As cities and communities continue to grow, the need for skilled and trained law enforcement to uphold laws and ensure public safety will continue to rise. The need for trained officers to promote rehabilitation and ensure that offenders are working to better their lives is also an important role of the criminal justice system. For this reason, criminal justice degree programs are not only offered at different degree levels including at the associate, bachelor, and master degree level, but also in different specialized areas such as law enforcement and police administration, correctional administration, and legal studies.
Law enforcement and police administration criminal justice degree programs prepare students with the concepts, knowledge, and training they will need to work in law enforcement careers. Students explore and learn about the law, individual rights of people, ethics, the responsibilities of police officers and law enforcement, and how to promote and manage public safety. Some of the courses include (but are not limited to): community policing, ethics in law enforcement, politics in law enforcement, and management in law enforcement. Graduates of law enforcement administration degree programs are qualified to pursue careers with local police departments, Sheriff’s departments, and correctional facilities.
Correctional administration degree programs in criminal justice prepare students with the skills they will need to work in corrections within the criminal justice system. Correctional administration degree programs focus on teaching students about the correctional system, how probation and parole work, social work, psychology and sociology, and human behavior. Courses may include (but are not limited to): corrections, project management, criminal behavior, substance abuse, rehabilitation, and the roles of correctional officers. Graduates of correctional administration degree programs will be qualified for work with local, state, and Federal agencies and in jails and prisons for careers in (but not limited to): probation and parole officers, correctional officers, wardens, and correctional treatment specialists.
Legal studies degree programs prepare students with the skills and knowledge they will need to excel in the legal field. Legal studies degrees focus on the fundamentals of the law, ethics, the legal and courts system, law theories, and researching the law. Common courses in legal studies program may include (but are not limited to): criminal studies, legal research, civil law, the legal system, criminal justice, constitutional law, and social control. In addition, these courses will help students develop and enhance legal writing and research skills, comprehend different areas of law, create effective policies, and understand law procedures. Graduates of degree programs in legal studies can pursue careers as paralegals, legal researchers, and data entry clerks, amongst others.