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  1. #1
    jenni22 is offline Registered User
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    what to do after bachelors in CJ?

    I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I'm currently enrolled at Kaplan and will get a bachelor's in criminal justice early next year. I would like to get another degree in a separate field but am not sure which direction to go in. I've looked at getting a degree in education , business, library science, and psychology . All of it interests me but I am having a difficult time deciding which one to go with. I have very minimal job experience and would like to pick something that will make me more employable. I also don't know what school to attend. Kaplan has been ok but it's very expensive. I appreciate any suggestions anyone may have.

    Jen

  2. #2
    japhy4529 is offline House Bassist
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    Re: what to do after bachelors in CJ?

    Originally posted by jenni22
    I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I'm currently enrolled at Kaplan and will get a bachelor's in criminal justice early next year. I would like to get another degree in a separate field but am not sure which direction to go in. I've looked at getting a degree in education , business, library science, and psychology . All of it interests me but I am having a difficult time deciding which one to go with. I have very minimal job experience and would like to pick something that will make me more employable. I also don't know what school to attend. Kaplan has been ok but it's very expensive. I appreciate any suggestions anyone may have.

    Jen
    Jen,

    Are you planning to complete a 2nd Bachelor's degree, or move on to Graduate School? I would recommend the later.

    If you wish to complete a Master's in a short amount of time, you may want to check out National University. I am presently enrolled in their online BA Psychology program. Many of the Master's degrees at National can be completed in approximately ONE YEAR. Not too shabby! You take one course at a time, and most courses are 4 weeks long. The school is regionally accredited and based out of California. All of the online programs may be completed 100% online. They offer both Psychology and Education degrees at both the undergrad and graduate levels. At $1044/course, the school is on the expensive side.

    http://www.nu.edu - National Univ. Home Page

    http://www.nu.edu/Academics/OnlineEd...esandProg.html - National Univ. Online degree offerings

    Another school worth looking into is Peru State College. Peru is also a Regionally Accredited school located in Nebraska. They offer a number of Bachelor's Degrees online, including Psychology and Business. Also offered is a Master's degree in Education .

    The best part about Peru is the price - only $114/credit ($342/course). Yes, you read that correctly!

    http://www.peru.edu - Peru State College Home Page
    http://www.hpcnet.org/peru/onlineeducation - Peru Online Education page.


    Before you select a program, be sure that it will meet your needs, both scholastically and for future employment opportunities. All of the areas you mentioned above have certification and/or accrediting bodies associated with them.


    Good luck!

    - Tom
    Last edited by japhy4529; 11-07-2005 at 08:32 AM.
    Tom
    B.S., Behavioral Science - Bellevue University 2010
    A.S., Liberal Studies - Excelsior College 2009

  3. #3
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    Jen, the most important question is, what are your career goals? Are you looking for a career in the CJ field, or does something else interest you?
    --
    Bruce Tait
    A.S. (Criminal Justice) Quincy College
    B.A. (Criminal Justice) Curry College
    M.A. (Criminal Justice) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    M.A. (Forensic Psychology) Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology



    RA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/16/08

    NA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/20/08

  4. #4
    jenni22 is offline Registered User
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    Tom,
    Thank you very much for the information. I will look into both of the schools you mentioned. There are so many choices, it's hard to decide.

    Jen

  5. #5
    jenni22 is offline Registered User
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    Bruce,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer my post. I am very interested in the criminal justice field but don't know what my career options are. It seems that a good portion of the jobs available in the CJ field are in prisons. I'm not sure I could handle that. Teaching is appealing too. I thought about combining the two fields and maybe teaching CJ classes. Are there specific certifications that a program should have in order for me to teach in this state? Another area I thought about was working in a cybercrime unit. I think I'd need a degree in computer science for that. I basically just want another degree to fall back on in case I don't have luck with finding a job in the CJ field. I have gotten more information from this site in one day than I have from my academic advisor.

    Jen

  6. #6
    DesElms is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by jenni22
    I am very interested in the criminal justice field but don't know what my career options are. It seems that a good portion of the jobs available in the CJ field are in prisons.
    Oh, my... that's just one tiny piece of it.

    There's being a police officer , of course... or working for a police department in a non-sworn position (dispatch, intake, etc.).

    There's working for a prosecutor's office in a support position (administration, victim-witness, etc.). Or you could slap a private investigator's diploma atop your CJ bachelors and then see if you can become a badge-carrying (sometimes even gun- and handcuff-carrying, depending on the county/state) prosecutors office investigator (which, sadly, is sometimes a highly political position so may not be as accessible as I'm making it sound).

    There's also working for a county's probation department... either as an officer or as one of the staff that puts together pre-sentencing reports. Or as a parole officer ... who, in some states, also get to carry badges, cuffs and guns.

    There's working for the public defender's office in any of a number of administrative/support positions... or as a sworn investigator (that is... in the states that have enough money to even be able to pay for such positions).

    There's also working for any number of federal agencies -- immigration, customs, etc.

    Just expand your viewpoint a little and think through the criminal justice process, just generally, and look at all the departments or agencies that are involved from arrest, through trial, then (if convicted) sentencing, then prison (or alternative forms of incarceration or pseudo-incarceration), then release from prison and helping the prisoner get back on his/her feet, etc.... at both the state and the federa level. CJ degrees help prepare one for a huge number of positions! Don't limit yourself.

    Or you could be a paralegal. I mean, you'd probably first need to go through a paralegal training program of some kind, but those don't have to be expensive... or even terribly time consuming. You should be able to knock one out in less than a year if you're motivated. There are several such programs that are fully distance learning, fully accredited, and cost well under $1,000; and they easily satisfy many states' paralegal training requirements. California, for example, requires only that the paralegal program include 28 (or is it only 24... can't remember without going and looking it up) semester hours of coursework that's directly related to the law and/or the practical aspects of being a paralegal . That, and your CJ degree, would make you a bang-up paralegal in many criminal defense law offices... especially if you get good at the litigation aspects! And if you think being a paralegal can't pay well (often it doesn't, mind you, but sometimes it pays huge), just look at the pay being offered for some of the paralegal positions on Craigslist, just to name one place where such positions are listed.

    Originally posted by jenni22
    Teaching is appealing too. I thought about combining the two fields and maybe teaching CJ classes. Are there specific certifications that a program should have in order for me to teach in this state?
    Most states -- or the accreditor, depending on whose standards it is by which one is going -- require at least a masters; and that said masters must include a dead minimum of 18 semester hours of coursework specifically in the subject being taught. To find out what your state requires of its teachers (at the secondary level), or what most universities require of their instructors and profs (at the postsecondary level), you'd really need to ask said state's department of education and/or the colleges/universities themselves. There's no national standard, really.

    Originally posted by jenni22
    Another area I thought about was working in a cybercrime unit. I think I'd need a degree in computer science for that.
    Cybercrime investigatory procedures and departmental methodology is still evolving. In some law enforcement agencies it's its own department/division; and in others it's merely part of the department where all the other criminologists are (the department depicted in the TV program "CSI "). In still other law enforcement agencies, it's just one of the detectives who bothered to take some classes. It just depends.

    In any case, you'd be looking for a degree or certificate that, most likely, calls itself "computer forensics" or something of that nature. You may see an example of just such a certificate by clicking here. The problem with getting such a certificate is that most of them, as in the case of the one to which I just referred you, require a computer background so that the forensics certificate can just concentrate on the forensics, and not computer basics. So, yes, your gut feeling that you'd need some kind of computer science degree (or at least some kind of IT degree) first is more or less correct. That said, there are some certificate programs out there that first teach all the needed computer basics and then cover all the forensics. They're out there, but are just hard to find. You might start by plugging the following search text string, exactly as it appears (including all spacing, capitalization, quotes, etc.) into the Google search box:
    • +"cyber crime" OR "computer forensics" +certificate OR degree +distance OR online site:.edu
    You might find something that interests you.

    Originally posted by jenni22
    I basically just want another degree to fall back on in case I don't have luck with finding a job in the CJ field.
    Then Bruce's question is more relevant than ever. On what, precisely, would you like to fall back on if CJ doesn't work out? What interests you? Does whatever insterest you easily co-exist with CJ? For example, if psychology interests you, that's compatible with CJ and, in fact, a masters degree in psychology sitting atop a bachelors in CJ would probably qualify you to be a parole or probation officer in most states... just as but one example of what I'm talking about. Think creatively!

    Hope that helps.
    Gregg L. DesElms
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