Missouri has produced a number of infamous outlaws and criminals, but none more so than Jesse James. He got his start in the fighting that ravaged the Missouri-Kansas border before the Civil War then joined up with "Bloody Bill" Anderson. After the war, he and his brother made a career of robbing banks, killing several men in the process. Despite his outlaw status; however, he became a folk hero to some. Long after his death, his legend remains a subject of fascination.
Below, we speak with Darryl Forté, Chief of Police in Kansas City, Missouri, about his law enforcement career and advice for aspiring police officers.
Major Missouri Cities
Criminal Justice Education in Missouri
With a degree in criminal justice from a Missouri college, you have the opportunity to directly influence the lives of your fellow citizens in a positive way. Whether you patrol the streets as a police officer, help people turn their lives around as a probation officer or solve crimes as a detective, your contributions will make a difference. Depending on your specific career interest, you will need an associate, bachelor, master or doctoral degree in criminal justice. However, the most common criminal justice education requirements for entry-level work in this field is a bachelor degree.
When evaluating various educational options, it is important to understand the learning outcomes of each college's criminal justice program to ensure that they match your own values. At a minimum, an accredited degree program in criminal justice should provide the following learning outcomes:
- A working knowledge of the methods and theories in criminology and how they apply to the criminal justice system.
- Ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills by applying social science research methods to criminal justice issues.
- An understanding of how sociology, psychology, economics and political science play a role in crime and punishment in the United States.
Each criminal justice degree program is comprised of core courses, electives and field experience. The core courses build the foundation for the rest of your criminal justice education and typically include the following:
- Introduction to Criminal Justice and Criminology
- Criminal Law and Theories of Crime
- Criminal Justice Research Methods
- Statistical Analysis
- Courts and Corrections
Students can find financial assistance for their studies in many places. For example the American Criminal Justice Association awards money to criminal justice students, and recently, the US government has begun offering scholarships to students specializing in cybercrime as long as they agree to work for a federal agency for at least two years upon graduation. You can also learn more about scholarships in criminal justice by exploring our financial aid resources page.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Missouri
Some of the more common criminal justice careers in Missouri include detectives, police officers and corrections officers. If you live in a more populated part of the state such as Kansas City or St. Louis, police and correction officers may earn a slightly higher annual salary than in more rural areas of the state.
In October 2013, there were 288 criminal justice jobs listed on the career website Indeed.com. Many of the positions advertised were for entry-level security guards, although there were also more advanced positions such as probation officer and private investigator.
A probation officer and correctional treatment specialist is one of the most popular jobs in the field of criminal justice according to the BLS. You may also be thinking of working as a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). People in this field work long hours under challenging circumstances, however, most find it personally rewarding to use their investigative skills to solve crimes.
Check out some of the most common careers in criminal justice, along with annual salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) in the graph below.
These are just a couple of the career options available to you with a criminal justice degree. If you are uncertain which path you want to take, speak to a career counselor before you enroll in college to narrow your options. Below you can request information from multiple schools to learn about each criminal justice program.