Top 3 Most Interesting Criminal Justice Career Options


If you’re interested in cultivating a career that’s far from the ordinary, and equally far from boring, then you should investigate the realm of criminal justice. While there are predicable job opportunities within this industry, such as a police officer or criminal investigator, there many other career options open to those who hold an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Stop dreading your drive to work, and delve into the varied and complex world of criminal justice with these three interesting career options.

Psychological Profiler

Psychological profilers go by many names: criminological profiling expert, behavioral profiling agent and criminal investigative profiler. However, regardless of the job title, this interesting and unique career involves investigating and analyzing suspected and convicted offenders to assist in various criminal investigations.

psychological-profilersThe majority of psychological profilers work within the federal government as an FBI agent or within a specialized branch. Typically, this position is found within the National Analysis of Violent Crime, also known as NVCAVC. As a psychological profiler, you’re tasked with the responsibility of the cultivating and fine-tuning psychological profiles for criminals. These professionals are also responsible for determining threat levels and advice on interrogation strategies. This professional-level career may assist and provide advice to every level of government; ranging from local to international.

Want to delve into this career? Start off by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a master’s degree in investigative psychology or criminology. There is a wealth of information found on such online resources as Criminal Justice Schools Today.


This unique career choice refers to a professional who works directly with prisoners within the federal prison system. Penologists are responsible for assisting with the genuine rehabilitation of prisoners. The primary goal of this interaction is to prepare criminals for re-entry into their community. Throughout this career, you’ll work one-on-one with convicted offenders to help them cultivate self-help routines and empowerment strategies to prevent repeat offenses. Programs overseen and created by penologists include substance abuse and anger management programs. This professional also works with prison management to cultivate effective treatment programs to assist those who are incarcerated.

Want to start a career as a penologist? Begin this rewarding and challenging career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in psychology or justice administration. If you’re looking for a way to increase your employment opportunities, gain a master’s degree in criminal psychology.

Fish and Game Warden

Do you have a desire to help protect wildlife while making nature a safer experience for both humans and animals? Fish and Game Wardens work as peace officers within their state. The primary duty of this position is to patrol various outdoor locations, both land and sea, to ensure local and federal regulations regarding the environment (and wildlife) are being met. While this can be a dangerous position, as they must come in contact with those who are performing illegal hunting or poaching activities, this career is rewarding for those who have a genuine love for animals and safety.

Because every state features different requirements for Fish and Game Wardens, it’s important to contact your state board of licensing to determine current eligibility requirements. This being said, most states require aspiring fish and game wardens to hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; however, some states allow these professionals to hold a minimum of an associate’s degree in criminal justice.


What to Look for in a Criminal Justice Degree Program


Due to many factors, there has been a significant increase in those who are interested in taking a criminal justice degree program. If you’re interested in joining others in this dynamic and advanced industry, the most important first step is choosing a well-respected degree program. While there are literally hundreds of colleges, universities and for-profit institutions offering a criminal justice degree, only a small number of these offers an education that is truly worth its price. Therefore, before enrolling in any criminal justice degree program, make sure it meets or exceeds the following guidelines.

In-Depth Curriculum


While this should be a given for any degree program, far too many students enroll in sub-par criminal justice degree programs. There are three primary elements that create an excellent curriculum, which include: Leadership in Criminal Justice, Advanced Crime Analysis and Criminal Behavior. While the exact courses you’ll be required to take will vary based upon the degree you wish to earn (associates, bachelor’s or master’s) as well as the training institution, there are several essential courses all programs must consist of. These include:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Policing in America
  • Punishment and Corrections
  • The American Court System
  • Theories of Crime
  • Crime Control Strategies
  • Crime Analysis
  • Criminal Law and Researching
  • Essentials in Criminal Justice Research

Faculty Members

Depending on the institution, its faculty members will either be excellent or “just good enough.” It’s essential that you fully research the faculty within any program, as it’s through these teacher’s you’ll receive your education. Higher quality faculty members equal a higher quality education. Make sure the criminal justice and criminology department within your college is focused on hiring working and established professionals as faculty members. The goal is to create a student-centered environment that’s supported by highly trained faculty members.

Ranking Among Other Colleges

This is perhaps the most important element to look for when looking for an educational program. While any school can claim their criminal justice degree program is the best, few can back up this claim. Because of this, it’s essential that you check the school’s rating against a third party rating organization, such as The Princeton Review. Before enrolling in any college, always perform your due-diligence. The last thing you want to deal with is realizing your training is from a non-respected institution. This can actually hinder your career opportunities. Contact your State Department of Education to gain a list of recommended criminal justice degree programs.

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The Role of Psychology in Criminal Justice Degree Programs


Those who are seeking a career within the criminal justice system will be faced with a host of specific issues. While these issues can vary, the majority of them is dealt with via psychology methods. In fact, psychology plays an integral role in almost every position within the criminal justice system. Therefore, if you’re interested in starting a career within this varied and complex industry, then you must understand how psychology influences decisions and outcomes. Moreover, it’s essential to ensure your coursework covers basic psychology topics and theories. Without a solid psychology curriculum, you’ll soon find yourself at a loss when interacting with offenders and other criminal justice professionals

The Role of Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology

Even those who are not interested in working as a forensic psychologist must ensure their degree program covers topics within this subject. In a fundamental sense, forensic psychology integrates psychological studies with established legal situations. Those who work with convicted offenders, law enforcement agencies or victims must understand how behavior influences the outcome of legal decisions and criminal activity. The level of forensic psychology coursework is determined by your degree concentration as well as the level of degree you wish to receive. For example, those seeking an associate degree in criminal justice may only have to take entry-level psychology courses, while those earning a bachelor’s degree may be required to undergo higher-level forensic psychology courses. Regardless, make sure you take at least one or two forensic psychology courses throughout your studies.

Criminal Psychology

If you’re interested in working directly with convicted offenders, then this level of psychological study is imperative. Criminal psychology is the study of criminal behavior. Throughout its course offerings, students delve into the mind of criminals to gain a batter understand how why and how they committed their crimes. If you desire a career as a probation officer, correctional institution officer, crime scene investigator or a police officer, this is an essential level of psychology training. Throughout this coursework, students typically research and evaluate case studies to gain a better understanding of criminal behavior and how external and internal influences alter their behavior.

Developmental Psychology

This level of coursework is essential for those who wish to work with juvenile offenders or those within the correctional system. In order to understand why a criminal chose his path, it’s essential to determine what levels of development were altered. Those working in the legal aspect of the criminal justice system must understand developmental psychology to help create regulations and laws to curb criminal behavior. Specific coursework within this umbrella topic include: adolescent crimes, the role of antisocial behavior, egocentrism and the impact prison systems have on the mental clarity and outlook of prisoners.

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