If you’re pursuing your law enforcement education in CT, you are dedicated to earning a career in law enforcement. And while there are many different options when it comes to earning a criminal justice degree—certificate, associate, or Bachelor’s—you may not know where to focus your education to earn a career that interests you.
While it is true that police officers make up a great fraction of today’s law enforcement professionals, you should never feel limited to this one career choice. There are numerous career options available to students who pursue their law enforcement education. From police to DEA agents, forensic scientists to paralegals, the career possibilities for students of law enforcement are abundant. There are on-scene and behind-the-scene jobs; there are positions at local, state, and federal levels. With the great range of roles available, you should have no problem choosing a job that fits your unique interests, skills, and talents.
Understanding the different paths you can take in law enforcement education is an important first step towards your career. Here are five different types of criminal justice degrees that will help you gain a solid foothold in the law enforcement field.
Public Safety and Law Enforcement
Public safety is just what its name infers: a consistent effort to protect the public and keep society safe. A branch of the criminal justice major, public safety is particularly designed for individuals who aspire to further their careers as law enforcement officers and first responders. If you want to be a leader, a hero, and are ready to make a difference, a public safety degree may be for you. With a public safety degree, you can work in a variety of organizations such as emergency management agencies, police agencies, fire departments, or rescue squads. You may also work with private agencies or on college campuses to protect smaller communities against crime.
Homeland Security is a program with many diverse opportunities for natural protectors. In essence, homeland security professionals safeguard the country and its communities from terrorism as well as natural and man-made disasters. Homeland security majors learn how to protect borders, airports, and seaports against terrorism; prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made disasters; and offer counterterrorism or law enforcement support. If you choose to pursue a homeland study degree, you can work in emergency management, border patrol, private security, or airport security; as well as institutions such as the DEA, FBI, Secret Services, and the military.
Corrections is a popular course of study for those interested in criminal justice. Corrections professionals work as prison officers in county, state, and federal facilities. They oversee and manage people who have been convicted of crimes: processing them into the system, preventing assaults and escapes within the facility, and preparing them to transition out of the prison system. If you choose to pursue an education in corrections, you will learn various aspects of counseling and rehabilitation for inmates, probation, parole, and juvenile services. At the end of your degree program, you may land a career as a corrections, probation, or parole officer. According to Discover Criminal Justice, 86 percent of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists have a Bachelor’s degree.
Criminology is a sector of the criminal justice major that concentrates on the social aspects of crime: why a crime takes place, how society reacts to crime, and how we can prevent crime as a whole in our society. Criminology, in this sense, is a social science. If you choose to pursue a criminology degree, you will study the ins and outs of criminal behavior and explore the various precursors that lead up to a crime. You will acquire knowledge in other supplementary areas such as psychology and sociology in order to interpret criminal behavior and the criminal mind. If you want to become a forensic psychologist, prison psychologist, or criminal profiler, a criminology degree may be for you.
While there are many directions one can take with a social work major, there are great opportunities for social workers within the criminal justice system. A focus in criminal justice as a part of your social work degree can find you employment through any private, state, or federal organizations. You may work with prison inmates, recently released ex-offenders, or individuals attending intervention programs in efforts to prevent future crime. You will help these individuals identify their problems and opportunities, as well as pathways to a healthy, crime-free future. As a criminal justice professional with a degree in social work, you may develop rehabilitation programs for convicted individuals or help support their family members through the experience.
Goodwin College 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 College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.