Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Louisiana
Civility, security, and prosperity in Louisiana are all made possible by criminal justice professionals who work in fields ranging from legal support to law enforcement to forensics to corrections. Compared with its neighboring states, Louisiana offers some of the most promising salaries and best job security in the field of criminal justice. Additionally, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana has the fourth-highest concentration of correctional officer, police officer and sheriff’s deputy jobs in the nation.
College education is often a requirement, especially for more advanced criminal justice positions, and even if it is not explicitly required it is often preferred. Education, training, and experience are three key competitive elements for those that want to pursue a promising career in Louisiana’s criminal justice system.
Jobs in Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigations in Louisiana
Patrol and investigative law enforcement officers in Louisiana work with agencies at all levels of government. From the local sheriff’s office to the Louisiana State Police and FBI, these law enforcement professionals are often the first responders to Louisiana’s more than 22,000 violent crimes and 160,000 property crimes annually.
To work in law enforcement and criminal investigations, candidates will need to have a clean criminal record. Candidacy for a law enforcement position can often be augmented with prior related work experience and a college degree in Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement.
Louisiana’s Requirements to Become a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff
With a higher concentration of sheriff’s deputy and police officer jobs than 92 percent of all states in the country, Louisiana’s 10,840 law enforcement professionals in these positions carry a weighty responsibility. Working in this capacity for cities and parishes throughout the state requires dedicated individuals, who in many cases are preferred or required to possess some college education. Each law enforcement agency sets its own requirements for hire.
New Orleans Police Department – requires police officer applicants to have one of the following qualifications:
- An associate’s degree
- 60 college credits from the same educational institution
- Two years of sworn law enforcement experience
- Two years of active military experience
- Four years of combined active and National Guard or reserve-duty military service
Baton Rouge Police Department – applicants with a college degree have the potential to earn a higher salary.
Lafayette Police Department – considers college education to be important and offers its officers a comprehensive tuition reimbursement program.
Lake Charles Police Department – police officers with a bachelor’s degree can earn an extra $100 per month.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office – requires applicants to have one of the following qualifications, and offers incentive pay to candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree:
- 90 semester college credits
- One year of sworn law enforcement experience
- Three years of full time work experience
- One year of continuous active duty military service
- An equivalent combination of education and work experience
Caddo Parish Sheriff‘s Office – allows applicants without a high school education to qualify with a college degree and offers incentive pay for those who possess a college education.
Louisiana’s Requirements to Become a State Police Officer
State Troopers serving in Louisiana’s State Police work to keep residents safe while they travel on busy highways. Troopers conduct investigations, patrol their assigned areas, and assist other law enforcement forces when called upon.
Candidates need to be qualified in order to join the Louisiana State Police. This means meeting one of the following requirements:
- 60 college semester credits
- Two years of sworn law enforcement experience
- A equivalent combination of education and law enforcement experience
- Three years of continuous active-duty military experience
Prerequisites to Become a Criminal Investigator or Detective in Louisiana
Detectives work within special investigative units of city, parish, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. They are usually experienced professionals who have worked their way up from entry-level ranks. Criminal investigator positions often have the additional requirement of a college education, with each law enforcement agency setting its own specific hiring standards for these professionals.
New Orleans Police Department – to work as a Criminal Investigator I in the NOPD’s Investigation and Support Bureau, candidates will need to qualify through one of the following routes:
- Juris Doctorate degree in any subject
- Bachelor’s degree in the subjects of:
- Criminal Justice
- Business Administration
- Public Administration
- Social Science
- Any other closely related field
- Inspector or Examiner certification, or three years of investigative experience with the Office of the Inspector General or equivalent governmental authority
- One year of criminal investigative or law enforcement experience
Louisiana State Police – to work as a Police Investigator in the State Police’s Criminal Investigations Division candidates will need to have at least three years of work experience in law enforcement. A maximum of two years of work experience can be substituted for with college education at a rate of 30 semester credits for one year of work experience.
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) – to work as a Special Agent out of the FBI’s field office in New Orleans candidates will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to:
- Criminal Justice
- Political Science
- Computer Science
- Louisiana State Police – to work as a Criminal Investigator I in the State Police’s Criminal Investigations Division candidates will need to meet one of these requirements:
- Have an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice
- Have at least two years of experience in law enforcement with a government agency
- Have an equivalent combination of work experience and education, with 30 semester credits of college equaling one year or experience. Qualifying via this route requires that the college education include at least six credits in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice each year.
Legal Assistant Jobs in Louisiana
Paralegals in Louisiana provide essential services throughout the state. These include conducting legal research, interviewing clients, and preparing legal documents. Many of Louisiana’s 3,750 paralegals have some form of higher education or certification, although state law does not require this.
Louisiana is home to several legal assistant and legal studies programs that are approved by the American Bar Association. These are offered at universities in the following cities with accompanying levels of education:
- Kenner – BS in Legal Studies, AS in Legal Assisting
- Baton Rouge – One year/two semester Paralegal Studies Certificate
- New Orleans – Paralegal Studies Program at the AA, BA, and Post-bac Certificate levels
Louisiana residents also have the option of earning a nationally-recognized certification offered by agencies such as these:
- Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
- American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc (AAPI)
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
Louisiana Legal Assistant and Paralegal Employers
As the following recent job announcements demonstrate, each paralegal employer can set its own requirements for hire:
- Lockheed Martin in New Orleans was recently looking for a legal assistant who had a paralegal certificate or an equivalent amount of training using databases such as LEXIS and WestLaw.
- The Sheryl Story law office in Metairie was recently seeking a legal assistant who had the preferred qualifications of an associate’s degree with relevant coursework or paralegal certifications.
- The Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz law firm in New Orleans was recently advertising for a legal assistant who had either a bachelor’s degree or a paralegal certification from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
- Paralegals who work for the State of Louisiana must meet one of the following qualifications:
- Complete a college or university Paralegal Studies program
- Complete a Paralegal Studies program that is approved by the American Bar Association
- Earn a Juris Doctorate degree
- Earn the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigations Jobs in Louisiana
Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators work within specialized departments of law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in Louisiana. These professionals play an instrumental role in solving the state’s toughest and most challenging cases by collecting and analyzing even microscopic evidence.
Every law enforcement agency has its own requirements when it comes to hiring crime scene investigators and forensic scientists. These often include prior experience in related fields and a college degree in a specific field of forensic science. Examples of qualification requirements include:
Working as a Senior DNA Analyst with the New Orleans Police Department’s Crime Lab and Evidence Division requires candidates to meet all of the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science, Chemistry, Biology, or other closely related field
- Nine semester credits in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, statistics, or population genetics
- Five years of related work experience in a professional crime laboratory
Working as a Police Forensic Scientist in the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau requires a bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects:
- Forensic Science
- Any other related degree programs
Working as a Crime Laboratory Technician in the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau requires a bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects:
- Any other related field
Working as a Crime Laboratory Analyst in the Louisiana State Police’s Crime Lab requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree with twelve semester credits in Biology or Chemistry plus an additional twelve semester credits in subjects such as:
- Biological Sciences
- Forensic Science
- Molecular Physics
Prospective forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators in Louisiana can also pursue specific professional certifications offered by any of the following agencies:
- American Board of Forensic Toxicology
- International Association for Identification
- American Board of Criminalistics
Jobs with the Louisiana Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prison
Providing over 9,000 correctional officer jobs in Louisiana, the field of corrections in this state offers one of the highest employment concentrations of its kind in the country. Correctional officers primarily work at facilities that are operated by the state’s Department of Corrections and the federal government’s Bureau of Corrections, as well as prisons that are managed by city and parish governments.
Qualifying for Jobs with the Louisiana Department of Corrections
Correctional officers with the Louisiana Department of Corrections need to have at least a high school education and a relatively clean criminal record.
Some of the state’s correctional facilities are managed by private companies, which each have their own hiring requirements:
- GEO Group – prefers candidates who have a college education in fields such as:
- Cultural Studies
- Behavioral Sciences
- Correctional Services
- Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) – requires applicants to have a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years of age
Correctional officers working for the Louisiana Department of Corrections are employed at a variety of facilities located throughout the state:
- Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in Saint Gabriel
- Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola
- B.B. Rayburn Correctional Center in Angie
- Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport
- David Wade Correctional Center in Homer
- Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson
- Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (EHCC) in Saint Gabriel
- Allen Correctional Center in Kinder – managed by the private corrections company GEO Group
- Winn Correctional Center in Atlanta – managed by the private company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
Qualifying for Careers in Corrections with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Louisiana
Correctional officers employed by the Bureau of Prisons must meet one of the following qualifications:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in any subject
- Have one year of specialized work experience in a field related to corrections
- Have three years of work experience related to the field of corrections
In Louisiana there are two correctional complexes operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons:
- Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) – includes Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Oakdale I and Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Oakdale II
- Pollock Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) – includes Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Pollock and US Penitentiary (USP) Pollock
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Louisiana
With a bustling tourism industry, strategic energy refining and transportation resources, and as the site of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Louisiana holds its homeland security and emergency management officials in high esteem. These professionals work at all levels of government to facilitate vital communication and government services during times of crisis.
Homeland security and emergency management professionals are highly trained and often hold at least a bachelor’s degree. The range of career specializations in this field means prospective homeland security and emergency management officials can study a range of subjects:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Computer Science
- Public Administration
- Logistics Management
Homeland security and emergency management officials work within organizations such as:
- Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge
- New Orleans Joint Terrorism Task Force
- Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange in Baton Rouge
- Homeland Security Advisory Council
Degrees by State
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