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What is Criminal Justice?

When it comes to criminal justice colleges and degree programs, there are many different options to choose from. There are associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and even master's degrees in criminal justice. In order to find the best criminal justice program for you, it’s important to do your research. You can check out different schools and their programs and ask yourself what you want to get out of your education. Are you looking to become a police officer or a detective? Or would you like to work in the court system or corrections?

Once you have an idea of what you want to study, you can start narrowing down your choices. Consider the cost of tuition, the location of the school, and the availability of scholarships and financial aid. And don't forget to ask around for advice.

If you're interested in a career in criminal justice, New York is a great place to look for colleges and degree programs. There are many schools in the state that offer criminal justice degrees, and many of them have excellent reputations and are subsidized by the state to offer lower tuition costs. In addition, New York has a number of law enforcement agencies that are always looking for talented new recruits.

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Criminal Justice Education in New York

A career in criminal justice requires strong verbal and public speaking skills, as these professionals are often required to present evidence and communicate with large groups of reporters, citizens, or even present the evidence in a courtroom. In addition to verbal skills, criminal justice professionals need to listen well. Their jobs require them to work in courts, corrections, and law enforcement departments, which all require good listening skills. And, because these professionals frequently work in complex situations, they must have excellent problem-solving skills.

A criminal justice career involves keeping watch over people in need and restoring order. It requires strong communication skills, as well as a willingness to act and make effective decisions in fast-paced environments. Criminal justice professionals must have the ability to act quickly and rationally, while also exercising a strong sense of ethics. In addition, criminal justice careers require highly developed leadership skills, and you may need to be fit and in good physical shape.

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Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice (AS)

An associate degree in criminal justice can be a great way to start your career in law enforcement or to continue your education and boost your resume if you are already working in the field. An associate degree is an undergraduate degree that typically takes two years to complete and requires that students complete around 60 credit hours during those two years. There are many different schools that offer online associate degrees in criminal justice, so it’s important to do your research and find the program that’s right for you.

An associate degree program in criminal justice will teach you about the criminal justice system and how it works, whether you attend online or in-person. You will also learn about the different aspects of law enforcement such as policing, corrections, and court systems and the principles of criminology, victimology, and forensic science.

Online Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice (BS)

The cost and full curriculum of a bachelor's degree in criminal justice will vary depending on which school you choose and what state you live in, though New York offers excellent, low-tuition options at many state schools. You can also get in-state tuition rates at many online schools, and some do not require standardized test scores. Also, keep in mind the additional expenses of books, learning supplies, and campus amenities, some of which you can avoid by attending online. While most online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice will require synchronous coursework, some combine asynchronous and synchronous coursework to allow you to feel more involved in your courses while still providing flexibility. And, of course, there’s always the option to attend fully on campus.

Criminal justice degrees offer a wide range of training and access to many careers. They may focus on the various levels of the state and federal court system, as well as common judicial policies and procedures. Students can also learn about the responsibilities of various allied organizations. And these programs prepare you to enter law enforcement or other careers that require a degree in criminal justice.

Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice (MS or MA)

In the present era, acquiring a higher education has become very important. Numerous colleges and universities offer a variety of degree programs that cater to the needs of students. Among these programs, an online master's degree in criminal justice is gaining popularity. This degree can be very beneficial for those who are interested in pursuing advancement in a career in law enforcement or criminal justice.

A master's degree in criminal justice is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system, whether obtained online or in the classroom. The program offers courses that cover topics such as crime victims, juvenile delinquency, terrorism, and corrections. In addition, students have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of criminal justice such as forensic science, homeland security, or juvenile justice.

Online PhD Degree in Criminal Justice (PhD)

A PhD in Criminal Justice is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the most advanced degree you can get. This can lead to the highest level careers in corrections, law enforcement, private security, juvenile justice, politics, and can help you move from an active career in law enforcement into academia. A PhD program is especially advantageous if you have a particular area of interest, such as behavioral science or organized crime. These programs can also offer opportunities for consulting jobs within the private sector, which are often in need of qualified consultants. But before enrolling in an online PhD in criminal justice program, it's important to consider your career goals and the career path you'd like to take.

These programs start with a foundational course of study. Core courses may include criminology, research methods, and criminal justice theory. You can then choose electives from various areas of criminal justice, such as international crime and justice. Afterward, you'll be able to pursue your research through a dissertation or other written work.

Online Criminal Justice Certifications

Choosing to further your education and career with a criminal justice certification is a big decision that can lead you down a new path in the criminal justice field or add specificity to your current career. There are many different types of criminal justice certificates available, each with its own area of focus. Certifications can range from basic knowledge about the criminal justice system to more specific skills required for certain careers within the system.

No matter what your reason for wanting to get a certification, it’s important to do your research and find the right program for you. Look for a program that is accredited and has a good reputation. Once you have found the program that will work, be sure to read the curriculum carefully so that you know what you will be studying.

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Become a Criminal Justice Professional in New York

In order to become a criminal justice professional in New York State, there are a few basic steps that must be followed. For the sake of brevity, we’ll look at the requirements to work in policing, though you should be aware that there are other requirements for those who wish to work in law, corrections, as parole or probation officers, or make their way into a federal law enforcement position. If you are hoping to find your way into the field outside of policing, then you should check with the agency you are interested in or review the specifics for those who wish to work in law in New York, Such as paralegals or lawyers.

  • Step 1: Complete an accredited higher education program in criminal justice or a related field

    In order to work in the criminal justice system, you need to have the proper training and education. That's why it's important to earn an accredited degree in criminal justice or a related field. Such programs can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a career in law enforcement, corrections, or security. They can also help you prepare for a career in forensic science or criminology. So, if you're interested in a career in criminal justice, be sure to check out the accredited programs offered by colleges and universities near you. In New York, it is required that those who wish to work in policing have first completed 60 college credits, which would mean that you need at least an associate degree. You’ll also have to be at least 21 years old to gain entry to these positions, so it’s not like you’re wasting time you could be spending working. This educational requirement is waived for those who have spent at least two years in the military.

  • Step 2: Be sure you can pass the fitness test requirements:

    Police recruits must be able to pass the Jobs Standard Test before they can begin working in the field. This is a continuous physical test that is meant to ensure that you can handle the physical part of the job. In this test, you will sprint 50 feet and surmount a barrier, climb stairs, show that you can physically restrain someone, run in pursuit of a suspect, drag a simulacrum of a victim, and pull a firearm trigger multiple times. Believe it or not, all of these things can be difficult if you are not relatively in shape, and you should make sure that you do at least some physical training before you take this physical.

  • Step 3: Complete the entrance exam and gain experience working in the criminal justice system

    Despite the fact that you cannot work in the field as a police officer until you are 21, you can take the Police Officer Entrance Exam when you are 17 ½ years old. Once you enter the field, the most important thing to do is learn, learn, learn. Taking a test and gaining a degree will not prepare you for work as a police officer; there is much training that takes place after you start as a rookie. If you want to try to gain some experience before you begin working in the criminal justice system, you could try to volunteer with your local emergency management coordination department, learn first aid or CPR, or gain other pertinent certifications.

  • Step 4: Complete on-the-job training or internship specific to the career you want to pursue

    Many people do not realize the importance of on-the-job training when it comes to some fields of criminal justice. While this might be obvious when it comes to policing, there are many different areas of criminal justice that someone can specialize in, and most require some form of hands-on training. For example, if you want to be a prosecutor, you will need to intern with a district attorney’s office or work as a paralegal in a law firm. No matter what field you are interested in, you should ensure that you go out of your way to earn as much pertinent experience as possible, even if that’s just a ride-along with a police officer while you are still in school.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice?

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can lead to many different career paths. Some common careers for people with a criminal justice degree include police officer, detective, FBI agent, probation officer, and corrections officer. A criminal justice degree can also prepare you for graduate studies in law or criminology. While an associate can get your foot in the door, you’ll find that, in many cases, you can’t move into a leadership position without a bachelor’s in the field. This is important to keep in mind as you consider what to do with your education.

Potential Careers for Criminal Justice Graduates

  • Psychometrists:

    A psychometrist will administer and score psychological tests and interpret the results for use in diagnosis and treatment. They may do this for prisoners or defendants before they attend court at the request of their attorney or a judge.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in psychology or related field
    • Certification in psychological testing

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians in the US in 2021 was $36,570
    • The mean annual wage for psychiatric technicians in New York is $43,110
  • Emergency Management Coordinator:

    An emergency management coordinator is responsible for planning the emergency management activities of the organization. They develop and implement emergency management plans and procedures and coordinate with other departments to ensure the organization is prepared for all types of emergencies. They will also be responsible for training staff on emergency procedures, and for communicating with external agencies during an emergency.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in emergency management, public administration, or a related field
    • Experience in emergency management or a related field
    • Excellent communication and coordination skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for emergency management directors in the US in 2021 was $76,730
    • The mean annual wage for emergency management directors in New York is $96,690
  • Forensic Accountant:

    A forensic accountant will be responsible for investigating financial crimes and providing expert testimony in court. They analyze financial records to look for evidence of criminal activity and irregularities and will also prepare reports and present their findings to prosecutors and defense attorneys.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field
    • CPA or CFA designation is an asset
    • Experience working in forensic accounting or investigations is an asset

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for accountants and auditors in the US in 2021 was $77,250
    • The mean annual wage for accountants and auditors in New York is $105,790

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  • Forensic Psychologist:

    A forensic psychologist is a professional who applies psychological principles and methods to the field of criminal justice. They work with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and defense attorneys to provide psychological evaluations, testimony, and research.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Forensic Psychology
    • Licensed as a psychologist in the state where they practice
    • Completion of a forensic psychology internship

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychologists in the US in 2021 was $81,040
    • The median annual wage for clinical counseling psychologists in New York is $120,350, and psychologists (all other) earn $104,140
  • Paralegal:

    A paralegal will work closely with lawyers and other legal professionals to provide support in the research, drafting, and preparation of legal documents. Successful candidates must have excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree is preferred; relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of education
    • Strong research, writing, and analytical skills
    • Familiarity with legal concepts and terminology
    • Excellent time management and organizational skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants in the US in 2021 was $56,230
    • The mean annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants in New York is $63,270
  • Social Worker:

    Social workers are responsible for helping individuals, families, and groups with personal and social problems. They work with clients to help them overcome challenges and improve their well-being and may provide counseling, support, and guidance to clients. They may also advocate for clients and connect them with resources and services.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field
    • A state-issued license (in some states)
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for social workers in the US in 2021 was $50,390
    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in New York is $68,660 and social workers (all other) earn $73,710
  • Conservation Officer:

    A conservation officer is responsible for the protection of natural resources and the enforcement of environmental laws. They may work for a government agency or a private organization.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Knowledge of environmental science or natural resource management
    • Experience working in the field of conservation or law enforcement
    • Valid driver’s license

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for forest and conservation workers in the US in 2021 was $30,550, while forest and conservation technicians earned $39,290
    • The mean annual wage for forest and conservation workers in New York is $42,790, while forest and conservation technicians earn $54,590
  • K9 Officer:

    A K9 officer is responsible for handling and training police dogs. They work with other officers to provide support during police operations and help maintain public safety.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Previous experience handling and training dogs
    • Ability to work long hours and in shifts

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for police and detectives in the US in 2021 was $66,020
    • The mean annual wage for first-line supervisors of police and sheriff’s patrol officers in New York is $80,590
Careers for Criminal Justice and Legal Professionals

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