For most Millennials, job security is something their parents enjoyed, but not something they can hope to obtain for themselves. But that’s not true if you’re one of the many young people interested in a criminal justice career. Job security is still a possibility in the criminal justice field, and so are great benefits.
A career in criminal justice will give you the chance to challenge yourself, give back to the community, and explore a variety of exciting opportunities. You should plan on earning at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field, although you’ll probably need a master’s in order to move up the ladder. You can begin cultivating essential job skills now, including your writing skills, communication skills, and debate skills.
Enjoy a Long and Stable Career
Criminal justice careers are known for the high level of job security they provide. Many of these positions are in the public sector, so you’ll have the same job security afforded to other government employees. Communities of all sizes and in all locations need law enforcement officers, court reporters, detectives, forensic investigators, judges, sheriffs, victim advocates, correctional officers, law clerks, and other criminal justice professionals, so you should be able to find a good job no matter where you go. You should be able to stay employed, too, as long as you adhere to the ethical standards demanded of criminal justice professionals.
Not only will you enjoy a high degree of job security in the criminal justice profession, you’ll also get great benefits. Public servants, including law enforcement officers and other criminal justice professionals, get great health insurance, paid vacations, sick days, and retirement pensions. A career in criminal justice could also give you a chance to retire early if that’s something you want.
Don’t Neglect Your Education
You may not necessarily need a degree to get your start in the criminal justice field, especially if you want to become a correctional officer, police dispatcher, or police officer. Many police departments require new hires to have only a high school diploma or GED, especially if those departments are located in small community.
However, just because you can get an entry-level position without a college degree, doesn’t mean you won’t need that degree later when you decide it’s time to move up the ladder. If you haven’t entered the work force yet, your best course of action is to earn at least a bachelor’s, and preferably a master’s, before getting your first job. But if you have already been working for a few years, all hope is not lost. You can earn your degree online, taking classes and studying at night and on weekends while you keep your full-time criminal justice job. Many people in the criminal justice field choose to go back to school online when it’s time to earn a master’s. Most jobs in the criminal justice field require a master’s degree, and if you want to move up to a leadership role, you’ll need one, too.
Cultivate the Right Skills
No matter where you are on your journey to a fulfilling career in criminal justice, you can begin cultivating at least some of the skills you’ll need for success right now. Writing skills are surprisingly important for criminal justice professionals. No matter what criminal justice field you’re in, you’ll have to write reports, policy recommendations, and other materials, and you’ll need to know how to do that.
You should also work on your communication skills. Knowing how to talk to upset, angry, and potentially violent people in a way that makes them feel truly heard can literally mean the difference between life and death as you’re attempting to apprehend a suspect or work with prison inmates. Look into nonviolent communication techniques, or take a course in interpersonal communication if your college degree program offers it.
Who wouldn’t like a little job security? Criminal justice jobs can be some of the most stable in the world, especially those in the public sector. As with any other field, getting a good education and cultivating the right skills are the keys to success. Hard work, dedication, and a strong moral compass can help you enjoy a long, fulfilling career in a field where you’ll really have a chance to make a difference.