If you are planning to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice, you may have to do several things as you begin your career. However, one of the things that a number of individuals do to begin their career in the criminal justice field and further their career once they are in the field is to join a criminal justice association. A criminal justice association is a professional organization designed to help individuals attempting to work in a specific section of the criminal justice field, and these associations offer certifications, courses, journals, grants, and a number of other benefits to their members. A criminal justice association can help you find available money for your education, stay up-to-date with the things that you need to know, and build relationships with other professionals in the field so you can find a position or advance your career.
Unfortunately, the services offered by criminal justice associations vary drastically, and each of these associations is designed to help individuals only in certain criminal justice careers. It can be difficult to determine whether joining a criminal justice association actually will help you, and you may want to know a little more about some of the major criminal justice associations that you can contact or join when you are trying to break into the field or advance your career.
- The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is intended primarily for forensic scientists, but it also offers a number of services to attorneys, criminal psychologists, medical examiners, and other individuals in the field of forensic science or a field that relies heavily on information received from the field of forensic science. The AAFS has a number of resources for students interested in the field of forensic science (including conferences, grants, and web-resources), a bi-monthly newsletter for its members, job listings, a journal that describes the latest techniques and technologies in the forensic science field, and other resources.
- The American Bar Association (ABA) is intended primarily for attorneys, but paralegals, judges and other individuals in the court system may benefit from the ABA’s services as well. The ABA offers career fairs, conferences, continuing education courses for attorneys, discounts on common expenses, a journal that describes the changes and issues occurring in the legal field, a series of books on a variety of legal topics, and a number of other resources.
- The American Correctional Association (ACA) is intended primarily for corrections officers, but other individuals who work with prisoners or in correctional facilities may benefit from the ACA’s services as well. The ACA issues most major certifications a correctional officer may need, including the Certified Corrections Officer (CCO) certificate, the Certified Corrections Supervisor (CCS) certificate, and a variety of other certificates. The ACA also offers accreditation to correctional programs and facilities; conferences, training courses, and workshops for corrections officers; a bi-monthly newsletter for its members; job listings; a series of books, magazines, and journals that describe the latest tactics, techniques, and trends in the correctional field; and a number of other resources.
- The Academy of Criminal Justice Science (ACJS) is intended for individuals currently pursuing a career in the criminal justice field or currently working in the criminal justice field. The ACJS offers accreditation to criminal justice programs, conferences, grants, job listings, and scholarships. In addition, this organization offers a free quarterly online newsletter, a semiannual newsletter for members, a journal describing the latest trends and technology in the criminal justice field, a journal describing changes and issues in undergraduate and graduate criminal justice education, resources for criminal justice professionals in specific careers or specialties, and other resources.
- The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) is intended for parole officers, probation officers, and other individuals who work with convicted criminals outside of a correctional facility. APPA offers conferences (including a 4-day community corrections training institute); training courses for probation and parole officers; job listings for its members; a semi-monthly newsletter for its members; a journal that describes the latest tactics, techniques, and trends in the community corrections field; a number of books about the corrections field; and other resources.
- The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is intended primarily for police officers and the professional organizations police officers join, but professionals in other areas of law enforcement may benefit from the NAPO’s services as well. NAPO offers conventions, seminars, and reports about the regulations currently in place in the criminal justice field and new regulations that may affect law enforcement professionals.