Criminal justice jobs run a wide gamut from those dealing with the court system, to those on the front line of law enforcement. The job requirements will be different depending on the area of expertise, but the overall goal is still the same - to make sure all laws are enforced. The benefit for those interested in criminal justice careers is that there is great variety, and something to fit nearly anyone's interest.
Those who have interest in medicine or science may find the best criminal justice jobs involve working in a crime lab. Those in these forensics careers work to test DNA and other evidence to see if subjects of interest and victims can be identified, conduct autopsies, and determine how a crime may have occurred. In some cases, the work is not based in biology, but in physics. For example, the angle a bullet enters a body or another object may help identify who the shooter is, or at least where the shooter was.
Many criminal justice jobs involve working very closely with people. These jobs include police officers, probation officers and court positions. Each of these jobs may involve slightly different skill sets, and slightly different educational requirements. Some may require a Bachelor's Degree. Others may simply require certification by a law enforcement academy. Those who have an idea of what they would like to do should research the career requirements ahead of time, and devise a plan to prepare adequately.
A clerk of court, or an assistant in that office, will work with lawyers, prospective jurors, and even those accused of crimes from time to time. Dealing with a wide range of personalities may be difficult for some people, but is key to successfully working in these types of criminal justice jobs. This person will be responsible for scheduling court dates, processing payments, and keeping track of all court-related files. Many public inquiries will also be handled by this office.
Law enforcement officers include those with local police departments and sheriffs' offices, as well as federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals Office. These criminal justice jobs involve investigating crimes, handling calls for service, and making arrests. These individuals will also be the ones who are typically called upon by prosecutors to testify in court. Dispatchers could also be included in this group, but most of the time they are not sworn law enforcement officers, though they will go through some of the same training.