Finding a job in child protection services with a criminal justice degree program completion is possible throughout different state agencies and private organizations. As a part of the human services academic discipline, criminal justice programs are designed not just to focus on the apprehension and prosecution of criminals, but they are also designed to develop and strengthen families while protecting all members of a community.
Major Degree Coursework in Criminal Justice
Several of the courses in a criminal justice undergraduate degree program are beneficial for a future career in child protection services. In this career field, workers must be able to employ investigative techniques to ethically explore suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. A criminal justice student will complete courses such as psychology, introduction to social work, statistics, and research methods in non-major coursework, and these courses are beneficial in building such skills.
Major coursework in a criminal justice degree program builds upon general and elective coursework to give future social workers and child protection services workers the ability to handle investigations. It also help workers to navigate the legal issues involved with the evaluation of possible situations of abuse and neglect. For example, courses in this program typically include multiculturalism in criminal justice, contemporary theories of crime, criminal law and procedures, victimization, and interviewing techniques. Students also have options to include additional social work courses in elective study.
A Social Work Minor or Concentration
In addition to taking courses from the social work discipline to fulfill elective requirements, many programs offer students the option to complete a minor or concentration in social work. The social work option can be helpful to prepare future child protection workers with the ability to work with clients and children. Some of the courses that might be completed include human behavior, child development, social work research, social work practice with families, the American social welfare system, and social work in communities.
Observing to Prepare for Child Protection Services
In most criminal justice degree programs, students will complete several courses that incorporate the observation of various career positions. For students who are interested in potentially pursuing a career in child protection services, choosing to complete these courses in the social work field might help to meet some of the experience and knowledge requirements of a position opening.
Related Resources: Criminal Justice Majors and Concentrations
Graduate Degrees and Professional Development
Future child protection services specialists might also choose to pursue this career after or while completing a master’s degree program in criminal justice. As with the undergraduate degree, the coursework in a graduate program also prepares graduates with the skill set and knowledge that can be used not just in traditional criminal justice roles, but also in more traditional social work positions.
Professional development and training outside of a degree program can also prepare a criminal justice graduate with specialized knowledge to pursue a career in child protection services. Additional information on professional development, training, and workshops in social work can be found at the National Association of Social Workers.
Criminal justice academic programs offer diverse course categories. When looking for a job in child protection services with criminal justice degree qualifications, candidates can emphasize the desire to help everyone, particularly children, by utilizing the human services skills and knowledge gained in classwork, experience, and observation.