How to get enroll in Criminal Justice Programs in California

Criminal Justice is a discipline which has many sub-fields and applications. If you’re a student who is interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, it may help to understand what criminal justice covers and what its applications are. Accordingly, you’ll be able to choose a sub-field which appeals to you.

Read on to learn more about the field of criminal justice and how to enroll in criminal justice programs in California.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice refers to the system which includes those practices and branches of government which are concerned with crime and its many ramifications. This includes prevention, rehabilitation, mitigation, intervention, and more.

This broad system is essential in any society to ensure that the law is being upheld and that those who violate the law are brought to justice.

What does the Criminal Justice System Include

As previously touched upon, the criminal justice system encompasses a wide range of practices and institutions.

The facets of the system include:

  • Law Enforcement – This includes the police who are responsible for preventing crime, apprehending criminals, investigating crimes, arrests, etc. This is arguably the most visible branch of the system and also the first response in the event of a crime.
  • The Courts (Judicial System) – This includes attorneys, judges, juries, and the legal system. This is the next step in the criminal justice system; the point where a matter is investigated to determine whether or not a suspect is guilty of breaking the law. This part of the criminal justice system involves sentencing; if a crime has been committed, the appropriate punishment needs to be doled out. If a suspect is found guilty, they are turned over to the corrections system to serve out a sentence.
  • The Corrections System – If a citizen has committed a crime, a sentence is the time they must serve as punishment. The corrections system encompasses incarceration in prisons and other facilities, probation, and parole. This is the last stage of the criminal justice system where a convicted criminal is punished according to their crimes.
  • The Different Sub-Fields of Criminal Justice

    With an understanding of what the criminal justice system includes, it’s easy to see that this large and complex system has many facets and therefore many career opportunities.

    If you’re interested in criminal justice, some of the areas you could work in include:

  • Law enforcement (police officers, corrections officers, probation officers, etc.)
  • Law (lawyers, paralegals, etc.)
  • Corrections
  • Criminology
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Rehabilitation
  • Enrollment in Criminal Justice Programs in California

    If you live in the State of California and you’re interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, here’s what you need to know. While it is true that you can enroll in a criminal justice major at virtually any college or university, choosing a well-known, well-ranked and most importantly, accredited criminal justice program will definitely have its benefits.

    First of all, you’ll benefit from a tried and tested, and well-known and respected faculty. Criminal justice degrees can be rigorous and grueling and it helps to have professors who are able to facilitate your interest in this field. Secondly, graduating from a well-known school could have huge ramifications in your career. Statistics show that graduates from well-known schools tend to land higher-paying jobs and are more likely to get promoted in a shorter time frame.

    In California, the following universities are very well known and ranked for criminal justice programs:

  • California State University, Long Beach –
  • At California State University, The Department of Criminal Justice offers a number of degrees and certificates including bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees as well as certificates in many different areas of criminal justice.

    These rigorous, interdisciplinary programs are designed to help students think critically in order to tackle complex criminal justice issues. The curriculum merges together the scientific, critical, legal, psychological, and philosophical aspects of the system in order to help students fully comprehend the totality of the criminal justice system.

  • University of California, Irvine –
  • The University of California offers two concentration areas in its criminal justice major: law and society and criminology. It also offers students the chance to fully customize their major by choosing and combining the classes they need in order to cater to their specific career aspirations.

    Throughout your course of study at The University of California, you may have the chance to get involved in a number of internships in the criminal justice field including at police departments, legal firms, juvenile centers, the Orange County Public Defenders’ Office, etc.

    Another distinctive point for the university is its impressive faculty members, all of whom have held prestigious positions within the criminal justice system throughout the country.  Some of the faculty members have been members of organizations such as the American Society of Criminology, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the Law and Society Association. In addition to the high level of instruction they are able to offer, having faculty with such prolific associations makes for great networking opportunities as well.

    To enroll in a criminal justice program in California:

  • Identify in advance which sub-field of criminal justice you are most interested in
  • Make a list of all of the universities or colleges in the state which have high ranking programs
  • Familiarize yourself with the entry requirements of all of these programs and ensure that you meet all of them
  • Take the requisite courses needed during high school to gain admittance into criminal justice programs
  • Pursuing a career in criminal justice will require forethought and research. In this highly competitive field, you’ll need to find ways to set yourself apart from the competition. Look for programs which have strong faculty members and provide students with a holistic understanding of the criminal justice system. Then, identify the entry requirements you need to satisfy and you’re on your way to enrolling in a criminal justice program in California.



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