Available at both the undergraduate and graduate level, criminal justice certificate programs can help you to increase your knowledge of the criminal justice system and build cutting-edge skills in criminal forensics, cyber crime or other specialties that are tailored to your career interests. A certificate provides students with expertise in criminal justice while proving to employers that they have invested time in improving their skill set. If you would like to take your career to the next level, learn more about the benefits of earning a criminal justice certification.
What Criminal Justice Certificate Programs Entail
Undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in criminal justice are offered at colleges and universities. The prerequisites for an undergraduate certificate are typically a high school diploma or GED. An undergraduate certificate can serve as a standalone credential, complement your undergraduate major or lay the foundation for post-baccalaureate study in criminal justice.
Graduate certificate programs cater to non-degree seeking students who have already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, as well as students working towards a graduate degree. At some institutions, the credits from a graduate certificate may be directly transferrable towards a criminal justice master’s degree. Certificates also help to advance the careers of those already working in the criminal justice field by enabling them to specialize in a certain area, such as criminal justice management, law enforcement or courts and the law.
Criminal Justice Courses
Although varying from program to program, an undergraduate certificate might consist of approximately 20 credit hours, while a graduate certificate can consists of approximately 12 credit hours. Below are some of the courses that students may be required to take in a certificate program:
- History of the juvenile justice system
- Psychopathy and criminal profiling
- Criminal behavior and policing
- Sociology of law
- Deviance and social order
In addition to campus-based programs, online criminal justice certificate programs are available to those who work full-time and others with busy schedules. Students must complete all required courses with passing grades in order to earn a certificate.
Job Opportunities for Criminal Justice Certification Holders
Earning a certification in criminal justice can open doors to a wide range of careers. A certificate in the criminal justice field may prepare you for positions in policing, corrections, victim services, social services, parole and probation, private security, and more, as well as serve as a foundation for further academic study.
Although the criminal justice field can be competitive, especially at the federal level, employment opportunities are often better for those who have received postsecondary education. Salaries will vary by specialty and location. For example, in 2012, security guards earned a median annual salary of $23,970 and correctional officers and jailers earned $39,040, while probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned $48,190 and police and sheriff’s patrol officers earned $55,270.
Whether you are already working in the criminal justice field or you would like to change careers, a criminal justice certificate can help you reach your goals. From law enforcement and corrections to courts and probation, explore certificate programs in criminal justice now to start on the path to a rewarding career.