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How to Explore Careers in Criminal Justice

How to Explore Careers in Criminal Justice How to Explore Careers in Criminal Justice


For men and women interested in the law, crime and the remedies for reducing it, a career in criminal justice can be challenging and rewarding. Career options are many and include working as a police officer or prison guard, prosecuting crimes as an attorney, or supervising released offenders, for example. Necessary qualifications for criminal justice careers vary widely, thus, in order to choose the right career, you must seriously explore and consider your options.

Step 1

Read about various career options in criminal justice. The website of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has extensive information about career options, including job descriptions, qualifications and salary ranges. This will give you the basic information about different criminal justice careers.

Step 2

Enroll in an introductory criminal justice course. Many community colleges offer basic criminal justice courses for students pursuing certificates or associate degrees in the field. An introductory course will provide a general overview of the various aspects of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts and correctional systems. Knowing more about the different agencies that comprise the criminal justice system will better inform your career decisions.

Step 3

Write down your personal interests and educational goals, considering them in light of your career interests. Jobs in criminal justice have varying qualifications, which may influence your career choice. For example, if you have an interest in the law and are willing to undertake years of study in college and law school, a career as a criminal prosecutor may be for you. A career as a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, meanwhile, may require only two years of college.

Step 4

Talk to criminal justice professionals to learn more about their work. Contact your local police department or an area correctional facility, for example, and make an appointment to speak to someone there. Explain who you are and the purpose of the appointment.

Prior to the meeting, write down the questions you want to ask. Men and women in criminal justice have busy schedules, so be respectful of their time by keeping the meeting thorough, but brief. After the meeting, be sure to send a note, thanking that person for his or her time.

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