Joseph Libowsky,
former Special Agent

Criminal Justice DiplomaIn the past it was mainly Criminal Justice and Police Science. But now there are a vast variety of majors including Homeland Security, Crime Scene Investigation, Computer Forensics. When someone is interested in a law enforcement career that can mean everything from FBI Agent to Police Patrol Officer. The area of law enforcement someone is interested in will impact college majors they may want to consider. For many agencies, it is not important what college major the applicant has as long as they meet the educational requirements. More important is their grades.

It it not usual for someone to go into law enforcement and then decide a law enforcement career isn’t for them. After leaving the field of criminal justice, if their degree was in something other than Criminal Justice it may give them more career choices to fall back on. Even though everyone says that is not me, I know that a law enforcement career is the right choice for me, the reality is even the most gung ho may decide to get out of law enforcement.

Some people make a hasty decision to go into law enforcement. Those people often have a lower success rate if hired because they made a career choice without a thorough understanding of what they were getting into. The benefit of majoring in Criminal Justice is that it shows a true interest and dedication to the profession.

Criminal Justice is still the most common major for those going into law enforcement and it is certainly a safe choice. For someone interested in going into an investigative position, especially with a state or federal agency, having a major in a specialty area such as Computer Forensics, Accounting, or Investigative Accounting, may give the applicant a unique skill set that would be hard for an agency to pass up.

There are a lot of new degrees out there and just because a college is offering a degree in a particular subject does not mean that there are either a significant number of jobs in that field, that there are entry level jobs in the field, or that the degree offered will provide the education necessary to go into that field.

More important than the major selected will be the grades achieved, and to select a school that provides instructors/professors with real world experience that they can share with their students.