Criminal Justice Schools by State

Paralegal and Legal Assistant Careers

As the economic recovery in the U.S. continues to slowly gain momentum, solid and stable career choices are becoming a concern for those graduating from high school and looking toward the future. With the experience of a recession fresh in the minds of those focusing on education and career choices, many fields in criminal justice have become paths to a bright future. Among those choices, paralegal and legal assistant careers are proving to be some of the most stable choices within criminal justice.

A paralegal or legal assistant provides services to attorneys, including fact checking and research, the drafting of documents, briefs, motions, depositions or other important legal papers. These professionals can interview clients or provide support to an attorney’s office through filing documents or offering assistance during legal proceedings such as trials, hearings, mediations or arbitrations.  More attorneys and law firms are looking to paralegals and legal assistants to fill the gaps in service that were typically filled by new attorneys, but at a lower rate of pay. While legal assistants and paralegals cannot perform all of the functions of a lawyer, these professionals are an invaluable part of the legal system and can compensate for much of the work a full-fledged attorney typically performs.

Each state has specific regulations for paralegals and legal assistants, including a certification process. Through a local or online criminal justice school or legal assistant certification program, a paralegal student can be assured of understanding the skills and academics required to work within the criminal justice and legal fields. Additionally, paralegals or legal assistants are encouraged to pursue a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree to ensure potential employers of the required level of education needed to work within the legal field.

Becoming a paralegal or legal assistant requires dedication, organization, and a talent for navigating the legal system. As more new high school graduates begin to look toward the future, the paralegal and legal assistant fields promise a stable and rewarding career that not only challenges, but makes a difference in the lives of people across the country.

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Forensic Science Careers

Forensic science careers are a constantly growing area of law enforcement and criminal justice. This progression is largely attributed to the advances in technology that help detect, process, catalog and interpret evidence that is found at crime scenes or on computers, in the case of fraud or other “victimless” crimes.

A Forensic Science career is a challenging path that can take place in an office, on a police beat or within a forensics laboratory. These criminal justice professionals are trained through local or online Forensic Science Degree programs in the delicate art of unraveling small pieces of evidence that may ultimately be used in criminal trials or court hearings to convict or exonerate accused criminals.

A Crime Scene Investigator or Forensic Science Technician is responsible for the collection, identification and preservation of physical evidence that is left at a crime scene or on a victim of a crime. This evidence can include fingerprints, hair or tissue samples, and the results of tests from weapons or other critical evidence collected from a crime scene.  Specialists in this area of Forensic Science include ballistics and weaponry experts, forensic toxicologists, and fingerprint or handwriting analysis experts.

Computer-related offenses and crimes are considered a growing area within law enforcement. This rise in “victimless” crimes is attributed to the use of computers and other devices to embezzle, commit fraud or compromise the security of government, financial and political agencies around the world. Forensic Science professionals such as Forensic Accountants are specially trained in the detection and preservation of data-driven evidence that can be submitted as proof of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Attention to detail and the ability to determine the relevance of evidence, whether physical or within an e-mail or encrypted on a hard drive are hallmarks of a well-trained and experienced Forensic Science professional. These men and women are a vital part of the criminal justice system, bringing together pieces of a puzzle within the legal system that benefits the victims, as well as the community as a whole.

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