Crime, though it makes for cliffhanging prime-time dramas, is a genuine menace to society. Not only do criminals from all walks of life endanger the well-being of all demographics, they do so at a deep cost to our federal, state, and local municipalities. Not merely limited to petty thefts, bank... robberies and violent crime, the "unusual suspects" are increasingly keeping both victims and law enforcement agencies on their toes. White-collar crimes such as corporate espionage and accounting fraud are emerging as modern-day examples of injustice. Likewise, the downside of the exciting Knowledge Age lurks at our fingertips: Cyberterrorism (such as hacking or identity theft) is a serious problem these days.
Contrary to popular opinion, crime does not discriminate. As a result, our local, state and federal governments are highly committed to earmarking sufficient resources to fight crime — opening up a wide range of careers for qualified criminal justice professionals. Want to prepare for in both entry-level and advanced jobs in local, state, and federal agencies? Whether you are still wet behind the ears or have been law enforcement professional for years, continual education could be your best bet to stay up-to-date with the field's fast-paced learning curve. Those who demonstrate an ambition and commitment to demonstration may enjoy the most opportunities for lateral advancement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many agencies pay all or part of the tuition for officers to work toward degrees in criminal justice, police science, administration of justice, public administration, and others.* Enrolling in an online certification or training program could be a perfect fit for criminal justices' notoriously late hours and erratic schedules, allowing you to log into class at your convenience.
Interdisciplinary coursework typically explores topics like social sciences, behavioral science, humanities, computer science, and organizational leadership. While each program differs somewhat, most are steeped in the evidence-based practice that models the real-world occurrences of criminal justice. The emphasis on hands-on training is so strong, that some schools even have a working relationship with local agencies and police departments. Students in some programs may have a chance to become involved in solving cold cases, for example. Technology is also emphasized, as well as hands-on training in the technology-based techniques such as police blotters, GPS systems and databases that track prisoners.
With earning the proper credentials, opportunities could exist for graduates to pursue careers in investigation, homeland security, public safety, or law and justice administration, forensics, corrections, crime scene investigation, security management, juvenile justice, terrorism mediation, forensic psychology, law and public policy, critical incident management, and crime analysis. From the police force to the court system to corrections facilities, there are a number of places you are likely to make a living as a criminal justice worker. If you have an energetic nature and a sharp eye for detail, consider getting an enriching educational experience to discover your specific strengths — as well as how you may be able to make a difference as a current or future criminal justice professional.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos160.htm
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