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By Terry Campbell, Academic Chair, Undergraduate Criminal Justice Programs
The field of criminal justice has a variety of employment opportunities including uniform and non-uniform personnel. People are often surprised at the variety and number of criminal justice positions available. We need to note that criminal justice has three main categories: police, courts, and corrections. Each of these areas begins to branch with subcategories. In addition, there are many criminal justice employment opportunities within various human services and/or family services departments.
One area you will need to address early is your employment interest at either city, county, state, federal, or private sectors. Along with this, you will need to make a decision if you are able to relocate versus remaining in your local area. At the same time, it is not too early to begin researching the minimum qualifications for any positions you are interested in. This may include experience and education requirements, and/or other special qualifications. As you begin to research the minimum position requirements, take some time to review promotion opportunities and any additional requirements.
Check and see if there are any volunteer opportunities with agencies. Also, if you are interested in policing, you can check with local agencies and see if they offer ride along programs. Many other criminal justice agencies may offer something similar. This is an ideal opportunity to observe and support your career choice while obtaining some experience. As you can see, there is a lot of preparation work you can go ahead and complete. Meanwhile, do not hesitate to contact agencies and see if you can schedule an appointment to discuss employment opportunities and to obtain some additional information.
You can also research through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are a few variables you need to consider that can affect the data: geographic location, state and local budgets, and job opportunities will vary state-state. This website also provides a very good overview for specific jobs covering entry-level education, work experience in a related occupation, on-the job training, number of jobs, job outlook, employment change, and other useful areas for review.
Job classifications in law enforcement may include: police and detectives, corrections, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, fish and game wardens, sheriff's patrol, transit and railroad police, bailiffs, and private detectives and investigators. For additional information, including national projected outlook, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm. Note: There are additional areas you can research through this site of specific interest to you.
Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
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