Criminal and law-related degrees are tough ones to seek out, but are worth it in the end. The criminal industry as a whole is on the rise right now in the job market. The only rub is that it takes a special person to consider and be successful in their pursuit of a criminal degree, whether it is in justice or law. This is because these majors need to have great stress management skills and dedication, as well as the ability to think on their feet and make critical decisions immediately. The field can also be a very dangerous one, when considering what type of work you want to do and what areas you want to get into. There are numerous option for anyone looking to get into the criminal justice and criminal law fields, and sometimes the two areas get confused with each other. But, there are critical differences between the two fields, which should help inform you of which one is best suited for your needs.
What is criminal justice?
As opposed to criminal law, the criminal justice field tends to have to do more with the policy and procedure side of the criminal career spectrum. Criminal justice is mainly concerned with criminal policy, law enforcement, policing, correctional facility work and court work. Criminal justice is very concerned with the philosophy behind policing, criminal activity and law enforcement, which criminal law is not so much. Some of the most common careers pursued with a criminal justice degree are police officers, correctional officers, investigative detectives and some forensics work and administrative work. Many criminal justice jobs do not require a 4-year degree, as an associate’s degree or technical certificate are the main requirements. The pay fluctuates in the criminal justice sector, but is usually around average to slightly above average.
What is criminal law?
Criminal law is a much more in-depth field, in terms of the education needed to get a job in the field. Most criminal law students go into graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree, rather than just having a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree. Criminal law is primarily concerned only with the laws in regards to criminal activity, and thus most graduates are lawyers. Criminal law is a much more strict career field, as the options are not as numerous as they are in criminal justice. The criminal law field focuses on the legal implications and ramifications involved in criminal activity, rather than the philosophical and social aspects of criminal behavior. People pursuing a career in criminal law must be very detail-oriented, as research in case and court law is the primary duties of a criminal law professional. Even though criminal law is mostly concerned with training lawyers, or even judges, the skills learned with this degree can lead to jobs in criminal justice, consulting, law enforcement and even in the academic field as a professor or teacher.
Which one is right for you?
If you want to bust criminals and help better the society through being on the streets and making a difference, then you probably want to pursue criminal justice. If you want to learn about the law system and how it is used to in the courts as a social deterrent to crime, criminal law is right for you. The distinctions are fairly obvious, and most students should be able to determine which area they are more interested in.