Criminal justice refers to the practices and system of law enforcement that is put in place with the purpose of maintaining social control and peace by deterring criminals and punishing those who violate the law. An efficient and effective criminal justice system is an essential component of a fair and peaceful society. If you want to play a role in criminal justice, you should consider acquiring formal education in the discipline.
Earning a criminal justice certificate online is an option not only for those who are considering entering the field, but also prove useful for those who want to progress their career or make a career shift. There are many benefits associated with pursuing an online program. They are equally rigorous in terms of curriculum, but are relatively cost effective and enable you to study within the comfort and convenience of your home. Moreover, online certification is ideal for working individuals who want to continue managing their professional responsibilities alongside their education. The cost and duration of the certificate varies across institutes, but you will generally be able to complete the certificate in a few months. Before you register for a certificate program, some institutes allow you to take a sample session, so that you are in a better position to evaluate the merits of the program and reach the right decision. When choosing a certificate program, make sure that the school which you are applying has received accreditation from a body which is recognized by the Department of Education. You should also take into account the history and reputation of the school, and the credentials of the faculty and alumni network.
Although the titles and types of courses generally varies depending on the institute that you are enrolled in, you will typically be required to complete a certain number of credit hours by taking a combination of core and elective courses. Examples of these courses may include:
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Criminal Law & Evidence
Theories of Crime
Most of these programs are designed to ensure that students are able to develop a sound knowledge in criminology, law enforcement, investigation, and community relations. For students who would like to gain more specific knowledge, some institutes also offer specialized certificates in criminal justice. These may include Corrections Certificate, Management and Supervision Certificate in Criminal Justice, Crime Scene Technician Certificate, and Private Security Certificate.
The job that you may end up getting will depend on a number of factors like education, work experience, and personal characteristics. However, criminal justice professionals usually serve in areas of public service. They may acquire positions in local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, not-for profit organizations, private sector investigations, loss prevention investigation, and private security. They may work as case analysts, correction officers, probation and parole officers, or juvenile supervisors.
Some students may decide to advance their education in the discipline and go on to pursue an associate, bachelor, or master's degree in criminal justice or related area. All these degrees may be pursued in traditional class room settings or as distance learning courses through online education.