For many people, going to college is an exciting part of their lives. On the downside though, choosing a subject to major in can be somewhat overwhelming. In fact, with so many different majors, some people find the choosing of one downright daunting. Thankfully, when it comes to criminal justice degrees, there are 10 great areas of study to major in. With a bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas of study, a person will be well on his or her way to a satisfying and rewarding career.
Understanding Criminal Justice
Before taking a look at 10 of the most useful bachelor’s-level criminal justice majors, it is first important to understand what criminal justice is all about.
Criminal justice degree programs aim to teach students about a wide variety of topics that are related to the criminal justice system. Criminal justice in and of itself is the study of laws and how they correlate with criminal behavior. There are a large assortment of people who work in the criminal justice field, including police officers, substance abuser counselors, lawyers and many more.
Students who are pursuing a criminal justice degree will find much comfort in knowing that such a degree can be earned at traditional college campuses as well as via the Internet. For students who are already working professionals, taking courses online can be of the utmost value; this also holds true to those students who have children.
No matter the way a student goes about getting a criminal justice degree, it is important that he or she first determine the major that will be of the most benefit. For example, if the student wants to become a probation officer, he or she will of course need to complete the appropriate criminal justice degree program that leads to a career in this profession.
Types of Bachelor-Level Criminal Justice Degree Majors
For those interested in assisting lawyers and judges with criminal and civil proceedings, it will be best to earn a degree in paralegal studies. With this type of degree, as surprising as it may be, a person can many times make as much money as an actual lawyer. To earn a degree to become a paralegal, a person will need to take part in four years of study, with the most of their coursework focusing on paralegal studies.
If interested in becoming an attorney, a person will need at least a bachelor’s-level degree in law. After earning such a degree, if a student prefers, it will be of great benefit to go ahead and earn a master’s degree. The exact topics that are studied while earning a law degree will be determined by the type of lawyer that a student wants to become. For example, if the person wants to become a criminal lawyer, he or she will of course study criminal law. For those interested in becoming an adoption lawyer, family law will be studied.
There is a high percentage rate of employment growth for those entering into the field of corrections. With a bachelor’s-level degree in corrections, a person can enter into many lines of work, including that of a correctional or probational officer. If a person prefers, he or she may even become a parole officer. It is important to keep in mind that a corrections degree will most of the time land a person working with people who have been charged and/or convicted of criminal offenses.
Psychology is often a sub-field of criminal justice that is overlooked. Those who major in this field of study can enter into the profession of a substance abuse counselor and much more. Criminal justice students who major in psychology need to remember that in addition to a degree, they will more than likely need appropriate licensure to carry out their duties; however, the exact type of licensure will be determined by the line of work a person wants to enter into.
5. Research Methods
Another useful bachelor-level criminal justice degree is one that majors in research methods. With this type of degree, a person can find employment through an assortment of entities, including both private and public institutions. To be successful with this degree, a person will need to be good at carrying out a wide range of research methods as well as have a passion for crunching numbers.
Majoring in rehabilitation is much like majoring in psychology. People who earn a criminal justice degree with a major in rehabilitation help to stop crime at its source by working with the people who commit criminal offenses. The overall goal of people who earn this type of degree is to determine why criminal offenders act the way they do; therefore, followed then by carrying out rehab methods to ensure the offenders stop their criminal behaviors.
7. Social Work
One of the more popular majors found in criminal justice is social work. It is important to remember that if a person wants to become a social worker, a social work degree program will need to be completed. After graduating from such a program, if a person wants to work on a clinical-level, he or she will have to pursue a master’s degree in social work. Social workers spend their time working with a wide range of people, including the elderly, criminal offenders, people adopting children, children in foster care and more.
Some people view criminology and criminal justice as the same thing; this is a false assumption to have. While criminology is a sub-field of criminal justice, the two in fact are not the same. People who major in criminology study the different social factors that affect why and how crimes take place. Those who desire to become a forensic psychologist will definitely benefit from majoring in criminology.
9. Information Technology
Another sub-field of criminal justice that is often overlooked is that of information technology. People who have experience in criminal justice as well as a bachelor’s-level degree in information technology will find a wide range employment opportunities.
10. Law Enforcement
A large number of people who earn a criminal justice degree choose to major in law enforcement. With this major, a person will be well on his or her way to becoming a police officer, a game warden and much more. It is important to note that in addition to this type of degree, a person will most likely have to complete academy training to land a job as a law enforcement officer.