What can you do with a criminal justice degree?

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal Justice is the system by which professionals deliver justice to individuals who have committed or been accused of committing crimes. The criminal justice system is usually made up of government agencies and other institutions. There’s a variety of things one can do with a criminal justice major. 

What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

Careers with a criminal justice degree include:

1. Crime Scene Technician/Forensic Science Technicians

Things to know at a glance:

Crime Scene and Forensic Science Technicians collect and analyze evidence for criminal investigations. Crime Scene Technicians and Forensic Science Technicians may have slightly different job duties related to their work environment. 

Crime Scene Technicians typically:

Forensic Science Technicians in Laboratories:

These types of jobs for someone with a criminal justice degree offer opportunities to contribute to solving crimes, so if you love murder mysteries and solving problems, you might enjoy a career as a crime scene technician. 

2. Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Things to know at a glance:

Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. They perform a variety of tasks to help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. 

Some typical duties include:

Paralegals’ specific duties often vary depending on the area of law in which they work. Corporate paralegals and litigation paralegals may have different job responsibilities to support lawyers. These types of jobs for someone with a criminal justice degree can be a starting point for those who may one day want to become a lawyers or contribute to the legal system. If you know you’re interested in law, but not sure about entering law school, a criminal justice career path as a paralegal or legal assistant may be for you. 

3. Juvenile Counselor/Probation Officer

Things to know at a glance:

Probation officers assist in the rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole.

Some typical duties include:

These types of jobs for someone with a criminal justice degree often are occupied by those who come from personal experience with the system or a desire to help those who are actively in the justice system. If you want to help offenders return to a productive lifestyle, a criminal justice career as a juvenile counselor or probation officer may be for you.  

4. Police Officer/Detective

Things to know at a glance:

Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. 

Some typical duties include:

Job duties vary by employer, function, and location, but police and detectives are required by law to write detailed reports and keep meticulous records. 

For those questioning what you can do with a criminal justice major, the first job that may come to mind would be serving as a police officer. However, this isn’t the only criminal justice career available to those who have a criminal justice degree. Police Officers also don’t have to complete a criminal justice degree program, they can study other topics in college such as psychology or business since their official police training is typically conducted at a police academy. 

5. Emergency Management Directors

Things to know at a glance:

Emergency Management Directors plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities, provide disaster preparedness training, and prepare emergency plans or procedures for nature, wartime, or technological disasters or hostage situations. 

Some typical duties include:

When looking for jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree, emergency management may not be the first thing that comes up in the results. However, learning about the legal system and how justice is served to offenders can be beneficial to serving in emergency management roles. For example, if a fugitive is on the loose or there’s a natural disaster, Emergency Management Directors are in charge of coming up with plans to protect the citizens of a community- having a degree in criminal justice would help the director come up with an effective plan to utilize police resources and officers who can contribute to keep the peace during emergency scenarios. 

6. Security Managers

Things to know at a glance:

Security Managers direct an organization’s security functions, including physical security and safety of employees and facilities. 

Some typical duties include:

This type of job for someone with a criminal justice degree would enable them to use their understanding of the justice system to promote safety for their organization or facility as well as know the proper channels to process offenders who disobey the laws for their organization. 

7. Police Identification and Records Officers

Things to know at a glance:

Police Identification and Records Officers collect evidence at crime scene, classify and intensify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for us in criminal and civil cases. 

Some typical duties include:

These types of jobs for someone with a criminal justice degree provide the opportunity for criminal justice graduates to use their organizational skills and problem solving skills to contribute to criminal cases and investigations. Records Officers need to be detail oriented, organized, and understand the criminal justice system well in order to know the proper channels by which they should process evidence and records related to different criminal cases. 

To explore more careers with a criminal justice degree, visit Career Coach on the Texarkana College Website. 

Start Your Journey to a Fulfilling Career in Criminal Justice at Texarkana College

At Texarkana College, the Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration prepares students for a career in criminal justice, emergency management, social services, and education. 

Criminal Justice Majors take classes such as:

Introduction to Criminal Justice

This course provides a historical and philosophical overview of the American criminal justice system, including the nature, extent, and impact of crime; criminal law; and justice agencies and processes.

Correctional systems and practices

This course is a survey of institutional and non-institutional corrections. Emphasis will be placed on the organization and operation of correctional systems; treatment and rehabilitation; populations served; Constitutional issues; and current and future issues.

Criminal investigation

Investigative theory; collection and preservation of evidence; sources of information; interview and interrogation; uses of forensic sciences; case and trial preparation.

Fundamentals of Criminal Law

This course is the study of criminal law including application of definitions, statutory elements, defenses and penalties using Texas statutes, the Model Penal Code, and case law. The course also analyzes the philosophical and historical development of criminal law and criminal culpability.

Police Systems & Practices

This course examines the establishment, role and function of police in a democratic society. It will focus on types of police agencies and their organizational structure, police-community interaction, police ethics, and use of authority.

Court Systems & Practices

This course is a study of the court system as it applies to the structures, procedures, practices and sources of law in American courts, using federal and Texas statutes and case law.

If you’ve ever been fascinated by true crime shows, the thought of solving mysteries, or want to serve and protect your community, you should study criminal justice. Earn a criminal justice degree at Texarkana College. 

Related to Academic Programs, Academic Spotlight