Criminal Justice Careers Gaining Popularity

By Staff

February 23, 2009

Students and job seekers are looking towards criminal justice as a possible steady career during the recession.

WLNS TV 6 News [from an article originally located at] in Michigan reports that hundreds attended a criminal justice career fair in East Lansing's Michigan State University. The event drew about 80 criminal justice agencies from throughout the state. Similarly, North Texas E-News announced that the 14th annual Richard T. Shigley Criminal Justice Career Fair will be taking place this week at Tarleton State University in Texas, with recruiters from more than 35 law enforcement agencies participating.

Laurence Shatkin, author of "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs," noted in New York's The Ithacan that the number of openings in the criminal justice field has increased. His book points out that there are more than 35,000 jobs available for police and sheriff patrol officers, and about 15,000 jobs for detectives and criminal investigators.

Scott Ochs, chair of Tompkins-Cortland Community College's criminal justice program, told the Ithacan that solid employment opportunities exist in the field. "There are direct correlations between crime and criminal behavior and economic factors," he said. "As unemployment goes up, crime often goes up, and it's a safe career to be in."

The only problem, he notes, is that many local agencies are publicly funded, and budget cutbacks may impact hiring. Nevertheless, he said, "I've been hearing good news."

Institutions of higher learning have been responding accordingly. The Dalton Daily Citizen reports that Dalton State College in Georgia will begin offering bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice this fall. School officials said that the new program would satisfy the demand for an increased and well-trained criminal justice work force.

"The program will offer courses relevant for law enforcement, but also courses dealing with the fields of probation, parole and corrections, and juvenile justice," said Tony Simones, assistant professor of political science and criminal justice.

In a related story, North Carolina's reports that Rockingham Community College and Greensboro College have agreed to a program allowing students seeking a bachelor's degree in criminal justice to earn it on the RCC campus.

"Criminal justice is one of the fastest-growing programs at the two-year level," noted Robert Keys, president of RCC, in a press release. "Therefore, offering it at a four-year level made sense."

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