Much like any other regulated industry, the criminal justice system features a myriad of educational requirements based upon specific jobs. If you're interested in starting a career within this complex and challenging industry, then your first step is to uncover the training requirements for the fields you're most interested in pursuing. While there are literally hundreds of different criminal justice careers, the following list includes the top career options and its respectable educational requirements. It's important to note, most of these careers are regulated at the local or state level. Because of this, it's important to contact your state board of education or your state licensing board to determine exact educational pathways.
List of Criminal Justice Careers and Their Educational Requirements
- ATF Special Agent - Bachelor's degree in criminal justice as well as a passing score on theoretical and practical examinations. Aspiring agents must meet psychological and physical requirements, which are overseen by the federal government.
- Border Patrol Agent - Bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security. However, entry-level positions may accept an associate's degree with three years of work experience in law enforcement or private investigation.
- Corrections Officer - Associate's degree in criminal justice. However, some correctional institutions hire those who hold a high school diploma/GED and a certificate in criminal justice*.
- Crime Scene Investigator - Based upon the jurisdiction, aspiring CSI officers may enter the workforce with an associate's degree. However, the majority of positions require a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a concentration in crime scene investigation. Enhance employment and advancement opportunities by obtaining a master's degree in criminal justice or forensic science.
- Criminologist - Bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a concentration in criminology is typically required for entry-level positions. Those with a master's degree in criminology have the highest employment and advancement outlook.
- Paralegal - Entry-level positions tend to require a certificate in paralegal studies; however, more advanced-level positions require an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in paralegal studies.
- Probation Officer - The most successful probation officers carry a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with extra coursework in probation techniques and topics.
- Homeland Security Agent - Bachelor's degree
in criminal justice with an emphasis in homeland security. Those with a
master's in homeland security feature the greatest employment and advancement
- National Security Agency Police Officer - Bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice as well as completion of a specialized training program established by the federal government.