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5 Jobs You Wouldn't Expect with a Criminal Justice Degree

Updated on January 7, 2014
A criminal justice degree can lead to a career as a juvenile court counselor
A criminal justice degree can lead to a career as a juvenile court counselor

Criminal justice majors pursuing a bachelor’s degree take many courses that help to prepare them for the workforce in a number of law enforcement and law-related fields. In addition to general education credits, students pursuing a bachelor degree in criminal justice take courses that include criminal statistics, criminal law, ethics in criminal justice, report writing, corrections systems, and community policing. These courses are common across a variety of criminal justice majors and specializations.

In addition to the courses one would typically associate with a criminal justice program in a bachelors program, majors in this field of study also take a variety of diverse courses that prepare them to work in positions that are not commonly associated with graduates with a bachelor degree in criminal justice. For example, students complete coursework in juvenile justice and corrections, rehabilitation methods, fraud and cyber security investigation, forensic psychology, abnormal psychology, and crisis intervention.

Juvenile Court Counselor

In this position, when a juvenile commits a crime, a juvenile court counselor investigates and prepares reports about the perpetrator and their background. Some of the issues a counselor will attempt to pinpoint are:

  • Previous offenses
  • Family background
  • Medical history
  • Psychological evaluations and
  • Social barriers

The juvenile court counselor then prepares a recommendation to the court for an appropriate sentence or course of rehabilitation for the individual juvenile. In most criminal justice programs, students gain a significant background in juvenile justice, child development, and child advocacy.

Community Outreach Advocate

Community outreach advocates are employed by a number of different organizations, including:

  • Non-profit agencies such as the American Red Cross
  • School districts
  • Police departments and
  • State agencies

Many community outreach workers coordinate programs and events in conjunction with several other agencies and businesses throughout a community. These advocates are responsible for working collaboratively with organizations throughout a community in order to best create action and intervention plans for a number of social issues. These issues might include economic challenges, educational barriers, drug intervention, mental health support, and housing assistance.

Community College Faculty

At many community colleges, the minimum requirement for adjunct or part-time faculty is a bachelor’s degree in a related field. For graduates of a criminal justice bachelors program and some work experience, this is an option that is not always considered. Adjunct faculty at community colleges facilitate various courses in criminal justice, usually at the beginning and intermediate levels. Instructors will also participate in campus activities, work with administration and other faculty for curriculum development, and work with students to help them successfully complete an associate’s degree or certificate program at a community college.

Postal Service Investigation

Criminal justice majors are trained in a number of fraud and investigative procedures, qualifying graduates to work in a number of positions that require these skills. One investigative position not often associated with a criminal justice background or well-known as a career possibility is the postal service investigator. As a federal employee, these investigators are responsible for identifying a number of fraud situations in the United States Postal Service. Postal service investigators:

  • Scan and check packages for contraband
  • Attempt to identify financial and security scams that utilize the postal service and
  • Handle the safety and security of all postal service operations

Social Worker

Social and behavioral science courses are a major component of many bachelor level degree programs for criminal justice. The close relationship between these two fields necessitates a sound understanding of a number of different issues related to both areas of study. Criminal justice majors often complete a degree with anywhere from 18 to 36 credits in this area, qualifying them to hold positions in social work. These courses might include:

  • Human behavior
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Rural and urban sociology
  • Cross-cultural psychology
  • Sociology of the family and
  • Modern society

Social workers are employed by a number of different agencies and work with individuals and families to help with financial difficulties, physical and mental health issues, and other barriers to well-being.

Criminal Justice Graduates

A criminal justice degree prepares graduates for many types of careers. In this program, the diverse core of courses create a well-rounded professional who is able to communicate effectively, handle difficult policing and counseling issues, and community and individual advocacy. With the development of critical thinking, persuasive techniques, negotiation skills, and active listening techniques, criminal justice graduates are ready for traditional and non-traditional career paths related to this field.


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