Are you hooked on crime dramas and true-crime podcasts? Do you dream of working in the field of criminal justice? Are you interested in making a positive impact and helping people in need? People who work in criminal justice are trained professionals with the education and experience to perform their jobs well.
Some of the most common career paths available to those with a degree in criminal justice are police officer, private investigator, security manager, criminologist, counselor and forensic science technician. Some even use a bachelor’s in criminal justice as a springboard for law school.
Important Traits to Have
Regardless of your career path, there are personality traits and skills that contribute to one’s success in criminal justice.
- Empathy: One of the most important traits for criminal justice professionals is empathy. There are many benefits to having empathy: It allows you to imagine situations from someone else’s perspective, understand how they’re feeling and connect to others in deep and meaningful ways. Empathy also helps us handle stress by regulating emotions. Studies have shown that empathy and communication can help interactions between the police and the public.
- Communication: Clear communication creates trust. Working in criminal justice means that you’ll have many verbal interactions with co-workers, the public and clients. Being a good listener and having strong communication skills are key to successful outcomes. Written communication is important since police officers create reports, criminologists author papers and forensic science technicians produce narratives of their findings.
- Conflict Resolution: A career in criminal justice could be right for you if you don’t shy away from difficult situations. Conflicts can arise between a police officer and a suspect, an attorney and client or even between groups working together within the field of criminal justice. Being able to resolve conflict, defuse tense situations and collaborate well with others is vital for a criminal justice professional.
- Courage: Acting against risks and responding to them appropriately takes courage. It’s a crucial skill for a criminal justice professional. Police officers, detectives, corrections officers and security officials have the responsibility of putting themselves in harm’s way by confronting conflict to protect the public. Courage can help overcome fear, master emotions and build confidence.
- Curiosity: If you have a curious mind, you may be cut out to be a detective or a criminal investigator. Criminal justice professionals use instinct and curiosity to solve crimes and learn about the latest law enforcement techniques.
- Leadership: When working in criminal justice, being in a position of leadership will require you to be in charge of others. Leadership skills such as flexibility, patience and the ability to adapt to changing situations are some of the signs of a good leader. Knowing how to build respect and motivate others is also crucial.
Education and training are important for pursuing a career in criminal justice. The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at Lamar University is designed to help graduates find careers in law enforcement administration, national security, forensics, law and more.
This online degree program offers hands-on experience and internship opportunities. It also assists law enforcement professionals to finish their degree quickly with accelerated courses and opportunities to transfer work experience for academic credit.
The program provides individualized academic support to ensure successful degree completion and to fully prepare you for the criminal justice career you choose. It also offers peace officers the opportunity to transfer up to nine credits gained during their officer training toward earning their degree.