Criminal justice is a highly dynamic field and professions within this field have a relatively stable demand. This is because the preservation of law and order in society are high priority goals for criminal justice organizations.
Why this Degree?
A B.S in criminal justice offers students the ability to understanding the basics of criminal justice and provides them with the tools and skills necessary to secure employment within the field.
It is an ideal degree if you:
- Are looking to enter the field of criminal justice
- Want a further qualification
- Aim to become a lawyer in future
- Want to increase your job prospects and earning potential
When looking to apply for a Bachelor of Science program, there are a few important points to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure that the institution you are considering to apply to is a fully accredited university or college and that their programs are also accredited. Accreditation is very important when applying for jobs or pursing further education. Without proper accreditation, your credits may not be recognized and accepted by employers or other institutions.
In addition to traditional on-campus degree programs, the Bachelor of Science degree can also be pursued online. This option is particularly suited for those individuals who cannot for one reason or another attend courses on campus.
When looking to apply for this particular degree, you may need to fulfill the following requirements:
- A completed application for the program
- A personal statement
- 2 letters of recommendation
- High school diploma or GED
- SAT scores (if requested)
It is important to note that the above mentioned requirements may vary with schools and colleges as every institute as its own admission criteria.
Bachelor’s programs typically take four years to complete which translates into roughly 120 hours of coursework. In those four years, students can expect to learn a wide variety of courses that will help them solidify their knowledge in this area. As opposed to the Bachelor of Arts, The Bachelor of Science in criminal justice degree has a strong focus on core courses in the humanities, sciences and mathematics. B.S in criminal justice has a much stronger focus on the technical and scientific aspects of the field of criminal justice.
Some examples of the courses that you may need to study:
- Security and police administration
- Juvenile justice system
- Legal research
- Correctional strategies
- Fire investigations
- Correctional alternatives
- Domestic terrorism
- Gender in criminal justice
- Correctional alternatives
- Crime investigation
In addition to coursework, students will be required to complete some additional work, such as an internship or lab work.
In addition to a general B.S in criminal justice, you can opt for a B.S in criminal justice with a particular concentration area. This allows you to get specialized knowledge of a particular aspect of the criminal justice system.
Common areas of concentration and the courses offered with them include:
A degree in criminal justice offers a wide range of jobs in private, federal, state, and local agencies.
Some of the jobs that may be available to those with a B.S in criminal justice include:
- Police officer
- Probation officers
- Private detectives
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Private security
- Court administration
- In jails and prisons
Professional associations are great for networking and keeping abreast of career development opportunities. As such, students and graduates working in the field of criminal justice can look into joining professional organizations such as the American Criminal Justice Association
Job Outlook and Salary
In light of the fact that a B.S in criminal justice opens doors to a wide variety of jobs, the job outlook for the profession varies. Generally speaking, criminal justice professions enjoy relatively positive job outlooks due to the fact that governments place a great deal of importance to law and order.
Potential salaries also vary greatly and are influenced by a number of factors. These include the type of job, the amount of experience the candidate has, government spending, and location.
According to the Occupational Handbook of the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 the following professionals made an annual median salary of:
- Police and detectives – $56,980
- Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists – $48,190
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants – $46,990
- Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers – $24,020
- Information Security Analysts – $86,170
- Correctional Officers – $38,970
- Private Detectives and Investigators – $45,740
A Bachelor of Science in criminal justice is a very interesting, engaging, challenging, and rewarding degree option. It provides students with in depth and thorough knowledge of the different aspects of the highly dynamic criminal justice system. It is intended to prepare candidates to be able to take on the challenges that they may face in this particular field. A B.S in criminal justice focuses on the technical and legal aspects of the criminal justice and as such, is ideal for candidates looking to progress in this field.