January 18, 2011

Is a Criminal Justice Degree for You?

Let’s be frank: jobs are hard to come by. People with doctorates are teaching high school English. People with Master’s Degrees are making lattes. Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with high school English or lattes – I’ve had both. My point is only that, many of us are not utilizing our educations.

The world is changing so fast that many of our degrees are “outdated” or at least less useful then they once were. So let’s be frank: there will always be criminals. Okay, maybe not always, but for a while anyway. As long as there is poverty, as long as there is illiteracy and alcoholism, people will continue to commit crimes.

So, if you are thinking about a new career field, there are a few job opportunities that aren’t going away in the near future. Healthcare is one. Criminal justice is another.

Don’t click away because you’ve just seen a flashing neon GUN sign in your brain. There are lots of jobs that don’t require you ever touch a firearm. Many companies employ unarmed security teams. Many college campuses do the same. I know someone who earned a criminal justice degree and ended up working as a researcher at a private firm. I am constantly seeing job postings for youth counselors. And while it is not an easy job, a corrections officer position in a jail or prison usually carries an excellent salary and benefit package.

If you are wondering where to get started, simply explore some criminal justice colleges and universities. These schools can be found in every state, and you can probably find one near you. Go talk to the admissions office. Ask to speak to or shadow some current students. Ask where recent graduates are working now.

Feeling like you can’t handle another stint of education? You are not alone! If you’ve already invested four years, or eight years, in a career field, it can be really tough to change direction. You can feel like you’re starting over. But realize that you have choices. There are many associate degrees available, as well as bachelor’s degrees. (Of course, if you want to go for another PhD, then by all means!)

Many schools offer online programs, so if you’d like, you can earn your new degree from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Even the famed University of Phoenix offers criminal justice education.

Please don’t think that I’m trying to talk you into a career that’s not for you. That’s not my intent. But if you are like many of us, and you are looking for new options, I just wanted to put it on the table: is a criminal justice degree for you? Yes, you should probably enjoy working with people and be committed to making the world a better place in order to take this on. You should probably enjoy helping people and watching Law & Order. (Okay that last part was a joke. Sort of.) But seriously, our world is changing before our very eyes, and if this career field interests you, it might be time to investigate. Pun intended.

This guest post is contributed by Robin Merrill.  Robin Merrill is a freelance writer who is seriously considering getting a criminal justice degree.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. The criminal justice field is in need of educated individuals. 100% agree.