How To Enhance Your Career In The Criminal Justice Sector

Enhancing your career in the criminal justice sector requires an in-depth understanding of the system and the steps that you need to take to make strides. It requires an authentic interest, certain characteristics, and qualifications. Here are some of the ways that you can enhance your career in the criminal justice sector.

1. Understand the Criminal Justice System

It’s important to note that the criminal justice system differs from one geographic area to another. You must, however, have a basic understanding of the different criminal justice systems as listed below:

  • Misdemeanour Level

The lowest level of a criminal justice system is what is known as the misdemeanor system. This system usually deals with minor infractions such as breaking and petty theft. People who find themselves under this classification might also be required to perform community service or go through drug rehabilitation, depending on the unique circumstances.

  • Felony Charges

The next type of criminal justice system is what is commonly known as the felony system. Under this classification, people who commit felonies face sentences of more than a year. While some states allow for the possibility of having multiple infractions within a single year (including grand theft auto, robbery, conspiracy), others require that people must serve their time consecutively.

  • Summary Justice

Up next is the summary justice system. Under this classification, those who are accused of crimes face sentences of less than a year. Some states make allowances for the fact that drug or alcohol abuse might have caused the actions of the individual and allow for lighter sentences.

  • Presumptive Justice System

The fourth type of criminal justice system is the presumptive justice system. This system, as the name implies, presumes that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This means that unless there is evidence presented against a defendant which would lead to a finding of guilt, the defendant is presumed innocent. However, this system does not prevent a person from being convicted of a crime. Rather, it merely presents the evidence in such a manner that the jury could conclude if a person is guilty without necessarily reaching a guilty verdict.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the justice system, here is how you can enhance your career in the varying systems.

2. Study Criminal Justice

When most think of a career in law enforcement, they often think of a career as an attorney, prosecutor, or officer of the law. However, there are many other options available to those interested in studying the field of criminal justice. A criminal justice degree can open up a world of new possibilities for those who are interested in pursuing a career as a social worker, a researcher, an instructor, or even a private security officer. This highly respected degree program can be obtained at any of the online universities that offer programs related to criminal justice. Let’s look at some of the options you can take for a career with a criminal justice degree.

  • Police Force

Those interested in the police force will be interested in a forensic justice degree. This degree is a combination of two academic fields: criminal justice administration. The courses typically taken to complete the program include statistics and research methods, investigation, court practices and procedure, and security and investigation. To get a degree in this program, students must also take part in internship opportunities with local law enforcement agencies and comply with state and federal laws.

  • Judge/ Magistrate

Students who are planning on becoming judges or magistrates may wish to pursue a criminal justice administration degree. This program is a combination of justice studies and administration. Judicial degree holders will be required to take part in studies that focus on administrative law, court practices and procedure, statistics, and security and investigation. Those wishing to work as magistrates will need to attend a two-year degree program that focuses on judicial administration.

  • Forensic Scientist

Those who are interested in the forensic science field may choose to go for a degree in this discipline. This is also a combination of criminal justice administration and science. Students will learn about scientific methods to conduct and interpret crime scene investigations. They will also need to complete internships and partake in clinical experiences that will allow them to apply scientific principles to various legal proceedings.

  • Public Defenders

Students interested in working as public defenders may also be interested in a criminal justice degree. This is a combination of criminal justice administration and law. Public defender offices are designed to protect the rights of defendants charged with crimes. Public defenders are required to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and law. These degree programs are housed at many community colleges and technical institutes.

  • Private Sector

Those interested in the private sector may also wish to consider earning a criminal justice degree. This is a combination of criminal justice administration and law. Private sector jobs frequently require associates degrees or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.

3. Practice Public Speaking skills

Studying for a criminal justice degree may the first step in making strides in your criminal justice career. However, there are exercises you can execute outside of the academic that can help you enhance your career, such as public speaking skills. By having good communication skills, you’ll be able to understand and answer questions from the people you interact with within your career. Here are some ways that you can improve your public speaking skills.

  • Attend Public Speaking Workshops

To improve your public speaking skills, practice makes perfect. You can learn how to speak effectively by taking practice speeches. For public speaking workshops, you can also take a simulated speech to hone your skills. Many websites offer simulated speeches. So, even if you’re not able to physically attend a workshop, you can still learn how to enhance public speaking skills through simulated speech.

Aside from taking workshops or a simulated speech, practice your vocal range. In order to be an effective public speaker, you need to be a good vocalist. You need to be able to express your thoughts in complete sentences. Vocalizing is one of the keys to learning how to enhance public speaking skills. If you can master your vocal range, you will sound more authoritative and confident when speaking.

  • Practice Presentation

Practice your presentation. Your presentation should be a good representation of your ideas. Make sure that you know the information that you want to get across. This will help you achieve the objective that you have for your presentation. In learning how to enhance public speaking skills, practice your presentation until it’s perfect.

  • Practice Breathing

Practice your breathing. Your body needs to be relaxed while you speak. If you feel tense, your breath may not be steady and controlled. This may affect how to enhance public speaking skills. Make sure that you are taking deep breaths throughout your speech.

  • Enhance Listening Skills

Practice your listening skills. Listening is an important skill in how to enhance public speaking skills. If you do not properly listen and respond to the questions of the people you interact with, messages may get lost in translation and directly impact your case.

  • Practice Self Confidence

Having a positive self-image helps you to speak with confidence. Even if you have been given bad feedback or criticism or are having trouble getting your idea across, you should not let this affect how you will speak. You should always feel that you are being heard. Boost your self-confidence by thinking positively.

Use a positive visualization technique. Whenever you are at the podium in front of an audience, visualize how you will achieve your goal. Think about how you will appear in front of your audience before you speak. Imagine the look on their faces when you speak. Visualize the effect you want to create and then go into action to create it.

  • Know your Material

To enhance your public speaking skills, know your material well. In this case, if you are the police, you need to know the facts well in order to articulate these. If you are an attorney, you need to practice your arguments so that these are delivered efficiently and effectively.

When you prepare for a speech, read extensively and practice what you have just read. The more you know about a certain topic, the more comfortable you will feel when you speak. Also, reading your prepared speech several times will help you get familiar with the style and structure of good speeches. If you are unable to memorize all of your information beforehand, you can always bring a notebook or computer with you so you can jot down notes as you go along.

  • Repetition

Practice makes perfect. After you learn how to enhance public speaking skills, make sure that you practice until you are completely comfortable with your timing, voice inflection, body language, and pitch. You need to be confident when you stand up and when you deliver your speech.

4. Enhance Writing Skills

Working in the criminal justice sector includes having to write notes, reports, facts, arguments, thoughts, and in some cases, you may need to share these. This is why it’s important to enhance writing skills as a way to elevate your criminal justice career.

Consider practicing writing essays or reports in a, keep your reader in mind at all times. You want them to stay focused on the information you are trying to convey. Focus on what the information you are providing is about. Do not let yourself become so engrossed in your topic that you forget to write down who you are talking to or the purpose of your writing. If you have already written down who you are talking to or the purpose of your writing, do not forget to spell check and read it several times.

You can also have a second pair of eyes look over your work. That way, you get to step away from your creation and get views from other perspectives and may be able to see where to improve. This is always a good habit to get into because it will pay off in the end.

5. Watch Criminal Justice Shows

A fun way to enhance your criminal justice career is to enjoy criminal justice movies and documentaries. Some of the shows are based on true occurrences, and others have scripts inspired by events that occur. Watching these means you may learn some aspects of various cases. You can also implement the concepts that you know as you watch the shows and determine how such cases may be handled in reality. This is an unconventional but entertaining way to put into context the theory that you learn.


In order to enhance your career in the criminal justice sector, you need to begin by having a basic understanding of the dynamics. You should consider getting acquainted with the types of systems that are in place that include misdemeanors, felony charges, summary justice system, and the presumptive justice system.

The next step is to take an in-depth look into the system by studying for a criminal justice degree. You can explore various online opportunities to obtain a degree and venture into various criminal justice career paths. These include becoming an attorney, working in the police force, as a judge, forensic scientist, public defender, or in the private sector.

Enhancing your career in the criminal justice system also includes going outside the academic to familiarize yourself with other skills required. Public speaking will be a given when in the criminal justice system, meaning you need to practice communication skills. You can attend workshops and practice reciting to yourself to develop or strengthen these skills.

Writing skills are also important when in the criminal justice sector. You can practice writing and analyzing data to make sure that you can communicate in writing with various criminal justice stakeholders.

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