If you want to help others, enforce the law, or solve crimes, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree may help you move closer to your goal. If you are seeking to enter a field such as law enforcement, security or corrections a bachelor'’'s degree in criminal justice may provide you with the foundational knowledge that's required to get started. If you are already a professional in one of these fields, a degree may help enhance your knowledge and prepare you to take the next step in your career.
CTU's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree
CTU's degree includes general education courses which lay the groundwork for core courses that you'll take as you progress toward through your program. General education courses will cover topics in communication, psychology, ethics, writing and science. Core courses for BSCJ are intended to provide a deep understanding of the field, covering a broad range of topics such as criminal law, criminal procedure, victimology, evidence, data analysis, interrogation and homeland security, among others.2
In addition to being able to take various electives as part of the BSCJ program to explore areas of interest you can also decide to pursue a concentration. CTU offers Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice concentrations in Cybercrime and Security, Forensics, Homeland Security and Human Services.
What follows are a few careers in which a B.S. in Criminal Justice may be useful — but it also may be a good idea to discuss your options with academic advisor before settling on a certain specialty.
Potential Careers With a Criminal Justice Degree
Detective or Police Officer: Enforcing the law, investigating crimes, responding to calls, pursuing suspects, and writing reports about these activities are all routine for police officers and detectives, who also have to appear in court at times. There are many areas of specialty under this umbrella — including state troopers, transit police, and fish and game wardens — and the exact nature of daily duties will vary according to the specialty.2
Probation Officer: Probation officers work with offenders and try to prevent them from committing additional crimes. This profession may be ideal for those who want to help offenders rehabilitate, since part of the goal is to help them reintegrate into society by providing resources such as job training. Probation officers may also be required to test offenders for drugs, refer them to substance-abuse counseling, and, in some cases, hold meetings with their family members.3
Security Guard: Security guards spend much of their time monitoring their employer's property, both in person and via closed-circuit camera. Conducting security checks, monitoring alarms, detaining violators, and writing reports about what they've seen and done all fall under this umbrella. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow by 5% between 2014 and 2024.4
Private Detectives and Investigators: Investigators may work in a corporate capacity or independently. Much of this job involves gathering information in a variety of ways, including conducting surveillance, researching individuals and their activities, and conducting background checks. Exactly what form the job takes will vary according to the employer — a computer forensics investigator, for instance, will likely do most of their business on a computer, while legal investigators are likely to spend more time locating witnesses of crimes and serving legal documents.5
These are just a few of the opportunities that earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice could offer — there are many other criminal justice career options, and which suits you will vary according to your interests and the way your direct your study. And if you feel you'd like to take another step forward with your education, Colorado Technical University also offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
Learn more about the fact and fiction of working in criminal justice.
1. Colorado Technical University, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, on the internet at http://coloradotech.smartcatalogiq.com/2016/Catalog/Degree-Programs/Bachelors/Bachelor-of-Science-in-Criminal-Justice (visited February 09, 2016).
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Police and Detectives, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm (visited February 09, 2016).
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm (visited February 10, 2016).
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm (visited February 10, 2016).
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Private Detectives and Investigators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm (visited February 10, 2016).