Need to declare a major or minor? Consider Criminal Justice at WLU!

Annalise Murphy, Trumpet Editor and Journalism/CJ double majors creates blog for internship and experience.

Many students enter college without an idea of what degree they want to pursue let alone a program to minor in. According to Best Colleges, a website dedicated to providing students with resources about heading off to college, business is the most popular undergraduate degree in the U.S. with health professions and social sciences coming in second and third. Criminal justice (CJ didn’t even make the top 10 most popular college majors and is often overlooked when students are deciding what to pursue. As a double major in criminal justice and journalism at West Liberty University, I feel at least considering the profession for your major or minor is important. But don’t just take my word for it.

If you are a person who likes to make a difference in the lives of those in your local community, then CJ might be the right profession for you. The field of CJ offers a variety of rewarding job opportunities in areas such as crime prevention, victim advocacy, corrections, rehabilitation and my favorite — investigative work. And the benefits of pursuing a job in this field include the ability to help others, job growth, health and retirement benefits as well as engaging work and learning environments.

A career in the field is a lot more than just bringing those who break the law to justice. It is an opportunity to create change in your community through service at local events, solving crimes and enforcing the law. All of this helps make those within the community feel safer, which increases the quality of life. Pushing for lower crime rates is a discussion held daily within politics and within the field of CJ, which makes the demand for professionals in the field grow. According to the bureau of labor statistics, a 6% increase is expected for those pursuing jobs as parole officers and correctional treatment specialists as well as a 7% increase for those pursing jobs as a police officer and detective. With these increases in jobs needing to be filled, now is the opportune time to get your degree in CJ. Next, health and retirement benefits are also another great reason to consider CJ. You may be thinking, “well, other jobs offer these benefits,” and while that is true — they differ from those within the CJ system. According to Ashland University, “most law enforcement positions offer healthcare plans and allow police officers to retire after only 20 years of service and a variety of affordable health insurance plans.”

I also want to mention that while all these benefits and job opportunities are a plus, it does not minimize the physical and mental danger that those within this field deal with every day. Pursuing a job in the field of CJ requires a true passion to uphold law, truth and a want to protect others’ wellbeing. For me, I want to make a difference in the lives of others. So much so, that I feel passionate about understanding how to report accurately and honestly in addition to a deeper understanding of how our CJ system works within our society.

The CJ program here at WLU has prepped me by teaching me the ins and outs of the U.S. criminal justice system, different laws and how they’ve changed over time and the history of what has worked in corrections and what needs fixed. Some may argue that you can incite change in any area of work, and while this may ring true — CJ offers a more direct impact in the lives of individuals who need help and protected. So, would you consider a career in CJ?

To learn more about WLU’s criminal justice program, visit their website! For more information about the contents of this article, please email Annalise Murphy at [email protected].