The field of criminal justice encompasses a wide variety of possible careers, all unified by a dedication to upholding the system of law enforcement and its contributions to criminal court cases and punitive action. Public safety staff members, attorneys and appointed public defenders, judges, court staff, the police, probation officers, and some educational positions all use the knowledge provided by a study of criminal justice.
Earning a degree in criminal justice is an excellent start for a career within the field. Classes you can expect to take with the major will focus on such areas as web-based crime, criminal procedure, forensics, calculus, general chemistry, social theory, criminology, restorative practice, and juvenile justice. Most jobs associated with criminal justice require a bare minimum of a bachelor's degree before earning more specialized training. An associate's degree or certificate is an excellent pathway toward earning the bachelor's. Many employers are beginning to require that prospective job applicants have earned a master's degree before being considered.
Police and corrections workers must pass state-administered exams in order to join the profession. Social workers must also be licensed by their particular state, which requires 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice before being granted. A master's degree is required before this license process can take place. Most detectives have also earned at least a master's, and teachers must earn a bachelor's before earning another graduate degree in education. In order to be a lawyer, law school is a requirement before taking the bar, an exam for legal practice regulated by each state.
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