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What to Know if You're Considering Studying Criminal Justice

by Jared Newnam
November 16, 2016

Keeping our communities and our country safe is a key focus of everyone in criminal justice. Of course, what that looks like in practice depends on the career you pursue and whether it’s in law enforcement, correction, politics, or law. Across the board, however, a few things hold true for those exploring a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice.

Education and Experience Can Help You Stand Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), numerous careers in criminal justice may see 4% job growth in the coming years. This includes, Detectives and Criminal Investigators and Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Others, like Private Detectives and Investigators, Bailiffs, and Police Patrol Officers, will experience an average growth rate around 5% to 8%.

As with any job and depending on location, applicants may face competition for desirable positions. (Median annual salary for criminal justice roles mentioned above ranges from $41,000 to over $77,000.) The BLS especially anticipates strong competition for Private Detective and Investigator roles.

In competitive job situations, a candidate with a criminal justice degree and work experience may be most likely to catch the eye of a potential employer. For example, for Police and Detective positions, the BLS says that “applicants with a bachelor's degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities.” For Probation Officer and Corrections positions, as well as employment within federal agencies, a bachelor’s degree is often required.

Technology is Increasingly Important across Professions

If you’ve been researching or studying criminal justice online, you likely know that technology has a drastic impact on the field.

On one side, there’s an array of valuable technologies. These take many forms, including connected database systems, automated license plate readers, and handheld biometric scanners used to identify suspects. In some locations, criminal justice workers currently carry tablets and smartphones that make it easier to access and distribute information. Such tools will only improve in the years to come.

Criminal justice professions under increasing scrutiny are also turning to technology like social media to build trust and demonstrate transparency in their communities. Although privacy concerns are still being debated, GPS systems and body cameras are also being introduced to support both safety and accountability in criminal justice professions.

Meanwhile, others apply technology for harm, with the The Department of Justice describing cyber crime as "one of the greatest threats facing our country" and Business Insider reporting that “the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks are at an all-time high.” When it comes to jobs, cyber crime is driving employment trends, with the BLS noting that “Internet scams, as well as other types of financial and insurance fraud, create demand for investigative services.” Such crimes are expected to continue at local, national and even global levels.

What to Look for in Criminal Justice Programs

While we’ve already noted that a criminal justice degree can help when applying for jobs, it’s also essential that students select the right program.

Your criminal justice degree program level (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) will determine program length and curriculum, but all criminal justice degrees should share some foundational elements. First, anyone considering criminal justice courses or comparing criminal justice curriculums should look for programs that explore the importance of technology in this field. Equally valuable are criminal justice courses that address ethics and topics related to race, class, and gender. Finally, soft skills like leadership, problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution should also be taught throughout a criminal justice curriculum.

Whether you prefer studying criminal justice online or on-campus, South University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice that can prepare you for working in today’s changing field. Explore our criminal justice programs online or contact us today to learn more.

by Jared Newnam
November 16, 2016
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8 Top Career Paths in Accounting

by South University
February 7, 2015
Accounting software and graphs

In the business world, organizations are always looking at the bottom line to remain competitive, and few careers are so directly linked to those all-important bottom line numbers as those in accounting.

Accounting career paths fall into 3 main categories: public, private and governmental accounting. On average, accountants with a bachelor's degree earned $63,550 per year as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with median incomes climbing over $100,000 per year for higher-level accountants. Let's browse through 8 of the top accounting career paths.

Post-secondary Teacher

Accounting teachers get to share a love for their subject matter with students, helping to shape the future of the field and guiding young minds in the quest for a solid career.

Financial Planner

Accountants who especially enjoy working one-on-one with people can enter the field of financial planning. According to the BLS, this is a high-growth field that can be entered with a bachelor's degree. With a master's degree, the chances for advancement increase.

Chief Financial Officer

Top executives made a median income of $101,650 per year as of 2012. The median annual wage for a chief executive, a CFO, as of May 2012 was $168,140, according to the BLS. This position typically requires many years of experience as well as an advanced degree.

FBI Special Agents

As a Special Agent in the FBI, an accountant can play a key role in bringing criminals to justice. A Special Agent leads an investigation into cases such as fraud and presents findings in court.

External Auditor

Many companies value the added layer of security offered by having an external audit performed. An external auditor enjoys the flexibility of working in new environments and meeting new people as he or she reviews the work that internal auditors have done.

IRS Agent

While the BLS describes Tax Examiners, Collectors and Revenue Agents as jobs that are slightly on the decline due to government budget constraints, these jobs can be expected to remain until the unlikely event that taxes are abolished. A bachelor's degree is considered the minimum education level for these careers, but additional education can help you to grow your career.

Financial Managers

With a median annual income of $109,740, competition is fierce for positions in the Financial Management field. According to the BLS, a master's degree increases your chances for attaining one of these coveted positions.

The right education can put you in the right position to work toward the accounting career you want. Get a foothold on your accounting career path by starting or continuing your education right now!

Sources: NJSCPA | BLS

by South University
February 7, 2015
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4 Things to Know About the Criminal Justice Field

by South University, Online Programs
October 15, 2014

What field is exciting, offers a broad array of career opportunities and is evolving rapidly? If you answered criminal justice, you're correct. If you’re considering a criminal justice career, here are 4 things you should know about the field.

Criminal justice scales

1. It's not all CSI

Some people hear the words criminal justice and think CSI. Although a job in a crime lab is one option for a graduate with a degree in criminal justice, it's far from the only one. In fact, the criminal justice field is among the most diverse career paths available and it's largely about helping people. Graduates with a criminal justice degree may find work in police departments, courts, airports, military bases, correctional facilities or even research institutions! From bodyguards to witness protection agents, detectives to drug enforcement agents, career opportunities in the criminal justice field are broad and inclusive.

2. From communication to critical thinking, you'll need a wide array of skills

Criminal justice isn't just about the law. In fact, it includes things like public speaking, ethical decision-making, multitasking and critical thinking. Unlike other specialized fields, like the hard sciences or languages, a criminal justice education doesn't have a single standardized test or explicit skill set. At its best, a criminal justice education equips you to solve problems and be able to step back and understand the way the pieces fit together.

3. It's changing along with the world around us

Factors like globalization, increased concerns of terrorist attacks, and even technological advances in tracking and preventing shoplifting and online crime continue to open up the field in new directions. In today's world, you can make a difference in your community in more ways than ever!

4. It may be different than you expect—but in a good way!

Still don't know what career a typical criminal justice student goes on to pursue? That's because there is no typical student—and no typical criminal justice job. If you're expecting high-speed chases and intense jailhouse scenes, you may not find what you're looking for unless you pursue a job in the highway patrol or high-security correctional facilities. But if you're open to a career that plays to your strengths, allows you to serve others and opens up opportunities everywhere you look, an education in criminal justice might just be for you.

Get more information today about South University bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice!

by South University, Online Programs
October 15, 2014
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Exploring Criminal Justice Topics: Restorative Justice

by South University, Online Programs
April 4, 2014

For most people in the United States, justice usually can be simplified to mean that an individual is given a fair punishment for a wrong that they have committed. Typically, this justice is delivered through the criminal justice and legal system, with emotions and personal feelings considered outside the purview of providing justice. However, many believe that this approach to criminal justice is lacking. One alternative theory that attempts to address these concerns is known as restorative justice.

Criminal JusticeWhat is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is a philosophy that makes the case that justice should be more than simply punishing a wrongdoing. Instead of focusing on making the criminal pay for their crime, restorative justice seeks to address the harm caused to the victim by requiring retribution that actually benefits the victim.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that traditional justice focuses on determining which laws have been broken and the established appropriate punishment, while restorative justice focuses on who has been hurt by an action, and what actions can be taken to counteract the harm that has been caused.

Restorative Justice in the US

Mediation is one of the most common examples of restorative justice in the United States. In some civil or criminal cases, the victim and the criminal can meet with a trained mediator. During these sessions, the victim can express the ways in which they have been hurt, and the criminal can explain the mindset that led them to commit their crime. While an explanation is not an excuse, understanding someone’s actions and motivation can aid in the healing process.

Often times, mediation is used as an alternative to a formal court proceeding, which can save both parties time and money. However, most importantly for restorative justice, this mediation can reduce the emotional hardship experienced by the victim and even, in some cases, the perpetrator.

Incorporating Multiple Approaches to Justice

Restorative justice is seen by many as a more holistic approach to the justice system. Instead of simply focusing on punishing wrongdoers, restorative justice works to address the mental and emotional needs of victims and criminals. If exercised correctly, restorative justice can reduce recidivism and make society a better place in the long run. Despite the potential benefits, restorative justice is just one philosophy on criminal justice that may not always be applicable, and it is important to note that, in many legal proceedings in the United States, it is not the primary objective.

Build your skills and find your calling in the field of criminal justice. Explore our programs today!

by South University, Online Programs
April 4, 2014
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Top Careers in Criminal Justice

by South University, Online Programs
February 14, 2014

For better or for worse, criminal justice is one sector that is strong regardless of the health of the overall economy. This means that students interested in criminal justice have a lot of options when choosing a career path. Nationally, there are about 3.2 million people employed in the criminal justice industry, earning an average annual salary of $43,050.

Criminal JusticeLaw Enforcement

Law enforcement is a common choice for those interested in criminal justice, as it allows you to directly work to protect citizens. The field is generally focused on making sure the law is enforced while actively working to bring real criminals to justice through the legal system.

Some common jobs within law enforcement include:

• Patrol Officer
• Corrections Officer
• FBI Agent
• Security Officer
• Customs and Border Patrol Agent


Another side of criminal justice involves the study of crimes, victims and social reactions to crime. As there are many ways you can work to prevent or solve crime, a variety of personnel fall under the criminology group, including investigators and profilers.

Career paths and job opportunities in this industry include:

• Criminologist
• Criminal Profiler
• Intelligence Analyst
• Forensic Interview Specialist
• Criminal Records Analyst

Social Services

After an arrest and legal proceedings are completed, much of the work in criminal justice involves making sure individuals that go through the system don’t return to their old habits. This is where social work side comes into play. Social workers serve a variety of functions, but they most often serve as a counselor and accountability partner for juveniles and adults who are trying to get their lives back on track. Social workers can provide guidance and support for those who are struggling to improve their lives, and they serve a vital function within the criminal justice system. In addition, some professionals in social services work closely with victims and victim advocacy.

Administration and Policy

In addition to those more visible in the criminology and law enforcement professions, there are a number of people working behind the scenes in criminal justice. Management positions at any law enforcement agency often start with a degree. Advisory roles play an important part in determining when and how law enforcement personnel are utilized. Policy decisions can affect the number of new law enforcement agents hired, profiling techniques used in the field, the creation of new interview techniques and more. Those with a graduate degree in criminal justice may find a career in advising law makers about policy, or perhaps take on another leadership role in administration or policy.

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Interested in Criminal Justice? Explore our degree programs.

by South University, Online Programs
February 14, 2014
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