Crime, unfortunately, is virtually everywhere and people, as far back as we can search, have been adamant about controlling it. A career path in criminal justice may tickle your fancy if you are one of those people who are determined to contribute to the safety of your environment.

What is Criminal Justice?

The criminal justice system is the one in which crimes and criminals are detected, detained, tried and punished. It has a number of components and is very wide in its reach. The main components can be broken down as below:

Careers in Criminal Justice

Law Enforcement – This function is probably the most visible in the sector, and careers include:

  • Police Officer – partner with the public to maintain law and order, protect members of the public and their property, prevent and reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  • Forensic Scientist – use scientific techniques to collect, preserve and analyze evidence to develop investigative leads in connection with crimes. Forsensic scientists often work closely with police officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
  • Secret Service Agent (or Secret Intelligence Agent for the UK) – protect the head of state, and other VIPs, and it investigates financial and securities-related violations of the law.
  • Border Control Agent – protects the country from terrorists, terrorist weapons and illegal immigration.

Courts System – This function is one whereby suspected persons are tried at court to determine their guilt or innocence in order to appropriately reprimand them. It includes careers such as:

  • Prosecution / Defense Attorney – Attorneys are officers of the court who act for their clients’ best interest (whether the state or the suspect) while upholding the rule of law and protecting the wider community.
  • Judge (including Magistrate) – preside over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. Their first role is to make sure all the parties and witnesses follow proper courtroom procedure. Ultimately, they decide any issues of law in court cases and direct juries to make decisions in criminal proceedings.
  • Court Clerk – Court Clerks work in courtrooms and support in assisting judges with court cases. Duties include calling the court calendar, preparing written correspondence, maintaining custody of physical evidence, swearing in witnesses and preparing and examining court documents to ensure accuracy.
  • Court Interpreter – Court Interpreters assist court users with limited English proficiency by interpreting court proceedings between English and the court user’s native language. Interpreters may also translate various documents and perform clerical tasks related to language services.

The Correction System is the final leg of the criminal cycle and involves the rehabilitation and punishment of offenders to achieve a number of objectives in society. Careers include:

  • Prison Officer – responsible for the supervision, safety, and security of prisoners in a prison.
  • Probation Officer – supervise people sentenced to probation by the courts. Their ultimate goal is to assist with the rehabilitation of offenders. Officers work closely with law enforcement, social services, and other agencies so they can help their clients receive what they need to be successful (e.g., education and training, counseling, job placement, and housing).
  • Youth Correctional Counselor – provide counseling services to juvenile offenders and their families and may act as a liaison between their clients and the courts, schools, and prisons.

Other careers in Criminal Justice include:

  • Private Investigator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Bailiff

*At a later date we will break down Law as it pertains to the Court Systems in depth. Watch this space.

Job Requirements

Because this sector is so varied, the job requirements for each field is different. Some of these careers can be entered into with a degree in criminology as training would be given after your apply. This is the case with a career as a police officer. However, for the more specialist fields, you would be required to study the subject area of the field itself (for example degrees in law or forensic science). For court interpreters, you would need a degree in another language and training before you can start.

How to Stand Out

As with other careers, you can stand out in this field by getting more qualifications and certifications. Some useful ones can be in psychology as this complements the field nicely, or certificates in behavioral studies. Another thing that would significantly benefit you in this field is voluntary work. This field is heavy on experience and it can hugely impress an employer if you can show that you not only have experience but that you were committed enough to do it even when money was not on the table.

Learn how to pursue careers in the Criminal Justice sector within these regions

Posted by:Davanya Deveaux

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