Did you know the average annual cost per prisoner is nearly $29,000? Can you estimate the increase in state general fund spending on corrections? More than 300 percent in two decades, according to a 2009 Pew Center on the States report. With these rising numbers and costs, some are suggesting alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders. By pursuing bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, you can join this debate and help find solutions.
Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice
Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice give you four years to investigate matters of the law and society, which can help prepare you for a career and make you a more informed citizen. Criminal justice courses allow you to contemplate these and other pertinent questions:
- How does the threat of terrorism affect our society and justice system?
- How should the system deal with juvenile criminals?
- Should drug offenders be incarcerated or rehabilitated, or both?
You will study all aspects of the law -- including criminology, ethics and juvenile law -- and learn how law enforcement agencies are organized. Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice take an interdisciplinary approach, meaning your studies include courses from other disciplines, such as English, psychology and sociology. You may be able to choose a specialization such as computer information security or homeland security.
Criminal justice career options, outlook and salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects faster than average job growth for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists. The BLS reports the following 2010 mean salaries and anticipated 2010-2020 growth for various criminal justice occupations:
- Correctional officers and jailers: $42,780; 5.2 percent
- Detectives and criminal investigators: $73,010; 2.9 percent
- Police and sheriff patrol officers: $55,620; 8.2 percent
- Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists: $51,240; 18.4 percent
Although a college education is generally not required to become a police officer, the BLS notes that some departments require a degree. Either way, increasing numbers of police officers are college graduates, notes the BLS. And to become a probation officer, correctional treatment specialist, Federal law enforcement agent or similar professional, you need a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice can also serve toward entry into law school or other graduate programs.
Did you know that in 2009 juvenile crime arrests hit the lowest rate in 30 years? Bachelor's degrees in criminal science immerse you in these matters and can help you find an exciting career serving society.