A criminal justice certification may be required for some of the criminal justice careers you are considering. You can pursue a number of different criminal justice careers, and each of these careers may require you to obtain a different set of certifications. It can, as a result, be difficult to determine whether a particular certification will be helpful in a particular career, and you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the certifications you might one day pursue.
- The first certification that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Criminal Justice Awareness and Terminology Certification. This certification is intended for individuals with a limited amount of education seeking an entry-level position in the criminal justice field. In order to obtain this certification, you simply must take a test. It is important to note, however, that this certification is intended only as a résumé-builder, and typically it is not required for any specific career.
- The second certification that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Certified Criminal Justice Professional (CCJP) certification. This certification, also known as the Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional certification, is intended for individuals planning to work with drug offenders. In order to obtain this certification, you will have to obtain 6,000 hours of experience in a field related to criminal justice or drug rehabilitation, complete 270 hours of courses in specific areas of the criminal justice or drug rehabilitation field, and complete a practicum (an internship in which you can demonstrate skills you have learned under the supervision of a certified or licensed criminal justice professional.) It is important to note that you may be able to use a criminal justice degree to meet some of the experience and course requirements for this certification (for example, an individual with an associate’s degree will have to obtain only 5,000 hours of experience and complete 200 hours of courses.) This certification may be helpful if you want to obtain a position as a corrections officer, probations officer, or a similar criminal justice professional who regularly works with drug-related offenders. While some state institutions may require you to obtain this certification, corrections officers and probations officers typically are not required to have this certification.
- The third certification that a number of criminal justice professionals pursue is the Professional Peace Officer Certification. This certification, also known as a Peace Officer Skills (POST) Training Certificate, is intended for individuals pursuing a position in local or state law enforcement. While specific requirements vary from state to state, typically you will be required to have a high school diploma, complete a series of courses related to criminal justice, complete a police academy training program, and pass a series of written or physical examinations. It is important to note that you may be required to obtain this certification or a similar certification before you can work as a police officer in some states.
- The fourth certification that a number of criminal justice professionals pursue is the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential. This credential, also known as the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential, is intended for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal. In order to obtain this certification, you must have a certificate or a degree from a legal assistant program or an equivalent amount of experience and take the CLA/CP Examination.