The different types of accredited criminal justice and law enforcement certificates available through local and online colleges include corrections officer, loss prevention, dispatcher, transportation security, court clerk and others. These programs familiarize the student with basic concepts within each career field and enable them to be prepared for entry level positions. Students need about 30 credits to earn their certificate.

Different Criminal Justice Programs

“Corrections Officer:

Depending on where you work, you may be fine getting a job with only your high school diploma or GED; if you have military experience, even better. Some districts may require you to have two years of experience and several corrections college courses. Agencies require you to be between 18-21 with no felony convictions, and you must be a permanent resident of the U.S. You will have to complete training through the academy. If you want to eventually work on the Federal level, then you’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree combined with 1-3 years of experience. The median annual salary for corrections officers is over $42K.

Police Officer:

Unless your plan is to work for the Federal government, which takes a bachelor’s degree, you can enter police academy with a high school diploma or GED. You’ll have to pass certain physical and emotional standards, have no felonies, and not have a drug addiction. Once you’ve established yourself in the police force, you can expect to make an average of $61K annually. However, factors like location, department, and experience can impact your pay significantly. Find a local police school.

Loss Prevention Specialist:

This career is considered an entry level position, and the only educational requirements associated with it are a high school diploma or GED. However, it’s becoming a competitive field, so to have an edge over other applicants, you may want to consider getting yourself an associate degree, minimally. Otherwise, all you need to do is apply, interview, receive a background check, and get hired. Training is usually done onsite. Essentially, you’ll be in charge of preventing theft within retail stores, whether it’s by customers or employees. Salary is based on your employer, but expect between $12-$17 per hour.

Police Dispatcher:

Like most other positions in criminal justice, you’ll first need a high school diploma or GED, and you should have decent typing skills. You need to be aged 18 at minimum to work as a police dispatcher. You also can’t have any felonies on your record. As as police dispatcher, you take emergency calls, help the callers, and send out emergency vehicles. You’ll receive on-the-job training, so no postsecondary education is required. However, most states will require you to become Emergency Medical Dispatcher certified, along with some continuing education every couple of years. The median annual salary for a police dispatcher is over $38K, topping out at more than $61K.

Bounty Hunter:

Bounty hunting has become somewhat glamorized by reality television. Off screen, it’s a tough field that can be dangerous and exhausting. You need a high school diploma or GED, along with completing a training program through a private program or a community college. Some states have a licensing requirement for bounty hunters, while others will only fingerprint you and do a background check. You’ll find work through a bail bondsmen and track down fugitives for a percentage of their bond as your payment. The average salary of a bounty hunter is just over $45K.

Transportation Security Officer:

You’ll be working at an airport, following the Department of Homeland Security policies and procedures. With just a high school diploma or GED and a clear background check, you can start an entry level position. You need to pass the training program and become certified, which is renewed annually through continuing education and training. There is upward mobility within the TSA once you start gaining experience. Entry level positions earn more than $39K annually.

Court Clerk:

For an entry level court clerk position, you typically just need a high school diploma or GED—some court systems do require a two-year degree, however. Court clerks complete administrative duties, such as helping file legal complaints or collecting court fees. Job duties will depend on the court you work for and the amount of experience you already have. The more experience you have, the more upward mobility you’ll see. Your salary will depend on factors such as jurisdiction, court, and your position. The median salary is over $37K, but without a college degree, your pay won’t be as high.”


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