BECOME A CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSIONAL
A career in criminal justice could land you in a professional capacity in a courtroom or a forensics laboratory, a city police officer’s uniform or inside a massive federal agency. The three main branches of criminal justice are law enforcement, the courts and corrections.
- Law enforcement officers are the first line of defense. Law enforcement personnel patrol communities, conduct investigations, work to prevent crimes, apprehend the perpetrators of crimes, conduct surveillance, make arrests and gather evidence to build cases against suspects. Officers, detectives, forensic science technicians, homeland security agents, police dispatchers, customs and border patrol agents, crime scene investigators, FBI and DEA agents and federal marshals are all involved in law enforcement.
- The courts are where the people apprehended by law enforcement officers receive due process regarding their guilt or innocence for the crimes they’re charged with committing. Criminal courts employ paralegals, judges, attorneys, bailiffs, stenographers and clerks.
- Once criminal suspects plead guilty or are convicted in the courts, they are turned over to corrections. The correctional system also relies on professionals like parole officers, prison wardens, jail administrators and case managers.
In many cases, an undergraduate degree or at least an associate degree is necessary to be a competitive candidate in criminal justice jobs, even if it is not required. Other require a post-graduate professional degree.
Through 2026, there will be about 1,330 annual openings in the state of Michigan – a growth rate of 6.6 percent – for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. The statewide wage range for this profession is $22 to $33 per hour. In Southeast Michigan, there will be 90 annual openings, a growth rate of 7.9 percent, at the same wage range. There will be approximately 730 annual openings (a 14.6 percent increase each year) in the state for paralegals at a range of $19-$29 per hour. In Southeast Michigan, that figure is 30 annual openings – a growth rate of 18.8 percent – at $18-$29 per hour.
MCCC PROGRAM OPTIONS FOR THIS FIELD
This associate of applied science program prepares students for employment in criminal justice positions that require an associate degree or transfer to baccalaureate programs in criminal justice. Students planning to transfer should consult both their MCCC advisor and the transfer school for assistance in selecting appropriate electives.
This associate of applied science program prepares students for employment in law enforcement Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards certification (www.michigan.gov/mcoles). MCCC students may take the Police Academy at any MCOLES approved academy schools offered at accredited colleges.
In addition to the two-year associate degree program, MCCC offers a certificate program in Criminal Justice. The program concentrates upon basic core courses with skill development and job upgrading being the primary objectives. All courses taken in the certificate program are applicable toward the associate of applied science degree in criminal justice or law enforcement.
Transfer Opportunities: Bachelor’s Degree
An associate degree in criminal justice from MCCC offers easy transfer to many of the four-year programs in Michigan and surrounding states, such as:
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