Careers in Criminal Justice

A career in Criminal Justice typically encompass Law Enforcement, Corrections, and the Courts. Below are many different career choices within the field, as well as the best degree program to follow for the career you choose.

Crime Scene Investigator/Forensic Science

Forensic Scientists can be hired on the local, state, or federal level. Large police agencies, state agencies, and federal agencies generally employ civilian personnel who have formalized education in chemistry, biology, and physics. If  you have a particular agency in mind you should request information directly from that agency regarding their employment requirements. Otherwise, it is recommended that students follow an Associate in Science degree program with an emphasis on Chemistry or Biology for transfer to the four-year school of your choice.

Many forensic science professionals originally began their career as a police officer and then received specialized training from their department. Most medium and small agencies still follow this practice. Student’s who prefer to
follow this career path should follow the Law Enforcement program.

Federal Law Enforcement

Some Federal Law Enforcement opportunities that exist include:

  • Border Patrol
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • U.S. Customs
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security
  • Immigration & Naturalization
  • U.S. Marhsals
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Post Office
  • Secret Service
  • Transportation Security

Federal jobs typically require a four-year college degree and give hiring preference to those with law enforcement employment experiences

Students looking for a career with a federal law enforcement agency should follow one of two career paths:

  1. If you are planning to transfer to a four-year college and obtaining your bachelor’s degree before gaining work experience, follow the Associate of Criminal Justice degree program
  2. If you would like to gain experience while working on your four-year degree, follow the Law Enforcement degree program.

Juvenile Probation Officer

This career normally requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Students should follow the Associate of Criminal Justice curriculum. This program will transfer well to most Michigan four-year colleges and universities. If you have already selected a 4-year college, you should follow the transfer guide for that program.

Parole Officer

This career normally requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Students should follow the Associate of Criminal Justice curriculum. This program will transfer well to most Michigan four-year colleges and universities. If you have already selected a 4-year college, you should follow the transfer guide for that program.

Private Investigator

To be a licensed private investigator in the state of Michigan must have one of the three following options:

  1. Three years experience as a police officer (follow the Law Enforcmenet degree program)
  2. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in the field of police administration (Follow the Criminal Justice degree program)
  3. Be employed three years by a private detective business as an investigative employee.

Security

Qualifications vary greatly for this profession. Those wishing to give themselves the best opportunity for employment and advancement should follow the Associate in Criminal Justice curriculum.