A degree in Criminal Justice is applicable to a broad range of careers, from victim advocacy to law enforcement. There are, however, several features to consider when deciding on the right program.
First, it is important to take into account the reputation of a given school’s faculty. Good criminal justice programs will comprise instructors with experience outside academia, and who represent a wide range of expertise. Programs with a well-rounded faculty that represents, for example, humanities, legal studies, and social sciences are more likely to prepare students for a variety of careers, whether in the courtroom or the Department of Homeland Security.
Another consequential aspect to consider is the program’s facilities and resources. Technologically equipped programs, for instance, are more apt to offer state-of-the-art forensics facilities and can accommodate mock crime scenes. Such programs are not necessarily more expensive either; in fact, many larger, less expensive programs have more resources at their disposal.
Finally, ensuring that the school is accredited is especially important, as anything less will not be recognized by future employers and schools. This requires research best done through the Department of Education (www.ed.gov), which publishes a list of established accrediting agencies.
About the Author:
Peter Liota holds a degree in Business Management and Criminal Justice from St. Johns University. An Executive Protective Services officer with security experts SJC Group, Inc., he has spent nearly 25 years in law enforcement and personal protection.