Should I continue my major in Criminal Justice or switch to Accounting or Finance?
Here's the story. I am only 13 credits away from earning a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice Administration. I have found that it's very hard to find jobs that would accept this degree/major. I am very concerned now, because I don't want to earn a degree that will not help me land a job. I honestly do not want to work as a police officer, security guard, private investigator, ect. I had an idea that after I am done with my B.S. degree that I would go to graduate school and get an MBA. The thing is that I don't know if that's such a good idea. Would having a B.S. degree in criminal justice and MBA make me look weird in the eyes of prospective employers? I need to work while getting my MBA and it looks like I will have a hard time finding a well paying job with a criminal justice major. So, now I am thinking if I should just change my B.S. major from criminal justice to Accounting or Finance. I am almost done with my criminal justice major, and changing the major will push me back a lot. I found that I could take exams, such as CLEP or department exams to exit out of courses and earn credit without taking the class, but i would have to really study, and I never took business classes before. I'm just worried if I'll be making a mistake if i change or if i continue with my criminal justice major. Does anyone have any advice? Anyone who majored in Accounting or Finance and can give input if I should change to a business degree? I will appreciate any help. Thanks!
Do you need a criminal justice degree to be a police officer?
No. In fact, I don't recommend that degree to anyone considering a law enforcement career. Most of my coworkers in law enforcement who had bachelor's degrees did not get them in criminal justice. I read some of the textbooks from that major in my free time to see if I should add it as a minor or a second bachelor's degree while I was working for a university where I got a great tuition and fees break as part of the employee benefits package. I did not invest my time in pursuing course credits. I learned more useful and current information by going to advanced training courses as continuing education after I was a police officer.Ask yourself what you can do with that degree if an injury or something else changes your career plans and nothing in law enforcement is a possibility. It happens. In addition, many people retire or otherwise leave law enforcement before reaching full retirement age. A person who has a degree in another field that provides additional skills and opportunities likely has an advantage in job hunting should they need to work in a new career for many years.There is nothing wrong with taking some classes from the criminal justice degree program as electives ot even doing a minor or a dual degree. However, college has gotten much more expensive in recent years. Getting a degree that will not provide a significant advantage in getting hired in law enforcement and little to no advantage in other career fields just seems like a poor use of one's time and money in my estimation. An academy will teach you what is necessary for the basic policing and other law enforcement training courses and specialized schools will flesh that out further once you know better what interests you within the field.In contrast, a degree in English or journalism can be a real aid in producing good work as a patrol officer when quality paperwork and an eye for detail can build solid cases that rarely have to go to trial. Spotting issues, gathering information and many other skills from journalism overlap with police work and as I discovered later, with being an attorney. Having a degree in something like chemistry can lead to other opportunities in law enforcement that are open to few people. I went through my state academy with a lady who was hired directly after college into the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations as an agent because of her chemistry degree.
Past a bachelor's in criminal justice, what more will I need to become an FBI special agent?
In addition to the other excellent answers here, I'll add that criminal justice is probably not your best choice for an academic major if your career goal is with the FBI. Criminal justice is not among academia's more challenging majors (and this is coming from a former criminal justice professor). The rigor of a CJ program varies with the school where it's offered, but it seldom includes the amount of reading, writing, and critical thinking that many other majors require. Law schools will accept just about any accredited bachelor's degree as a prerequisite, but they're more likely to be persuaded by good grades in a field like political science, philosophy, English literature, or history, as opposed to criminal justice. There's not a lot of heavy reading in a CJ program, and even less complex writing.CJ programs are great for people preparing for generalist law enforcement careers, such as in a police or sheriff's department. Most of these require only a high school diploma, but most high school graduates have inferior reading and writing skills, which are critical in police work. Criminal justice programs offered by most colleges improve on those critical skills while studying job-specific areas like case law, criminology, and investigative principles. The FBI doesn't necessarily have the best crimefighters in the industry. Local cops see a lot more action, make more arrests, and work more cases than a typical FBI agent does. FBI agents tend to work more complex cases that may take years to resolve. Some of them may go years between arrests, and FBI shootouts are even more rare. They do require the ability to sift through and make sense of large volumes of information, which is where the more rigorous academic preparation comes in. The competition for FBI special agent positions is fierce, and without some uncommon qualifications and preparation for the job, you won't even get an interview. Consider a different program.
If you have criminal record, can you become a lawyer?
Yes, it is possible to become a lawyer with a criminal record, but keep in mind that you will have to disclose it and make your case to the bar association in your state or province.Because you will be under increased scrutiny when you apply for your licence, you might want to start preparing before you even attend law school. The types of things that the bar association will be looking at are the seriousness of the offence, the length of time since the offence, if you have been of good character since the offence occurred, and whether or not you are rehabilitated.You may also want to research the areas where you think you might want to practice. Some provinces or states may be more stringent than others. Also, what type of law do you want to practice? A record for fraud might bar you from a career in finance law, but may not be a major issue if you want to practice criminal law. You can simply call or email the bar association in your area to ask about its policies.A good way to prove you have been rehabilitated is to apply for a pardon or, if you are in Canada, a Record Suspension. This will seal your record, but you still will likely be required to disclose it to a bar association, because they will want to do a more thorough examination. However, when you have a pardon or Record Suspension, it means that the authorities have already done a thorough review and determined that you are rehabilitated. This will be taken into consideration by the bar association. As well, a Record Suspension seals your record for the purpose of applying to law school. Most schools will not ask about records for which a Record Suspension has been granted.While you are in university and law school, take advantage of all opportunities to improve your character. Volunteer, take on student leadership positions, find mentors among the faculty and keep your grades up. Anything you do to prove that you are a different person will help your application.If the bar authority wants to do an assessment and questions you about your record, be polite and take responsibility for what happened. Being defensive will not help your case.
Can I become a paralegal with a criminal justice degree?
A paralegal degree is definitely preferred but not required. However, you will need some form of education or experience. I recommend finding employment at a law office now as a legal secretary or something and gaining law office experience. That way, by the time you graduate, you will have a little experience and a bachelors degree which should be enough to land you a paralegal job. If not, you could go through a paralegal certification course after you get your bachelors.
What can I do with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology (job outlook, salary, etc.)?
No master's in Clinical Psychology - PhD! You cannot get licensed as clinical psychologist with less than PhD )or PsyD). There are master's programs in counseling, e.g. marriage & family counseling. But they are all glut on the market, lots of positions are only part-time, and most grads end up having to cobble together two or more P-T jobs. Your degree in CJ is not relevant, so even if you could get accepted somewhere with a strong minor in psych, you likely won't be able to keep up with classmates who are far better prepared. You really need to look at alternatives if you want to keep yourself in the Job Box despite US entering the Post-Jobs Era.