Criminal justice instructors usually teach classes about law enforcement methods or issues within the justice system. They can even develop outlines, deliver lectures, grade tests, and host office hours to seek help outside the classroom.
As a criminal justice instructor, the qualifications you require might vary depending on the type of your organizational setting. For instance, a high school instructor may only require a bachelor's degree and some work experience, such as time spent working in the court system or law enforcement professional. In contrast, if you want to teach at the college level, you need more experience and an advanced degree.
As per the latest statistics from BLS, a criminal justice instructor earns between $45,380 and $78,660 per year with average annual pay of $58,000. However, this figure can vary significantly depending upon your experience and skills.
Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.
Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.Education
Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.
Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.
Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.
Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.Other Experience
Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.
In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.
In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.
Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.
Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.Advancement
A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.
Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.
Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.Important Qualities
Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.
Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.
Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.
Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.
Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.
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As you move along in your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. Using our career map, a Criminal Justice Instructor can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as Supervisor, progress to a title such as Principal and then eventually end up with the title Principal.
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This course systematically explores the effectiveness of the law and justice system from a psychological perspective. By experiencing a fictional case first hand, you will learn about the psychology of law and some of the misconceptions commonly held about criminal justice...
The American criminal justice system is in need of reform. We incarcerate too many people. We pay insufficient attention to scientific advances that can help separate out the most and least culpable and dangerous. We grant the police far too much power to use force and technological surveillance. As a way of thinking about dealing with these problems, this course examines two over-arching issues: What should we do with people who have committed crime, and how should we identify who they are? On...
A 2 hour fast track summary of Criminal Law, targeting all common law LL.B examinations!...
The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.8% of Criminal Justice Instructors listed Student Learning on their resume, but soft skills such as Interpersonal skills and Speaking skills are important as well.
Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Criminal Justice Instructor. The best states for people in this position are California, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Criminal Justice Instructors make the most in California with an average salary of $61,026. Whereas in West Virginia and Delaware, they would average $57,330 and $56,185, respectively. While Criminal Justice Instructors would only make an average of $55,054 in Pennsylvania, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.
1. West Virginia
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Scott Hoke Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Cedar Crest College
Many CRJ jobs are either government-related or are tied to non-profit organizations. Local, county, state, and federal government positions offer several benefits, including benefits packages and job stability. Posts in this area are also the most sought after and may take a while for the candidate to work through the hiring process. It is not unusual for the entire process to be measured in months as compared to weeks.
Since the criminal justice system is one of the largest employment sectors, people often underestimate the work scope. Many non-profit organizations work with offenders, families. And victims in the criminal justice system. These organizations tend to have higher turnover rates, and it may be easier to find vacancies. Lastly, there are several non-profit organizations that work with issues surrounding community improvement. Although the pay may not be as high as other criminal justice system areas, the work is often quite rewarding. Show more