Criminal Justice Jobs Certification

Today's job market is extremely competitive when it comes to criminal justice jobs. Very few positions exist for someone with a limited background in criminal justice. You will need some sort of training to apply for these jobs. Certifications are a way to gain additional knowledge while enhancing your credentials. It does not take years of schooling to earn a certification. In fact, it may take just a few weeks or months, depending on the type of criminal justice certification you pursue.

Many people will begin their criminal justice education through a certification program. A certification in criminal justice provides fundamental training necessary to successfully perform entry-level criminal justice jobs. This particular certification can lead to jobs like police officer, crime scene investigator, or private investigator. Certifications are not just for people looking to break into the field of criminal justice. Seasoned professionals also take advantage of these programs. They may need to learn a little more about a particular aspect of criminal justice to better perform a job . They may decide that an additional certification is just what is needed to be eligible for a promotion.

Many colleges, both traditional and online, offer certification programs. Classes are often held during the evening, on weekends or online to accommodate student's working schedules. Typically, you only need a high school diploma to enroll in a certification program. Standardized test scores, like the SAT or ACT, are seldom required. However, you will need to do a little research on the schools you are considering. Look at the coursework, faculty staff, and accreditation status. If you are going to spend your valuable time earning a certification, you want to make sure the school is legitimate.

Here is a look at a few of the more popular criminal justice certifications you can earn.

Certification of Criminal Justice

A criminal justice certification program will teach you the fundamentals of America's criminal justice system. Classes cover topics on law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, and report writing. Schools may also offer a few sociology or psychology classes to help you better understand the criminal mind and its impact on society.

This certification typically requires up to 30 credits and can be completed within a year. Students will be required to pass exams and successfully complete projects, just as they would in a traditional degree program. Many colleges and technical schools offer certifications in criminal justice. These graduates have gone on to work in local and state police offices, social service agencies, private investigation agencies, and correctional facilities.

Crime Scene Technician Certification

You will need training in order to become a crime scene technician. Initially, a certification will be enough to land an entry-level job at local and state agencies. A crime scene technician certification indicates you've learned proper evidence collecting techniques, DNA analysis, biology, forensic fingerprint analysis, criminal law, research, and report writing. Crime scene technicians are often called to testify on behalf of the prosecution. Students may be required to take classes on how to provide expert witness testimony. This certification can require up to 44 credits and take up to two years to complete, depending on the school.

Private Investigator Certification

You may think that you have terrific deductive skills, but that will not be enough to find a job as a private investigator. A private investigator certification tells a potential employer you've studied investigative surveillance, research, foundations of professional investigation, interviewing techniques, and the laws private investigators must follow. Most programs include up to 100 hours of classroom learning and take a few months to complete. A certification will not replace the private investigator license many states require.

Police Officer Certification

Police officer certifications are not required in order to find a job. However, the additional knowledge you gain with this certification can increase your chances of landing a job in a police department. Classes cover topics about investigative procedures, regional and national laws, psychology and sociology fundamentals, public safety, and computer science. This certification will take up to 30 credits and can be completed in a year. Keep in mind, this certification will not replace police academy training. However, it can enhance your academy training experience since you will already understand the fundamentals of police procedures.

Last Updated: 09/18/2014