FBI agents at a crime scene – Photo Courtesy: Tim Pierce
Sometimes you prefer to take the path less traveled. Although many students who major in criminal justice intend to use their degree to become a police officer, this is not the case for everyone. If you are majoring in criminal justice, but becoming a cop is not appealing to you, there are a number of alternatives out there!
Here are the top four career options for criminal justice majors who donâ€™t want to be police officers:
1. U.S. Marshal
U.S. Marshals are not your typical law enforcement professionals. Pursuing a career as a U.S. Marshal may lead you to judiciary system protection, or you may be working to find and apprehend fugitives who are on the run from the law. This branch of law enforcement is also responsible for maintaining the Witness Protection Program. If you are seeking a career path that could take you in a number of different and interesting directions, than a job as a U.S. Marshal could be a good fit for you.
2. Federal Agent
Are you passionate about law enforcement and traveling to new and exciting places? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider a career as a federal agent. Similar to U.S. Marshals in their versatility, FBI and CIA agents work to protect the United States from a variety of threats. You may be working to prevent domestic terrorism, investigating a high profile white collar crime, or you may be assigned to the cyber crimes division.
Most often, federal agents have the unique opportunity to move around the country for their jobs. If this sounds like something youâ€™d enjoy, consider applying for a job as a CIA or FBI agent upon graduation.
Most often, police patrolmen are called to the scene of the crime after it has already been committed. Criminologists work for departments behind the scenes to actually predict repeat offenses by studying the behavior of those who have committed crimes. Their job is to predict the likelihood that a future crime will be committed and come up with a plan to prevent it from happening. Many times, criminologists spend their time researching the behavioral patterns of habitual offenders. This is certainly not a job for the faint of heart, but it is an important one!
4. Police Detective
Police detectives have a different set of job responsibilities than your typical police officer. Detectives typically work as a team with patrolmen to help gather the facts of a crime in order to identify suspects, and ultimately catch the person who committed the offense. Detectives spend a lot of time at their computers doing research and studying the data related to the crime. Interviewing witnesses and suspects is also a big part of the job. Many police departments promote patrolmen to this position, but this isnâ€™t true in all cases which is good news for new graduates interested in a position as a police detective!
If you love the field of criminal justice but donâ€™t want to become a police officer, there are several other career paths available to you. Consider a career as a U.S. marshal, federal agent, criminologist, or police detective. These positions allow you to apply your knowledge of the criminal justice system in unique ways.
Jennifer Klaus is a writer and adjunct professor of criminology. She works with students in the field of criminal justice. Potential students who are interested in obtaining a degree in the field of criminal justice can hop over to here for more information.