If you’ve ever watched a procedural drama on TV, you’ve probably thought about whether you have what it takes to work in criminal justice. The truth is, many students dream of making a difference in their community and wonder how to get started. A degree in criminal justice opens up a world of possibilities to students who are driven to be leaders and change makers. At University of Bridgeport, there are two degree paths you can pursue to launch a career in criminal justice. These are the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Security and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. These two degree programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers in criminal justice. Here are five examples of what you can do with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
- FBI Agent
From Agent Clarice Starling to Dr. Spencer Reid, the fictionalized version of the FBI has a hold on the imagination of people across the U.S. and even around the world. It’s no wonder, then, that becoming an FBI agent is the dream of many people who want to work in criminal justice. FBI agents are highly trained to investigate a variety of crimes, from computer hacking to art forgery, from murder to terrorism. If a crime crosses state lines, it falls within the jurisdiction of the FBI. FBI agents investigate crimes, work with local law enforcement, write reports, prepare search warrants, provide courtroom testimony, and interview victims, witnesses, and suspects.
FBI applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice related field, as well as at least three years of professional work experience. They must also be willing to accept an assignment anywhere within the FBI’s jurisdiction. Applicants must meet a set of strict physical requirements in order to be appointed, as well. After being hired, special agent trainees must attend a 20-week training program at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. New FBI agents with no previous government experience can expect to earn a starting salary of $51,921. Some new FBI agents may earn higher salaries depending on where they are stationed.
- Corrections Officer
Correctional officers work in jails and prisons, overseeing individuals who have been arrested and convicted of breaking the law. They typically enforce rules and keep order in prisons. They supervise the daily activities of inmates and report on inmate conduct. They may also be asked to inspect mail as well as visitors for prohibited items. Corrections officers are expected to have at least a high school diploma. For employment in federal prisons, however, the Federal Bureau of Prisons requires correctional officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition to a college degree, correctional officers are expected to complete training at an academy, though the length of this training is determined by state regulations. The average pay for correctional officers is $47,440 per year, though they earn higher salaries in federal settings. Earning a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and gaining employment at a federal prison can position you to earn over $60,000 annually.
- U.S. Marshal
The primary role of U.S. marshals is to protect and facilitate the operations of the federal judicial system. In order to complete their duties, U.S. marshals are given the broadest jurisdiction of any federal agents. U.S. marshals apprehend fugitives, transport prisoners, protect members of the federal judiciary, manage assets seized by federal law enforcement agencies during criminal investigations, protect federal witnesses, and serve court documents. In order to enter the U.S. Marshals Service, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and meet certain medical, physical, and psychological qualifications. Applicants must also successfully complete a 21.5 week training program at the United States Marshals Service Training Academy. The median annual salary for a U.S. marshal is $43,609.
- DEA Agent
DEA agents work for the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration. They gather and prepare evidence to help in the prosecution of violators of U.S. drug laws. They work closely with local law enforcement and other federal agencies to target violent drug offenders, traffickers, and even terrorist organizations. They also work with foreign officials to share information and track international criminals. DEA agents are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and must meet minimum physical and medical requirements. These include visual and auditory acuity, manual dexterity, and mental stability. If these minimum requirements are met, applicants will be asked to fill out a written assessment, complete a panel interview, pass a drug test, and complete training. If hired, DEA agents can expect a starting salary of $49,746 per year.
Criminologists gather statistics, identify patterns of behavior, and conduct research in order to find ways to prevent criminal behavior. Unlike jobs in law enforcement, criminology is mostly research driven and takes place in an office or the field. Criminologists may interview criminals in order to gather information on human behavior and motives for committing crimes. They also work closely with law enforcement officers, politicians, and policy makers to combat crime and develop policies to reduce crime and recidivism. Typically, criminologists work for local, state, or federal governments, however they may also work with advisory boards or legislative committees. On average, criminologists have at minimum a bachelor’s degree, though the majority of employment opportunities in this field require an advanced degree in areas such as criminology, sociology, or psychology. A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Human Security would prepare you for the kind of advanced studies required of a prospective criminologist. The median average salary for a criminologist is $66,000 per year.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What can you do with a bachelor’s in criminal justice,” it’s clear that the answer lies in a number of career possibilities. From law enforcement to secret service, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice have the skills necessary to combat and prevent crime, all while making a difference in their community.
If you’re interested in University of Bridgeport’s criminal justice degree programs, ask for more information here!