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Are there any age requirements for careers in criminal justice?

The criminal justice field is one of the fastest growing areas in today’s economy, and there are a variety of career opportunities for individuals who complete criminal justice degrees. Since the United States Government is concentrating on increasing security, preventing crime, upholding social control, and creating harsher punishments, criminal justice professionals will be in high demand. To become a criminal justice professional, most employers have requirements and limitations.

Age Restrictions
Many individuals who are interested in entering this field often ask if there are age requirements for these types of careers. While majority of employers are interested in knowledge and skill, there are some incidences when age does matter. Most local and state law enforcement agencies require prospective employees to be a minimum of 18 to 21 years old. Majority of individuals who work in the juvenile justice system must be at least 18 years of age. The same goes for probation officers and fish and game wardens. Those working as police officers, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs, parole officers, border patrol agents, and alcohol beverage investigators are typically required to be at least 21 years old. To work as a FBI agent, individuals must be at least 23 years of age. On the other hand, the federal government has the ability to establish a maximum age for law enforcement applicants, which is usually around 35 to 37 years old. For example, FBI agents cannot be older than 37 years of age and U.S. postal inspectors not older than 36 1/2 years old when applying for positions.

Many criminal justice careers enforce specific requirements and limitations to ensure the safety of employees, the public, and individuals in contact with the criminal justice system.

Height and Weight Requirements
Many criminal justice employers implement height and weight restrictions. For example, some law enforcement agencies require prospective police officer to be at least 5’8’’ to complete essential job duties. Many organizations also utilize proportionate height and weight requirements as party of their physical fitness requirements.

Physical Requirements
Prospective criminal justice professionals should have the ability to perform strenuous physical activity, including running at a fast pace for up to five minutes, lifting heavy objects for significant amounts of time, and completing similar rigorous activity without significant risk of injury. All applicants must have sufficient hearing and vision to ensure the safety and effectiveness on their jobs. Applicants must pass hearing and visual acuity and color perception tests. A noticeable deficiency of physical coordination, obesity, or other physical impairments would be considered obstacles to ordinary job duties. These individuals are often considered liabilities and would be disqualified from employment.

Overall Appearance
Criminal justice professionals are often seen in the public eye and they must have a good general appearance. They should be free from any visual deformity or skin condition that may cause scrutiny.

Gender Limitations
Majority of employers do not employ gender limitations, with the exception of organizations that only assign female workers to supervise female offenders in correctional facilities.

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