Will I Get a Government Job With a Criminal Justice Degree?

A degree in criminal justice provides a job seeker with a vast reservoir of specialized knowledge and useful job skills relevant to many positions within the field of criminal justice. As one might expect, a significant number of these positions can be found within the vast criminal justice system administered by various local, state, and federal government institutions across the country. Potential criminal justice opportunities offered by the government can include careers in law enforcement, corrections, social work, public safety, and courtroom administration, among many others.

Government Jobs In Police And Law Enforcement

Perhaps the most obvious career path in the criminal justice system would be in law enforcement as a police officer or criminal investigator for a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency. While some local and state jurisdictions do not necessarily require police and law enforcement officer candidates to hold a degree as a precondition for employment, those who do are generally considered more qualified, and routinely receive hiring preference over non-degree holders. Additionally, degrees relevant to law enforcement, criminal procedure, and public safety, such as a degree in criminal justice, are frequently preferred by most police departments and law enforcement agencies over other types of degrees due to their practical relevance to the job.

Government Jobs In Corrections

Furthermore, a degree in criminal justice would also prove extremely valuable for a candidate pursuing a government career in corrections as a prison correctional officer, community parole/probation officer, or prison social worker. Similar to other law enforcement agencies, most correctional facilities are generally operated by various local, state, and federal government agencies throughout the country to incarcerate prisoners convicted of various criminal offenses. Some of the local and state jurisdictions may not explicitly require applicants to possess a degree in order to be eligible for employment as a correctional, parole, or probation officer, but strongly prefer it. According to the American Probation and Parole Association, the “vast majority of states require a minimum of a bachelors degree” to become a a parole or probation officer.” Preference for entry-level employment and career advancement community corrections and social work is usually given to those with relevant academic qualifications in fields such as criminal justice.

A Degree In Criminal Justice Is The Key To Career Advancement

As mentioned earlier, some local and state jurisdictions do not always explicitly require applicants seeking entry-level employment in the field of criminal justice to possess a degree in order to be considered. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “state and local agencies encourage applicants to continue their education after high school by taking courses or training related to law enforcement” to uphold high professional standards, as well as to determine eligibility for promotion, pay raises, and other special responsibilities. However, unlike less stringent local and state educational requirements, the federal government requires almost all of its law enforcement, correctional, and investigatory officers to possess a college degree from an accredited institution in a field related to criminal justice and law.

Thus, there is a strong likelihood that a degree in criminal justice will qualify you as a potential applicant for a position working in the criminal justice system at the local, state, and federal level. Once employed by the government, an education in criminal justice will accelerate the advancement of your career and increase your earning potential. More importantly though, a degree will not only set you apart from other less qualified candidates, but will also provide you the practical knowledge and skills to perform your job effectively.