What Can You Do with a Criminal Justice or Law Degree?

A degree in law or criminal justice is key to a wide range of career opportunities in politics, advocacy, law or enforcement.

At first glance, you can simply imagine a lawyer while thinking about the study of criminal justice.

First, you graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, then you get a master’s degree.

Eventually, you pass an and get a job as a lawyer with a good salary.

Of course, it’ s a popular option for you too, and you can get your Doctor’s degree based on your Bachelor’s degree.

Surprisingly, the legal environment includes a huge number of directions.

It’s also gonna be attractive for thrill-seekers.

For those who decide to devote time in this field, there is a prospect to grow and become a judge.

In addition, students with a criminal justice and law degree may work in different overlapping fields.

If you want to know more, continue on.

The first thing to start with is accreditation.

What Kind of Accreditation Should My Degree Program Have?

To be sure that future employers will be interested in your degree, it is important to know that your school has the appropriate accreditation.

For any higher education discipline, particularly for the Criminal Justice or Law, accreditation is crucial when choosing an institution.

The college or university is eligible for financial support if the Department of Education has recognized an association that provided the accreditation.

First of all, accreditation shows that an educational institution adheres to the standards.

Secondly, the program is relevant and continues to expand in its field.

There are institutional and programmatic accreditation processes.

One is required for schools, another is for a specific discipline and degree program.

Regional Accrediting Agencies

Regional and national accreditation agencies can provide institutional accreditation.

In short, regional accreditation agencies enhance reputation and credibility.

When studying the conditions of colleges and universities, it is advisable to obtain a “stamp of approval” from one of these accreditation agencies depending on the region:

  • The Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

National Regional Accrediting Agencies

Accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA) is a mandatory requirement for obtaining higher legal education in any school.

The Association has provided credit to over 200 approved schools.

The ABA offers final accreditation services for law schools.

In fact, the school cannot grant a JD degree without this approval.

All approved schools have a doctorate in law, except the military advocate’s school of education.

To determine accreditation status, you simply need to contact the chosen school.

Chiefly, the database of the Department of Education contains all accredited companies within its competence.

If you know about accreditation, you can consider several options for obtaining a degree.

What Kinds of Criminal Justice or Law Degrees Are There?

Associates Degree in Criminal Justice

A law degree is a fastest and most affordable way to obtain a junior justice degree.

Usually, this degree requires 60 credits and two years, which is relatively short.

As a result, you will know the theory of legal jurisprudence social issues constitutional law at the primary level.

You need criminal justice training if you are interested in working with the security police as a victim protection advisor, evidence technician, criminal statistics analyst, legal assistant or investigator.

What Courses Will You Take?

  • Criminal Law
  • Correctional Systems
  • Introduction to Security
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • American Policing
  • Introduction to International Criminal Justice
  • Juvenile Justice System

Bachelor of Criminal Justice

A bachelor’s degree more than an associate degree can provide access to many professions in law and criminal justice.

Apart from introductory subjects, you will study criminology, crime sociology, correctional issues, and constitutional law.

It allows to carry out independent researches in the chosen direction.

Career development opportunities are similar for both junior professionals and those with a bachelor’s degree.

However, bachelors have more advantages in the labor market as well as better knowledge in this field.

Employment opportunities include work in the law enforcement agencies of correctional institutions, social services.

Higher education and a bachelor’s degree are necessary for those who plan to practice law.

What Courses Will You Take?

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Correctional Administration
  • Introduction to Security Management
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Ethical Behavior in Criminal Justice
  • Drugs and Crime 

What’s the Difference Between a BA and a BS in Criminal Justice?

A bachelor of arts in criminal justice is a more general degree than a bachelor of science degree.

With scientific training, you can use empirical methods to analyze a crime scene as a detective.

General training allows you to work with more interpersonal aspects in this field.

Master of Criminal Justice

If your goal is a career as a manager in the criminal justice system, you have better to obtain a master’s degree in criminal justice.

To finish this program, you need to have 30 credits, which means 12 months of training.

The master’s program requires a high level of knowledge in policy analysis, program management, and other leadership.

You will need to complete a core program to issue a research dissertation on practice and policy.

What’s the Difference between an MA and an MS in Criminal Justice?

Like the case of a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in natural sciences has a technical bias in the field of criminal justice.

The degree of masters of arts implies a social dimension of criminal justice.

What Courses Will You Take?

  • Seminar in Criminology
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation
  • Theory and Practice in Criminal Justice
  • Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice

Doctor of Criminal Justice

The standard doctoral program from the United States lasts 5 years of which 2 years is coursework.

To earn this degree, you need to be good at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

This will provide an opportunity to undertake advanced research in areas of importance to this area, such as political science, prison reform, law, ethics of law and social justice.

What Kind of Courses Will You Take?

  • History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems
  • Public Policy Implications of Terrorism and Policies
  • Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy
  • The Nature of Crime and Criminology 

Doctor of Jurisprudence

 The legal profession requires a doctor of jurisprudence (J.D.) degree.

The 90 credit program consists of three working years.

The American Bar Association is standardized and regulated by a legal degree for this field.

The first year of the Law School Curriculum is similar across the country.

However, in your second and third year of study, you will have special choices.

There is an opinion that legal education is extremely expensive.

Well, for those who can afford it a large and interesting set of highly paid opportunities Especially for those who receive a scholarship.

In particular, it will be possible to get a job in the public service, organizational leadership, political sphere.

 What Kind of Courses Will You Take?

  • Foundations of Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Torts
  • Property 

Masters of Law

After completing the master’s degree, you can obtain a master’s degree in law (LL.M.) in one year.

A bachelor’s degree has lower standards than a doctoral degree.

So it is a good choice for those who are interested in research and have specialized abilities.

A master’s degree in a particular area of international tax law policy or another topic that requires additional research and study.

In particular, it is a useful degree for international students wishing to become acquainted with American law.

What Kind of Courses Will You Take?

  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Environment Law
  • Military Law
  • Telecommunications Law 

Doctor of Judicial Science

After graduation from the Master’s Degree, a Doctor  Judicial Science (S.J.D) is available.

You need this degree If you plan to pursue a career as a law professor.

At the end of the course, graduates spend a lot of time doing their own research in the field of law and related subjects such as international relations, economics, and history.

What Kind of Courses Will You Take?

Actually, the coursework here is very different.

Most of the postgraduate students’ time is spent on independent research.

What is the Difference Between an S.J.D. and Ph.D.?

Equally, these degrees have specialized research programs.

The difference is what admission requirements and duration.

Ph.D. degree available immediately after graduation from a bachelor’s degree.

Although many receive a master’s degree within one to two years before graduation.

So a Ph.D. usually has 4 years of background work.

Conversely, a doctoral degree in law means having a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in law, which includes 8 years of coursework.

The doctoral degree itself lasts 3 years and the doctoral degree usually takes 5-7 years of which 2-3 years is coursework.

What Kind of Licensing or Certification Do You Need?

Criminal justice and rights are very diverse areas to explore.

So the certification for each of them may be different.

For example, if you want to work as a security guard or social worker, you must follow the legal framework established for your referral.

Similarly, police officers should be trained at the police academy.

In order to practice law, you must:

  • pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination;
  • pass the state Bar Examination;
  • get approval from the ABA’s Committee of Bar Examiners’ Subcommittee on Moral Character.

The American Bar Association is the most important authority in law practice to obtain the necessary certificates and licenses.

The need for certification differs for other positions depending on the state and professional experience.

Regardless of your chosen field of expertise, before starting a certification or licensing program, make sure that it is recognized by an authoritative association or group.

You will most likely need to complete an educational training or course to obtain a certificate.

Popular Degree Programs

What Can You Do With This Degree?

The degree of criminal justice or legal expertise can be key to a greater professional capacity.

Look at the list of the best professions in the field below to see what fits for you.

  • Correctional Officers
  • Court Reporters
  • Fire Inspectors and Investigators
  • Firefighters
  • Judges, Mediators, and Hearing Clerks
  • Lawyers
  • Legislators
  • Para Legal and Legal Assistants
  • Police and Detectives
  • Private Detectives and Investigators
  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Officers
  • Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
  • Social Workers

How Much Can You Make With This Degree?

Of course, one of the main reasons for career growth is a worthy salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 employers offer the following basic wages for the most popular jobs in law and criminal justice:

  • Security Guard— Mean Pay  $28,530
  • Social Work— Mean Pay  $49,470
  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant — Mean Pay  $50,940 
  • Probation Officer — Mean Pay  $53,020
  • Forensic Evidence Technician — Mean Pay  $58,230
  • Police Officer and Detective — Mean Pay  $63,380
  • Judge — Mean Pay  $117,190
  • Political Scientist — Mean Pay  $117,570
  • Lawyer — Mean Pay  $120,910

What Professional Associations or Societies Should You Join?

The best way to establish new connections in your field is to join a professional association.

Here you can also learn about useful seminars or contests and improve your personal knowledge.

Obviously, your chosen career path will determine which associations you decide to join.

Find out about police or legal associations that match your professional direction:

Fraternal Order of Police

Brotherhood Police is the largest association of sworn police officers.

The organization holds educational meetings, organizes charity and provides legal protection for law enforcement officials.

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association has over 4,100,000 members and is the largest bar association in the country.

Moreover, it is one of the largest voluntary professional organizations in the world.

Its purpose is to establish legal education standards and norms in the legal profession.

Political Parties

Joining any political party can be a great benefit if you are interested in criminal justice or law to promote public policy.

As you know, politics is a group activity, whether you prefer Republicans or Democrats.


Now you have a more particular vision of your career in Criminal Justice or Law.

Choose your own path and start applying your talents in work.

The degree in Criminal Justice or Law allows you to choose one or more interesting and promising directions.

It’s a great opportunity to realize your helpful potential and make a social contribution.

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