When you mention that you are a criminal justice major most people instinctively assume that you plan to become a police officer. While it’s a fair assessment — since many criminal justice majors do pursue a long awaited career in law enforcement — criminal justice is a much more diverse field than many people realize. It offers a range of satisfying career opportunities that appeal to a variety of personal and professional interests.
Whether you are considering a criminal justice degree or are a current criminal justice major still deciding on the career path that’s right for you, the five criminal justice careers listed below are great opportunities for the criminal justice major who doesn’t want to become a police officer.
1. Correctional officer
Correctional officers oversee individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial, or have been sentenced to serve a period of time in a jail or prison. Correctional officers are charged with maintaining safety and security in detention facilities as well as supervising the activities, escort and transport of inmates.
2. Intelligence analyst
Intelligence analysts work behind the scenes to gather, analyze or evaluate information from sources such as law enforcement databases, surveillance, intelligence networks, and geographic information systems to anticipate and prevent organized crime activates, such as drug-related violence or terrorism.
3. Probation or parole officer
Probation and parole officers work to keep offenders from repeating past crimes or violating the court’s terms of their probation or parole. A parole officer supervises offenders who have been released from prison after serving part of their sentence, while a probation officer supervises those who are sentenced to serve probation instead of being incarcerated.
Both parole and probation officers make planned visits to the homes and workplaces of offenders. They work with neighborhood associations and religious groups to check up on the behavior of offenders. They ensure that the people they supervise enroll in substance abuse rehabilitation and job training programs, as ordered by the court.
4. Private Investigator
Private investigators or private detectives can be hired by individuals or groups to search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, investigating computer crimes, and process serving including, the personal delivery of summons, subpoenas, and other legal documents to parties in a legal case. Private investigators can be self-employed, work for agencies or work for other businesses including attorneys and insurance companies.
5. Park Ranger
Park rangers protect and supervise designated outdoor areas. Rangers patrol the grounds and make sure that campers, hikers and other visitors are following the rules–including fire safety regulations–and do not disrupt the natural environment or fellow guests.
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