student to complete these requirements while working a full time job and dealing with other concerns.
Gaining admission to a criminal justice degree program is very similar to the process of being admitted to any degree program. Ideally, the student should begin the process by researching different programs and compiling a list of requirements for admission. Once this is completed and the student has narrowed his search down to a few programs, it is time to begin the application process. The general requirements for admission will likely include submitting an application form, transcripts and an application fee.
The application form for admission to a criminal justice degree program is usually not a difficult form to complete but it will require the student to submit relevant information such as name, contact information, social security number and previous education. It may also require the student to complete a personal statement which can be used to evaluate the student's interest in the program as well as his ability to succeed. There may also be a section on the application for submitting letters of recommendation.
Most degree programs have specific pre-requisites. This will likely include completion of a high school education and in some cases may include some career training. Submission of official transcripts and standardized test scores are typically required as proof of meeting these prerequisites.
Finally, an application fee is usually required for consideration to a criminal justice degree program. This fee will likely vary from one program to another but students can expect fees to be relatively similar. However, in some cases a program may have fees which are significantly higher or lower than the average. In these cases the student will have to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to submit an application.
A bachelor degree in criminal justice can help an employee who is already working in this field to further their career. Individuals may find it is possible to gain employment in areas such as policing, courts, law and correction without a bachelor degree in criminal justice. However, they will likely be limited in their potential for career advancement without a degree.
Obtaining a bachelor degree in criminal justice will be very beneficial for these individuals who wish to be considered for promotions within their current field requiring additional education as well as individuals who wish to be considered for positions in a different aspect of the criminal justice industry.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|