Inside Look: Majoring in Criminal Justice

A popular major for incoming college students in recent years has become criminal justice and legal studies. The field is so multi-faceted and accessible to students with such ranging skill sets that very many freshman find their calling in the industry of jurisprudence, whether they apply it on the streets as a defender of the law or in a courtroom as an interpreter and enforcer of it. Criminal justice students are trained for entry into a number of professions and graduate school and special certification programs offer additional education, skills, and training.

Options for Criminal Justice Majors

Majoring in criminal justice comes with a commitment to spending your professional life contributing to the greater good of society. There are a range of ways in which they do this, but the common factor is that they learn the law, its implications and nuances, and how their skills and strengths can work within the system to defend and uphold it. Criminal justice and legal studies are common majors for students who go on to law school. From there, options are even more: lawyers, judges, politicians, and legislators. For those who wish to support the legal field but without the commitment of law school, paralegal studies is a popular option. Paralegals are integral parts of law firms, assisting lawyers in the day-to-day functions and on important cases. Outside of the law office, many criminal justice majors go into law enforcement. Police officers, corrections officers, homeland security officials, and the like have roots in criminal justice studies; they require practical training afterwards but study of the law is crucial to their jobs. With the benefit of graduate school and even more focused education, criminal justice majors can go on to work in forensics labs, as detectives, and in other specialized criminal justice professions.

Criminal Justice Programs in College

College level criminal justice programs are designed to acquaint students with the intricacies of the law. Understanding and knowing the law is of paramount importance for these students. After selecting a focus or concentration, or a minor (such as psychology or science), students can expect to become intimately familiar with the laws surrounding their field. Students will also take classes in ethics, and in some programs, the composition of laws. With the familiarity of law in place, students will come to understand how to apply and interpret the law in their professional careers. Criminal justice programs also prepare students for advanced degrees, which they can obtain up to the graduate level, that offer even more professional opportunities for those passionate about defending the law.

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