Here’s a list of jobs in the criminal justice, law enforcement, and legal fields. Learn a little about what each job entails and what type of education is needed for an entry level position in each career.
Jobs In Protective Services
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs - Corrections officers oversee inmates who are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time. Often working alongside corrections officers are bailiffs, They serve as officers of order in the courtroom. To become a correctional officer or bailiff, you’ll need your high school diploma or GED equivalent and to be 18-21 years old. Age requirements do vary by state. To apply for a job with a federal agency, you may be required to complete college courses.
Fire Inspectors - The job of fire inspector can include tasks like searching for fire hazards, ensuring compliance with fire codes, reviewing the emergency evacuation plans of buildings and testing fire alarms, sprinklers, and other fire protection devices. Employers may prefer candidates with a degree in fire science, chemistry, or engineering.
Police and Detectives - When working as a police officer or detective, part of your job will be responding to emergency calls, patrolling the town, conducting traffic stops, and obtaining warrants and arresting suspects. These pros also write reports and keep records for use in court. Federal agencies and some police departments require college courses to get an entry level position. Many community colleges, trade schools, and four year colleges offer these types of programs. Types of jobs in this area of criminal justice include criminal investigators, fish and game wardens, sheriff's patrol officers, and railroad police.
Private Detectives and Investigators - A private investigation job can include conducting interviews, searching online, public, and court records, conducting surveillance, and collecting evidence. Education requirements can be anything between a high school diploma to a college degree; it depends on the employer.
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers - Security guards protect and enforce the rules of the property they are employed by. Gaming surveillance officers act as security guards at casinos. A high school diploma is required to become a security guard or gaming officer, though a gaming officer may also need experience with video surveillance technology.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists - These professionals help with the rehabilitation of law offenders in custody, on probation, or on parole. A bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, or behavioral sciences is normally required, though qualifications to become a probation officer do vary by state or jurisdiction.
A criminal justice program taken at a local trade school or through an online college is a good way to begin training for most careers in the protective services.
Jobs In The Legal Field
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators - People working in these professions facilitate negotiations and dialogue between disputing parties and help resolve conflicts outside of the court system. Jobs in this field may require a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, or a master’s in business administration.
Court Reporters - They attend trials, depositions, hearings, proceedings, and other events that require word-for-word written transcripts. They may also note the speakers’ identification, gestures, and actions. Oftentimes, trade schools, community, and technical colleges offer post secondary certificate programs for court reporters.
Judges and Hearing Officers - Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts. To become a judge or a hearing officer you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, but generally you need a degree in law and experience as a lawyer.
Lawyers - Lawyers represent clients in courts, in front of government agencies, and in private legal matters. They conduct research and analyze legal problems. To become a lawyer, 4 years of undergraduate study, plus 3 years of law school, is generally required.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants - Paralegals and legal assistants execute tasks in support of lawyers. They maintain and organize files, conduct legal research, and draft documents. To get a job as a paralegal you’ll need an associate degree in paralegal studies. A bachelor's degree in another field plus a certificate in paralegal studies may also suffice. Find a paralegal program near you or online.
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