So you’re thinking of taking a criminal justice degree to start your career as a law enforcement officer, homeland security specialist, criminologist, FBI Agent, corrections officer, probations specialist or another related field. Are you wondering if until you start your exciting profession whether the training to get there will be a drag? Not so! As part of a criminal justice degree there are a plethora of intriguing courses that will whet your whistle before you are released into the real world. Many colleges and universities also bring the real world into the classroom by employing instructors who once patrolled the streets, worked in correctional facilities or worked in some other facet of the legal justice system. (You will often have the opportunity to partake in a hands-on practicum as well).
Here is an example of some of the cool classes you may find yourself taking as part of your degree in criminal justice:
Organized Crime: In this class, you will learn about historical and present day criminal organizations, from structured gangs to mob families. You will delve into their daily routines while also learning about law enforcement and legal strategies to combat them, while discussing possible new strategies.
Criminal Behavior: You will get inside the mind of criminals, from serial killers to young offenders, as part of this course. You will study what causes deviance and violence, exploring both genetic and environmental factors. Examining the possibility of and factors that go into rehabilitation is also a focus.
Criminal Investigation: This type of class goes into the importance of collecting and analyzing evidence and interviewing suspects or witnesses as part of both the investigative and legal courtroom stages. You will get to learn about procedures such as crime scene preservation, fingerprint analysis, forensic photography, interviewing techniques, courtroom testimonies and how to properly handle physical evidence.
Law Enforcement and Society: As part of this or a similar course, you and your fellow students will have the chance to learn about and openly discuss some interesting issues when it comes to policing. These include racial profiling, police presence in the community, what constitutes coercive force and cases of police corruption.
Terrorism: The Department of Homeland Security was created in early 2002 after the tragedy of 9/11 with an emphasis to protect the U.S. from the threat of domestic and international terrorists. In a homeland security or terrorism class, you will learn about this governmental department’s strategies and also about how various terrorist cells operate and how terrorism has had an impact on civil rights.