Is Criminal Justice a Good Degree for Former Military?

Many veterans pursue a career in criminal justice after their time with the military has come to an end and they’ve re-entered the civilian side of American life.

America’s military often gets derided abroad as the “world police,” but there’s actually some truth to that sentiment: America’s military often fights abroad to enforce or establish rules that keep not only Americans safe, but also the rest of the world’s population. Whether it’s from entrenched dictators, suspected nuclear weapons, or a more existential threat, this enforcement of the world’s policies and ideals is an instrumental responsibility of those in the armed forces.

The criminal justice profession is often a really great fit for military veterans, since their training during boot camp and in combat scenarios has prepared them for all kinds of possibilities. Whether it’s crowd control, a high-speed criminal pursuit, or less exciting procedural matters, they often bring a strict sense of law and order to the field that’s always welcome. As with many post-military professions, serving in any branch of the service generally is only one of many qualifications that veterans will have to meet in order to land this career.

Law Enforcement Jobs: What’s Needed for the Successful Applicant?

Criminal justice is about more than just taking down the bad guys and protecting the good guys. The profession is defined by laws and ethics, procedural guidelines, and legal ramifications. Military veterans are often familiar with many of these procedures, but a good number of them might still remain a mystery. For this reason, law enforcement jobs almost always require a four-year degree in criminal justice. This is actually the perfect degree for a veteran: It combines the strength of their military training with classes that focus on how to properly pursue criminals and how ethics play a role in keeping America’s streets safe.

Many veterans will be able to draw on their military training and experience during these courses, and they’ll likely even have something to teach their peers and their professors in the process. With a firm understanding of how an orderly criminal justice system keeps America safe, they’ll be able to draw parallels with how an orderly military strongly defends the ideals of the United States. The two pursuits become one, and military veterans often find themselves able to earn high marks in each class they take while completing this degree.

A Criminal Justice Degree is Only the Beginning

Many military veterans are a perfect fit in the criminal justice classroom, with a mind that functions in the same logical way as many existing law enforcement professionals and professors. After this degree is completed, however, veterans may be faced with yet another requirement: Training in an individual police academy for work with urban police forces, a state police force, or a similar group across the country. These programs are also a great fit for military veterans, and many of their programs actually mirror those used in the military when training new recruits for what they’ll face during their time in combat.

Criminal Justice is a Natural Fit

The alignment of criminal justice procedures and military ideals has long led many veterans to pursue this degree as a way to turn their military skills into a civilian career. Many of the most reputable military websites actually recommend this degree as their top option for new veterans. With support like that, the program will be a breeze for most who pursue it.

Additional Resource: What are the Best Civilian Jobs for Former Special Forces?