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Is A Criminal Justice Degree Right For Me?

If you are considering a Criminal Justice Degree then ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you interested in science and math, but not interested in a job that would be the same every single day?
  • Are you looking for a job that has the potential to take you to new and exciting places and present you with new and interesting challenges?
  • Are you interested in a job that really matters, and has tangible results that can be appreciated by the general public?
  • Would people describe you as logical, analytical, and/or rational?
  • Do you enjoy watching television programs that relate to crime in some way?
  • Are you interested in following the latest laws and learning how they are applied in real life situations?

If you answered yes to at least three of these questions, then you should be considering a criminal justice degree.

What is Involved With Earning a Criminal Justice Degree?

There are both associates and bachelor's criminal justice degrees available, and that means that there are opportunities for different levels of commitment. Those who are willing to spend a full 4-years studying for a bachelor's degree in criminal justice will obviously have more and/or better employment opportunities offered to them in exchange for the additional 2 years of study. Even those individuals willing to study only 2 years for an associate's degree in criminal justice are likely to find that there earning potential has increased dramatically. In order to apply for most criminal justice schools or programs, one will have to generally meet the following criteria:

  • A reasonable GPA from high school for private universities, but public schools offerings 2-year programs are often far more lenient and forgiving of past academic problems.
  • No serious felonies, especially if the school has a direct employment program. With a limited number of seats and high demand, many criminal justice schools and programs are unwilling to take anyone who cannot pass a basic background check.
  • A can-do attitude and a willingness to tackle new challenges.

What Kinds of Jobs Can Someone With a Criminal Justice Degree Perform?

There are many different jobs that require criminal just degrees, including those related to crime scene investigation, forensic laboratory work, IT, security, criminal psychology, social work, and general law enforcement. Many of these jobs require applying laws, regulations, and protocols to dynamic situations, and are great jobs for people that enjoy constant challenges and new problems.

Statistics indicate that there is a growing demand for individuals with criminal justice degrees, and that growth is expected to continue until at least 2015. Surprisingly, the demand for individuals with associate's degrees in criminal justice is particularly strong, perhaps due to the economic conditions and cutbacks being made by various government bodies and large companies. The stable growth is probably due to the fact that society needs protection from criminal elements, and most of the jobs one can fill with a criminal justice degree are nearly impossible to outsource and/or give to robots/computers. Depending on location and job, a bachelor's degree in criminal science is generally worth anywhere from $37,400 to $43,500 the first year, while an associate's degree can be worth approximately $30,000 with many opportunities for advancement. These wages are often augmented by generous benefits packages and the fulfilling sense that one has helped their community while earning an honest living.