A career in law is a popular choice by many students and many choose to do a major in criminal justice as a way to prepare themselves for the challenges of law school.
Criminal Justice is the study and application of laws that deal with criminal behavior in society. Therefore, it is a wide reaching area of study that is ideal for students that are looking to get involved with the criminal justice system at some capacity. In this sense, it is not just for people who are considering law school or a related law career.
Criminal Justice Program Overview
Criminal Justice is classified as a Liberal Arts Major that is focused on creating an understanding of the criminal justice system, the relationship and interaction with crime and its role within the community. It is an ideal major for undergraduate students that have an interest in the law and law enforcement. Typical programs are 4 years long at most universities.
The program provides students with a broad overview of the topics, theories, and practices that occur within the justice system. However, the courses that are offered will vary by the academic institution you attend and where it is located. The law varies by state and country, and your courses and topics discussed many vary as well.
The following are some of the common courses that students are required to take to complete a major in criminal justice. They include:
• Constitutional Law
• Criminal Justice
• Judicial Process
• Criminal Investigation
• Police Science
• Forensic Law
• Law Administration
Criminal Justice as a Pre-Law Degree
While some students decide to take criminal justice as a way to get an edge when applying to go to law school, this path actually offers no formal advantage. No preferential treatment is given to students that take the program. However, it is still a great major to take if you have an interest in law and plan on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Law in preparation to take the bar exam.
Career Options with a Degree in Criminal Justice
Majoring in Criminal Justice provides students with a wide variety of career options upon graduation. On average, students can expect to receive a salary that ranges from $40-60 thousand dollar per year. This number will vary based on the job, seniority, and location.
The following are some of the many exciting career opportunities for students that major in Criminal Justice:
• Police officer
• Parole or probation officer
• Private investigator
• Criminal justice teacher
• Social worker
• Correctional counselor
• Court or juvenile councillor
• Law writer or researcher
Is Criminal Justice for You?
People that are successful in criminal justice related careers tend to have a number of common characteristics and personal traits that make them ideal candidates for jobs in this field. They include:
• Attention to detail
• Analytical skills
• Sound judgement
• The ability to read people
• Being open and honest
• A clean criminal record
• An interest in criminal justice and the law
What do you think? Is Criminal Justice the major for you?