When you think about careers in criminal justice, primetime television might convince you that investigations are simple - the police discover a crime took place, uncover DNA and the case is therefore solved. Believe it or not, the world of criminal justice is much more complex, and the professions available to someone with a Criminal Justice degree are very diverse. Below are some of the top myths when it comes to this industry.
1. Solving crimes is all about using your instincts. Thanks to so many advancements in forensics and DNA, closing a case requires investigators to utilize both instinct and science.
2. Criminal Justice degrees are only needed for careers in law enforcement. Those who graduate from a Criminal Justice degree program have the ability to work in a variety of fields such as forensics, prison rehabilitation, and even psychology.
3. Criminal Justice degrees take too long to complete. Many reputable online and campus-based colleges offer Associate's degree programs in order to help you begin a law enforcement career in as little as two years.
4. You don't need a degree to become a police officer. While this is true, with an increasing number of law enforcement departments requiring advanced degrees for promotion opportunities, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is more likely to help you advance to higher rank compared to someone without a comparable education.
5. The criminal justice field is only for men. With 45 million females in the workforce in 2009 alone, women are an integral part of law enforcement‡.
6. The demand for police officers is waning. Recent figures have concluded that, due to population growth, employment of police and sheriff’s patrol officers is expected to increase by nice percent between now and 2018‡.
7. A Criminal Justice Degree with a Corrections specialization doesn't lead to a lucrative career. According to the BLS, Correctional Officers and Jailers can earn between $31,210 and $52,240‡.
8. Probation officers and prison officials have little work other than administrative and security duties. Those in this position often hold positions as social workers, run rehabilitation clinics, and advocate for legal changes in the prison system.
‡"Occupational Employment Statistics Home Page." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor, 27 July 2010. Web. 27 Sept. 2010. BLS salary data may not reflect expected entry level earnings.