The world needs police officers. The world also needs detectives, corrections officers, and security agents to protect the greater good. Whether you have always admired the field of criminal justice, or want to make positive changes in the world, we can all agree on one thing—now, more than ever before, we need well-trained professionals in this field of work.
While crime in the U.S. is down, many Americans believe it is on the rise. The nightly news reminds us that there is still much work to be done. The need for public law enforcement is great. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of police officers to grow 5 percent over the next several years, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
If you are considering a career in this field, a criminal justice degree program can get you started. However, before diving in, you may be wondering how much time and effort will be required to succeed. You may be asking, ‘Is criminal justice hard?’ as well as, ‘Am I cut out for this field?’
In this article, we explore what you can expect in criminal justice school, the difficulty level associated with this profession, and how to succeed in a criminal justice program.
Criminal Justice is a Challenging, Yet Rewarding Career
If you are asking “Is criminal justice hard?”, you probably already know that it is a demanding field in many ways. The career of policing is challenging, but that is why so many officers love what they do. No two days on the force are the same. They are always encountering different people, unique situations, and new methods for safeguarding their communities. They are protecting–and literally saving–lives on a daily basis. While this can feel like a big weight on your shoulders, it is important to know that this profession is not impossible to pursue.
A criminal justice program like Goodwin University’s will prepare you for a range of criminal justice careers. In our training program, students learn how to:
- Explain the basic structure and functions of the American Criminal Justice System.
- Discuss the development of the corrections system in the U.S.
- Identify the structure and function of the Federal and State court systems.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the development of criminal law and criminal procedure.
- Discuss the effects of a culturally diverse society on the development of the Criminal Justice System.
- Understand the ethical and legal issues of criminal justice professionals.
- Assess the basic issues and problems in policing, the courts, and corrections in the U.S.
- Identify the major sociological theories that may explain criminal behavior and delinquency.
Why is Criminal Justice a Challenging Career?
A future in criminal justice requires physical, mental, and emotional strength. It also requires technical skills and knowledge of the criminal justice system. You cannot guess your way through court proceedings. You must know how to approach suspects and witnesses. You have to prepare for, and know how to handle, difficult situations that arise. In addition, you must have the following skillsets under your belt:
- Computer literacy
- Interview techniques
- Research strategies
- Knowledge of legal and ethical issues in contemporary criminal justice
- Problem-solving and critical-thinking
- Report and grant writing
- Interpersonal skills
The good news is that a criminal justice career is very attainable with dedication, education, and training. A criminal justice program will prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to work in policing, corrections, government agencies, and a variety of other settings. At Goodwin, the criminal justice courses are taught by industry professionals, such as police commanders, detectives, and military veterans. They will give you knowledge and advice that goes beyond any textbook. Their life-saving tips can help you hone your skills and prepare you to work successfully in the field of criminal justice. By putting in the work, you can be sure to find success.
There are many myths surrounding the difficulty of criminal justice programs. So, before others scare you off, let’s consider a couple of key facts:
- Pursuing a Criminal Justice Program does not mean saying goodbye to your social life. Yes, there will be exams you need to study for. There will be nights of staying in, and early mornings to get to your classes. At the same time, there is a lot of flexibility in criminal justice. For example, at Goodwin University, classes are on days and evenings. With our flexible model, you can still maintain a full- or part-time job while going to school, and sustain balance in your everyday life.
- Your criminal justice program does not want you to fail. The world needs skilled and well-trained criminal justice officers more than ever before, and no one in your program will want to see you fail. It is our goal to set you up for success, and there are times we will challenge you to become a stronger law enforcement professional. Goodwin is a career-focused school, meaning our courses are structured to prepare you for a variety of careers after graduation. Our Criminal Justice graduates can find careers and professions they love in:
- Community Health Centers
- Customs and Border Protection
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Law Enforcement
- Private and Personal Security Agencies
- Transportation Security Administration
We also have dedicated Career Services and Academic Success teams who are available to help you on your career path. You will always feel supported at every stretch of your criminal justice education, and even beyond.
How Hard is It to Become a Police Officer?
You may also be wondering about the process of becoming a law enforcement professional. To enter this field, proper police training and education are critical. While a degree is not always required, employers often seek candidates with hands-on, practical training under their belts.
The work of a police officer can be stressful at times, with high-stakes situations that literally mean the difference between life-and-death. Police officers are first responders, meaning they are among the first to arrive at an accident or crime scene. This job will test your physical, emotional, and mental aptitude. It will require compassion, patience, and integrity. Rest assured, it will also be highly rewarding. The work you put into a criminal justice career can, in turn, put meaning into your everyday life. Your job will be dedicated to keeping your community safe and out of harm’s way.
Simply put, entering the field of criminal justice can give you the chance to make a difference. It can give you the chance to stand up for what’s right.
Now that you know a little bit about the difficulty levels of criminal justice, you may be asking yourself, “Am I up for the challenge?” If you are ready to protect and serve, contact Goodwin University to learn more about the criminal justice program. Reach out at 800-889-3282, or visit us online to request more information.
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.