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Do you work in the Criminal Justice system, or are you planning to work in the criminal justice system in the future? If the answer to either of those questions is “yes” then it’s quite likely that at some point in your career you’ll wonder if earning a professional certificate in the field of Criminal Justice is a worthy endeavor.
Most of us have heard the conventional wisdom stating that the ticket to a promotion or to a desired career advancement is by earning a master’s degree in the field within which you’re employed. There’s no arguing that, but is a master’s degree always your only option?
Not always. There certainly are situations where a master’s degree isn’t the only answer to the questions at hand regarding the best way to advance your criminal justice career. Perhaps you’re just trying to stay up to date on the issues and innovations that are impacting popular criminal justice careers in areas like law enforcement, corrections and criminology. There has to be a way to stay up to date with the latest criminal justice goings-on without committing to a master’s degree program, right?
Pursuing a master’s is a huge time commitment and working professionals, especially those in law enforcement, don’t have always have the time – or the need – for a graduate degree.
In the past, when it came to developing employees, criminal justice agencies and organizations relied on sending one or two individuals off to a criminal justice oriented leadership development program, such as the FBI National Academy or LEEDS seminar for executive development. Unfortunately, that approach is often not the most effective way to develop leadership capabilities at scale within the criminal justice system – exclusive programs like those mentioned above simply cannot scale to the level of demand for ongoing learning opportunities that is present in the criminal justice field today.
And, of course, criminal justice leadership programs like those mentioned above are the types of programs that focus strongly on leadership development, rather than focusing on providing meaningful and actionable insights into the rapidly changing and evolving criminal justice issues that impact society, law enforcement, domestic and international security concerns, as well as more general crime-related and public safety concerns.
Luckily, a new type of graduate experience is emerging for criminal justice professionals who want alternative credentialing opportunities that provide them with the specialized knowledge they wish to acquire. This is where criminal justice certificates enter the picture.
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