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Three Exciting Career Opportunities a Criminal Justice Degree Opens

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A degree in Criminal Justice Studies provides students with the skills and education needed to pursue career opportunities in numerous areas of the criminal justice and legal fields. While law enforcement, especially working on the police force, is often the most thought-of career field, a Criminal Justice Studies degree opens the door to several other opportunities. Whether you see yourself in a traditional corrections officer role or in a leadership role or you wish to work with youth, a criminal justice degree lets you choose a career that fits your needs and goals.

Juvenile probation officer, corrections officer, and sheriff and deputy sheriff positions are just a few of the career paths you can pursue with a Criminal Justice Studies degree. We have done a dive into each of these roles, so you don’t have to.

1. Work as a Juvenile Probation Officer

If you find that working with youth inspires you, a career as a juvenile probation officer may be a perfect fit for you. These professionals work with individuals under the age of 18 who face criminal charges or have been convicted. Since juveniles often receive probation instead of spending time in a detention facility, these at-risk youth need quite a bit of supervision. The juvenile probation officer is often the head of the supervising team.

During probation, the minor must follow strict terms for behavior. The juvenile probation officer monitors the behavior of the offender to ensure they follow the terms of their probation. These law enforcement pros may make unannounced visits to the youth’s home, school, or job to check on them. They will also work with social services to ensure the young person’s living and working environments are conducive to behavioral change. In many ways, juvenile probation officers can become mentors to these troubled youths, helping them learn proper behavior through counseling and leadership.

Career Outlook for Juvenile Probation Officers

Though this career path is growing at a slower-than-average rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a wide range for compensation. The career outlook for juvenile probation officers is good. This is an in-demand career field, particularly in areas of the country with high levels of crime.

*It is important to note that information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is intended for informational purposes only. This is not a guarantee of job opportunities. Rather, it can help you assess the overall landscape in your field of interest.

2. Work as a Correctional Officer or Jailer

Correctional officers and jailers work with inmates incarcerated at correctional facilities around the country. Unlike juvenile probation officers, these professionals work with the adult population. They are responsible for maintaining order within the correctional facility, supervising inmates as they go about their daily activities, and they carry out disciplinary action at times. These institutions have an established set of regulations that are designed to protect the inmates, the correctional officers, and others working inside them. The jailers, guards, and other officers employed within the facility uphold these rules, enforce all regulations, and ensure that standard daily procedures are followed.

This career may be a good fit for you if you can work well under pressure and are a level-headed individual. The job can be highly stressful, so you will need to be able to respond to stress in a calm manner. Good conflict resolution skills are also helpful, since conflicts among inmates are common in these settings.

Correctional officers must remain organized because they need to keep records of the activities and actions of the inmates under their watch. They need to be willing to step in if situations turn dangerous or violent, and they must be able to handle daily tasks like conducting head-counts, distributing medications, and conducting inspections.

Career Outlook for Correctional Officers and Jailers

As long as there is criminal activity, there will need to be a place for criminals to serve their time, and as long as there are people in prison, there will always be a need for correctional officers and jailers to monitor their behavior and maintain order. Though there is no expected job growth in this area, job seekers may still find openings because of those who transfer to other occupations, retire, or otherwise leave the labor force.

3. Work as a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff

A criminal justice degree also offers the potential to become a sheriff or deputy sheriff. These professionals are at the top of the law enforcement departments in their counties, overseeing everything from warrants and citations to funding and procedures. Sheriffs are responsible for enforcing orders of the court, overseeing property seizures, and responding to vehicle accidents and medical emergencies.

Though a sheriff may need to help monitor or investigate illegal activities, working directly with criminals and law offenders is not commonly part of the daily work of people in this career. Paperwork, investigation, and working in court are more common roles for a sheriff. A deputy sheriff performs similar roles but under the oversight of the sheriff.

A career as a sheriff or deputy sheriff may fit your needs well if you are highly organized and enjoy administrative tasks, but still want to work within the law enforcement field. You also should have a passion for protecting your local community and strong leadership skills.

Career Outlook for Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs

Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are often leaders in the field of police work. Most new job opportunities will be the result of retirement from this industry. This can create a competitive landscape for job seekers. It’s important to pursue education and activities that will increase your employability in this field. There will always be a need for these professionals to help maintain law and order.

Important Note to Remember

While opportunities abound for criminal justice degree jobs, many career opportunities within the field have additional requirements such as academy training, background checks, and physical fitness standards. These mandates often vary on a state-by-state or city-by-city basis, so be sure to research the potential requirements in your region as you pursue an associate degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

Start Your Criminal Justice Degree Today

If you are looking to pursue a degree, look no further than Bryant & Stratton College. With instructors who have years of real-world experience in law enforcement, criminal law, criminology, corrections, public safety, and the justice system—we cover it all in our criminal justice associate degree program. Get more information about the Criminal Justice Studies program at Bryant & Stratton College here!

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