The field of criminal justice has fast become a services industry in the US in recent years. The system of courts and corrections is ever expanding and requires numbers of dedicated and career oriented professionals in every aspect of criminal justice from corrections to process serving. The criminal justice system in North America consists of law enforcement, policing, courts and corrections. An education in criminal justice can lead prospective graduates and trainees the opportunity to begin careers in every area from crime scene investigation to federal intelligence.
Now-a-days, while global recession ravages economies all over the world, professionals in the criminal justice industry are stretched to the limit due to the need for manpower. Such professionals find it difficult to further their careers by improving their education and skills profiles for the fact that there is simply no time or money available to most people to be able to. The same is true for most professionals in other industries who wish to enter the criminal justice system (only as workers!). Online criminal justice education (online criminology courses and online probate courses etc) provides people in any field the opportunity to receive criminal justice training online, at their own convenience, requiring lower fees, less time and no classroom hassle.
Although the opportunities available to individuals may vary with their education and experience, the most lucrative areas in criminal justice are criminology (which is also the most extensive and difficult to study), probation, and correctional service (in 2006, 90% workers from these areas earned more than $30,000 annually while at least 50% earn between $35,000 to $56,000 1). Specialists in criminology can potentially earn several times more.
Criminology includes the study of incidence and forms of crime as well as its causes and consequences. These also include social and governmental regulations and reactions to crime 2. Education in criminology includes certifications as well as degrees at any level from undergraduate to doctorate (indeed many institutions offering online Criminal Justice education even offer a PhD in criminology).
There are many institutions that offer criminology education. Make sure to choose one which provides an accredited certificate or degree at the end of the course. Accreditation information is usually provided along with course description. The modes of study and delivery of instruction also varies, with most institutions offering blended/ optional-blended programs (the students choose lectures, videos or slides and can alternatively attend classes).
The following are only some of the categories of study in criminology:
Crime, Justice and Punishment
This is the study of the structure and process of the criminal justice system. The study imparts understanding of how courts balance competing interests and how penalties and punishments are shaped.
Community Crime Prevention
This is a study on how crime occurs and is prevented in communities. This study involves identifying crime, formulation strategies for prevention, implementing and finally evaluating the outcome.
This is study of victims and their relationship with society and how it is affected due to crime.
Drugs and crimes – everyday Life
This is the study of the criminal abuse of drugs and alcohol, the reasons and the factors important for prevention.
Gangs and Crime
This is a study of gang mentality and violence in gang behavior. The study includes focus on youth subcultures (street gangs), organized crime and terrorism.