If you’re planning to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice, you will probably have to earn some sort of degree, since most criminal justice careers require you to complete a series of college-level courses before you can obtain a position. It is important to note, however, that many of the criminal justice careers you may be considering will not only require you to earn a degree, but also will require you to continue your education after you graduate. In fact, most employers in the criminal justice field have a series of continuing education requirements designed to make sure you are up-to-date with the latest criminal justice tactics, techniques, and technologies. Unfortunately, it may not always be easy for you to tell exactly what you will have to do in order to meet these requirements because the specific requirements for each agency or state will vary. Nonetheless, most agencies and states have some continuing education requirements in common.
- First, you may have to meet certain training requirements. Most agencies have a series of requirements designed ensure your familiarity with the necessary tactics and techniques and that you are relearning the tactics and techniques on a regular basis. The specific training requirements can vary greatly from agency to agency and state to state. However, common training courses through your department, your police academy, a local hospital, a public safety center, a federal training center or other institution teach you basic life support skills (including but not limited to Automated External Defibrillator use, basic first aid, and CPR), safe apprehension and arrest tactics, firearms skills, and other skills.
- The second set of continuing education requirements that you may face are licensure renewal requirements. These requirements are designed for individuals such as attorneys, criminal psychologists, judges, private detectives, and other individuals who need to obtain a license and maintain that license in order to work in their chosen profession. The specific licensure requirements can vary greatly from career to career and state to state. However, you typically must attend courses, conferences, seminars (some states may allow you to take online continuing education courses, webinars, or other continuing education opportunities online), or take advantage of similar educational opportunities through a bar association, a law school, or another organization or institution.
- The third set of continuing education requirements you may face are the certification renewal requirements. These requirements are designed for individuals such as FBI agents, forensic scientists, police officers, and other individuals who must obtain and maintain a certification to work in some departments or specialties. The specific certification requirements that you will need to meet can vary greatly from specialty to specialty. However, typically you will be required to attend classes or training courses at a police academy, a college, a university, a federal training center, or another institution so you can stay up-to-date with changes in the area of the criminal justice field in which you work.