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I Have My Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice—Now What?

A degree in criminal justice can be a major opportunity for professional advancement, which means it’s important to understand what types of jobs and fields it opens for you as a college graduate.

Fields Within Criminal Justice

As you’ve learned, criminal justice is a broad field with many subfields. Here are a few available to you. 

Public Policy

Public policy is a field that seeks to influence how laws and regulations are made and enforced. Professionals in this field may coordinate and plan programs, develop and disseminate information about an issue to the public, work with lawmakers to change policies, conduct research or implement policies as effectively as possible. People who choose to pursue a public policy career must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Job growth for this field varies by position. 

Forensics

Forensics is a field that specializes in the solving of crimes. Using knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry, professionals in this field examine physical evidence, perform tests and interpret data to find evidence of wrongdoing and its perpetrators. This is a heavily scientific field, perfect for individuals with strong abilities in logic and problem-solving. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects forensics careers to grow 17% by 2026, a rate much faster than average.

Homeland Security

Homeland security is the area of work specifically concerned with national security and protecting the country’s borders. Work in this sector might include positions in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, customs investigations or airport security. Professionals in this field must have a solid understanding of threat-related topics, such as natural disasters, terrorism, emergency preparedness and intelligence analysis. The projected growth rate of this field varies by position. 

Human Services

The human services field is concerned with meeting human needs and, through a range of capacities, improving the quality of life for others. Human service workers can serve any number of citizens, including ex-convicts, elderly adults, families facing poverty and people struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. This field is excellent for people who want to make a living in a compassionate field via direct care. According to BLS, community and social service occupations are projected to grow at a faster than average rate: 14% by 2026. 

Law

Law is a field that emphasizes logic, communication and problem-solving. A criminal justice degree can lead to a range of practice areas such as criminal, environmental, corporate, tax or international law. If you choose to follow this career path, additional study and licensure will be required. BLS predicts steady growth in this field by 2026, at a rate of 9%. 

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is the practice of enforcing laws at the municipal, state and federal levels. It involves understanding police procedures, human behavior, court policies, prison systems, interrogation, sociology and related areas. It additionally requires a certain level of physical fitness and sound decision-making. Depending on the position, the projected growth rate for this field varies.

Corrections

Corrections is a field concerned with the management of the prison system. From county jails to maximum security facilities, corrections concerns the rehabilitation of prisoners, facility management, parole work and related areas. This field is especially concerned with matters of safety and regulation. The growth rate varies in this sector depending on the type of work and level of responsibility.

Criminology

Criminology is the study of how social factors influence criminal behavior. This might concern topics like juvenile delinquency, media and crime, social control terrorism, drug abuse or hate crimes. Professionals in this field emphasize the understanding of why laws are made and broken and the societal implications of the criminal justice system. The growth rate of this field varies by position.

Although these sectors are unique, all require certain skills, including attention to detail, oral and written communication, excellent decision-making ability and sound logic. Individuals in criminal justice often also possess less tangible traits such as a higher level of physical fitness, perceptiveness and empathy.

Job Titles With a Criminal Justice Degree

The following are just a few job titles available within the fields listed above. Some jobs are readily available with a bachelor’s degree. Others use the credential as a starting ground for further training. 

Forensics

  • Forensic science technician
  • Blood splatter analyst
  • Crime lab technician
  • Fingerprint analyst
  • Forensic ballistics analyst
  • Forensic examiner
  • Forensic scientist

Homeland Security

  • CIA analyst
  • TSA screener
  • FBI agent
  • Federal air marshal

Human Services

  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Social and human services assistant
  • Community health worker
  • Home health aide
  • Childcare worker

Law

  • Legal runner
  • Paralegal
  • Legal assistant
  • Attorney
  • Prosecutor

Law Enforcement

  • Deputy sheriff
  • Compliance officer
  • Police officer
  • Police detective

Corrections

  • Inmate program manager
  • Parole officer
  • Surveillance officer
  • Victim services coordinator
  • Deputy officer
  • Assistant commissioner

Criminology

  • Loss prevention specialist
  • Criminologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Private investigator
  • Insurance fraud specialist

A online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice policy from East Central University Online offers an understanding of the current issues faced in the criminal justice system and the impacts those have on society. The program allows for basic career paths and specialties.