To Study or Not to Study: Criminal Justice
Oh, it seems you've stumbled onto another fascinating edition of To Study or Not to Study. This series is designed to inform the reader about the various
study programs that exist and the pros and cons of each. The goal is to help people who struggle to pick a major or a career – which can be a problem for high school graduates and adults alike. Today’s topic: Criminal Justice.
Most children grow up wanting to fight crime. They watch Saturday morning cartoons featuring their favorite superheros, dreaming that one day they will have the chance to put bad guys behind bars. Although most people grow out of this phase, many still hold on their desire to be part of the justice system. Since radioactive spiders and gamma rays are scarce, many fulfill this desire by entering the field of Criminal Justice.
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Criminal justice studies patterns of criminal behavior and analyzes laws that can be implemented to control crime and delinquency. Those studying this field begin with in-depth social science, learning principally what constitutes a crime, and how the criminal justice system functions. This knowledge is then combined with studies in forensics, legal studies, sociology, political science, public administration, and urban studies. Basically, it focuses on the cause and prevention of crime, and the eventual justice for the victim; seeing the offender punished. There is also a focus on the philosophy and ethics accompanying this knowledge, providing a psychological study of criminals and victims.
There are many possible professions in the field of Criminal Justice; think of policemen, officers of the court, paralegals, lawyers, and so forth. Although its not a strict requirement to become a police officer, those who do have a degree in Criminal Justice will have a much more solid basis to succeed in their line of work, and many more opportunies for growth and advancement. Later they are trained in a special academy to learn how to use force and firearms under the law. Those looking for jobs in agencies like the FBI (mainly law enforcement) and the CIA (intelligence gathering, foreign relations) will need as a minimum a Bachelor’s Degree. Finally, many use this degree to advance into universities and law schools.
One of the great benefits of studying criminal justice is its availability. Since what you are studying is mainly theoretical, you can easily get your degree online in as little as 15 months! It’s also a relatively exciting field and if you can’t stand the thought of being in a cubicle, you can work outside and on the streets (policemen, detectives, etc) on foot or driving. As mentioned earlier, the wide range of job opportunities lets you work in virtually any field or specialty, ranging from accounting to science.
On the other hand, remember that you are entering the CRIMINAL justice field. You will be dealing with, yes, criminals. Whether you are a police officer or a paralegal, you will have direct contact with violent, and in many cases, deranged individuals. If you deal with crime scene investigations, you will have to get used to the idea of seeing blood, among other things. Physical and mental stability are essential, people are often rejected in this field because they cannot handle stress very well, a challenge that won’t ease up when you are working those long hours or night shifts.
Besides the satisfying feeling one receives when justice is served, you also get decent job safety because of the ever growing need for law enforcers. The truth is, crime will not ever stop growing, a fact that is very fortunate for criminal justice majors, but unfortunate for everyone else.