In some states, animal law enforcement professionals act in the capacity of peace officers to investigate incidences of animal cruelty. They can file charges and make arrests, but are also trained to provide care to abused or neglected animals. Some local and state agencies offer professional training courses for aspiring animal law enforcement professionals, while other agencies provide animal cruelty task forces within their existing police departments. Individuals who are interested in gaining a criminal justice background to prepare for a career as an animal law enforcement professional can enroll in a fully online bachelor's degree program in criminal justice.
Not all animal law enforcement professionals are required to have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. Some might go through police academy training programs, while others might complete undergraduate degrees in political science and join an animal law enforcement task force as a city council member or even a concerned citizen.
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Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice
Although most schools do not offer programs focused on animal law enforcement, an online bachelor's degree program in criminal justice can train students to be animal cruelty investigators. Criminal justice students learn about crime mapping and control, the U.S. court system, corrections, and the psychology of crime. Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice programs are available completely through distance learning with no on-campus requirements.
Program Information and Requirements
Although most assignments and quizzes can be completed individually and submitted online, some tests need qualified proctors. Schools may offer online tutoring. Students and instructors interact via e-mail or send messages through the course platform. Fellow students communicate via chatting and online message forums.
High-speed Internet access is recommended. Students' computers should have updated Web browsers and recent versions of operating systems. A DVD player is necessary for some classes. Some media players and plugins may have to be downloaded.
List of Common Criminal Justice Courses
General education courses for the bachelor's degree include social sciences, arts and humanities, science, and foreign language. Courses related to animal law enforcement include classes on the police force, criminal procedure, deviance, and punishment.
Criminology is the study of crime, including the causes, prevention, and societal factors of crime. Coursework also examines the effect of the criminal justice system on crime. During this course, students examine the theories behind juvenile delinquency, organized crime, and street crime.
Students learn how to search for, record, collect, and preserve physical evidence at a crime scene. Instructors outline methods for tracking sources of information, interviewing and interrogating. The course also covers leadership and management skills for investigations.
This class focuses on crime control policies in the U.S. based on crime causation and theories of criminal behavior. Students follow the effects of crime prevention strategies on the history and patterns of crime incidence.
Criminal justice graduates may be employed in animal law enforcement through local, state and federal agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), detectives and criminal investigators earned a mean annual salary of $79,620 in May 2015. According to PayScale.com, animal control workers earned between $15,286-$59,180, as of October 2016.
Though requirements vary by state, most animal law enforcement positions require applicants to have completed some amount of police academy training. Potential animal cruelty investigators can take academy training in animal control and animal law.
Students who finish their undergraduate degree in criminal justice can also progress to the graduate level online. Several schools offer a distance learning Master of Science in Criminal Justice program. Most animal law enforcement roles do not require graduate-level education.
Fully online bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice can help prepare students for careers in animal law enforcement, such as animal control workers, detectives or special investigators. Courses for this degree include criminology, crime control and criminal investigations.