Criminal Law


Criminal Law regulates criminal punishment as part of the justice system. Criminal law jobs uphold laws, such as paralegals, rather than criminal justice jobs that enforce laws, such as police officers. The field differs from civil law, because it is the government prosecution of a suspect. Those suspects can then be incarcerated, fined, or both. Professionals with criminal law backgrounds will continue be a staple in future society as safe communities are emphasized.


Criminal law students examine the criminal justice system and the social implications of crime. They can earn a certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees in criminal law, criminal justice or criminology. More advanced degrees lead to higher promotions and opportunities. Many college programs allow an option for a specialized concentration such as human behavior, law, juvenile crime or terrorism. Students are exposed to a wide range of career paths including security, social service, counseling, military, intelligence and law.


These are some common classes you would enroll in while studying criminal law:

  • Drugs and Society
  • Capitol Punishment
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Public Policy
  • Administration
  • Human Behavior
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Sociology of Law
  • Crime and the Media


Criminal law programs are accredited by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, an international association established in 1963 to further criminal justice education. The association has curriculum standards and a review process for school’s programs. Attending an accredited school ensures you’re getting the best quality education and necessary courses to prepare you for a successful career.


With an education in criminal law you can pursue these jobs:

  • Judge
  • Paralegal
  • Court Reporter
  • Lawyer
  • Juvenile Court Counselor
  • Customs Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Victim’s Advocate
  • Insurance Investigator
  • Witness Protection Worker

3 Responses

  1. Kylie Young

    Totally love all the crime TV shows my favorites are True Detective and White Collar. Just graduated high school and going to major in criminal justice!

    1. I got my A.A.S. in CJ and then transferred to a four year school, switching to psychology. Then a masters in psychology. Finally, a Ph.D. in social psychology. What area of CJ interests you? Law enforcement? Security? Corrections? There is a lot you can do with CJ. But, if you want to go into law (an attorney), I’d recommend another major, or getting a minor in another area like english, accounting, or political science.

      1. Great points Alesha. If you’re interested in getting updates on the latest criminal justice info, you can also subscribe to our blog and get notifications of new posts sent to your email inbox.

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