Careers in Criminal Justice

When it comes to careers related to criminal justice, a lot of people start thinking about law enforcement jobs. However, there are a variety of other jobs in this field. A computer forensics expert, compliance officer, coast guard, or corrections officers are some of the options available to you. Here are the details about some of the possible career paths in criminal justice.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) Agent

The name makes it quite obvious that an ATF agent works for the government to regulate and monitor laws that pertain to use of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. In addition to that, an ATF agent also has to monitor relevant cases that are being handled. As an ATF agent, you will be supported by the United States Department of Treasury.

Illegal sale of firearms and stores selling liquor to underage people are some of the most common cases that an ATF agent encounters. The minimum requirements for becoming an ATF agent are a four-year college degree, minimum age of 21, clearing a physical examination and a drug screening test.

CIA agent

Many people think about spying when the term CIA is mentioned. But that is only a small part of the job. Majority of the employees in the CIA work in language and analytics related positions. The educational requirements for becoming a CIA agent are very strict. You must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. There are no requirements for a particular major, but it would be beneficial if you have studied law, political science, computer sciences, sociology or any other course requiring some sort of analytical skills.

Compliance officer

The job of a compliance officer involves enforcing and implementing rules in different sectors of the society. To become a compliance officer, you first need to figure out the domain you want to work in. Homeland security, juvenile justice, and law enforcement are some of the domains available to you. Apart from courses pertaining to criminal justice, you will also benefit by taking business management classes. These courses teach you how to evaluate and enforce policies and work with different kinds of people.

Corrections officer

This is one of the more traditional criminal justice careers. A corrections officer works in detentions centers, jails or prisons. The duties to be performed can include conducting searches of prisoners and prison cells, monitoring prisoners during visitation ours, and passing out meals. The type of duties handed down depends upon the experience of the officer and the incarceration system. You must have an associate’s degree to become a corrections officer, but certain larger prisons may require a bachelor’s degree as well. Because of the constant presence of physical threat, this career is not for everyone.

Crime scene investigator

A lot of TV shows have glamorized the job of a crime scene investigator, also known as forensic investigators. The main job of these investigators is to collect the evidence which is present at the crime scene, preserve it and then analyze it. This is done to reconstruct the events that were responsible for the crime. Because of the nature of the job, you need to have highly specialized training and education.

The type of education will depend upon whether you want to become a crime scene technician, photographer or a forensic expert. An internship with the local police department, working under a superior officer to learn the basics and hands on experience of investigating the crime scenes will also help you in this career. Learn more here about becoming a crime scene investigator.

Criminal Justice Careers Resources

  • Excellent overview of the different criminal justice jobs and duties.

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