Educational Options in Criminal Justice Certificates
If you determine that you are interested in pursuing criminal justice but you don't want to work towards earning a full degree, you might want to consider enrolling in some of the available criminal justice certificate programs. A certificate in this field would be a shorter course of study in comparison to most degree programs that are present. Certificate programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. An undergraduate certificate in criminal justice would introduce you to the initial aspects of the topic, however it would not allow you to work within the field. This option would be suitable if you are considering getting a degree in criminal justice but you are not yet certain and would like to learn more about the options.
A graduate certificate in this major would provide graduate classes in a specific focus of criminal justice. This would be an ideal option for those who are professionals and would like to work towards earning a promotion or being able to enhance their resume to ensure that better employment opportunities can be attained. Graduate certificates in criminal justice take around 12 to 21 credit hours to complete, depending on the length and the depth of the program itself. Students usually complete their programs within a year. However, undergraduate programs only require around 12 credits and most of these programs can be completed within six months to a year.
An undergraduate certificate will not help to prepare you to work in the field but it will allow you to transfer your credits from the program into a bachelor's degree program if you determine that you want to earn a degree. A graduate certificate would be able to help you find employment in certain circumstances and would also help towards ensuring advancement in various criminal justice positions. However, it is not possible to qualify for work just on the basis of having a graduate certificate. In an undergraduate program, you will be able to take classes that will teach you about some of the foundations of criminal justice. The classes vary depending on the school but you are more likely to take courses that would be focusing on policing, corrections, and the courts system.
In contrast, graduate certificate programs usually include courses about policing, public policy, corrections, research methods, and many other elements. You may take courses that are more specific to your focus. All programs vary; you may find that you also have to take courses in forensics, administration, or criminology. Ultimately, if you have any questions about what the criminal justice certificate program can offer you, you should contact a counselor at a local university or college for more information. There are a great variety of programs available. They will be able to provide you with more information about the programs that are available and will be able to explain how these certificates can be used in correlation with your current job or a job that you may be in current pursuit of.