How many of us have the luxury of spending four or more years earning a degree that won’t give a good return on the time and money invested? Sure, it might end up being a workable option to earn a degree in something that might be “marginally marketable” such as criminal justice, but when your plan is to combine that with either another bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in something like computer science, your chances at getting into a good career are significantly better.
Interview with Lauren Manzi, Computer Science Major, Gwynedd Mercy University
If recent studies are correct, new college graduates with criminal justice degrees are unemployed to the tune of only about seven percent. That’s good in the general scheme of things, but when you add into that the option of improving your chances of getting a job or getting into a field of criminal justice that is a slant towards technology or something similar, a degree in computer science might be just the ticket.
Interview with Jon Zbikowski, Computer Science Major, Bloomsburg University
The list of jobs that are available to criminal justice majors is practically endless, and as long as the trends in crime continue as they are, there should be no trouble getting into the field for years to come. And although it is true that many police officers don’t have college degrees, many do, and as police officers grow into their profession, many attribute their career growth to their education. (See http://education.yahoo.net/articles/degrees_that_are_a_waste.htm.)
Besides police officers, who might be considered the most visible of those in the criminal justice system, there are countless individuals who work behind the scenes to keep the system working, and busy. There are dispatchers, clerks, criminologists, and many more and many more on different levels such as not only the local bureaus, but state and federal as well.
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Fortunately, improving your chances of getting a good job in the criminal justice system starts out well with just that degree. What happens if instead of ending up a generalist you want to work specifically in computer science? The truth is, computer science is such a wide field, even within the criminal justice system, that your chances of getting a job in that are just due to your own interest is probably pretty good, but when you have another degree–or are even just working on it–your chances of convincing someone to give you a job are significantly better.
You should also consider the fact that even within the computer science field inside criminal justice, there are countless areas of specialization. These include data analysts, systems integrators, and many more. As a result, wherever your interest may lie, the criminal justice system will have something that will make a great career waiting for you. (See http://www.realpolice.net/articles/criminal-justice-info/benefits.html.)
Wrapping It Up With a Degree
There was a time when certain fields needed no degree to enter. Criminal justice was one of them. As a result, there are still large numbers of people in this field who still have no degree, but just as is the case with many other areas, those who do have degrees will consistently find themselves in a better position for jobs when they come about or when an entirely new field opens up. You can go a long way towards earning those cherished spots with degrees or combinations of degrees that will make you a prize pick when the jobs come open.