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Degree in Criminal Justice: Use a Criminal Justice Background to go to Law School

By James Collister on March 17th, 2009
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Woman LawyerEarning a degree in criminal justice is a versatile path to a number of careers. As of 1998, 350,000 students were enrolled in criminal justice degree programs in an attempt to become Police officers, Detectives, Private investigators, Corrections treatment specialists, Parole officers, and FBI special agents.

    However, many students decide to get more heavily involved in the judicial system of criminal justice by going to law school.

    What Does it Take to go to Law School?

    Successful law students come with degrees from all academic disciplines, including some with a criminal justice degree. The chief concerns are to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or some other discipline and to develop the seven essential skills laid out by the American Bar Association (ABA), including:

    • Analytic and problem solving skills
    • Critical reading skills
    • Writing skills
    • Oral communication and listening abilities
    • General research skills
    • Task organization and management skills
    • Public service and promotion of justice skills

    According to the ABA, these are the necessary skills to be successful in law school applications and legal studies. Students also check with particular law schools of interest to determine further application requirements for each program.

    Earning a Criminal Justice Degree in Preparation for Law School

    While going through a criminal justice degree online or through some other means, pre-law students should keep the seven essential skills in mind constantly, advises the ABA. Challenging classes should be selected that will develop critical reading and writing skills. An online college for a criminal justice degree offers courses in written communication in criminal justice and others that teach investigative skills. Criminal justice schools that prepare students for jobs with a criminal justice degree should offer a wide variety of challenging courses within the field.

    Extracurricular activities, such as clubs, volunteer work, or jobs, can also serve to develop the essential skills. For example, volunteer work would be a possible way to demonstrate public service. Students may still further develop the seven skills in the first years of law school, says the ABA, but intensive preparation allows students to take full advantage of a legal education.

    Law School and Beyond

    Although it may be natural to assume that going to law school means entering a career as a lawyer, there are actually a number of even more career paths that open up after law school. According to the ABA, law school graduates sometimes go on to become:

    • Doctors
    • Writers
    • Business CEOs
    • News reporters
    • CPAs
    • Labor organizers
    • Engineers
    • Scientists
    • Teachers

    A career with criminal justice degree credentials plus a law degree can be formed into any number of conceivable positions.

    Category: Law and Social Sciences


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