Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Idaho

The fact that the number of violent crimes and property crimes in Idaho has dropped over the past decade is a testament to the skill, training, and education of the state’s criminal justice professionals. As FBI statistics show, violent crime levels in 2012 were lower than they were a decade earlier, despite the fact the state’s population increased by more than 250,000 residents over this same period of time.

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However, Idaho’s growing population does put strains on the state’s criminal justice system. These strains are countered through increased hiring in many of the agencies that deal with specific areas of the system. This means professionals who work as part of Idaho’s criminal justice system can expect job security and stability well into the future.

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Because of the specialized nature of the many professions within the field of criminal justice – from criminal investigations to forensic science to legal support to corrections – many of these positions require a require college education and experience.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs in Idaho

Idaho’s police officers, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and criminal investigators handle the bulk of all criminal activity in the state. Candidates who want to become a law enforcement officer with any agency in Idaho need to first have a high school education and a personal history that demonstrates a good moral character. Some agencies require candidates to have a college education.

Many positions require candidates to have law enforcement certification through Idaho’s POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Academy. As law enforcement officers progress in their careers they can become eligible for more advanced positions. These often require an advanced POST certification. Law enforcement officers that earn a college degree can use it in place of required years of experience and training when qualifying to become eligible for advanced POST certification.

Becoming a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in Idaho

With 2,790 police officers and deputy sheriff’s statewide, Idaho’s municipal and county law enforcement officers stand on the front line against criminal activity. Each police and sheriff’s department can choose its own hiring qualifications, and this often includes having some college credit:

Boise Police Department – new recruits must have completed 64 college semester credits or already be certified law enforcement officers through the Idaho POST Academy with an Intermediate Certificate

Pocatello Police Department – candidates can qualify for additional points during the hiring process if they have either of the following qualifications:

  • An associate’s degree or higher
  • Are already POST-certified in Idaho as a law enforcement officer

Meridian Police Department – candidates must meet one of the following qualifying conditions:

  • Have at least 60 college semester credits or an associate’s degree in any subject
  • Have an Idaho POST law enforcement certification or be eligible for such as an out-of-state candidate
  • Have at least four years of active-duty military experience with an honorable discharge

Nampa Police Department – candidates can earn preference points during the hiring process by having 64 college credits

Ada County Sheriff’s Office – candidates must meet one of the following qualifications, and in general can earn a higher salary with a college degree:

  • 64 semester college credits or an associate’s degree in any subject
  • Have two years of full-time law enforcement experience
  • Have served four consecutive years in full-time military service

Canyon County Sheriff’s Office – prefers candidates who have taken at least some college courses in criminal justice

Candidates must have at least a high school education to work with the following agencies:

  • Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bannock County Sheriff’s Office
  • Idaho Falls Police Department

Becoming a State Patrol Officer with the Idaho State Police

Idaho’s State Troopers patrol the interstate highway system along routes I-84, I-86, I-15, and I-90. These law enforcement professionals also act as a statewide police organization that is available to investigate crimes and provide assistance to local law enforcement forces as needed.

To be eligible for employment, prospective Idaho State Troopers will need to have at least two years of successful college attendance or an equivalent amount of work experience.

Criminal Investigator and Detective Job Qualifications in Idaho

Criminal investigators and detectives work with specialized criminal divisions and investigative bureaus within local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. In Idaho these niche professionals number 400 strong. Each law enforcement agency sets its own qualification requirements. Generally, to become a detective or criminal investigator candidates will need to have prior law enforcement experience and may also need to have some college education.

Investigations Specialist with the Boise Police Department’s Operations Bureau – requires at least four years of administrative support in law enforcement or a related field. Candidates are preferred to have taken college courses in a field related to criminal justice, and have at least two years of experience working with victims of crime

Police Detective with the Boise Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division – candidates must be a current POST-certified Boise Police Officer

Police Investigator with the Idaho Falls Police Department’s Detectives Division – candidates must have either five years of progressively responsible law enforcement experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Education can include an associate’s, bachelor’s, of master’s degree in any of the following subjects:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Science

Special Agent with the FBI – requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Information Technology
  • Languages

Paralegals and Legal Assistant Jobs in Idaho

With more than 850 paralegals and legal assistants statewide, most of Idaho’s professionals in this field are located in and around Boise. Paralegals and legal assistants provide the backbone of the legal system, conducting research, interviews, or doing any other needed tasks as requested by their employers. While completion of a paralegal studies certification or degree program is not an official state requirement in Idaho, professionals in this field will find that having either of these qualifications is often a de facto requirement imposed by employers.

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Legal assistants and paralegals can find paralegal studies and other law-related programs at colleges and universities throughout Idaho. There are additional paralegal college programs online that are available to Idaho residents. Legal assistant and paralegal studies programs are offered at the following levels:

  • Associate’s of arts or sciences – AA or AS degrees
  • Bachelor’s of science – BS degree
  • Post-bachelor’s certificate
  • Master’s of science – MS degree

Paralegals may also be required or preferred to obtain a national legal assistant certification offered by a company such as the following:

Idaho Employers of Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Professionals in this field will find the vast majority of their employment opportunities through legal firms, governments, and commercial enterprise. The following examples will give prospective legal assistants an idea of the real-world skills employers are looking for:

J.R. Simplot Company in Boise was recently advertising for a paralegal who had at least an associate’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Candidates must have also had a paralegal certification and at least five years of prior work experience. in Boise was recently seeking a paralegal with at least one year of prior work experience and the preferred qualification of some college education

Barrera Legal Group in Nampa was recently advertising for a paralegal who had at least a bachelor’s degree and four years of work experience

The City of Boise was recently looking for a lead paralegal with at least a bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas, with an added advantage for anyone with a paralegal certification:

  • Paralegal Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Legal Assisting
  • Pre-law

Crime Scene Investigator and Forensic Scientist Jobs in Idaho

It takes a uniquely educated and qualified person to become a forensic scientist or crime scene investigator in Idaho. These professionals are trained in a specific field of forensics and work within specialized units of law enforcement agencies at all levels of government.

Each agency can set its own requirements for crime scene investigators and forensic scientists. The following is a selection of job requirements in this field:

Evidence Analyst II with the Boise Police Department – requires three years of work experience in forensics, law enforcement, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Candidates must also have a bachelor’s degree Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, or a related field. Within two years of hire the Evidence Analyst II must become fingerprint-certified by the International Association for Identification. Applicants for this position are preferred to have a master’s degree in related fields.

Evidence Technician Specialist with the Boise Police Department – requires two years of law enforcement, security, or related experience, with a preference given to candidates with a bachelor‘s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field.

Police Crime Scene Technician with the Idaho Falls Police Department Police – requires at least two years of crime scene investigation experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience, plus at least an associate’s degree in any of these subjects:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensics
  • Any other related field

Idaho State Police Forensic Scientist I – candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects, and may also require additional expertise in DNA, Chemistry, Biochemistry or Genetics:

  • Physical Science
  • Natural Science
  • Criminalistics
  • Any other closely related field

Criminalist I with the Boise Police Department – requires at least one year of experience in a field related to law enforcement or forensics, plus at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. Candidates are preferred to have a master’s degree in either of these subjects, as well as Biology, Chemistry, or another related field. At least three years of experience processing crime scenes, including evidence collection and photography, is also preferred.

Forensic Science and CSI Certification

Professionals in this field can find nationally recognized forensic science and CSI certification programs through agencies such as:

Jobs with the Idaho Department of Corrections

Idaho’s 1,840 correctional officers ensure that justice is served at 10 correctional facilities located throughout the state. To become a correctional officer and serve with the Idaho Department of Corrections, candidates will need to be at least 21 years of age and have one of the following:

  • Completion of 15 college credits
  • High school diploma
  • General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
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Correctional officers employed by the Idaho Department of Corrections work at the following facilities:

  • Correctional Alternative Placement Program (CAPP) in Kuna
  • Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino (ICIO)
  • Idaho Maximum Security Institution (IMSI) in Boise
  • Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC) in Boise
  • Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI) in Boise
  • North Idaho Correctional Institution (NICI) in Cottonwood
  • Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center (PWCC)
  • St. Anthony Work Camp (SAWC)
  • South Boise Women’s Correctional Center (SBWCC) in Kuna
  • South Idaho Correctional Institution (SICI) in Kuna

Jobs in Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Idaho

Homeland security and emergency management officials in Idaho approach the issue of safety and security from a variety of angles. These professionals defend the state against everything from wildfires to international drug traffickers. Because of the many aspects of homeland security and emergency management, candidates can prepare for careers in these fields through education in many fields of study:

  • Public Administration
  • Public Safety
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Law Enforcement
  • Logistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology

Jobs involving homeland security and emergency management can be found in agencies such as:

  • Idaho Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boise
  • Inland Northwest Regional Terrorism Task Force
  • Idaho Criminal Intelligence Center
  • Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security
  • Idaho State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Identification
  • Idaho Statistical Analysis Center
  • Idaho Emergency Operations Center

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