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Getting my Bachelors in Criminology, need more information regarding my goal careers!

Hello! I am a 24yr old student currently attending Portland State in hopes that I can finish with my Bachelors in Criminology. I have a passion for true crime and study a dozen or more cases a day on my own. I also interview inmates in prison as a hobby and blog about it. (I used to have an obsession for decoding messages and whatnot but it was HARD.) I have a few careers I really wish to get WITHOUT becoming a police officer, they are listed from greatest goal to least: Evidence Custodian, Polygraph tester, Crime analyst, Probation officer Juvenile and Victims Advocacy. I do wish to be able to interview/interrogate the suspects honestly but I have to be a detective according to all the research I've done. If anyone who has worked in any of these fields can answer this with information on how you even started your career out of college, how you trained for the job, was it easy? Hard? What certifications are needed? Basically anything to help me. I am really hoping to work close to cases but not on scene because being around dead bodies in person sounds horrible. (Or there is a chance I'll get over it. Many people do.) #criminology #criminialjustice

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Jeff’s Answer

As a Criminal Justice major, I am living proof of a great way for Criminal Justice/Criminology majors to get started in the career world is through a claim adjuster or similar claim investigation role. Whether it is worker's compensation, general liability, property or commercial/personal automobile insurance, claim investigations require a very unique skill set and provide an excellent foundation for desired future endeavors in the criminal justice environment. Some of the skills that lend well to success are communication (verbal and written...especially bi-lingual!), autonomous decision making, multi-tasking and ability to shift priorities on very short notice. These are very transferrable skills and that could lead to other opportunities in the insurance and criminal justice paths.
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Kim’s Answer

Here is the job description for San Jose Evidence Technician. Read the required and desired skills, and see how you can meet them. For example, working in a warehouse would possibly give you forklift skills. They want you to know about storing different types of evidence, such as things that are wet don't get sealed in plastic bags! And experience in record-keeping. Read the description carefully, and see what job you can take that will serve as a stepping stone to the one you want! You may be able to start as an Administrative Asst. in the Evidence office, not really sure about that.
https://www.sanjoseca.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=36340
This looks like the entry level position for Crime Analyst
https://www.sanjoseca.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=36324
This is the website I got it from. It is all job descriptions for all positions, it is not a listing of job openings. I recommend looking under "police" first.....
https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/human-resources/employment/job-descriptions/job-descriptions/-npage-18

There are many civilian positions in the law enforcement realm. The pay is normally better on the Criminal Justice side of the field (police/courts) than the social service side (Child Protective Services).

You don't have to just stay in one position either. You can start out, and work your way up, or move to another agency. As Jeff correctly pointed out, you acquire transferrable skills, that you can show relate to the next position you apply for. There really are lots of options available to you! Take your time writing your resume, tailoring it to each job you apply for!

Best of luck!
Kim


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Dr. James’s Answer

I am a criminal justice major. I am happy to hear someone enjoying the field. I used to be a criminal investigator. If you are interested in being a detective, the usual route is to be a police officer first and work your way up. If you don't want to do that, you should look into your city's human resources department. They usually look for welfare fraud investigators or social services department for child abuse investigators. You can also look into your DA's office. They also hire investigators. Another would be those private companies who hire investigators who conduct background checks for the military and federal employees. Good luck!
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