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What Can I Do with a Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree?

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There are so many career paths you can engage with a criminal justice bachelor’s degree. You will see this career path has made the news a lot in recent times. This is a degree program that comes in many shapes and sizes to accommodate a wide variety of academic and career goals. This includes goals that students enter programs with and develop throughout the course of their study. Basically, the entry level criminal justice jobs available to graduates of such programming are determined by a number of factors, including the specializations that were offered in the degree program. For example, if a student focuses on criminology, they will have an easier time when applying for entry level employment in these positions that utilize the skills learned within the field of criminology. Some of these positions include: probation officer, clinical social worker, loss prevention officer, private investigator, probation officer, police detective, and forensic scientist. Some of these positions are achievable without this specialization, however, it is helpful to have the additional coursework that is related to the careers that interest you. 

Criminal Justice Degree Benefits 

Many criminal justice degree programs enable students to learn about the foundations of the law. Most programs dive into the details in relation to the justice system and how to work within the structures that were designed to reduce crime within communities. This includes working within institutional settings like prisons and juvenile detention centers. What this means is that students will walk away from such programs with the background to work with inmates, give street citations, conduct investigations, work within social services, among many other similar fields. This is also an excellent degree for students who are interested in a pre-law education. What this means, however, is that prospective students should choose a program option that would be beneficial to a pre law student. This can be by way of specialization, or ensuring that the programs at hand have expansive coursework dedicated to understanding legal proceedings, courtrooms, and legal practice. Another thing to look at is if the program offers experiential learning opportunities including field trips to court rooms, mock trials, and internships that are related. 

Entry Level Criminal Justice Jobs

As aforementioned, there are many entry level career options for graduates from criminal justice degree programs. Let’s look at a few of the top options which might help you determine if you think a criminal justice degree worth it:

Conservation Officer

This position is often referred to as a fish and game warden. Jobs like this are designed to protect the country’s wildlife and natural habitats. Conservation officers work at the federal, state, and local levels. They are there to enforce regulations and protections, which include ensuring that hunters and fisherman work within established laws. Some professionals within this career path are there to educate the public about conservation. They are often responsible for patrolling campgrounds and parks and collaborating with other law enforcement officers and personnel. 


Paralegals are critical professionals that support the legal process. They are also known as legal assistants, as their primary job is to support lawyers and attorneys. Some of their primary responsibilities include: meeting with clients, conducting case research, doing all of the paperwork necessary for trials, preparing witnesses for testimonies, among other tasks. They cannot, however, defend clients in court. This is often a position that students who are interested in becoming lawyers down the road start out with prior to attending law school. 

Victim Advocate

Victim advocates are the ones who provide emotional support and resources for those who have been victims of a variety of crimes. Generally, those who want to go into this field with a criminal justice bachelor’s degree have engaged in a related specialization, which can include sociology. This can include a variety of internships and field work that have prepared them for this emotionally demanding position. 

State Trooper

This career path often starts with a  bachelors in criminal justice. After receiving their degree, they are required to complete additional state trooper training. These professionals are often the ones patrolling highways and enforcing motor vehicle laws, traffic safety, and regulations. There are some opportunities for career growth within this field including captains, sergeants, and senior troopers. 

Police Officers

Though it’s not an easy job, many graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice have the opportunity to join the police force. Professionals in this position field emergency calls, parole neighborhoods, conduct traffic stops, testify in court cases, make arrests, among many other daily tasks. They will also be required to undergo extensive training within the police academy. 

There are many other positions available to those who have graduated from a criminal justice program. This is inclusive of online and traditional academic programming. 


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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?