Criminal justice is one of those fields that seem to be the easiest ones to master, yet demand the greatest efforts to handle. On the one hand, there is a set of laws and regulations that technically any problem can be handled with. On the other hand, the analysis of a certain case and the choice of the appropriate regulation to deal with the case in point often becomes a major stumbling block.
Being the field in which the theoretical issues and the practical ones often happen to be on the opposite sides of the argument, criminal justice remains one of the most complex areas to cover; however, by analyzing its challenges and major obstacles, one can possibly pick a strategy that will help approach the given discipline successfully.
The first and the most reasonable step to be made when analyzing the pros and cons of a choice of a particular field of study is considering the publications about the careers in the given field. With that in mind, analyzing such sources as the According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook seems the most appropriate way to start learning about criminal justice studies and the opportunities that they offer.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (n.p.), there are two basic career options to choose from for those who have started studying the basics of criminal justice.
These are criminal justice professors and criminal justice social workers; the former provide students instructions on criminal justice teaching, while the latter offer the crime victims the necessary support and psychological assistance. However, it can be argued that criminal justice field allows for more career opportunities, such as “employment in law enforcement, corrections, and private or criminal investigations” (A Criminal Justice Degree Provides Many Career Opportunities para.3).
However, when deciding on whether I am going to pick one of these or try something more challenging, I will have to evaluate my skills and abilities adequately: “This is self-understanding that will help you decide which occupations in criminal justice are best for you” (Doyle and DeLucia 6).
Another important stage of the investigation of the basic issues in studying criminal justice was the actual observation of the environment in which students learn the given subject (Carpenter and Fulton 179). After being allowed to observe a lesson in criminal justice, the author of the given paper noticed a certain pattern in the interactions between a teacher and the students.
Perhaps, since it was the second time that the students had criminal justice classes, they were rather passive, preferring that the teacher should provide them with the answers to the questions that he posed and being clearly afraid of making a mistake. The latter could probably explain why the students responded to the teacher’s questions rather shyly and preferred to listen rather than speak.
After the lecture was over, the teacher was kind enough to answer a few questions concerning criminal justice and how it was being taught to students. The results of the interview were rather inspiring, though; according to the lecturer, it was expected that the students should not simply learn the basics of criminal justice by heart, but also to develop skills of critical and, more importantly, analytical thinking.
As Mr. Sanders, the lecturer, explained, students must learn to “think outside the box” (Sanders, para. 2). Sanders made it clear that the key challenge of the criminal justice studies is not to make the students memorize every single paragraph in the penal code, but to prepare them for applying their skills of critical thinking to particular cases and be objective, logical and fast in their decisions.
Learning about the courses that students specializing in criminal justice must undertake in order to become professionals is another major step in defining the future course of my education and training.
According to the existing sources, it will be required to take a basic course that will allow acquiring the necessary background knowledge, such as the principles of successful learning, the introduction to academic writing and research, finite mathematics classes, and the introduction to criminology in general and criminal justice in particular.
Later on, it will be necessary to advance in such subjects as biology and application information technologies; finally, statistics, physical science and other related courses must be taken in order to get the basics for studying criminal justice in depth. The major course, i.e., the issues in criminal justice, should be mentioned among the most essential elements of the course (Major in Criminal Justice para.5–7).
On par with the issues in criminal justice, technology in modern society, ethical behavior in criminal justice, criminal investigation, crime scene investigation, and correctional administration must be named. Therefore, it goes without saying that, to become a professional in criminal justice, one will have to face the challenge of extremely hard studying.
The fact that criminal justice remains one of the most challenging fields to study is undeniable. However, the fact that a number of strategies to approach the complex issues have been developed recently cannot be denied, either. By using one of the techniques specified above, one can master the basics of criminal justice efficiently and get ready for taking care of real-life cases.
A Criminal Justice Degree Provides Many Career Opportunities, 2013. Web.
Carpenter, Michael J. and Roger Fulton. A Practical Guide for Criminal Justice Professionals. Flushing, N: Looseleaf, 2007. Print.
Doyle, Thomas J. and Robert C. DeLucia. Career Planning in Criminal Justice. Cincinnati, OH: Elsevier, 1998. Print.
Major in Criminal Justice, 2013. Web.
Occupational Outlook Handbook. A-Z Index. 2013. Web.
Sanders, John. Criminal Justice. Interview (MP3).