Completing a degree in Criminal Justice has with it far greater options than just serving as a front line law enforcement officer. The education and experience acquired can be equally as valuable either as a starting point with several positions or as the basis for additional specialized education or training. Here are several positions where a Criminal Justice degree provides a firm foundation for future success.
Victim Advocate – Victim advocates help victims of crimes to navigate a time of crisis or recover from the experience of crimes. They work with victims of domestic violence to create exit plans and obtain social services. Victim advocates also support victims before, during, and after a trial. Some of these professionals may offer their clients individual counseling or proctor support groups.
Substance Abuse Counselor – Substance abuse counselors assist people dealing with substance abuse disorders. They counsel individuals and groups on overcoming addictive behaviors and help patients to coordinate a personalized recovery plan. Counselors also help clients make progress toward their goals and connect with available services.
State Trooper – State troopers are law enforcement officers that serve at the state level. They perform many similar duties to police officers, including investigating criminal activities. State troopers may arrest and question suspects, interview witnesses and victims, and testify in criminal trials. They also secure crime scenes, provide emergency assistance during natural disasters, and serve warrants.
Security Officer – Security officers monitor private properties to keep them safe. They prevent theft, property damage, and vandalism by patrolling the property, supervising entry in and out of the property, and keeping records on visitors. Security officers also respond to emergencies by restraining unauthorized visitors and contacting emergency personnel. In addition to protecting against theft, security officers guard against safety violations and fires.
Probation Officer – Probation officers help criminal offenders to follow their probation orders. They investigate offenders to decide whether they should receive probation, work with law enforcement officers and judges to agree on probation requirements, and meet with offenders to give details on the terms of a probation sentence. During the offender’s probation, the probation officer meets with the offender to monitor their on-going compliance.
Private Investigator – Private investigators conduct investigations by performing surveillance, completing background checks, and analyzing various documents. They help clients to recover lost assets, find missing persons, and research financial fraud. Private investigators can either work in the field or from an office, depending on the specific type of work.
Parole Officer – Parole officers assist criminal offenders as they rehabilitate and re-enter society after competing for their prison sentence. They can place parolees in temporary housing and work placements while monitoring the parolee’s behavior. Parole officers also connect parolees with job training programs and vocational rehabilitation opportunities. During an offender’s parole, the parole officer monitors the parolee and creates reports on their compliance with the terms of their parole.
Mediator – Mediators can resolve legal disputes, acting as a neutral third party to help both sides negotiate and reach a resolution. Mediators help parties avoid a trial by reaching a non-litigious agreement. During the mediation process, mediators examine documents and interview both parties to understand the case. Mediators work to reach a confidential agreement that is workable by both sides.
Forensic Specialists – Forensic scientists analyze data and materials to help solve criminal cases. They collect evidence, analyze crime scenes, and draw conclusions from the results. For example, forensic entomologists use their knowledge of nature to help law enforcement officials conduct investigations. They can also determine where someone died, link victims and suspects using evidence, and collect samples to solve murders. Forensic chemists help coroners and medical examiners determine the causes of death by performing laboratory tests. They perform toxicology tests, analyze chemical reports, and conduct tests on evidence. Forensic DNA analysts specialize in conducting laboratory analyses of DNA samples. They work to analyze DNA samples found at crime scenes and create a suspect’s genetic profile.
County Sheriff – Sheriffs enforce state and local laws to protect public safety. They patrol a specific jurisdiction and respond to emergency calls or crimes in progress. Deputy Sheriffs also look into public complaints, interview witnesses, and conduct criminal investigations. Like fellow law enforcement officers, sheriffs may serve warrants, conduct investigations, and may appear in court as witnesses.
Correctional Services Specialist – Correctional services specialists provide social services for offenders while they are in custody. They also support offenders on probation or parole by helping them access rehabilitation services. Correctional services specialists will meet with offenders to help them design plans post-incarceration. They can also make recommendations for both conditional release or parole and follow up to ensure the offender follows the plan.
Correctional Officer – Correctional officers maintain safety and order in prisons and jails. They enforce procedures within the facility, conduct inspections of cells to confiscate banned items, and monitor inmates to follow procedures. Correctional officers also keep logs and file incident reports to help wardens and probation officials review operations.
Correctional Counselor – Correctional counselors oversee inmates who have been institutionalized. They monitor the behavior of inmates and offer counseling services to help manage behavioral issues. Correctional counselors also connect inmates with available education or job training programs. They often make recommendations for early release.
Border Patrol Agent – Border patrol agents monitor the country’s borders to halt illegal immigration and stop contraband items, like drugs, from crossing the border to keep the border secure. They patrol land and water borders to prevent trafficking while monitoring border crossings and ports for illegal activities and threats.
Bailiff – Bailiffs maintain order in courtrooms. They announce the judge’s arrival, direct jurors and witnesses on where to sit, and shepherd files from lawyers to the judge. Bailiffs also handle disturbances during a trial by escorting people away from the courtroom. Depending on the court’s size, the bailiff may also escort defendants from the courtroom and arrange jurors’ accommodations.