5 Reasons to Pursue Your Criminal Justice Degree

criminal justice

Pop culture is obsessed with crime fighters. Comic book superheroes, brainy British sleuths, tech-savvy forensic teams, and assorted other crusaders for justice all work tirelessly to protect the innocent and ensnare the guilty. If you’re interested in being a part of the exciting world of crime-fighting, you may want to consider a degree in criminal justice. Ashford University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice that can prepare you for professional careers in the criminal justice field.

It is possible to pursue a career in some areas of criminal justice without a college degree—but your career growth may be limited without higher education. A college degree and the skills and knowledge acquired through your studies will set you up for many additional criminal justice careers.

“Any student graduating with a degree in the undergraduate or Master of Science in Criminal Justice program could work in nearly any capacity within the criminal justice field,” said Dr. Wendy Hicks, Program Chair for Ashford’s MS in Criminal Justice program. “A career with local, state, or federal law enforcement would be a possibility. Continuing on to seek a PhD would also be a possibility.”

Dr. Hicks does caution that there is one branch of criminal justice that might require additional education. “Our program does not provide the necessary background in the hard sciences or forensic science, for that matter, to entail work directly as a forensic specialist,” she explained. Nevertheless, Ashford’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers a specialization in Forensic Science that will give students a taste for forensics and help them decide if it’s a discipline they would be interested in pursuing professionally.

But forensic science is just one of the numerous topics students will learn about in the criminal justice degree programs. Designed to be multidisciplinary, the programs give students a broad overview of the criminal justice field.

“Criminal justice is a multifaceted discipline,” said Dr. Hicks. “It exists in a multidisciplinary environment, pulling information and skill sets from sociology, psychology, political science, literature, and science. A student who is able to function on a multidisciplinary level will be able to grow at a much faster rate and develop more promising career opportunities than one who is unable to function in such a manner.”

Another benefit of the multidisciplinary approach is that it gives students a chance to explore many different topics and discover new areas of interest. Such exploration can be valuable because it allows students to refine their personal goals and career paths.

“In my opinion, a student should pursue their interests,” Dr. Hicks explained. “Far too often in my career, I have encountered students who selected tracks of study based solely upon job prospects only to end up disappointed and frustrated. Often these students end up in jobs they dislike and end up unproductive and unhappy. If a student follows their interests, they will find avenues of inquiry that fulfill their intellectual and personal needs. They will tend to follow career paths that make them happy, resulting in a more rewarding career.”

That rewarding career may even be in a field outside of criminal justice. Ashford’s criminal justice degrees prepare students for success in many professions.

“Criminal justice teaches a variety of skills that can be valuable for any employer, not just within the criminal justice sector,” said Dr. Hicks. “Students learn the ability to critically think. They learn the ability to synthesize information. And those skills should transfer to any employment opportunity.”

Of course, the most compelling reason to pursue a degree in criminal justice is the chance it gives you to serve the greater good. You may not be a superhero, but a criminal justice degree can set you up to be a force of good in your community.

Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed this program, and other important information, please visithttp://www.ashford.edu/pd/omscj.

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