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but I WANT a Criminal Justice degree

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  • but I WANT a Criminal Justice degree

    I've heard countless times a CJ degree won't make you more favorable come hiring time and that it only limits your opportunities if for some reason LE wasn't to work out. Problem is, I'm pretty focused and dedicated to the few interests I do have. I really don't have a desire to study anything else in college. If I commit myself to spending hours a week in class, I want to get involved and stay interested. I don't want to just pay for a piece of paper that reads "diploma".

    Is possessing a CJ degree more of a neutral thing? It's not like a department would look down on it, would they?

  • #2
    No they don't look down on it. It's just that (as you've heard) you're limiting your options with it and if you're looking at making LE a career 'THEY' prefer people with managerial skills, something a CJ degree won't do. Unlike other careers, there's no telling how long a LE career will last. Most guys DO make their 20 with little or no injuries BUT unlike an office job there'sreally no predicitibility in LE so your career can be cut short.
    AGAIN--DO YOURSELF A FAVOR &GET A DEGREE IN SOMETHING ELSE!

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    • #3
      I understand what hemi is saying, but I disagree. Get a degree in whatever you want. College can be hard enough w/o having to force yourself to dedicate time and energy to something you dont' even want.

      A department won't look down on a CJ degree, it could limit your opinions outside the LE world, if you decided (or had decided for you) to get out of this field.
      sigpic

      I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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      • #4
        Some call CJ the "I don't like Math" degree.

        M-11
        “All men dream...... But not equally..
        Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
        but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
        for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

        TE Lawrence

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        • #5
          I am working on my CJ degree because there is nothing that I would rather do than work in the Criminal Justice Field. Do what you want to do!! At the end of the day you have to be happy.
          amson

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          • #6
            By all means study CJ, however, if you wanna go into LE, like many have said, don't expect it to help you in the application process. It will help you with some aspects of the academy and job.

            I recommend to anyone in school or going to school, wishing to go into LE, study Spanish. Fluency will put you on top of the list. Nothing says you can't double major or at least minor in something more marketable.
            Do your best, do what is right

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            • #7
              Originally posted by concon02 View Post
              I've heard countless times a CJ degree won't make you more favorable come hiring time and that it only limits your opportunities if for some reason LE wasn't to work out. Problem is, I'm pretty focused and dedicated to the few interests I do have. I really don't have a desire to study anything else in college. If I commit myself to spending hours a week in class, I want to get involved and stay interested. I don't want to just pay for a piece of paper that reads "diploma".

              Is possessing a CJ degree more of a neutral thing? It's not like a department would look down on it, would they?
              Then by all means get one! If that's really where your ineterests lie then do it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
                I understand what hemi is saying, but I disagree. Get a degree in whatever you want. College can be hard enough w/o having to force yourself to dedicate time and energy to something you dont' even want.

                A department won't look down on a CJ degree, it could limit your opinions outside the LE world, if you decided (or had decided for you) to get out of this field.
                +1. I majored in CJ because its what I was interested in. And it worked out for me, because I never missed class, always did my reading and my grades were good. Would having an accounting or language degree make me more qualified for LE? Probably, but it would have been to the detriment of my enjoyment of my college experience and definitely to the detriment of my grades.

                Realistically, most majors don't really qualify you for a specific career at the exclusion of other majors. Obviously accounting, computers and the hard science degrees are prerequisites for certain jobs. But I know lots of people with CJ and other liberal arts degrees who have jobs in business management, teaching and other non-LE jobs. I don't agree that you can't get a non-LE job with a CJ degree, many companies just want to see that you completed your degree.

                In my experience, the most important things I learned in college were how to read carefully and thoughtfully, write coherently and come up with unique ideas based on analyzing the material presented. The fact that I learned these things while also studying subject matter that I enjoyed was a bonus.

                My advice to students interested in LE is to major in what interests you. If you are interested in spending 4 years studying accounting, by all means go for it. But don't force yourself to do it just because you think it will look good on a LE application. Your grades will suffer and overall your college experience will be miserable.
                Before science, it was believed that autumn was caused by Chuck Norris simultaneously roundhouse kicking every tree on the planet.

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                • #9
                  First off, not all CJ programs are created equally. Since it was "the hot new thing" for awhile, a lot of schools popped up a quicky-CJ degree. Comparing those to an established and respectable CJ degree is like comparing those "get your Microsoft certifications in 3 days" tech schools to a Bachelor's in Computer Science.

                  A GOOD Criminal Justice program is going to teach you more than some people tend to think. Arguing against the degree because it limits you to being an LEO related things is like arguing against a nursing degree because it limits you to being a nurse. Neither is true. You can use your degree in private and public sector jobs related to LE or private security as easily as a nurse can go to work for an insurance company and never see a patient.

                  I learned statistical analysis (don't like math degree, then why did I end up with 15 math credits?) and technical writing. I also took the first three years of accounting classes. Guess who could write grants? Risk analysis? Through a tech school on the side I picked up certifications that would let me work in OSHA compliance or as a corporate safety officer.


                  Don't forget you can branch out significantly with either a minor or just choosing your electives wisely. I minored in accounting, which gave me access to a lot of business classes. Graduate school can open to avenues to you as well, including public administration, etc.

                  I started going to school for computer science, hated it, and switched. Best thing I ever did. Study something you hate, end up working a job in a field you hate.
                  I miss you, Dave.
                  http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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                  • #10
                    If a CJ Degree is what you want, then by all means, go for it.

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                    • #11
                      Im striving for a CJ degree.

                      Heres the thing; most people in our field will have CJ degrees. Crime knows no boundaries. There is fraud, cyber crime, street crime, drugs, etc. etc. etc.

                      Would a degree in CJ hinder you in your pursuit, not really. But would a degree in computer science or accounting make you more marketable in law enforcement, you betcha.

                      Times are changing and the criminals are actually getting smarter. Major in CJ but dont neglect your computer skills, accounting skills, fluency in multiple languages and much more.

                      A good combo these days could be a major in CJ with a minor in accounting, computer science, business, political science or whatever. And of course, vice versa. It all depends what you want to do in your career. But whatever you do, dont force feed yourself a degree in something you dont love

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                      • #12
                        I agree with alot of what has already been said. I know tons of people who have climbed both the law enforcement and private sector ladders with a CJ degree. One of those people was a head honcho for a Fortune 500 corporate security department with a cj degree he earned part time while working as a small town cop. The degree is just a credential after you establish yourself in a career. What you do in your job will be what defines your career path. When I decided to get a masters I did choose public administration over cj because I wanted to study a broader field and had considered what I would want to do if I left law enforcement.

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                        • #13
                          **Deleted**
                          Last edited by LetsGo; 05-26-2009, 01:21 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I didnt bother reading your whole post, but if you want a criminal justice degree then get it, I have a criminal justice degree and work for a FED LE dept, so do you what you want. Good Luck

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                            • #15
                              I agree that you should study what you are interested in. My major and minor had nothing whatsoever to do with LE, managment, accounting etc, except for crime lab related stuff. I do have a foreign language which has been utilized on the job. Having said that, your skill sets, possibly due to your field of study, might make you excel in certain areas, however our dept and many, do not care what type of degree you have, as far as advancement goes.

                              First, I would say do whatever it takes to get a degree, no matter what it is. Second, I would suggest something other than a CJ, but if that is where your heart lies, see rule #1. As others have mentioned maybe a minor in something else might be a good option. For myself, it was always nice to know, that at any time I could walk away from LE and jump right into something else that I also truly enjoyed.
                              The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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