Entering the field of education is an option for many professionals in a specific discipline who have years of practical work experience and post-graduate degrees. As an instructor at a community college or university, educators have the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge with future professionals in law enforcement, government agencies, legal firms, and various other organizations.
The Criminal Justice and Criminology Fields
Students and professionals in the field of criminal justice and criminology are concerned with the causes and ways to control behavior of individuals and society in relation to crime and criminal intent. At all different degree levels in this discipline, students study crime prevention and criminal theory in order to form policies and make recommendations to law enforcement agencies, government offices, non-profit organizations, corrections facilities, and research or consulting firms.
Additional information on the fields of criminal justice and criminology can be reviewed at the American Society of Criminology.
Criminal Justice or Criminology Post-Graduate Education
In a master’s degree program for criminal justice or criminology, students gain additional knowledge in the theories and practices within the field beyond those explored in the bachelor’s degree level. Master’s degree programs also typically include a research project or master’s thesis, enabling exploration of a specific topic within the field of criminal justice or criminology, offering opportunities for specialization within the field. Courses a master’s degree student in a criminal justice or criminology program might take include research methods, criminal justice statistics, law and society, criminal justice administration, and criminal investigation.
Graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. in criminology or criminal justice continue to expand on the material from a master’s degree program. A dissertation will also be required, and doctoral candidates have opportunities to work as research or teaching assistants during the program. Additionally, the majority of Ph.D. programs include courses in teaching at the post-secondary level, which are helpful when pursuing a career in education after graduation.
Requirements to Teach at a College or University
At the community college level, the minimum requirement for instructors is a bachelor’s degree. However, it is much more likely that candidates for these positions will be required to hold a master’s degree or higher. A master’s degree is also the minimum requirement for most university positions for candidates pursuing part-time or adjunct faculty positions.
For the majority of full-time, tenure-track professor, assistant professor, and associate professor positions at four-year universities, applicants will be required to have a minimum of a Ph.D. in the criminology or criminal justice. Additionally, a Ph.D. is the standard requirement to teach any master’s degree level courses. For additional information on the different types of teaching positions at colleges and universities, visit the American Association of University Professors.
A master’s degree or Ph.D. in criminal justice or criminology prepares graduates for many different positions within this field. Teaching at a post-secondary institution is one of these possibilities, and this can be a rewarding and fulfilling career that offers the opportunity to share knowledge and experience with future criminal justice professionals.