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livelaughlove21's avatar

I need advice on entering the criminal justice field!

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15715points) May 19th, 2011

I’m a student going for my Bachelors degree in Psychology and I recently picked up a minor in Criminal Justice, the field I’m interested in entering after I graduate. I was looking into careers and found job titles such as correctional counselor and correctional treatment specialist (basically the same thing, it would seem) that seem like something I’d be really interested in. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in the field and I have no clue what I’m getting myself into.

Does anyone here work in criminal justice or know a lot about it? I’m getting a lot of conflicting information online, so I wanted some personal experience. Things like how in-demand careers like this are, what kind of similar positions might be available, how hard it is to enter the field, salaries, etc. ANYTHING would be greatly appreciated! I have no interest, however, in being a police officer.

I’m also looking into getting my paralegal certificate and doing that instead. Or if I enter the field and like it, I could maybe get my master’s in Forensic Psychology. Any information about these professions would be greatly appreciated as well.

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7 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, so being a police officer is out of the question, so lets look at some other field in the general location. Paralegals make a decent salary. Only trouble is your lack of experience. Once you have some experience, you need to have a friend on he inside, to help land you a job. In this case and most all other cases, its not what you know, but who you know.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@john65pennington Well I plan on getting an internship or two in the field, if at all possible, during my last two years of school. Hopefully I’ll be able to make some contacts at that point. Luckily my school as a summer program for a paralegal certificate, so I could do that quickly after graduation!

But just because I don’t want to be a cop doesn’t mean I can’t enter the criminal justice field at all, does it? What about the other careers I mentioned?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My apology…I don’t know much about it, other than a bit from the Forensic Psychologist an old friend married. From what I understand, they need to have a doctoral degree in Psychology in order to get into that field. In fact, here’s a link to a site that talks about it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Thanks for your response. Normally About.Com is a great source, but that article seems incorrect in many ways and greatly differs fromt he research I’ve done. Yes, doctoral candidates have the best opportunites, but there are also careers for masters candidates. And the salary listed is a bit off as well. I’ve never seen the average that low before. Strange…

gailcalled's avatar

How about talking to the professors who taught the Criminal Justice courses? They would surely have informations and some resources.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@gailcalled I plan on doing that. But since it’s summer and I’m not in classes, I wanted to get some background information so I can go to them about specific career path instead of going there completely clueless. :)

I actually haven’t taken any criminal justice courses yet since I just decided to pick up the minor. So I haven’t had contact with any of them yet.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Thanks for the reply. I thought that the salary range couldn’t be right either. Our friend’s husband was living a rather lavish lifestyle, but I have no idea whether he was a specialist or even inherited money, for that matter. All I know is that he is/was called in to investigate criminal cases all over the US.

I so wish I was still in contact with them so I could get the two of you in touch. I’ll see if I can track him down.

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