Criminal justice is a field concerned with minimizing crime and upholding the laws of society. Those who establish careers in the field become responsible for enforcing the law and assigning those who break it with penalties and rehabilitation. It is important for criminal justice officials to be aware of a criminal’s rights. The exact nature of criminal justice work depends upon the subfield. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the subfields are as follows:

  • Probation officers.

    Probation officers are in charge of supervision and keeping tabs on individuals who have been released from prison, but who are under probation. They ensure that those individuals do not violate their probation terms. If they do, then the probation officers arrange further rehabilitation.

  • Correctional treatment specialists.

    These treatment specialists counsel prisoners. When an individual is no longer in prison or under parole, correctional treatment specialists assist them in coming up with a rehabilitation plan that will help them transition back to being citizens.

  • Police officers.

    The main duty of a police officer is to protect people and property. They arrest criminals and enforce the law.

  • Detectives.

    Detectives are in charge of investigating crimes. They write reports and keep records. The specific job duties of detectives vary widely by specialization.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Criminal Justice?

Though a bachelor’s degree is not always required, many criminal justice positions look favorably upon potential employees if they are degree-holders. Researching criminal justice degrees is therefore a good first step in establishing a career in the field. Specific training requirements vary based on field and state. For instance, police officers and detectives often receive training at an academy, according to the BLS. Depending on the state, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists may be required to take training classes and pass a certification exam, according to the BLS.

Salaries for those employed in the criminal justice field vary based on education, experience, and other facts. However, the BLS states that probation officers and correctional treatment specialists make an average of $51,240. Detectives make an annual average of $73,010, and police officers average $55,620. There are different levels of police officer careers, and salaries can vary based on promotions, according to the BLS. These numbers also vary based on location.

According to PayScale.com, the best city for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is Los Angeles, Calif., as average salaries can be as high as $85,400. Los Angeles is also a good city for prospective police officers. Detectives and criminal investigators can benefit from living in New York City. However, it is important to keep in mind that even in these cities, salaries may vary. There is no guarantee that you will be able to establish a career, as success is dependent upon the job climate, employer, experience, education, and location.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Criminal Justice?

Researching criminal justice programs is an excellent first step in establishing your career in the field. As many criminal justice employers prefer potential employees to have degrees, attending college for criminal justice is a promising plan. There are many programs for criminal justice, which can set students on the right path for their future careers.

Accredited online colleges that offer criminal justice degrees utilize a web portal that students access for course materials and assignments. Students can also upload completed projects and assignments, as well as use forums to engage in classroom discussions. Criminal justice degrees online provide classes like criminology, crime analysis, and criminal law. The top online colleges will also have bachelor’s degree students take classes in general areas, such as history, English, and math, to provide a well-rounded educational foundation. Master’s and doctorate degrees go deeper into the theories behind criminal justice and focus more on a research-based curriculum. Master’s students usually have to write a thesis paper prior to graduating, and doctorate students can expect to write a dissertation over a timely topic in the field of criminal justice.

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