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Homeland Security and Cyber Security

In the words of President Obama, cyber-attacks are “one of the most serious economic and national security threats our nation faces.” With the advent of the Internet and the exponential growth of both IT and technology in general over the last two decades, a new branch of criminal justice has become necessary: cyber security. The Internet and technology such as GPS-enabled devices and mobile phones have not only allowed people to stay better connected in day-to-day life, but it has also opened doors for criminal acts such as identity theft, espionage, hacking, and even terrorism.

The field of cyber security has become widespread in criminal justice agencies across the nation, from local police departments to the military and even Homeland Security. Many criminal justice students who are also interested in computers and technology are beginning to concentrate on cyber security in order to counteract crime and terrorism that takes place in cyber-space, and there are even digital forensic specialists that are called in on cases from time to time.

The responsibilities of a career in cyber security with the Department of Homeland Security involve incident response, vulnerability detection and assessment network and systems engineering, intelligence, investigation, strategic analysis, and assessment of cyber risk; all in an attempt to protect the cyberspace of the United States. Recently, there has been a push to increase monitoring of social media sites in order to identify possible threats to the nation, from terrorism to treason and even pedophilia. However, in doing so, Homeland Security is walking a fine line between national security and violation of privacy. As such, people in the cyber security field must be educated not only in the use of technology and the Internet, but also in criminal justice and the law.



In an effort to reduce the time and expense of obtaining two degrees to become a cyber security professional, many colleges, universities and online criminal justice schools offer information security  or cyber security degrees to students to cover both realms of education: technology and criminal justice. Cyber security degrees are offered at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels, and some schools also offer undergraduate or graduate certificates in the field.

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Private Investigator Detective Careers

Private investigators come from all walks of life and can earn their qualifications in various ways. The requirements for becoming a private investigator are dependent on state regulations, and often this career requires being licensed in the state after earning education in the field. When considering how to obtain the educational requirements to become a Private Investigator, a campus-based or online private investigator degree may be required.  Some states, however, allow the completion of private investigator certification and/or training programs offered through both online and on-campus colleges and universities to fulfill certification requirements. Once you have earned your PI certificate and have become licensed (where required), there are various careers one can work in:
  • Self-employed Investigators work independently, or in a private firm, and obtain work on a per-case basis. These cases may range from legal problems and spousal discord to routine security and child custody cases. These investigators may also contract their work out to corporations and law firms in order to assist in more long-term projects as outlined below.
  • Corporate Investigators are employed by a corporation to perform internal or external investigations as needed. These investigations can range from drug use and internal theft to fraudulent accounting and corporate espionage.
  • Legal Investigators are employed by private law firms to assist in legal proceedings. Responsibilities in this realm of investigation include preparing criminal defenses, testifying at trial, performing interviews, writing reports, collecting information including photographs and physical evidence, and locating persons of interest or witnesses.
  • Loss Prevention Investigators are employed by retail establishments such as stores, hotels, and the like. It is their responsibility to prevent both internal and external theft from occurring in these establishments, investigate suspected internal theft, and catch internal and external thefts that do occur. During special events, these investigators may also provide security for the establishment and help to maintain order.

Within any private investigation career, there are several areas where one can develop an expertise. Some areas of specialty include computer forensics investigation, financial investigation, and fraud investigation, among others. Investigators with these specialties can work in any of the above realms of investigation, and mainly focus on cases in their area of expertise.

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Crime Scene Investigators

When a crime occurs, it can shake the security of a community or affect the lives of those living across the globe. The fear of being personally affected by a violent crime can be crippling, but the assurance of a fast response to a crime can do a lot of good in easing the fears of the public. Crimes can range in the difficulty involved with identifying and convicting a suspect, making the investigation of a criminal act and crime scene an important part of the justice system. A well-trained team of Crime Scene Investigators are one of the best ways to reduce the time involved in preventing a criminal from doing more harm, through convicting him or her with the evidence collected from a crime scene.

Crime Scene Investigators are responsible for the actual evidence collection, examination and catalog procedures that help link criminals to crimes that have been committed. These criminal justice professionals have a strong foundation in law enforcement, as well as research and the analysis of evidence found within a crime scene. Many Crime Scene Investigators are called to properly identify, collect, catalog and preserve evidence, while others may specialize in the analysis of clues like fingerprints, computer and digital evidence or ballistics, to name a few.

A professional Crime Scene Investigator can expect to earn an average of $50,000 per year, depending on level of experience, location and education. Those with a degree in crime scene investigation can expect to earn more than a typical criminal justice degree. With the availability of campus-based and online crime scene investigation certifications, criminal justice professionals can easily learn the skills and techniques needed to work as a Crime Scene Investigator.



Much importance has been placed on the rapid solving of crimes, especially with the considerations presented by television shows and movies. While most crimes cannot be solved within an hour, regardless of the level of education and training of Crime Scene Investigators, the services and skills these criminal justice professionals provide is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of the community.

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