The field of criminal justice is full of opportunities to protect and serve. If you are interested in safeguarding your community, promoting the greater good, and upholding the law, criminal justice is the career path for you. But first, you will need some training under your belt.
What Level of Criminal Justice Training Do You Need?
There are many different career options within the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, legal services, and corrections. Depending on your talents and interests, you may become a police officer, criminal investigator, prison guard, government agent, or bailiff in the court. Each career path requires a different level of training to get involved. For example:
- To become a police officer or detective, you need to complete a stretch of hands-on training, whether that is on-the-job, at the agency’s academy, or in a criminal justice school.
- To become a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, you will need a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice related field.
- To become a federal agent, such as DEA agent or corrections officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, you will need a college degree in criminal justice, combined with practical criminal justice training and experience. The training requirements vary by federal agency.
Your career goals will dictate your education, and set the stage for the type of training you’ll need. Generally speaking, however, most criminal justice careers can be achieved with postsecondary education and training. In fact, many law enforcement agencies are now giving preference to candidates with a college education, even if it is not officially required. And in many states, an associate degree in criminal justice is a prerequisite to joining dedicated training academies, such as with the police.
Goodwin graduates with an associate degree have found successful roles as:
- State and local police
- Correctional officers
- Probation officers
- Crime investigators
- Crime scene technicians
- Fire inspectors
- Security agents
What Does Criminal Justice Training Entail?
Criminal justice is a highly specialized field. It requires its professionals to have both empathy and strength, technical and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to think quickly, on their feet. Depending on your role, you may need to uncover minute details at a crime scene, comfort a traumatized victim, rehabilitate imprisoned teens, or research modern policing strategies. And as a result, you will need to pursue comprehensive criminal justice training first.
Most employers today will look for a blend of classroom and practical training in job candidates. They will want you to have a grasp on the criminal justice system, as well as experience working within it.
Employers will demand that you’re familiar with the criminal justice system, including the basic functions of courts, corrections, and law enforcement. They will want you to be knowledgeable in criminal law, and the current issues (both legal and ethical) facing the criminal justice system. You can gain this knowledge through a criminal justice program, like Goodwin, where we cover topics such as:
- Psychology and Criminology
- Criminal Law and Criminal Procedures
- Investigative Report Writing and Grant Writing
- Corrections and Juvenile Justice in America
- Ethical and legal issues and perspectives in criminal justice
At the same time, employers desire candidates with practical, hands-on experience working in the field. This shows your ability to handle common situations on the job, whether that’s interviewing a suspect or writing an investigative report. While on-the-job training does exist in many criminal justice roles, employers will express preference for those who already have training under their belts.
Goodwin University has relationships with many agencies and organizations throughout Connecticut. It is our goal to get students into careers they love, and support local employers in need of qualified professionals. To help make this possible, hands-on training is a critical piece of our criminal justice program. This level of training is carried out in two ways.
First, we offer “mock crime scene” training right in the classroom. Each year, students are given the opportunity to participate in a life-like crime scene investigation, fulfilling roles as crime scene technicians, detectives, and more. They are given the chance to use the techniques learned in class, as they work together to solve the crime.
Secondly, students are required to complete an internship in their second year. Students are able to choose their own internship site, where they will complete 150 hours of in-field training. If you choose to pursue a criminal justice degree at Goodwin, you may choose to train within organizations such as:
- American Red Cross
- Community Court at Hartford
- Connecticut Department of Health
- Connecticut Judicial Branch
- Hartford Police Department
- Juvenile Detention Center at Hartford
- Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
- Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
This is just the beginning. As you complete your criminal justice training – in-field and in the classroom – you will gain a rich knowledge of the criminal justice system, the technical skills required to succeed, as well as the legal, cultural, ethical, and social issues that are tackled within each role. Most importantly, you will walk away with the readiness to protect and serve your community, to make a difference in the lives of others, and pursue exciting, in-demand roles.
If you are ready to begin criminal justice training in Connecticut, you can start at Goodwin University. We will prepare you for a variety of successful careers in law enforcement, legal services, corrections, and public safety. Learn more by visiting us online today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.