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4 Signs Your Personality is Perfect for a Criminal Justice Career

Criminal justice programs are common at most universities and community colleges around the country. They are also quite popular with students. But is it the right career path for you to pursue? These four signs might mean that your personality is perfect for a criminal justice career.

You Enjoy Helping People

Every day, across the nation, people have their lives or the lives of loved ones destroyed because of criminal activity. Bringing criminals to justice helps give solace to those affected by crime. Then there is the other end of the spectrum—the criminals themselves. If helping people is your passion in life, there can be nothing more powerful than directly playing a role in the rehabilitation of someone who has gone down the wrong path.

You Are Passionate about Social Justice

It’s no secret that relations between minority groups and the criminal justice system are rocky. The criminal justice field now, more than ever, needs caring, socially-conscious individuals to ensure the criminal justice system works fairly for all. Minority groups often have different counseling needs than majority groups. Workers in the criminal justice system need to understand that to help minorities accordingly.

You Love Solving Puzzles

An analytical mind is a huge asset for any criminal justice professional. If you are both skilled at solving puzzles and enjoy the act, it might be a very strong sign that a criminal justice career is right for you. Workers of all stripes in the criminal justice system need to have strong problem-solving skills. For example, psychologists need to understand the mental states of the people they evaluate. And investigators, obviously, need to be able to put together the evidence and arrive at a truthful conclusion to how a crime occurred and who committed it.

You Are Meticulous and Organized

These traits are particularly necessary for legal professionals, like attorneys and paralegals, although they are important traits for any criminal justice professional. Detectives, for example, need to be meticulous in discovering every important aspect of a crime to build the strongest case they can. For legal professionals, any error could affect the whole case or even cause a loss at court.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook:

Police and Detectives

“Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Working around the clock in shifts is common. Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and able to meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. The median annual wage for police and detectives was $61,600 in May 2016. Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The continued need for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for officers, although demand may vary by location.”

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

“Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with probationers and parolees. Workers may be assigned to fieldwork in high-crime areas or in institutions. As a result, the work can be stressful and dangerous. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists usually need a bachelor’s degree. In addition, most employers require candidates to pass oral, written, and psychological exams. The median annual wage for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $50,160 in May 2016. Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job openings should remain plentiful because many people leave the occupation each year. “

Correctional Officers and Bailiffs

“Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms. Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and dangerous. Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses, often resulting from confrontations with inmates. Officers work in shifts that cover all hours of the day and night, including weekends and holidays. Bailiffs’ hours are determined by when court is in session. Correctional officers go through a training academy and then are assigned to a facility for on-the-job training. Although qualifications vary by state and agency, all agencies require a high school diploma and have an age requirement. Some federal agencies also require some college education or related work experience. The median annual wage for bailiffs was $42,670 in May 2016. The median annual wage for correctional officers and jailers was $42,820 in May 2016. Employment of correctional officers and bailiffs is projected to decline 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. State and local budget constraints and prison population levels will determine how many correctional officers are necessary.”

There are many different careers in the criminal justice field, from forensic investigators to probation officers, so no matter where your passions lie, there is a criminal justice career that will suit you. If the personality traits outlined above describe you, you should strongly consider this line of work. Look into your available options to chart your path to a rewarding and important career.

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