Are you passionate about the law and the criminal justice system? If yes, why not pursue a career that enables you to fulfill your passion?
Like most people, the first thing that comes to mind is being a lawyer. Indeed, lawyers are the face of the legal field, but not everybody can become a lawyer. Especially if you’re put off by the lengthy training lawyers have to go through, you may be wondering whether there are other legal careers one can pursue.
The good news is there are plenty of careers in the legal field, and most don’t require the rigorous training lawyers have to undergo.
Have your pick from the career options fleshed out below:
- Probation Officer
A probation officer, sometimes known as a probation and parole officer, mainly works with convicted offenders who’re on probation.
This professional’s job description runs beyond merely supervising those on probation. They play an important role in ensuring the court’s probation instructions are followed. Their reports are used by the courts to determine whether offenders who have completed the terms of their probation are fit for release.
If this sounds like a career you’d enjoy, you need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to get started. An increasing number of colleges are offering an online criminal justice degree, so you don’t have to worry about attending in-person classes in these pandemic times.
Federal, state, and local correctional institutions are the primary employers of probation officers. However, you can also find employment in the private sector, where you’ll work for companies that provide contracted correctional management services to the government.
- Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement officers, or police officers, are the face of law and order in any jurisdiction. These officers protect lives and property and work to prevent crime. When a crime has occurred, they investigate and ensure the perpetrators face the law.
There are different types of law enforcement officers, mainly:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent
- Police and sheriff’s patrol officer
- Transit and railroad police
- Fish and game wardens
- State detective and criminal investigator
- Secret Service agent.
If you’d like to become a law enforcement officer, you must be an American citizen with at least a high school diploma. Having at least an associate’s degree in criminal justice is a big plus. You must then pass physical and criminal background checks, after which you’ll join a police training academy.
Most law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to working for a police department. You can rise through the ranks and become a Chief of Police, the highest-ranking officer in a police department.
- Compliance Specialist
In every industry, there are laws and regulations that both organizations and individuals must adhere to. However, if you’re not well-versed with the law, it can be difficult to know which regulations to follow and how to best ensure compliance. This is where compliance specialists come in.
These professionals work in various kinds of organizations, providing counsel on relevant legal matters. Others run their own consulting firms, where they provide compliance advice to clients.
So, what does it take to become a compliance specialist?
Most of these specialists are lawyers, so you need to pursue a degree in law. However, unlike other lawyers who can represent clients in a court of law, you don’t have to secure admission to the bar to become a compliance specialist.
Instead, you should specialize in education. For example, if you want to be a compliance specialist in environmental organizations, you should pursue a master’s degree in environmental law.
- Court Reporter
A court reporter, or court stenographer, creates verbatim records of court sessions and other legal proceedings. If you love watching legal TV shows, you’ve probably seen some people in the background whose only job is to type into special transcription equipment.
If the job of a court reporter piques your interest, you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t require a lot of professional training. All you need to do is pursue a short training program in court reporting. Ensure it’s approved or accredited by the National Court Reporters Association.
The judiciary court system is the main employer for court reporters, but you can also find employment in established law firms and local governments.
The work of a lawyer can be daunting, especially when they’re working on multiple court cases or a trial. On their own, they wouldn’t be able to get their work done. They often need professional assistance, which comes from paralegals.
A paralegal is a professional who has an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. They’re proficient in legal research, analysis and writing, civil litigation, and law office administration.
As a paralegal, you’ll find employment in law firms, but there are also plenty of opportunities in insurance firms and other organizations with sizeable legal departments.
This is also a good starting career if you’d like to eventually become an attorney. With a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, you’ll be a perfect fit for law school, and later on, the bar.
Legal Careers You’ll Love
Whether you’re looking for legal careers for non-lawyers or alternative legal careers for lawyers, there are options for you. From probation officers to paralegals and compliance specialists, you won’t miss a career path that’s ideal for you.
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