One of the most difficult tasks in life is choosing a career path. Individuals often question which skills, values, traits, and other qualities they possess that may or may not match up with a possible job that would spark a life-long interest. Even for myself, I am still questioning which direction I am meant to take. I started my original journey at higher education at Slippery Rock University Of Pennsylvania in an Exercise Science program destined to eventually end up with some sort of Occupational Therapy Degree because I failed at being accepted in to the Music Department.
My journey quickly led me from one major to the next, to the next, and on, and on. Even as I am quite confident that Nursing is my niche, exploring other options is a highly recommended tool to ease the decisions make in my adult life. Determining my options depended on my other interests and what else could do as a career. In some aspects this is the point I had to be slightly realistic in terms of the responsibilities of adult life. Since I currently work as a Correctional Officer, logically a degree in the realm of Criminal Justice would best suit me as my back-up plan should my primary plan fail.
As this began to become a more prominent idea, conversations with Shawn Sideliner, a peer at Main Campus of Lock Haven University currently declared as a Criminal Justice Major, helped me to determine if this notion of mine would be a good fit for me or not. As we began to talk more, I realized might have jumped to conclusions about this major. Started out asking what programs are available and the average length it takes to graduate; easy enough, for Shawn he is declared as a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and says it should only take him the four years to graduate as long as he stays on track Sideliner, 2013).
Staying on track once I make a decision is key; so, finding my focus or a focus in general might help me. Possible careers, further education, career interests and career growth were a few of my next brief questions for Shawn to get a feel for why would want to continue down the path in Criminal Justice. Shawn summed up two questions with enough information to allow me to start turning gears in my head: “State Parole, Probation, Corrections, and those are just to name a few. A B. S. N Criminal Justice is just a starting point; it is a bachelor’s or an associates degree that an allow you to get your foot in the door” (Sideliner, 2013). As for further education, Shawn told me there are many different routes an individual can go in. If an individual starts as an associates, he or she can work towards a bachelor’s degree; from there, he or she can work towards a master’s degree, a second bachelor’s degree in an UN-related or related field, the possibilities are limitless (Sideliner, 2013).
Adding on to further education, I shared with Shawn that with the Department of Corrections as a Correctional Officer, once an individual attends the D. O. C. Academy, he or she is required to equality on his or her facility firearms yearly to maintain proficiency. Finally, Shawn easily summarized our conversation by talking about career interests; he noted that Criminal Justice is a Public Service field. People working in this field are helping others, in different ways than doctors and nurse, but still helping; that was something I did need to hear because helping is a main criteria of mine.
From there, Shawn went on to discuss the nature of working with different types of people, “it can be difficult, they [criminals] can be sly and will try everything in the book and then some; so you have to stay at least woo steps ahead of them” (Sideliner,2013). Just talking with a peer in a field that I’m contemplating helps to broaden my outlook and gain prospective; the other beneficial resource for students is a Professor’s input. Working in a Prison has already given me some insight, but speaking with a Professor of Criminal Justice could give me that insight that an individual does not normally get.
Dry. Michael Nicknaming, a Criminal Justice Professor at Lock Haven University Clarified Campus, offers wonderful perception just through plain conversation. To keep with commuting to Clarified to keep my job my iris question to Dry. Nicknaming was what type of degree programs are offered on this campus; currently Clarified Campus only has the Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice which is a two-year program (Nicknaming, 2013).
Of course, I was curious about the bachelor’s degree, would just have to go to Main Campus to complete that degree program? Was surprised to hear Dry. Nicknaming inform me that he actually had a meeting at Main Campus later that week regarding bringing the bachelor’s degree program to Clarified Campus. Dry. Nicknaming stated that the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration that is offered at Clarified Campus has the same General Education Requirements that would be needed for a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Dry.
Nicknaming sounded hopeful that such advancement could be made to the Clarified Campus; he added that when he started only approximately eleven students were declared Criminal Justice majors at Clarified, currently there are approximately forty declared students (Nicknaming, 2013). With such little information, the growth of the Criminal Justice field is imminent; knowing this it made me remember a statement Dry. Nicknaming made at the beginning of the semester in my Sociology course regarding the majority of the “want-to- bee’s” trying to get in to the Nursing Department will most likely become Criminal Justice majors by the end.
I’m realizing Dry. Nicknaming may have been correct. Many of us sitting in exactly that position, myself included; even so, the prospect Of a growing field adds a little more interest in to the direction of Criminal Justly asked Dry. Nicknaming what benefits there are to having a degree in Crime Justice. One major benefit Dry. Nicknaming pointed out was the Criminal Justice Club which you pay a membership in to but it allows you to start alluding a network of connections that can help you later on in life with jolt opportunities (Nicknaming, 2013).
Instantly, that led me to my next quest what kind of jobs Will this degree prepare me for. Had informed Dry. Nicknaming that worked in a Prison, so he built on that; the common knowledge of advancement through the ranks or even change from Count State, or even to Federal Correctional Facilities. Dry. Nicknaming also note has seen individuals go in to the State Police Academy, other Police Academies, and different Civil Service jobs; again, this is just a starting pool Nicknaming, 2013).
Regardless of where I could go with it, a degree in Criminal Justice is proving to be a worthwhile back-up plan. Just as soon a: think I’m beginning to narrow down my choices, I feel those choices just became even more complicated. In reality, my choice boils down to what I make a living off of and what is in my heart.