It is important to note that you don’t necessarily have to attend a college or a university in order to receive the education you need. In fact, some criminal justice careers require you to attend another type of school in addition to or instead of a college or university in order to learn the necessary skills. You actually may be required to attend a number of different types of schools, and you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the different types of schools that criminal justice professionals typically attend.
- The first type of school you may be required to attend is a law school. A law school is a graduate school designed to teach you the fundamental legal concepts required to work in the court system. These schools teach individuals about the regulations and legal concepts in common law, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Model Penal Code, the Uniform Commercial Code, the United States Constitution, and a variety of other cases, codes, and documents. These schools also teach individuals about contracts, legal research, professional ethics, torts (wrongful acts for which an individual may be sued), and a variety of other areas of the legal field. It is important to note, however, that a law school is not designed to help a student memorize all of the laws and regulations currently in existence, but instead is designed to teach an individual the fundamental concepts he or she needs to know in order to understand and apply the laws and regulations that currently exist. Most criminal justice professionals who attend a law school complete a three-year program to earn their Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. The J.D. degree allows an individual with the appropriate amount of experience to become an FBI agent, a lawyer, or a judge.
- The second type of school you may be required to attend is a medical school. A medical school is a graduate school designed to teach you the medical practices and procedures required for some of the more advanced careers in the science area of the criminal justice field. These schools teach individuals about anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and other areas of the medical field. These schools also give individuals the opportunity to practice the medical techniques and procedures they have learned in a clinical setting. Most criminal justice professionals who attend a medical school complete a four-year program to earn their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. The MD degree allows an individual who has completed a series of courses or received training in forensic pathology to become a medical examiner.
- The third type of school you may be required to attend is a police academy, a school that trains local and state police officers. These schools teach individuals about appropriate use of firearms, behavioral science, police tactics, law, and similar topics related to local or state law enforcement. In addition, these schools typically give individuals the opportunity to practice tactics or use the vehicles and weapons in a number of different ways including exercises designed to simulate some of the real-life scenarios an actual police officer might encounter. Most criminal justice professionals who attend a police academy complete a 12 to 26 week training program, but some academies may require an individual to complete a longer program in some cases.
- The fourth type of school you may be required to attend is a federal law enforcement academy, a school that trains federal agents. These schools teach individuals about the appropriate use of firearms, computer investigations, forensic techniques, field investigation techniques, law enforcement technology, and other topics related to federal law enforcement. These schools also give individuals the opportunity to practice tactics or use the vehicles and weapons featured in their training in a number of different exercises and simulations. Most criminal justice professionals who attend a federal law enforcement academy complete a 12 to 26 week training program.