As mentioned previously, if you are interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, you typically will need more than a high school diploma. Most of the criminal justice careers in which you may be interested require you to complete some sort of program at a college or academy before you begin your career. It is important to note, however, that your education requirements will vary from career to career, and it might not always be easy for you to determine whether a particular school will help you enter a particular career. In order to assure that you are receiving the education you need, you may want to take a few important actions before you begin searching for a criminal justice school.
- Choosing a Criminal Justice Program
- Applying to Criminal Justice School
- School Accreditation
- Other Types of Schools
First, you may want to look at the education requirements for the departments or agencies you are considering before you try to choose a school. This can be helpful because every department or agency is different, and each department or agency has different education requirements. In fact, a local police department in one town may have a completely different set of requirements than an adjacent town, so it is extremely important for you to have some idea of for the requirements for the career you are pursuing before you choose a school.
Second, you may want to look at the degrees preferred by the departments or agencies that you are considering. Some departments and agencies, especially federal agencies, prefer degrees in fields related to criminal justice but not actually in criminal justice. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will consider an individual with a degree in criminal justice as long as the individual has the appropriate amount of experience, but they prefer individuals with a degree in accounting, computer science, a foreign language currently needed by the FBI (typically listed on the FBI website), information technology, or law. You may be able to obtain a position with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, but it may be easier for you to obtain a position with another degree.