One of the most exciting and wide-ranging careers in today’s workforce is one in criminal justice. With a seemingly unlimited number of possible jobs that fall within this field’s realm, many young individuals are setting their educational goals on attaining a degree in criminal justice. While the majority of these folks will be awarded bachelor’s degrees from universities, other options are available, providing for a rich and prosperous employment landscape.
Doug Ford is a guest services specialist with the University of Michigan’s Health System Security Services and a 2010 graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. In addition to his duties with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Doug is also a petty officer, third class for the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve.
What is the most relevant aspect of your education that applies to your day-to-day job?
“The most relevant aspect would have to be social interactions with peers, co-workers, as well as teamwork. Every day I have to effectively work and communicate as a unit with my co-workers. Understanding social problems, the causes and effects, has helped me greatly. I have been able to use that knowledge to help me understand why people react in certain ways to different situations based on their prior experiences in society.”
What are the first steps towards starting a career within the criminal justice industry?
“Education is extremely important in the field of criminal justice. Although some criminal justice jobs may only require a high school diploma, the amount of applicants with a college education is so high that you need a degree to stay competitive. Other skills that can help make a candidate stand out are excellent communication skills and leadership.”
Any other advice for someone starting out? Anything people should do in addition to education?
“If I could go back, I would have wanted an internship in the same field that I was planning on going into. Having that extra work experience would separate me from other applicants. My only advice for younger individuals seeking a career in criminal justice would be to gain as much work experience and join as many extracurricular activities as they can while in college. Having a degree is great, but it is your other experiences that will help you land the job you want.”
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.