What Do You Study in Criminal Justice and How Will I Use it in the Field?

What Do You Study in Criminal Justice and How Will I Use it in the Field?

Are you fascinated by detective shows and legal procedures? Are you passionate about justice and ensuring those who do break laws are caught and appropriately sentenced? If so, then you could be a great candidate for a criminal justice degree.

Criminal justice is a social science that aims to identify and explain that patterns of criminal behavior and how society and organizations can work to reduce and control criminal elements. Those who enroll in a criminal justice program can expect to learn a variety of things pertaining to the legal and correctional systems in this country. The following is a look at a few of the classes criminal justice majors can expect to take and how those classes help in field work:

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Areas of Study Taught in a Criminal Justice Program

  • Chain of evidence. Whether you aim for police work or legal work, chain of evidence is a critical component of law enforcement and procedure as breaking the chain of evidence can lead to the breakdown of a complete case and cause perpetrators of crimes to be set free. During this area of study, students will learn all of the necessary procedures that one must follow in order to keep evidence clean of corruption, tampering, or degrading.
  • Law and due process. Law enforcement must first find evidence before the chain of evidence can begin. To do so, they must properly secure a crime scene, find and interview witnesses and potential suspects, and know how to procure warrants to search and arrest individuals. All of these steps must be done in accordance with certain laws and following due process as set out by county, state, and federal legislature. These are all areas of study covered by a criminal justice program, although graduates should expect to continually learn on the job.
  • Investigative principles. It is very rare for a criminal to just come to you and say, in detail, what crime they committed and how they did it. As such, one of the most significant parts of law enforcement is the investigation of crimes. During the course of an investigation, law enforcement officials will need to know both how to secure and analyze a physical scene and how to research people, places, and criminal elements after a crime takes place. Coursework in investigative principles builds on the thousands of protocols and procedures that have been proven to be effective.
  • Proper Conduct and Behavior. TV detectives seem to fly off the handle at any inconvenience. But real police officers and detectives need to be able to keep their cool, respond to problems professionally, and always remember their mission: to serve and protect the public.  

Benefits of Pursuing a Criminal Justice Degree

In many areas, it is currently not necessary for correctional officers to have a degree in criminal justice before beginning work at an entry-level correctional job. However, that is changing as more and more facilities and organizations seek out more highly-trained individuals. In addition to staying ahead of this trend, pursuing a criminal justice degree has the following benefits:

  • Specialized knowledge. Law enforcement and law corrections is a busy, varied, and, sometimes, highly-stressful job. This is a career where individuals have to be on their feet and moving, dealing with different people every day. While certainly it is possible to learn as you go with on-the-job training, most find that coming into this career with advanced training incredibly helpful. With a criminal justice degree, you could go into your job confident that you know the correct procedures.
  • Ready to advance. In addition to knowing the correct procedures for your current position, a criminal justice degree should also validate that you have the foundation to make you prepared for early advancement. If you choose to pursue a master's degree in either criminal justice or a closely-related field, then you could only open up your opportunities for more advancement and higher pay.
  • Dedication to the field. While people sometimes move through law enforcement fields and find out that it’s not for them, earning a degree in the subject shows you are sure this field is where you want to be and what you want to do with your career. This level of commitment could help you during performance reviews or advancement proceedings.

Get Started On Your Criminal Justice Degree Today at ECPI University

Are you determined that criminal justice is the only field for you? If you want to learn more about how to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, ECPI University offers this program at an accelerated rate. For more information, connect with a helpful admissions counselor today.

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