Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Michigan

Michigan State Police Incident Crime Reporting for 2013 indicates that certain types of criminal offenses increased in the state over the preceding year. These include:

  • Negligent homicide/manslaughter, which increased by 8.33 percent
  • Credit card/ATM fraud, which increased by 6.11 percent
  • Bribery, which increased by 27.27 percent
  • Illegal gambling, which increased by 19.77 percent

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The cities in Michigan that experience the highest amounts of crime in 2013 were Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint, Sterling Heights, Lansing and Warren.

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This growth in crime underscores the need for more qualified law enforcement and criminal justice professionals working in the state of Michigan.

Criminal Investigator and Law Enforcement Jobs in Michigan

According to data provided by the Michigan State Government, in 2013 there were approximately 580 citizens for every one police officer in Michigan, compared to the national average of 430 citizens for every officer. State government officials note that the number of police officers in the state indicates their ability to respond to crimes and emergencies in a timely fashion.

All law enforcement professionals in Michigan must meet the standards of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. This requires completing the proper training, usually at a police academy, before obtaining a job with a Michigan law enforcement agency.

Entry-level law enforcement jobs in Michigan are usually available at the police officer or deputy sheriff level. From there, law enforcement professionals may rise through the ranks to become a criminal detective, investigator, or state trooper.

Qualifications to Become a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in Michigan

Michigan towns and counties usually set the minimum requirement to become a police officer or deputy sheriff to include a high school diploma or GED. Candidates who have completed some college criminal justice coursework, however, may have an advantage over those without such education. Most jurisdictions set the age requirement for these types of law enforcement professionals at age 18. Other requirements that must be fulfilled include being a U.S. citizen, having good vision with depth perception, having no felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions for sex crimes, and having a Michigan driver’s license and good driving record.

Police officers are usually found within Michigan municipalities, and deputy sheriffs within county sheriff’s departments. Examples of Michigan work sites for these types of law enforcement personnel include:

  • Detroit Police Department, Detroit
  • Lansing Police Department, Lansing
  • Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, Troy
  • Macomb County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Clemens

Prerequisites to Become a Detective or Criminal Investigator in Michigan

The next level of law enforcement in Michigan is the criminal investigation or detective title. Requirements to become a detective in Michigan usually mandate that one first works as a police officer or deputy sheriff and is promoted to the detective position from within their law enforcement agency. Again, completion of college courses in criminal justice can help one to advance faster if becoming a detective in Michigan is their goal.

Examples of agencies in Michigan in which detectives work include:

  • Kent County Sheriff’s Department Investigative Division, Grand Rapids
  • City of Holland Police Department Criminal Investigative Division, Holland
  • St. Clair Shores Police Department Criminal Investigative Division, St. Clair Shores
  • Michigan State Police Criminal Investigative Unit, statewide

Requirements for Becoming a Michigan State Trooper

Many Michigan law enforcement professionals aspire to one day become a Michigan state trooper. As of 2012, there were 965 state troopers working across Michigan, according to the Michigan State Police. The requirements for this high-level law enforcement position in the state includes being at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen, having a high school diploma or GED (college education is preferred), meeting the same driving and criminal record requirements as those for police officer and deputy sheriff, and passing examinations.

Training for Michigan State Troopers is intensive, lasting 21 weeks at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing.

There are 29 state police posts located across the state of Michigan, in cities such as:

  • Marquette
  • Traverse City
  • Cadillac
  • Rockford
  • Paw Paw

Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Michigan

Crime scene investigators, or CSIs, work to collect and process evidence gathered from Michigan’s crime scenes. Forensic scientists process and analyze this evidence in a variety of ways. According to data provided by the Michigan State Police, it takes Michigan’s forensic scientists an average of 55 days to process evidence related to criminal investigations.

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Qualifications for Forensic Laboratory Jobs in Michigan

Employers of CSIs and forensic scientists in Michigan include:

  • Michigan State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Lansing
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division
  • Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office Crime Bureau, Hillsdale
  • Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Forensic Science Laboratory – Troy

In order to obtain a forensic scientist job in Michigan, a degree is necessary. Examples of degrees that can help one land a forensic science position in Michigan include:

  • Associate of Science in Criminology and Forensic Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biochemistry
  • Master of Science in Forensic Science

Certification is not required for forensic scientists in Michigan. However, national organizations such as theAmerican College of Forensic Examiners institute offer professional certifications to qualified individuals, if desired.

Requirements for CSI Jobs in Michigan

CSI investigators in Michigan may have specialized education and training, and usually require degrees such as:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

Certification is not required for CSIs in Michigan, but may be obtained through national organizations such as the American College of Forensic Examiners institute.

Correctional Officer Jobs in Michigan

Correctional officers are criminal justice professionals working within Michigan’s prisons at both the federal and state levels. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2013 there were 10,690 correctional officers and jailers working across the state of Michigan.

Becoming a Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Michigan

Federal correctional officers in Michigan must have at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. Three years of relatable experience may be substituted for education at this grade level. If a higher-grade position is desired, 9 hours of graduate course work is required, or one year of related experience. Other requirements that must be fulfilled include being between the ages of 21 and 36 ½ and a U.S. citizen.

One federal prison that employs correctional officers exists in Michigan – the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Milan.

Becoming a Correctional Officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections

Aspiring correctional officers who wish to work for the Michigan Department of Corrections must complete 15 hours of relevant college coursework, obtain a bachelor’s degree, or complete correctional officer training in another state. No experience is required. Correctional officers at the state level in Michigan must be at least 18 years old with no misdemeanor, controlled substance or domestic violence convictions on file.

There are many correctional facilities operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections statewide that employ correctional officers, including:

  • Oaks Correctional Facility, Manistee
  • Alger Correctional Facility, Munising
  • Detroit Reentry Center, Detroit
  • Parnall Correctional Facility, Jackson
  • Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti

Paralegals and Legal Support Jobs in Michigan

In Michigan, paralegals are defined by statute as legal paraprofessionals employed under a lawyer’s supervision. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 5180 paralegals and legal assistants worked in Michigan as of May 2013.

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Although education is not required for paralegals in Michigan, it is highly recommended. Specialized training may be earned through a variety of institutions in Michigan, resulting in degrees such as:

  • Associate in Business Studies – Legal Support Professional
  • Certificate – Paralegal Studies
  • Associate in Applied Science- Paralegal Studies
  • Advanced Certificate – Legal Support Professional

Professional certification is not mandated for paralegals in Michigan. National certification organizations do offer credentials that Registered Paralegal (RP) and Certified Registered Paralegal (CRP), obtainable by examination through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Some law firms and employers of Michigan paralegals may hire credentialed paralegals more readily than non-credentialed paralegals.

Employers of Paralegals and Legal Assistants in Michigan

Paralegals work for law firms, corporations, nonprofit organizations and more across Michigan, including:

  • Michigan Indian Legal Services, Traverse City
  • Kopka, Pinkus, Dolin and Eads, Farmington Hills
  • Amway, Ada
  • Hyundai Kia America Technical Center, Inc, Superior Township
  • Collins, Einhorn and Farrell, P.C. , Southfield

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Careers in Michigan

Emergency managers and homeland security professionals in Michigan help to prepare state residents for disaster and to coordinate resources when disaster strikes. Qualifications for these types of positions usually always include a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, criminal justice, homeland security or a related field.

Possibilities for employment in homeland security and emergency management are available all across Michigan, in agencies such as:

  • City of Lansing Department of Emergency Management
  • Allegan County Emergency Management, Allegan
  • Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Lansing
  • Michigan Security Network, Detroit

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