There are several types of degrees to consider within the framework of a law or criminal justice degree program. An undergraduate degree in criminal justice provide the educational background for a broad range of professions, and also serve as a foundation for continued studies. A criminal justice education targeted towards more advanced academic plans, including master and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs, require postgraduate work.
Are you the kind of person who loves Crime Scene Investigator shows like CSI and Criminal Minds? Can you crack the case before everyone else? If so, a career in legal investigation & forensics may be for you. Forensic science plays a key part in solving legal matters in many different fields and industries. A career in forensic science will be rewarding for individuals who are not easily squeamish and who have a strong interest in forensic science areas, such as crime scene investigation and examining the deceased.
Forensic science professionals use their knowledge and scientific methods to identify and analyze evidence in a variety of situations. Online forensic science degree programs provide students with a solid educational background with specialization in a specific area of forensic science. Students gain the essential skills to analyze physical evidence, document their findings, and provide expert conclusions. Students generally choose a focus area, but can often transition to different career paths.
Legal Investigation & Forensics Degrees
An undergraduate degree in forensic science opens the door to a variety of career options in many different areas. Many forensic science graduates will be able to pursue positions in government organizations, private laboratories, hospitals, investigation and security services, and crime laboratories. Students who decide to pursue advanced education will be prepared for higher level positions in many different fields such as academia and research.
Many accredited online colleges offer a variety of forensic science degree programs. Undergraduate forensic science degree programs provide students with the basic concepts of forensic science. Most undergraduate programs require general education courses in areas such as English, mathematics, science, composition, and humanities. Core curriculum usually includes courses covering the principles of forensic science, crime detection and investigation, law enforcement, human behavior, forensic science research methods, ethical issues, and statistics. Graduate degree programs focus on more in depth forensic study and research and prepare students for higher level positions.
Forensic science is a large field and students can choose from a variety of specialty areas to lead a meaningful career in a variety of fields. Specialties include forensic criminology, forensic pathology, forensic nursing, forensic botany, forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, forensic entomology, forensic chemistry/toxicology, forensic photography, forensic psychology, forensic serology, law, DNA analysis/molecular biology, homicide/crime scene investigation, and computer forensics. Students who are interested in a specific specialty should select a school that offers a strong program in that particular area.
Legal Investigation & Forensics Jobs
Employment outlook for forensic science professionals varies greatly on field, degree, and position. Employment of forensic science technicians is expected to increase much faster than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 31% and adding 4,000 new jobs (2). Forensic science technicians with 1 to 4 years experience earned annual salaries between $29,564 and $40,449 (3). Careers for forensic science degree graduates include Forensic Nurse and Medical Examiner.
A law degree is essential for individuals who wish to pursue a career in the vast field of law and dedicate themselves to the judiciary system. People who enjoy fast paced and stressful environments will find enjoyment in a career in the law field. Law professionals serve individuals and organizations and perform a variety of legal tasks. Graduates who decide to practice law and become lawyers must become licensed to practice by passing a bar examination.
Law degrees enable students to build a solid foundation in law practices and concepts that can be used in a variety of fields. The law field is very large and there are a wide variety of specializations available to students. To become a lawyer, earning a juris doctorate degree in law is necessary.
Law degree programs provide a dynamic education combining theory and practical experiences. A liberal arts background is very useful for pre-law students because it helps improve analytical, speaking, and writing skills. Students who decide to purse their law education by entering law schools can expect at least 3 additional years of rigorous training. Law school provides instruction on a variety of topics such as business law, ethics, civil procedure, corporate law, finance, tax, and insurance. Students typically engage in hands on experience in every day issues.
The field of law offers a wide variety of specialties that students can concentrate on throughout their academic career. Law is not just about going to trial to prosecute or defend individuals; there are many different areas of law that students can specialize in. Specializations include Criminal Law, client advocacy, legislative law, constitutional law, legal administration, legal technology, labor law, DUI & personal injury, tax law, environmental law and policy, real estate law, corporate law, administration law, immigration law, law enforcement, juvenile law, civil law, public law, international law, and wills, trusts and estates.
The employment outlook varies on degree and position. Employment of lawyers is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions through 2016, increasing 11% and adding 84,000 new jobs (2). The average annual salary for lawyers with less than 1 year experience is between $45, 222 and $69,828 (3), but a law degree at any educational level provides a variety of career opportunities for graduates. Students who chose to pursue their Juris Doctor to become lawyers will have an abundance of opportunities to practice law in a variety of areas. Possible careers for law degree graduates include Law Professor, Arbitrator and Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Legal studies are very important in many different career fields. A legal studies career will be rewarding for individuals with a strong interest in law and legal topics. Legal studies professionals assist lawyers and other professionals with a variety of tasks. Professionals like Legal Investigators and Legal Nurse Consultants must have great interpersonal and communication skills because they often meet with clients and other professionals. Legal studies professionals apply their knowledge and expertise to many different legal matters in a variety of career areas.
Online legal studies degree programs provide students with a solid education background on legal issues and foster critical and analytical thinking. Students develop a strong understanding of law, legal terminology, and legal procedures and are prepared for challenging legal environments. Undergraduate legal studies programs help students gain the necessary professional and scholarly skills to pursue legal careers, law school, or advanced graduate programs.
Legal & Paralegal Studies
Legal studies degree programs differ by degree, school, and program. Undergraduate legal studies degree programs require general education courses along with studies in criminal justice, investigation, psychology, accounting, economics, criminology, statistics, workers compensation, human resources, organizational behavior, public administration, legal theory, legal research, and a variety of law topics. Graduate legal studies degrees involve more in-depth study and prepare students for advanced positions.
The employment outlook for legal studies graduates varies greatly on degree, field and position. Employment of legal secretaries is expected to grow faster than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 12% and adding 32,000 new jobs (2). Legal secretaries with 1-4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $29,194 and $38,842 (3). Undergraduate legal studies degrees open the door to many career options in a variety of profit, non-profit, government, education, and law settings. Graduate degrees prepare students to transition to higher level positions with larger salaries. Career opportunities for legal studies degree graduates include Appraiser, Case Manager and Mediator.
Those with a sincere interest in the American legal system who enjoy fast paced and stressful working environments will view a career as a paralegal as rewarding. Paralegals are well-rounded legal professionals that adapt well to many different situations. They provide essential legal assistance to lawyers and help bridge the gap between the law office and the courtroom.
Most entry-level paralegal positions at law firms require a bachelor degree. In fact, a bachelor degree in paralegal studies is the most common path to becoming a paralegal. Paralegal degree programs provide students with a solid education in legal studies that prepares them for a variety of careers in the field of law. Paralegal students complete legal coursework and understand how to relate paralegal studies to other subjects and apply the relationships in legal settings.
Since paralegals practice in many areas of law, there is a wide variety of specialties in paralegal education. Specialization is typically achieved through general paralegal coursework by selecting courses on a specific specialty and on the job training. The most common paralegal specialties include litigation, criminal law, business/corporate, collections, bankruptcy, foreclosure, labor/employment, real estate, appellate practice, securities, tax, family law, environmental law, intellectual property, personal injury, estate planning and probate, and contract administration. Students who are interested in a specific specialty should select a school that has a strong program in that particular area.
Paralegal degree programs provide students with a solid foundation in law practices and theory. Bachelor degree programs intend to provide students with a broad education in liberal arts with specialized skills for paralegal careers. Many programs focus on legal processes and administration and legal documentation, drafting, and writing. Coursework also typically includes legal terminology, legal history, legal ethics, environmental studies, literature, legal research, and law computing.
The employment outlook of paralegals depends on the degree and position, but the overall employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions through 2016, increasing by 22% and adding 53,000 jobs. The average annual salary for paralegals with less than 1 year experience is between $29,881 and $39,741 (3). An undergraduate degree in paralegal studies is a versatile and helpful degree that enables graduates to pursue a variety of different career opportunities. Just a couple of possible career opportunities for paralegal graduates include Law Clerk and Court Reporter.
Public safety is a very important field that prevents and protects the general public from dangerous events. A public safety career will be rewarding for individuals interested in ensuring the overall safety of the public in a variety of fields. Public safety professionals must be able to handle emergency situations in an effective and calm way. They use their knowledge to communicate with people about important situations.
Online public safety degree programs provide students with a well-rounded public safety education and enable them to gain the essential skills to be successful in a variety of public safety careers. Students gain and strengthen their leadership skills, detail orientation, problem solving skills, organizational skills, communication skills, and multitasking skills. Students can choose a specialty of interest to lead a meaningful and exciting career.
Public Safety Degrees
Public safety is a large field that enables students to specialize in a variety of areas to provide public service in many different career fields. While some public safety professionals like Firefighters protect citizens against environmental threats, others like Parole/Probation Officers focus on preventing criminal behavior.
Public safety specialties include fire safety, law enforcement, emergency medical services, criminal justices, animal control, homeland security, crisis management, security, traffic safety, Internet safety, leadership, public health, public policy, and water safety, health inspection. Students interested in a specific specialty should choose a school that offers a strong program in that particular area.
Many colleges offer public safety degree programs. Undergraduate programs require general education courses in areas such as English, science, mathematics, composition and humanities. Core coursework differs among programs, but many programs require courses in public safety practices, cultural studies, public administration, public health, emergency response, disaster preparation, fire safety, crisis management, emergency medical services, and criminal justice. Graduate degree programs focus on more specialized study and prepare students for leadership and management positions.
Public Safety Jobs
The employment outlook for public safety professionals varies greatly on degree, field, and position, but there is always a high need for ensuring the safety of the public and public safety careers are expected to steadily increase over the next decade. Employment of public safety dispatchers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 6% and adding 16,000 new jobs. Police officers are expected to experience as fast as average employment, growing 11% and adding 70,000 new jobs (2).
An undergraduate public safety degree prepares graduates for entry-level public safety positions in a variety of areas from local police departments to disaster relief. Bachelor degrees also prepare graduates for future advancement. Graduate degrees enable graduates to obtain higher level management and leadership positions. Careers opportunities for public safety graduates include Crossing Guard and Correctional Officer.
Public administration is essential to many different fields. A public administration career will be rewarding for individuals with good judgment and intuition and a great interest in administration. Public administrations professionals manage almost every part of public services at many different levels to help shape the future. They use their knowledge and expertise and apply the concepts of public administration to a variety of career areas.
Public Administration Degrees
An online public administration degree provides students with a solid educational background to pursue careers in many different government and non-government organizations. Students gain the essential skills and competitive edge that foster success in all areas. Public administration degree programs offer specialties for students to develop expertise and pursue successful careers. The public administration specialties include human services, budgeting, community organization and advocacy, public finance, human resources management, international tourism administration, healthcare administration, educational administration, government administration, audit of activities, public policy analysis and evaluation, organizational governance, public law and administration, public values and ethics, and urban policy and politics.
Public administration degree programs prepare students to succeed in many different fields. Most public administration professionals have at least a bachelor degree. Coursework varies by degree and program, but most public administration degree programs combine standard business methods and specific public organizational knowledge. Courses in public administration, public policy, human resources, and management are often part of the curriculum. Master degrees often enable students to further their career in management and leadership positions, including Lobbyist and County Administrator. The Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration are the most popular master degrees. Doctorate degrees prepare students for higher level professional positions in research or academia.
Public Administration Jobs
Public administration degree programs prepare graduates for a broad range careers in many different fields and sectors such as local, state, and Federal government, healthcare, business, and non-profit organizations. Career outlook for public administration jobs varies greatly by degree, field, and position. Employment of urban and regional planners is expected to grow faster than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 15% and adding 4,900 new jobs (2). Public administration degrees provide students with flexibility to change career paths. Graduate degrees prepare students to transition into higher level positions with higher salaries. Career opportunities for public administration graduates include everything from Urban Planner to Governor.
The wide range of professional opportunities and the strong outlook for future hiring needs makes a degree in criminal justice or law a good move. Consider the area of specialization, as well as your educational timeline, to decide which type of program is best for you.
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