Career Options for Jobs that Involve Writing and Criminal Justice
The criminal justice field includes a wide range of jobs, some of which focus on investigating crimes and trying to determine how to prevent them. Other criminal justice careers involve collecting evidence and arresting suspects. Many of these professionals require strong writing skills to produce reports and articles that involve legal research, rulings or documenting a criminal investigation. There are also writing jobs that involve criminal investigations, reporting or crime fiction.
|Job Title||Median Salary* (2016)||Growth* (2014-2024)|
|Criminologist||$79,750||-1% (for sociologists)|
|Postsecondary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teacher||$59,590||21%|
|Police Officer and Detective||$59,680||4%|
|Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist||$50,160||4%|
|Journalist||$37,820 (for reporters and correspondents)||-8%|
|Crime Author||$61,240||2% (for writers and authors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Career Information for Jobs that Involve Writing and Criminal Justice
Criminologists, who are categorized generally as sociologists, are responsible for researching information about why crimes are committed and how they affect society. A degree in criminology, sociology or psychology is usually needed to become a criminologist, although employers may prefer applicants with a master's degree. Criminologists write about their research and their findings, and many work for local, federal or state law enforcement agencies.
Postsecondary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teacher
Those who are interested in a career in criminal justice and law enforcement must pursue postsecondary studies, where they learn from informed instructors with extensive knowledge about these fields. These teachers write lesson plans, teach classes and grade the performance of their students. Postsecondary instructors may also be involved in writing research articles and papers. They usually need a doctoral degree in their field, although they may be able to find a postsecondary teaching position with a master's degree.
With an associate's degree, it's possible to pursue a career as a paralegal. Paralegals usually work for lawyers or government agencies, and one of their primary tasks is drafting legal documents. Criminal law paralegals work directly in the field of criminal justice, and they need excellent written communication skills to work in their career field.
Police Officer and Detective
Police officers and detectives perform a wide range of tasks; they may be actively involved in an investigation of a crime, or they may be responsible for other tasks such as ticketing speeders or traffic law violators. No matter what tasks they're assigned, they are responsible for writing reports. Due to the number of forms and reports police officers and detectives must complete, their work involves a lot of writing about their daily duties. Some police officers and detectives can work with a high school diploma or college degree, although most must complete academy training.
Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist
A bachelor's degree is normally needed to work as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist; on-the-job training is usually required as well. These professionals focus on working with criminals after they are released from prison, monitoring their behavior and helping them prepare for life in society. As part of their duties they are responsible for writing regular reports.
Judges need a law degree and usually have prior experience gained from working as a lawyer. They use their knowledge of the law as they listen to testimony, evaluate evidence, and read reports, motions and legal arguments. They are highly trained legal professionals who must also have strong writing skills, because their duties include writing instructions and rulings. They may also document opinions relevant to the cases they're hearing.
Journalists work for news sites, newspapers or news blogs investigating topics and writing stories for the media. They usually need a bachelor's degree in journalism or English, or another relevant subject area such as communications. Journalists may specialize and focus on reporting about local, national or international crimes.
A degree in English, communications or another relevant subject area, such as criminology, will prepare individuals to pursue a career as a crime author. Crime authors may write fictional stories that involve crimes, or they may write books about crimes that actually occurred. Those authors are known as true crime authors. Their work involves research and writing, and they may benefit from knowledge about law enforcement, police procedure and the judicial system.