About Careers in Criminal Justice
Have you ever wondered what it takes to begin a career in criminal justice? From police officers to constables and jailers, there are different types of law enforcement classes and degrees required for each job path. Which one is right for you?
With the popularity of shows like Criminal Minds, CSI and Law and Order, many people are interested in pursuing a career within the criminal justice field. This field offers individuals with many varied interests and skills the opportunity to use them toward the protection or welfare of citizens and victims or the apprehension, prosecution, rehabilitation or supervision of the criminal element in our midst. Therefore, the criminal justice field, which includes medical personnel, social counselors, business accountants, scientists, lawyers, department managers as well as law enforcement personnel and others, offers many different career paths within one field.
Law Enforcement Career Path
At the heart of the criminal justice field is the law enforcement career. It can consist of local police officers, sheriff deputies, jailors, state patrol police officers, state agents and state prison guards as well as federal police officers, federal agents (FBI, DEA, ICE) and federal prison guards. All of these men and women have the ability to either make arrests and detain criminal suspects or supervise their incarcerations once jailed or imprisoned, and they are commissioned to carry a firearm during these duties, unless inside a jail or prison setting.
Law Enforcement Support Personnel
In the law enforcement portion of the criminal justice field, there are many other career options for individuals not necessarily drawn to enforcing laws as a peace officer within the local, state or federal entities, jails and prisons. For people interested in utilizing their talents within these entities in other meaningful ways, many work support options exist, such as crime lab tech, analyst, fraud investigator, purchasing clerks, secretary, information database terminal operators (GCIC, NCIC), accountants, business managers, social workers, counselors, nurses, doctors, lawyers and interpreters.
Emergency Criminal Justice Careers
9-1-1 call center emergency telecommunicators--located in each local jurisdiction--are also considered to fall under the criminal justice career umbrella, as they notify and direct police personnel to respond to emergency situations involving domestic violence, burglaries and other reported crime.
Victim Witness Criminal Justice Career
The victim witness staff positions in district attorney offices throughout the country are also a career option for those individuals seeking a criminal justice career. They, too, work with law enforcement personnel and the criminal justice court system to aid victims who will need to give testimony during a criminal proceeding. These positions can include intake social worker, secretary and victim advocate.
In addition to the victim witness program at local agencies, there is also the federal victim witness program, which utilizes federal agents as well as other individuals within the support staff of the agency in this criminal justice career capacity.
Criminal Justice Court System
The criminal justice court system offers career options as district attorneys, prosecutors (lawyers for the state), judges, secretaries, clerks, legal assistants and bailiffs as well as legal transcriptionists. As with the law enforcement portion of the criminal justice system, the court system spans the local, state and federal jurisdictions.