Pop Culture
May 10, 2012, 07:42AM

It's Not All Shootouts and Car Chases

Jobs for the law enforcement specialist.

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So you’ve got your criminal justice degree, but maybe beginning a career in law enforcement doesn’t seem quite as interesting now as it did when you were playing cops and robbers. Your new job is nothing like Law & Order, either. There are lots of strange, interesting options for criminal justice majors outside of the police academy. Here are nine unique options.

Fish and game warden
Though a criminal justice degree isn’t necessary for fish and game wardens, it doesn’t hurt to distinguish yourself from the competition. A game warden enforces state wildlife codes. You’ll utilize training in policy, but will also have the opportunity to spend your days in hip waders doing investigations, educating groups about public safety and wildlife dangers, or keeping track of wildlife numbers from year to year. Criminal justice majors are particularly desirable in these jobs because of their aptitude for detail and their knowledge of evidence collection and basic forensics.

Mounted police officer

Being a cop isn’t always all that interesting—until you throw a horse into the mix. Mounted police officers can maneuver in areas that cars can’t. It won’t always be like the scene on the roof in True Lies, but you won’t have the opportunity to chase down terrorists on a horse if you never get to ride one.

Forensic hypnotist
If you’re open to the paranormal and not afraid of a swinging pendulum, a career as a forensic hypnotist may be for you. This job allows criminal justice graduates to help law enforcement without actually enforcing the law. You will use hypnosis to help witnesses uncover suppressed memories and details about crimes committed.

White Hat Hacker

A white hat hacker straddles information technology and criminal justice. White hat hackers identify the same security weaknesses as black hat hackers, but rather than corrupt the system, they patch up the breach and write reports on how to improve computer security.


If you’re in shape and not afraid to put your life on the line, you might pursue a career as a bodyguard. Study up to become an expert in self-defense and firearm handling, and then apply for a position with a bodyguard company.

SWAT team member

Admittedly, experience in law enforcement before becoming a SWAT team member is necessary. After three years as a patrol officer, you can apply for a transfer into the SWAT team. If you’re interested in using a wide variety of firearms, SWAT teamwork is right up your alley. Your online criminal justice degree is a valuable foundation for this sort of high-profile job.

Criminal profiler
In The X-Files, Fox Mulder got his start as a criminal profiler with an Oxford education. You can become a criminal profiler no matter where you got your education, though. If you understand what makes people tick, this path might be a great option for you.

Ballistics expert

You’ve got to be on your game when it comes to physics if you want to become a ballistics experts. Forensic ballistics experts can look at a bullet hole and know the angle of the shot, what kind of gun was used, and the basic biometrics of the shooter, among other things. These findings help the good guys catch some of the most dangerous criminals.

Firearm Reviewer
If you’re a gun enthusiast with a knack for engaging writing, working as a firearm reviewer is a way to turn your hobby into a career. Start by submitting your own researched reviews to gun-related magazines, and with time, you might find people requesting more work from you. Mentioning your criminal justice degree will give you instant credibility.


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