Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Criminal Justice Growth for the Next Decade

If you flip on the television and surf through a few channels, chances are you’ll run across a few riveting programs that highlight the excitement of the criminal justice field. Whether the show is focused on crime scene forensics like on CSI, police work like on The Shield, or on courtroom proceedings like on Law & Order and even Judge Judy, it is clear that criminal justice is something many people find fascinating. But the fascination doesn’t have to end once the credits begin rolling – in fact, entering the criminal justice field is a very possible goal, especially with the rapid rate of growth that many justice occupations are experiencing.

Law enforcement positions are by far the fastest growing occupations in the criminal justice field. It is also the largest employer in the field, with 17,876 State and local law enforcement agencies in the country, according to the 2004 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Law enforcement positions include uniformed police officers, police detectives, and other security forces like border control. In 2004, there were more than 800,000 full-time law enforcement officers working in agencies across the nation, the Bureau reports, and undoubtedly that number has grown since then. With an increasing population, more police officers will be needed to ensure the safety of communities and most local agencies will open their doors to new recruits looking to join the team.

Paralegal positions are another quickly growing sector of criminal justice. Though most televised courtroom dramas focus on lawyers and judges, paralegals play an important role in courtroom proceedings as well. It is their work that helps lawyers to prepare for their cases as paralegals do most of the legwork when it comes to case preparation; they research the claims and cases, verify facts, look over relevant legal histories, and also gather any other information that could influence the case. It is their work that lawyers look over to determine how to best handle a case. Job opportunities are expected to increase a breathtaking 28 percent during the 2008-2018 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pouring approximately 74,100 jobs into the market. This means that now is a great time to enter the paralegal field.

These are only a couple of in-demand specialties of the criminal justice field. As the population size swells and our cities become more crowded, the demand for criminal justice majors of all niches will skyrocket to keep crime at bay and uphold justice in the courtrooms.

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