Criminal justice degree programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree level and may include hands-on training through internships. By completing one of these undergraduate programs, you'll be able to pursue entry-level positions such as probation officer or corrections case manager.
Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice
An associate's degree program in criminal justice will provide you with education on criminal psychology and behavior, juvenile justice and corrections. These programs may incorporate case management training, which can be a required job duty if you'll be working with offenders on a regular basis. Case management courses may teach you interaction skills for working with mentally ill individuals.
In a case management course, you'll learn to create a strategic plan for use in the rehabilitation of clients. Courses may emphasize court reports and violation summaries, writing and interviewing. Other courses may include:
- Criminology, psychology, cociology and victimology
- Criminal justice ethics
- Criminal law procedures
- Policing techniques
- Evidence processing
- Criminal justice communications
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice
If interested in criminal case management at the bachelor's degree level, you can find criminal justice degree programs with case management courses. Some case management courses may appear within a corrections specialization. These courses focus on victim advocacy, probation and parole. In addition to classroom instruction, hands-on training through an internship is often required. You can utilize internship opportunities to apply skills and knowledge acquired in classroom instruction to real criminal cases.
Bachelor's degree programs cover criminal behavior, criminal law theory and crime prevention. In case management courses, you'll study programs that prepare offenders to reenter communities. Other common courses include:
- Domestic violence
- Abnormal psychology
- Human relations, social research methods
- Parole and probation
- Human services case management
- Interviewing techniques, rehabilitative services
Popular Career Options
You'll be prepared for entry-level careers working with juvenile and adult offenders with mental disorders and other illnesses. Upon graduating from a criminal justice degree program, you may choose to pursue the following career options:
- Security guard
- Corrections officer
- Probation officer
Employment Information and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, including case managers, was expected to grow by 4%, between 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average. However, job growth is directly related to the amount of government funding provided to parole and probation systems. The median annual salary of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists as a group was $54,290, as of May 2019, reported the BLS.
If you're interested in pursuing leadership or research roles in the field of criminal justice, you can continue your studies through master's degree programs. Master's degree programs cover criminal theory, advanced research methods and criminal justice policy analysis.
Degrees in criminal justice, at the associate's and bachelor's levels, provide enrollees interested in criminal case management with the training necessary to navigate the criminal justice system. These programs can prepare students for careers as corrections and probation officers.