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Criminal Justice Administration

The criminal justice administration field involves managerial work within a variety of specialized departments that range from corrections to the federal government and the courts. While job requirements can be dramatically different from one place of work and location to another, criminal justice administrators are typically responsible for creating crime prevention policies, overseeing their agencies and supervising other employees.

In Marysville News, Ronette Burkes, Warden of Ohio Reformatory for Women, speaks of her career path in criminal justice. She first earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology when she began working at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. After volunteering at the Ohio Department of Corrections she took a position as administration assistant with the Ohio Parole Authority. Burkes then earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration and became a deputy warden for Franklin Medical Center. She then transferred to the Ohio Reformatory for Women where she become head warden.

“If we provide the women here with programming, with education,
with opportunities that they didn’t have, that changes the way they think, that changes their thought process and behavior, then when we send them back out to society, they won’t create any more victims.” – Ronette Burkes

CriminalJusticePrograms.com can help you find a criminal justice admin degree that fits your education and career goals. If you’re ready to take the next step, use our featured listings to contact schools and start earning your degree today!

Criminal Justice Administration Job Description

The type of work you can expect to perform as a criminal justice administration professional depends largely on the department and the position of your choice. For example, serving in an administrative position within the court system is very different than working as a supervisor in a correctional facility or as a public policy adviser in local government offices. In general, when it comes to administration, criminal justice professionals use their leadership skills and their knowledge of laws and the criminal justice system to make important decisions that can impact the future course of their agencies.

As a professional in the criminal justice administration field, you can be asked to handle daily tasks that can be as varied as holding conferences with other employees to submitting policy proposals. Because administrative leaders handle a wide range of different assignments on a regular basis, you need to have excellent multitasking and critical thinking skills to be successful in this career field. Many criminal justice administration jobs involve strategic planning and inter-agency collaborations so you also need to have an intricate understanding of how different criminal justice agencies function and how they connect to your department.

In addition to managing employees and developing new policies, criminal justice administration professionals are often expected to oversee human resources and agency procedures. This type of work is ideal for someone who thrives in a fast-paced and sometimes high-stress environment. If you are confident in your decision-making skills and your ability to be an effective leader, completing a criminal justice administration program can help you build the background you need to succeed in today’s competitive job market.

How to Become a Criminal Justice Admin

Because criminal justice administration programs offer students a broad background in criminal justice and public policy, a degree in criminal justice administration can also lead to opportunities within social services, private sectors and the federal and state government. If you are a criminal justice administration graduate who is not interested in working for the court system or the law enforcement industry, rehabilitation clinics, the US Department of Justice and private security firms are great options as well.

Education and Experience Requirements

The wide majority of management jobs in criminal justice require at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Since administrative positions in criminal justice agencies require innovative management skills and extensive knowledge of law enforcement principles, a four-year degree in criminal justice admin is ideal for finding entry-level employment with access to opportunities for advancement in the future.

Unlike criminal justice majors who typically study broad subjects and take specialized electives, criminal justice administration majors are specifically geared toward preparing students for leadership roles. If you are interested in positions that involve supervision and organization, completing a criminal justice administration degree can give you the skills you need to be successful in higher-up management positions within the criminal justice system.

Most recent graduates in the criminal justice administration field start as administrative assistants and later move on to higher-paying positions after gaining practical experience. Completing an internship in your area of interest during your undergraduate career can help you find employment and advance your career faster. If your goal is to eventually become an executive manager within a specific criminal justice agency, consider completing an advanced degree program in criminal justice administration or management. While you can move on to an executive management position after years of experience in your field, many employers prefer to fill high-level administrative positions with candidates who have a master’s or a doctorate degree.

Criminal justice administration programs are available on-campus and online. If you need a flexible class schedule and easy access to course materials, online classes might be a better fit for your needs and schedule than an on-campus program. Keep in mind that online programs can sometimes require field work, an internship or a combination of traditional and remote classes.

Curriculum Information

Criminal justice administration degree programs combine the principles of criminal justice with real world applications and public policy development. The courses below are a good example of the type of subjects you can expect to study while pursuing an undergraduate degree in criminal justice administration:

Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

Like all criminal justice studies, criminal justice administration programs begin by reviewing the structure and purpose of the American criminal justice system. Introduction to the criminal justice system is a general course, and it is designed to familiarize new students with the different agencies that make up the contemporary criminal justice system.

Because criminal justice administration graduates are expected to make positive changes through management, you need to have a deep understanding of the history of the criminal justice system, how it functions today and the areas where it falls short. In addition to learning how the criminal justice system operates, taking this class in the beginning of your degree program can help you decide which criminal justice agency is right for your future career goals.

Ethics and Morality in Criminal Justice

This intermediate course explores common social issues and injustices within the criminal justice system. Because criminal justice administration students are preparing for jobs that involve decision making and new policy development, they need to be familiar with common ethical issues that exist in today’s criminal justice system. Criminal justice professionals handle stressful and difficult situations on a daily basis. Learning more about ethics and morality can help prepare you for real-life situations that rarely have clear-cut solutions.

Management of Criminal Justice Agencies

Later in your college program, you will be required to take an advanced course that teaches how to run the various branches of the criminal justice system. Covering topics that range from organizational communication to law enforcement policies, a course in management is essential for all students who are interested in advanced leadership positions within the criminal justice system. In general, courses in management of criminal justice agencies are designed to build on the foundations students learn in the first two years of their undergraduate studies. Taking this class can help you learn invaluable leadership skills and gain a better understanding of criminal justice agencies and their functions.

Criminal Justice Admin Salary and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), legal occupations are projected to grow by an average of 9.1 percent from the year 2016 to the year 2026. In a detailed BLS report, that number is higher at 11.2 percent for legal support workers and lower for law enforcement officers at 1.2 percent. Because criminal justice administration workers are hired across all criminal justice agencies, the projected growth rate for your future career depends on your exact occupation and the department you work in. However, criminal justice administration graduates can expect a growing job market regardless of the agency they decide to join since statistics show a steady increase in jobs for all criminal justice occupations.

BLS data collected in 2017 nationwide shows that salaries for workers in the criminal justice administration field vary depending on their job title and experience level. Leaders in legal support services earn an annual mean wage of $67,960. High-up supervisor positions tend to have the highest salaries in the criminal justice administration field. Managers who work in human resources within larger criminal justice agencies can earn over $123,510. Supervisors in rehabilitation and social services have some of the lower-paying salaries, with community and social service specialists earning about $48,060 and correctional treatment specialists earning an average annual salary of $56,630.

If you are specifically interested in using your criminal justice administration degree to create new crime prevention laws and policies, you can start a career in public office by becoming a legislator or by working for the federal government. The annual mean salary for legislators is $46,350.

The advantage to going into the criminal justice administration field is the ability to choose from many different individual industries, such as law enforcement, victim advocacy, emergency management and even academics. Since educated and experienced leaders are in high demand in all agencies that require managerial and administrative support, a background in criminal justice administration can be your ideal starting point for a rewarding career in the growing criminal justice industry.