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What are ways to narrow down my career interest in Criminal Justice?

I'm a first generation college student and I am currently on my 3rd/last year at a community college. I am trying to create a plan to transfer to a university but I am not only having trouble choosing a specific major but my overall path. I have always had an interest in Criminal Justice but, frankly, I am just not exposed enough to the field. I wish to obtain a Masters education at the very least but I am researching endlessly with little results.
If you are possibly able to discuss about other questions please search me on my LinkedIn account.
Any guidance is appreciated, thank you.

#criminology #criminaljustice #firstgenerationcollegestudent #seekingmentorship #careerinterest #highereducation

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Anne’s Answer

What makes you interested in criminal justice? Are there certain events or courses of action you'd like to change or question? I never took any criminal justice courses, however, I find questioning my own interest as to "why" has led me to new goals. You can always check the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to see what types of fields there are for criminal justice. Google some colleges in you area, like "XYX with criminal justice tracks" and check out what they have to offer. A lot of colleges may have CJ, but they also may have specialized tracks or professors with specific research experience that interests you.
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Gershom’s Answer

Try narrowing your areas of interest and look for a local agency that could give you a brief introduction or an internship. A visit longer than a simple familiarization could reveal more things that attract you to the career or bring out reasons to look into another function. It boils down to how you feel you can best use your skills and education to help people.

Hope this helps.

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Nick’s Answer

Ask yourself what part of Criminal Justice interests you and narrow your search through those parts of the profession. For example, do you enjoy the crime scene/forensic science part? Or, are you interested in the fieldwork that law enforcement officers engage in? From here, search for a degree program that offers those course offerings. I wanted to focus on Administration and Management, which involved developing policies, supervision, and leadership in criminology (the "why" of crime). I found an online degree plan that offered many of these courses. I narrowed my decisions based on a discussion with a student advisor with that school.

Criminal Justice is a broad field with many jobs. Corrections, Probation and Parole, Court Security, Investigations, Crime Scene, Forensics, Crime Labs, and Policy Makers (Academics) are just a few that come to mind. Also, where do you envision using your degree? Federal jobs, State or Local Law Enforcement, or teaching at local or University levels?

I would encourage you to visit with a Criminal Justice advisor at your college. Also, look into a local internship which will give you an inside look at Criminal Justice operations.

Nick recommends the following next steps:

Visit with a Criminal Justice advisor at your college, or one you want to attend
Investigate local internship opportunities within Criminal Justice Organizations
Find career testing opportunities to narrow your interest, based on your skill set
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