A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can prepare one for multiple career paths

Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice can lead to multiple career paths.
Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice can lead to multiple career paths.

Criminal justice bachelor's degrees are some of the nation's most versatile academic programs. They potentially lead to a variety of careers, including positions as lawyers, judges and wardens.

Graduates may consider applying for a position as a probation officer or correction treatment specialist in order to play a direct role in the law enforcement process. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of correctional treatment specialists is projected to expand by 19 percent in the next seven years, a rate that is far higher than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage of a corrections specialist employed in May of 2008 was $45,910.

These professionals help determine if an offender needs substance abuse treatment or mental health support services. They also create probation and parole plans, and counsel the incarcerated, according to the BLS.

A number of colleges are responding to increased demand for law enforcement professionals by offering new criminal justice programs.

For instance, a Columbus-based university recently announced that it will launch a bachelor's degree in the field. Courses will be available both online and on campus. Prospective students can choose to major in juvenile justice, corrections, court administration or law enforcement in order to prepare themselves for work both at the federal and state levels.