Criminal justice is primarily a law enforcement field. A degree in criminal justice might prepare you to become a police officer, detective, private investigator, sheriff’s deputy, corrections officer or security guard. Although long-term goals might differ from one area to another, possibilities include advanced education, certification, promotion or specialization.
Most agencies require police officers to graduate from the police academy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that basic education for a position in the criminal justice field could vary from a high school diploma for a police officer to a bachelor’s degree for a probation officer. If you want to teach criminal justice, you might need a master's degree or doctorate. Advanced education can help you achieve career goals, such as promotion or obtain a federal government position. FBI agents must have not only a bachelor’s degree but at least three years of law enforcement experience, according to the University of Alabama criminal justice department. Secret Service agents could have a bachelor’s degree, three years of experience, or a combination of both education and experience.
If promotion is your goal, research the requirements for your agency. Law enforcement agencies typically offer promotion opportunities based on experience and performance, according to the BLS. A promotion could offer the opportunity to earn a higher salary and provide more challenging work. Senior officers, for example, are more likely to be able to influence policy and make changes in daily operations that benefit patrol officers or improve public service. When it comes to salary, police officers earned an average annual salary of $57,770 in 2012, while detectives earned $77,860, according to the BLS.
Certification Is a Plus
Certification provides evidence of additional knowledge in the criminal justice field. Certification programs are often available from local colleges and universities that have criminal justice programs. Central Oregon Community College, for example, offers a one-year certificate in juvenile corrections. COCC also offers programs in proficiency areas, such as law enforcement, corrections, parole and probation and criminal investigation. The state of Florida offers certifications in criminal justice addiction practice that cover topics such as screening, intake, case management, monitoring, crisis intervention, consultation and record keeping.
Become a Specialist
As is the case in many occupations, people in criminal justice occupations might choose to become specialists in a particular area or to work in a specialized field of law enforcement. Specialization allows you to pursue an area in which you have a particular interest, and, in some cases, it could mean a promotion or higher salary, as when a police officer becomes a homicide detective. Narcotics is one such specialized field. Officers in large agencies might train for special units, such as mounted or motorcycle units, or become members of SWAT teams. Other possible areas of specialization include working in schools or as a transit officer in railroad yards and transit stations.
About the Author
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.
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It is known that in order to make a good career, it is necessary to work hard and to apply every effort. Of course, it is not enough to learn the theory because only good practice will help to develop appropriate skills in this or that sphere of human activity. My future career is closely connected with criminal justice – one of the most important fields of human activity which allows all the people in our country to feel perfectly safe, which combats injustice and criminality. Although my major is computer information technology and security which does not give me the opportunity to catch criminals in the streets of our country, I also will be able to contribute to the common cause.
Information security plays an important role in criminal justice. Information security protects information systems from any unauthorized access to the system, illegal use of secret information. The major goal of information security is to provide “reliable protection of confidentiality, integrity and, of course, availability of information”. (Denning 13)
Computer information technology and security degree allows me to use my knowledge and skills in the sphere of criminal justice, namely cyber security. Nowadays cyber security is an emerging field in criminal justice. Those specialists who work in this field of criminal justice use their knowledge and skills in order to identify the risks and damages connected with different cyber crimes and digital frauds. They also can identify electronic crimes and thefts.
It is known that a great number of positions which require cyber security skills are in demand. These positions can be found in the private sector and in local law enforcement, both state and federal. As for me I would like to work for federal law enforcement.
In order to get a position in the sphere of cyber security it is necessary to have the following qualifications and satisfy some specific requirements:
- to complete an academic or other specialized training;
- to have an appropriate age category;
- to pass physical examination;
- to pass mental examination;
- to pass background check which should prove the fact that a candidate have no any criminal records;
- to have a degree of appropriate higher educational institution;
- to be a citizen of the USA.
I’d like to hold the position of a cyber crime security engineer. It is not a secret that Internet crime rate is constantly increasing. So, cyber crime security engineers are always in demand at the present days. I am sure that I have already got enough knowledge and experience to perform the duties of a cyber crime security engineer in a proper way. I am ready to study different network logs, emails, numerous electronic documents and other important computer records in order to find the evidence of computer crime.
I know that this position requires about 2 years of related experience which includes some experience in network security and incident response. Moreover, it is necessary to be familiar with intrusion detection and forensics. The knowledge of vulnerability assessments and different analytic tools also plays an important role for a cyber crime security engineer. I think that my experience and skills which I have already developed will help me to master this occupation. I think that this work commensurate with my personality and my faith.
It is known that physical demands for this job include endurance, patience, good health. The starting level of pay for this position is about $50,000-60,000 per year. Of course, much depends on the experience and skills of the specialist. According to the statistical data, the average salary of an experienced cyber network engineer is about $77,000 per year and the average salary of the cyber crime investigator is about $95,000 per year. I think that this is a well paid job at the present time what is very important for the further personal development.
I decided to choose the career of cyber crime security engineer because I am interested in computer security and digital forensics. I also have a great interest in investigation of international cyber crimes. I have read a lot about international cyber crimes and I have a great desire to learn more and more in order to become a professional in this sphere if criminal justice.
It is necessary to say that I have already got a lot of useful knowledge in criminal justice which include policing, criminal law, the structure of courts, sentencing, criminological theory. I can utilize my knowledge in some special issues such as juvenile justice, terrorism and multinational criminal justice. (Schmalleger)
Moreover, criminal justice course helped me to learn ethics and moral behavior, organizational leadership and some legal issues.
I think that such crimes as cyber-stalking and hacking, identity theft or embezzlement which are considered to be absolutely new types of crime, should be identified, investigated and analyzed by the professionals who are ready to develop their personalities and to broaden their knowledge.
It is also necessary to say that FBI is the leading law enforcement agency which is engaged in investigation of cyber matters in the USA. I think that a position of cyber crime security engineer in FBI is a prestigious and honorable job. The FBI’s Cyber Division is also involved in counterterrorism and other criminal investigations. The major mission of the Cyber Division is to investigate and prevent different computer intrusions, crimes, which include pirating, fraud, and so on. The other opportunities of the Cyber Division of the FBI include Special Technologies and applications and information sharing and analysis. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
May be I will have a chance to work for the FBI’s Cyber Division in my future. I will try to do everything possible to use my knowledge to the benefit of our society. At present moment I think it is necessary for me to work in private sector in order to get experience and to develop my skills.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that cyber crime security engineer is an important occupation in our modern society. Due to the rapid development of informational technologies all the organizations require effective computer security which will prevent different threats and which will allow the organization to work in a proper way. I’d like to say that I am happy that my future career will be connected with criminal justice. I am an honest and responsible person who will never disappoint those people who put a great deal of trust in me.
Denning, D.E. Information Technology and Security. Grave New World: Global Dangers in the 21-st Century. Michael Brown Ed. Georgetown University Press. 2003. Available from:<http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA485002>
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Official Cite. Cyber Division. Available from:<www.fbijobs.gov/311132.asp#1>
Schmalleger, F.J. Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21-st Century. Prentice Hall. 2010. Print.