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4 Career Paths in Criminal Justice

If you want to work in criminal justice and are not sure what kind of job you would like, you have a large list of options. You can be involved in the judicial process at any stage, from a person's arrest and conditional release with a cash bail bond to the end of their prison sentence and beyond. 

1. Law Enforcement

This is the most obvious path for someone with a criminal justice degree. You could serve your community by working as an officer for your local or state police department. Police officers have direct interactions with members of the community including those who have obtained Carver County bail bonds. If you would like to become a detective, you will usually have to start by spending a few years as a police officer first. 

If you gather some experience in local law enforcement, you may be able to move on to a job with a large government agency like the FBI, ATF or DEA. The FBI has a wide focus and investigates violations of federal law. The ATF's job is to solve cases having to do with guns, fire and explosives. DEA agents can break up large drug operations and save lives in the process. 

2. Forensics

If you would like to focus on science as well as criminal justice, a career in forensics may suit you. You may want to minor or double major in chemistry or biology if you would like to pursue this path. You have probably seen television programs with forensic scientists who analyze DNA or assist detectives at crime scenes. While jobs in forensics may not be as glamorous or easy as shown on TV, they are interesting and vital. You could specialize in analyzing specific types of evidence like DNA, blood spatter or ballistics. 

Not all forensic professionals have to handle biological materials. Some focus on evaluating evidence in computers, documents or financial records. 

3. Correctional System

Professionals who are employed in the correctional system watch over people convicted of crimes during and after their time in a correctional facility. There are usually many jobs available as corrections officers or counselors. You may only need an associate degree for those professions. Corrections officers are in charge making sure prisoners follow rules. They provide detailed documentation of prisoners' activities for their superiors. 

One advantage of working in corrections is the opportunity to help prisoners rebuild their lives. This can begin inside the prison as a correction counselor. They help inmates with mental health issues and can also provide training and education. You could also support people who were recently released from prison as a parole officer. You would keep in touch with former prisoners to prevent them from re-offending and aid them in finding homes and steady jobs. 


4. Legal System

If you would like to be a lawyer or judge, your criminal justice program will have to prepare you to pass the Uniform Bar Examination, commonly known as the bar exam. This would entail earning an undergraduate degree as well as attending law school. There are many other jobs in the legal system that require less education like paralegals, court clerks, bailiffs and court reporters. 


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