What you need to know about criminal justice degree

What is a criminal justice degree? Criminal justice degrees are academic degrees earned by students who want to pursue careers in the criminal justice system. The degree can be earned in a variety of disciplines, including law, criminology, and police science. Criminal justice professionals work in a variety of settings, including law enforcement, corrections, and prosecution. A criminal justice degree can give you the skills you need to excel in this field.

A criminal justice degree can open many doors, including a career in law enforcement, the judicial system, or private security. It can also lead to positions in corrections and rehabilitation programs. Criminal justice degrees offer a comprehensive understanding of criminal justice systems and the people within them. They also teach students how to apply principles of law to specific cases.

There are many different reasons someone might want to pursue a criminal justice degree. This type of degree can give someone the skills they need to work in law enforcement, as a prosecutor, or in another criminal justice field. A criminal justice degree can also help someone who wants to become a judge or prosecutor.

What jobs can i get with criminal justice degree

A criminal justice degree will lead you to a variety of job opportunities. These jobs can be found in areas such as law enforcement or area of law. The following areas are the main focus of criminal justice majors:

  • Law of Enforcement
  • Corrections officer
  • Pre-law and court professionals
  • Social work
  • Criminology
  • Forensic and criminal psychology
  • Police science

Law of Enforcement

A high school diploma is sufficient for many entry-level positions in law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies prefer applicants with an associate’s degree or more. A degree is required to move up to the administrative level. Many law enforcement agencies prefer applicants for administrative or management positions to have a deeper understanding of criminal justice. An undergraduate degree in criminal justice can equip law enforcement officers with the tools to lead and an understanding of the role that policework plays within society and the justice system.

Corrections Officer

Many entry-level corrections officers have a high school diploma, similar to law enforcement personnel. A college education is often required for correctional officers who want to progress in their careers or work in a federal penitentiary. For those who want to work in correctional institutions, there are schools that offer a sub-specialty in criminal justice.

Pre-law and court professionals

Many majors can help students who are planning to enter law school. Interestingly, not all law schools favor certain undergraduate majors. Pre-law majors aren’t available everywhere. They aren’t designed to give a comprehensive foundation for future law school study, but they don’t have to be the only option. U.S. News & World Report states that “there are other concentrations that can provide a solid foundation for legal education.” U.S. News & World Report states that there are “other concentrations that could provide a solid foundation in legal education.”

Depending on your goals, you may find other paths to pre-law more appropriate. A person who is interested in tax law might choose to study finance as an undergraduate, while someone who is interested in medical malpractice could opt for a more medically-friendly route to their law degree. There are many paths to choose from and each person can have a different outcome.

Social work

There are many types of social workers. Therefore, there are a few degree options for social work. If you plan to work in social services, criminal justice might be the right choice. Future social workers in criminal justice degree will have many opportunities, including working with victims (forensic sociology), working with prisoners and those inside the justice system, case management, home visits, life skill development, or coping strategies for people at high risk of committing crimes. These social workers and others often work closely with the courts systems, so it is a good idea to have a working knowledge in criminal justice.


Criminology is a sociological approach to criminal law. While criminology degrees can sometimes be classified under sociology they may also fall under criminal justice. The Balance Careers states that criminology is just as important, even though it doesn’t have the same excitement and glamour as other criminal justice jobs. It may be the best job for academics to help with the prevention and treatment crime.

The criminologist has a holistic approach to crime, much like an epidemiologist who sees a thousand diseases. They examine trends and demographics that could be linked to increased crime. They also look for ways to prevent it from happening by improving access to afterschool care for troubled teens and drug treatment programs for those who are more likely to become addicted to drugs. Collaboration with law enforcement and communities is an important part of criminology. Therefore, criminologists must be able take in and digest multiple perspectives (potentially contradicting).

Forensic and criminal psychology

Popular TV shows such as Mindhunter or Criminal Minds have made criminal psychology a popular branch of psychology. It is dedicated to the study of criminal minds. Criminal psychologists often start their careers with a degree in psychology or criminal psychology. However, criminal justice can be a way to get into this field.

Many criminal psychologists pursue advanced degrees. To be licensed in many states, you will need a doctorate. Many criminal psychologists work in government-run facilities like prisons or psychiatric hospital, which is similar to criminology. You can also work as a researcher in an academic setting if you are a criminal psychology major.

While closely related to criminal psychology, forensic psychology can also be used.

Police Science

Police science can be described as any science that is related to investigating crimes and prosecuting criminals. Police science can also include forensic psychology, criminal psychology, and criminology.

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