If you’re interested in a public service career that involves protecting your community, you can get started in less than a year by earning a criminal justice certificate. And if you already work in criminal justice, you can continue your education and expand your job opportunities by earning a certification.
Certifications in criminal justice don’t take long to earn, and are easily obtained by taking courses at a university or college. And if you’re on a busy schedule, certifications in criminal justice are available through online college courses as well, so you can complete the program from home.
What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Certificate?
Certifications in criminal justice can open up an entire vista of job opportunities, in fields as wide-ranging as forensic science, private investigating, and security. With criminal justice certification, you can enhance your prospects for a variety of court, law enforcement, and criminal justice positions, including jobs as a court clerk, bailiff, parole officer, private investigator, victim advocate, border patrol agent, or criminal defense paralegal.
A criminal justice certificate program takes around 16 academic credit hours to complete. By contrast, it can take from two to four years to earn a criminal justice degree. Once you’ve completed the certification program, you’ll be awarded with a criminal justice certificate, which can improve your prospects of getting an entry-level job in law enforcement, security, or the justice industry.
One of the best things about certifications in criminal justice is that they allow you to learn about the field you’re thinking of entering. Once you’ve received your certificate and gotten an entry job, you can decide whether you want to pursue this as a career. If you do, then you can go on to get an associate’s degree, which will enable you to advance to a more skilled, higher-salaried position in your chosen criminal justice field.
Types of Criminal Justice Certificates
You can get a generalized, non-specific criminal justice certificate, or a certificate that specializes in a specific field relating to justice, courts, security, and corrections. Here’s a look at some of your options:
Criminal Justice Certification
Certifications in criminal justice are ideal for those who want certification that’s not limited to one specific field. Criminal justice certificate programs provide students with a general overview of the three main branches of criminal justice: law enforcement, court system, and corrections. Once you receive your certificate, you can start an entry-level justice job, or pursue an associate’s degree in a specialized subject.
Forensic Science Certification
Forensic science has become increasingly popular as a career choice, as technologies continue to advance this fascinating field. While many employers require forensic science applicants to have at least an associate’s degree, a forensic science certification may enable you to land an entry-level forensics position.
Security guards are an essential part of life in today’s world, and provide a valuable service in protecting lives and property. While certification programs aren’t required for a security guard position, they can help your job prospects when you’re applying. Plus, a security certificate can help you obtain the mandatory licensure that’s required for security guard work.
A security certificate program teaches students an overview of criminal justice, how to identify and resolve unsafe situations, and how to follow typical security job rules and regulations. Armed security officers may also receive additional training on how to operate their firearms.
There’s always a demand for corrections officers, who are employed to maintain security in prisons and other high-security compounds. Corrections offices ensure that prisoners stay in line and follow the rules of the institution.
Most employers require corrections officers to have a bachelor’s degree. If you wish, while you’re pursuing your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can simultaneously earn a corrections certificate as well.
Legal firms provide job opportunities to a variety of legal assistants, paralegals, and other types of employees. These staff members are able to assist the firm’s lawyers and their clients with a wide range of valuable services. By having legal certification, you’ll be better qualified for job opportunities that might open up in local and regional law firms.
With court certification, you’ll be able to take an entry-level job as an administrative or clerical employee, where you can assist judges and courtroom staff.
Law Enforcement Certification
With law enforcement certification, you can get the training you need for administrative work helping law enforcement officers. In addition, law enforcement certification can give you the training you need to become a peace office or a certified professional criminal investigator.
Is Criminal Justice Certification Right for You?
Getting criminal justice certification gives you the opportunity to find out if you really want a career in criminal justice. For example, if you’re interested in the law but not sure if you want to pursue a legal career, a paralegal assistant job might be ideal for you. Likewise, if you love courtroom drama, consider working as a certified municipal clerk or court reporter. Criminal justice certifications can help you achieve these goals and enter into these specialized fields. Likewise, a criminal justice certificate can give you the extra edge you need to win a job, especially if you live in a highly populated area with a lot of job applicants.
Although they don’t take long to get, certifications in criminal justice can open the door to a wide variety of exciting entry-level careers in criminal justice. And best of all, a criminal justice certificate gives you the option to enter a criminal justice profession and decide just how far you want to go. Once you’re there, you may decide to stay with your job, or you might decide to pursue an associate’s degree so you can advance to another level in your chosen field. Either way, certifications in criminal justice can give you the passport you need for a rewarding, lifelong career.