Launching Your Law Enforcement Career: Pursue a Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree
When you think of a law enforcement career, you may picture a police officer working hard to maintain safety and order in a neighborhood or community. However, not all law enforcement careers involve wearing an officer’s uniform and badge. If you decide to go to school for a criminal justice associate degree, you have many other career possibilities.
What Is a Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree?
First, let’s talk about what a criminal justice associate degree is. This specialized two-year program is geared to give students a high-level look at the criminal justice system. As you work through the various courses toward graduation, you will learn more about the nation’s criminal justice system and how it works.
By receiving your degree, you will be well-versed enough in law enforcement to apply to become a police officer. However, you don’t have to commit to that career alone. You can just as easily use your learning and experiences to be a part of law enforcement in other ways.
Non-Officer Occupational Pathways for Criminal Justice Associate Degree Students
In what ways could you wind up using your criminal justice associate degree that wouldn’t involve you becoming a police officer? Check out these rewarding—and maybe surprising—career opportunities.
• Handling back office research: One of the most influential and valuable skill sets you’ll learn as part of your criminal justice associate degree program is the most updated research methods in criminal justice. Having a background in research makes you highly valuable as an entry-level worker. You may use your research talents for a government agency or private employer.
• Assisting with law enforcement: IT Innovations like AI-heavy tools, systems, and software are revolutionizing the law enforcement field. You might find it alluring to look for a position in this career path if you’re interested in law enforcement technology. There’s little doubt that IT will continue to be more influential in all sectors, including law enforcement. Consequently, making law enforcement technology expertise your hallmark could help future-proof your career.
• Working at criminal justice agencies: Plenty of criminal justice agencies exist. These include everything from correctional facilities and institutions to parole offices. After graduating with a criminal justice associate degree, you might want to say yes to the first criminal justice agency job offer that catches your eye. That way, you can further your experience as a player in the law enforcement world.
• Setting up your own business: Did you know that some graduates of criminal justice associate degrees wind up starting at private investigation companies? Becoming a private investigator is one of many ways to leverage your law enforcement career. Plenty of people and companies hire private investigators annually, so if you’re entrepreneurially minded, it could be an ideal match.
• Handling emergency dispatching duties: Emergency dispatchers are integral to getting officers and other critical first responders to emergencies. With a criminal justice associate degree, you will be better versed in assessing emergencies and proceeding as a calm, sophisticated dispatcher. Who knows? Your associate degree could become the pipeline to saving many people’s lives.
Helping Society Live More Securely and Lawfully
What are the goals of the criminal justice system? Undeniably, there are many. But perhaps one of the biggest—and the reason so many people enter the law enforcement sector—is making sure people are protected by the rule of law that guides the country.
While you can indeed become a police officer and attend the police academy after receiving your criminal justice associate degree from a reputable institute like Lackawanna College, you don’t have to wear a badge to be involved in law enforcement. You must be open-minded to all the options in this growing and needed industry.
Still need personalized advice about creating the perfect law enforcement occupational path for your objectives? Not quite sure where you fit into the field? Get in touch with Lackawanna College’s admissions personnel. We have many tools and resources you can use to assess exactly which of our criminal justice choices would best serve you as a student.