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Kick Starting a Career in Criminal Justice

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Do you watch Cold Case religiously? Do you love CSI in all its incarnations? Do you devour police procedural novels, like the ones by Ed McBain? Are you interested in a career that doesn’t always involve spending eight hours behind a desk? If you’re nodding in recognition, you may be ready to turn your passion into a new career in criminal justice and law enforcement. And a college degree in the field can help you achieve that goal.

Many job seekers are drawn to careers in criminal justice and law enforcement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, because those jobs offer attractive salaries and benefits. Plus, opportunities in the field are likely to grow quickly because of an increased emphasis on security in American society. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, criminal justice is a professional field poised for growth in the coming decade: Demand for Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers is expected to grow by 23.2%. In addition, overall demand for criminal justice professionals is expected to grow by 29.8% by 2010.

Although many careers in the criminal justice field, such as serving as a police officer, do not require a college degree, extra education can only improve a job seeker’s potential for finding a suitable position. In fact, “applicants with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should have the best opportunities,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Clearly, those who are serious about pursuing a career as a police officer, a fraud investigator or a probation officer would be well-served by earning a specialized college degree. But real-world responsibilities may mean that on-campus college classes just won’t fit into a busy schedule. That’s where Colorado Technical University Online comes in.

Colorado Tech Online offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and students can complete the entire degree program online in as little as 15 months,* assuming they already have an associate’s degree or the equivalent. Students with no previous college credit can complete the program in about two and a half years. The degree helps prepare students for careers in law enforcement, the courts or corrections.

At Colorado Tech Online, students study topics such as corrections solutions, law enforcement and the community, American criminal procedure, white-collar crime, and forensic behavior analysis. The professors who teach the classes have practical experience in the subjects they teach, and they are more than willing to share their firsthand knowledge with their online students. Just take it from Professor Chris Drew, former officer with the Port Authority of New York and the New Jersey Police Department: “Teaching is the best way for me to use what I learned in my years in the field. I’ve found I love to mentor, and the learning format at Colorado Tech Online is set up perfectly for it. The chats are student-friendly and very helpful, and the curriculum and assignments are based in the real world.”

Professor Chris Marco is also always glad to share the “war stories” he’s accumulated during his time as a U.S. Parole Officer in San Diego. “I’m always impressed by my students in these classes,” he says. “Having gone to school and worked full time myself, I understand how difficult it can be, but these students are truly excited and want to learn. They make teaching just as interesting as working as a parole officer.”

The curriculum is designed to keep students’ interest piqued. The criminal justice program involves more than simply sitting through a lecture, taking notes. “My students practice doing things I’ve already done and that they will be called upon to do in their real-life criminal justice careers,” says Drew.

And out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind. Students have plenty of interaction with their teachers, even though they may never meet face-to-face. Students participate in a variety of interactive activities, such as online chats and discussion boards.

“Having had both the traditional and now the online learning experience, I can say online students don’t miss out on anything,” says Colorado Tech Online criminal justice student Gail Chapman. “I interact more and stay in touch more with my online classmates than I ever did with the students I sat next to in the [community college] classrooms day after day. And I can’t even begin to compare the professors. At community college, never once did a professor hand out her home telephone number. At Colorado Tech Online, home numbers are the norm. The professors are there for you and let you know it. They really care.”

Upon completion of the program, Colorado Tech Online graduates are well-prepared to explore career opportunites in their chosen field. In addition to their bachelor’s degree, graduates earn four professional certificates that build the résumé and are attractive to potential employers: Corrections Technician, Crime Scene Investigation, Law Enforcement Skills, and Legal Studies and the Court Process.

With online classes at Colorado Tech Online, you can earn a criminal justice degree no matter how busy your schedule is. Colorado Tech Online can help you climb to the peak of your profession. Isn’t it time to stop watching those reruns of Law & Order: SVU and start working toward a career you’ll love?

About the Author

Alexa K. Apallas is a writer for http://www.searchforclasses.com To read other related articles please visit the site or join our newsletter at http://www.searchforclasses.com/newsletter/


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