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What Does a Criminal Justice Instructor Do?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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A criminal justice instructor may teach the skills needed to become a law enforcement officer at a college or police academy. The instructor can be responsible for developing the curriculum, approving textbooks, and establishing policies for students. He or she could also be expected to administer tests, review assignments, and maintain a grade book. In some cases, this teacher may arrange for students to tour outside facilities, or might ask guest speakers from government agencies to speak to the class.

One of the usual criminal justice instructor requirements is experience working in law enforcement. In addition, a criminal justice instructor may also hold a bachelor's or master's degree in the field as well. This means this teacher is regarded as an expert in his field, and may be consulted whenever new classes are being developed. He or she may recommend adding or changing courses for a degree program, or shortening or lengthening training at a police academy. This individual may also serve on an advisory committee for choosing textbooks and provide input on policies concerning attendance or behavior at his institution.

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Whether working at a college or at a police academy, a criminal justice instructor is often responsible for monitoring student progress. This may include assigning research papers on various aspects of the law, or testing students concerning criminal procedures. It is often up to the criminal justice instructor to post student grades on a regular basis. Should students fail to meet the requirements, remedial training or withdrawal from the program may be recommended.

Not all criminal justice instruction may take place inside the classroom. In some cases, it may be necessary to tour police stations, prisons, or crime labs so that students can have a better idea of how the law enforcement community operates. A criminal justice instructor may facilitate these field trips by coordinating with the heads of these departments to arrange for a time when students can visit.

Other times, it may not be possible to visit experts in the criminal justice field personally. This might be the case with a drug enforcement agent or a forensics expert witness. In these cases, a criminal justice instructor may arrange for these individuals to visit the classroom so students can benefit from their experiences. This might take one to two hours in a college environment, or a day long seminar might be conducted while training new police officers at the academy.

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