Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Unconventional Career Opportunities for Criminal Justice Degree Recipients

Most criminal justice degrees produce a plethora of new police officers, detectives, and other law enforcement specialists. However, criminal justice degrees also train students for many different types of careers, including the higher specialized careers in the FBI or CIA or even international public policy. Like similar degrees, criminal justice trains students for a wide range of career options in any field, allowing them to be flexible for any industry because of their background in course offerings.

Criminal justice degrees cater to individuals who are curious as to the background in law enforcement and what goes on within many different justice systems. Therefore, getting experience in an international sector is a different type of career choice for many students but is allowable based on their background in different types of public policy. International criminal justice careers range in options as well, as there is a lower crime rate, but a heightened instance of international terrorism, which is the field most criminal justice students are placed. Fighting the war against terrorism is an ongoing effort by many Western nations, stemming from the attacks on many nations following 9/11. Therefore, criminal justice specialists are some of the best people who are able to get inside the mind of an international terrorist and can predict their next move or trace their many connections with the country they are in.

Many criminal justice students also go on to further their education in law, becoming lawyers, clerks, or even judges for the state or federal system. Their background has already taught them much of the aspects of criminal law and has immersed them into a world which other students would not have understood without such courses. Careers in law are becoming a more and more popular option for students who have a background in criminal justice as they have already dealt with the criminal aspect of life and the justice involved with setting it right.

Additionally, careers in the FBI and CIA are always sought after jobs for students of any major, but criminal justice degrees typically teach students the relevant techniques for the job qualifications as well as valuable tools for the future. Criminal justice careers are constantly changing and the most recent graduates are living proof of that, as they have been placed in a wide variety of careers and have learned an entirely different course background when compared with students from only a decade ago.

The Life of a Lawyer

Lawyers live a life in which they are both advocates and advisors. Lawyers act as advocates by representing their clients during trials, presenting evidence in their favor, and making arguments that support their client’s view. They act as advisors by counseling their clients in regard to their legal rights and making suggestions about what actions they should take concerning complicated matters. What a lawyer does on a day to day basis usually depends on their specialization or field of practice. Common areas of specialization include international, financial, probate, environmental law, intellectual property, and insurance. For example, lawyers working in the field of intellectual property work to protect their client’s copyrights, such as product designs, musical recordings, and computer programs. Lawyers working for insurance agencies counsel them about insurance transactions and insurance policies, and represent them in court when claims are filed against the company.

Most of the time, lawyers can be seen working in courtrooms, offices, and law libraries. They spend a good deal of time meeting with clients either at their homes or businesses. They also conduct research in libraries, meet with authorities, and gather and interpret evidence for their cases. The majority of lawyers work in private practices, dealing with criminal or civil law. Lawyers working in criminal law argue the cases of their clients who have been charged with crimes. Lawyers working in civil law help their clients with legal issues regarding contracts, mortgages, titles, litigation, wills, trusts, and leases. It is not uncommon for these lawyers to work long and irregular hours while meeting with clients, conducting research, or preparing briefs.

Lawyers can also be employed by the government, either State or Federal, where they help to interpret laws and legislation, argue cases on behalf of the government, and establish enforcement procedures. At the State level they work as public defenders, attorneys general, and prosecutors, at the Federal level they work investigating cases for agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 27 percent of lawyers are self-employed, and work either in solo practice or as a partner in a law firm. Of the lawyers who work full time, about 33 percent work 50 or more hours each week. The growth of this occupation is average and between the year of 2008 and 2018 is expected to grow by 13 percent. Contributing to this growth is increases in population and business activities, which create more civil disputes, criminal cases, and legal transactions.

Working for the DEA

Responding to the fact that drugs were beginning to become a serious problem with in the country, President Nixon created the DEA, or the Drug Enforcement Administration, in 1973. The agency is charged with the prevention of the smuggling of drugs into the United States as well as drug use within it.

The DEA does a lot more than enforce drug laws and pursue justice for criminals involved in drugs. When it comes to major violations of the law involving drugs, it is up to the DEA to investigate cases and prepare for the prosecution of criminals. The DEA is also responsible for the investigation of drug gangs that endanger communities through violence and use fear and intimidation to harass citizens. In cooperation with Federal, State and local and foreign officials, the agency manages national drug intelligence programs and collects, analyses, and distributes drug intelligence information. The DEA also works with these officials on collective drug enforcement efforts by exploiting potential investigations that are beyond other agencies’ jurisdictions or resources. Since drug trafficking is a problem in the United States, the DEA tries to prevent attempts to bring drugs into the country by monitoring traceable drug activity and seizing illegal substances.

DEA agents enforce controlled substance laws and help to bring justice to those who are involved in the growing, manufacturing, and distribution of illegal substances. Their work consists of a lot more than just catching criminals selling drugs, but the dismantling of drug trafficking rings, prosecution of drug traffickers, and sabotaging the financial support of organizations involved in the drug business. To be a DEA Agent you have to be a U.S. Citizen, between the ages of 21 and 36, and in good physical condition. This position requires a college education, preferably in the areas of criminal justice, police science, or similar studies. Those with degrees in accounting, finance, foreign languages, or economics, also receive special consideration for DEA positions.

It is not easy to become a DEA agent and the hiring process may take up to 12 months or longer. The process includes many phases including; qualifications review, written and oral assessment, panel interview, urinalysis drug test, medical examination, physical task test, polygraph examination, psychological assessment, and background investigation. After all phases have been successfully completed the final hiring decision is made, and only applicants who have remained the most competitive throughout the entire process receive final offers for employment.

“What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses?” How to Answer the Tough Interview Questions

You got the interview, and you’ve prepared yourself by researching the company, reviewing the job description, memorizing the names of the CEO and board, and can even spell the hiring manager’s name correctly. You’ve brought with you multiple copies of your error-free resume and references list, and your interview outfit is awesome. You are on top of the world, until you hear that one, inevitable question: "What are your biggest weaknesses?"

Interviewers always seem to ask this question with a smile, head tilted and pen poised in air waiting for your response. And even though practically every interview you’ve ever been on since you were 16 has asked you that same question, you still don’t have a quality answer. You could make your job search a lot easier if you just took the time and thought of a well-rounded, honest answer and used it each time, so what’s stopping you?

The "greatest weakness" interview question is difficult to answer because no one likes voluntarily making themselves vulnerable in front of a stranger. Besides your nerves about getting the job, admitting your weak spots is embarrassing, and can be hard to accept yourself, too. But this interview question isn’t meant as a core-shaking journey to self-discovery. Think of it as a chance to express your goals and where you’d like to improve yourself. It’s not about what you do wrong, it’s about where you can do better. This positive spin makes it easier for you to apply the question professionally, instead of viewing it as an attack on your personality or self-esteem. Pinpoint a couple of goals that you have for yourself and that are relevant to the workplace, like "I’m learning how to speak up more in meetings" or "I’m working on focusing more on details and not just on major concepts, which comes easier for me."

These very specific, personalized answers show the interviewer that you’ve honestly thought about your weaknesses and have made an effort to improve yourself. You’ll come across as sincere, conscientious, and responsible. Be prepared to demonstrate the ways in which you’re trying to achieve these goals, like shadowing friends and professionals you respect, attending a conference, or taking a class. Before every interview, take a few minutes to re-evaluate your goals and what you really would like to accomplish in your career. The more honest you are with yourself, the more positively you’ll come across in the interview, and as an added bonus, the more likely you’ll be to actually work on and achieve these goals.

Why Should I Earn a College Degree?

This question is asked by recent high school graduates, working professionals, stay-at-home moms and even older adults all the time. Why should they pay so much money, spend so much time to earn a post-secondary degree? The reasons for all of these people are simple: quality of life, job security and opportunities and higher earning potential.

According to the South Dakota Department of Labor, jobs that require employees to possess some form of post-secondary education will have increased by 16% in just eight years. That number is astonishing if you consider that today 85% of all jobs are already considered to be skilled positions that require advanced training. To be competitive and relevant in this workforce, and in this struggling economy, everyone should consider advancing their education and earning some type of college degree, from a certificate to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Even older adults or those who are happily employed in a job of their liking can benefit from earning a college degree. Learning new skills and information, making new friends and colleagues or simply staying abreast of the latest technologies and trends in your industry can go a long way in enhancing the quality of your life. It can also keep you relevant in this competitive workforce, as well as provide you with much desired job security.

The most obvious reasons to attain a college degree are broader job opportunities and higher earning potential. According to the Educational Testing Services, males that possess a bachelor’s degree will earn roughly 96% more over a lifetime than males without a college degree. That is a staggering statistic. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that in 2010, unemployment rates for people with only a high school diploma was 10.6%, while the rate for people with a bachelor’s degree was more than half that number at 4.9%.

It is plain to see that the future job market is going to be comprised of jobs that are more skilled and will require some form of post-secondary education. To have a competitive chance in that kind of employment environment, it is essential to go to school, whether traditional or online, and earn a college degree. With the potential to experience much higher earning power, much less unemployment and a greater quality of life, the question should be "Why would I NOT earn a college degree?"