Criminal justice and criminology involve far more than walking the streets as a police officer, though that’s one of the most common roles for those with a criminal justice degree. The job attracts people interested in public safety, forensics, advocacy, psychology, and the court system, too. And it’s a great career if you want to make a real difference at the grassroots level. But why would you want to enter this field? Here are seven reasons you should consider a career in criminal justice.
It Is Always in Demand
Even in a down economy, there is always demand for trained criminal justice professionals. There will always be cases of domestic violence, theft and violent crime. This is why criminal justice and criminology offers an unmatched level of job security. Demographic pressure is also pushing senior workers out of the field, which results in great demand for new talent.
Yet, you don’t have to have prior law enforcement experience to enter the field. At Wilfrid Laurier University, for instance, you can earn a bachelor of arts in criminology no matter what prior coursework you’ve completed.
More importantly, their program allows you to earn your degree completely online. This may allow you to continue working while you earn the degree needed to work in youth advocacy or mental health. If you want to learn more about Wilfrid Laurier University and their BA in criminology and policing, click here.
Great Chances for Advancement
Another thing that makes the field so great is the great chance of advancement it offers. And, while a degree in criminology can be applied directly to a criminal justice career, you can work in a wide variety of closely related fields. Some of these fields include:
- Social work
- Jury consulting
- Insurance fraud investigation
- Private investigation
There are many ways that you can specialise after getting your bachelor’s degree, and work in greater roles. For instance, you could specialise in forensic science and become a forensic science technician. Or, you could move on to fill a variety of roles in the legal field.
It Is Important
The criminal justice field allows you to help others in a way no one else can. You can bring criminals to justice and aid victims of crime firsthand. You could work with at-risk youths to reduce the odds they end up in prison, and you can aid in the rehabilitation of criminals so that they don’t reoffend.
This is why criminal justice should appeal to those interested in social justice. You could become a victim’s advocate or oversee the progress of parolees and probationers. And you can switch to these jobs if you’re tired of dealing with people being arrested for offences. Become a criminologist, and you could work on preventing crime at a societal level.
Another thing that makes this field so great is how diverse it is. This is a place where you can really pick a role that fits your personality and skill set. Some of the careers in criminal justice include:
- Police officer
- Victim advocate
- Parole officer
It is rather easy to move into administration, both in law enforcement and social services. Whether you want to work on the beat, or do some administrative work, there is something for you. It’s also a great field if you enjoy working as a community activist, for instance, or even want to move into politics.
You’re a Veteran
If you’ve served your time and are looking to make a transition, then criminal justice is tailor made for you. And while many veterans are worried about their prospects after their service, they shouldn’t be when it comes to criminal justice. Veterans have a set of skills and traits that make them perfect for the field. Some of the skills employers’ value in veterans include:
- Problem solving skills
- Performance under pressure
Faculty member Mark Evenson decided to move into law enforcement after serving in the army, and knows first hand what veterans have to bring to the table. “The transition is natural,” he said.
He also stated how veterans are used to working in a hierarchical system, working as a team with people from different backgrounds, and have a great deal of self confidence and interpersonal skills. “You could transfer all those skills into various fields in criminal justice, such as probation or corrections.”
It Is Always a Challenge
Criminal justice professionals, from police officers to forensic scientists, are always challenged. You’ll face new situations and be asked to think on your feet every day. You need to solve problems and identify clues. You must keep up with changing technology and evolving rules and regulations that must be followed. This is why criminal justice comes with some of the best training available from psychology to technology.
The Benefits Are Excellent
Because most criminal justice jobs are physically demanding, these careers tend to come with excellent health benefits. They also offer very good retirement benefits. The intense physical demands that come with many criminal justice jobs also often mean you retire at a younger age than in other fields. Here are some of the common benefits offered to criminal justice professionals:
- Sick leave
- Paid holidays
- Paid training / tuition assistance
- Life insurance
- Health benefits
And, because you accrue pension benefits at an accelerated rate, you could retire earlier than average even if you switch to a legal or support role after a few years in the field. For example, you could become a security guard, security consultant or private investigator. Note that you can also move into criminal justice as a second career, especially if you’re working in crime prevention or counselling.
Criminal justice is an exciting and challenging field. It offers many opportunities and a bright future if you’re ready for it. So, make sure that you take a closer look at criminal justice career opportunities, and speak with a counsellor to see if it’s the right field for you.