Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Nevada

Nevada is the seventh largest state in the nation, with 85.3 percent of its land controlled by the federal government. Even with this type of control, one index crime occurs in Nevada every five minutes 31 seconds. Nevada’s crime rate rose one percent between 2012 and 2013, and is slightly higher than the national crime rate. Crimes occur most frequently in Clark and Washoe Counties, according to the Uniform Crime Report 2013.

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A mixture of sworn personnel and civilians comprise Nevada’s criminal justice system. They all work together to fight and solve crimes in the state. Law enforcement officers, lawyers and legal support personnel, correctional officers and more all represent Nevada’s criminal justice system:

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  • Nevada employed 5372 full-time law sworn law enforcement officers in 2013, per the state’s Uniform Crime Report. This breaks down to 1.93 officers per every 1000 Nevada residents.
  • According to Nevada Workforce Informer, jobs for police and sheriff’s officers in Nevada are expected to increase by five percent between 2012 and 2022.
  • Job opportunities for detectives and criminal investigators are also expected to increase by 7.1 percent during that decade.
  • The number of correctional officer job openings should grow by 6.3 percent during that same period.
  • At the legal end of the criminal justice spectrum, career opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants should increase by 19.5 percent between 2012 and 2022.

This data provides students with motivation to pursue a degree in criminal justice, as most, if not all, of the above-mentioned jobs require some college-level education specific to the respective field.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs in Nevada

Criminal investigators, state troopers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies make up the foundations of Nevada’s law enforcement system.

According to Nevada’s Uniform Crime Report 2013, the state employed 4863 police officers and 509 sheriffs’ officers that year. These criminal justice professionals work for Nevada’s cities, towns and counties providing law enforcement.

Nevada’s Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff Qualifications

While most jurisdictions set their own requirements for police officers and deputy sheriffs, it is generally true that all candidates must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen. While the minimum requirement may be to hold a high school diploma or GED, having additional post-secondary education, particularly in law enforcement, can set a candidate aside from the rest of the pack.

Examples of law enforcement agencies in Nevada that employ police officers and deputy sheriffs include:

  • Reno Police Department, which employed 297 sworn police officers in 2013
  • Las Vegas Metro Police Department, where 2444 sworn police officers worked in 2013
  • Washoe Sheriff’s Office, which employed 416 sworn officers in 2013 (including deputy sheriffs and sheriffs)
  • North Las Vegas Police Department, where 268 sworn law enforcement officers worked in 2013

Nevada’s Criminal Investigator Qualifications

Detectives typically climb the ladder within their police department, sheriff’s office or state agency, and must start as police officers before being promoted. Having criminal justice education can greatly assist an aspiring criminal investigator in Nevada, although this is not a requirement of the job. Coursework in criminal investigation can be especially beneficial for potential detectives in Nevada. Additionally, detectives in Nevada at the state level must first have been state troopers and must have already met the requirements for that position.

Detectives in Nevada work for agencies like:

  • Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigation Division – Major Crimes – Carson City
  • Churchill County Sheriff’s Office Operations Bureau Investigations Division – Fallon
  • Henderson Police Department Investigations Division – Henderson
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division – Minden

Nevada’s State Trooper Qualifications

Nevada’s Highway Patrol hires state troopers to work all across this vast state. As of 2013, there were 445 sworn troopers working in the state.
In order to become a state trooper in Nevada, one must be 21 years old or older and a U.S. citizen, have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED (college credits in law enforcement will benefit candidates here), have a Nevada Class C driver’s license, pass screening tests, and must have, or be able to obtain, a radio operator’s certificate and a radar operator’s certificate.

Nevada’s state troopers work across the state but are based out of command centers in the following areas:

  • Headquarters – Carson City
  • Northern Command – Reno and Elko
  • Southern Command- Las Vegas Area

Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Nevada

Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators, otherwise known as CSIs, work at crime scenes within laboratories in Nevada. It is their job to gather, process and analyze all sorts of evidence from crime scenes.

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Jobs for CSIs and forensic scientists may be available in agencies across Nevada such as:

  • Carson City Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab- Carson City
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Lab- Las Vegas
  • Washoe County Forensic Science Division – Crime Lab – Reno
  • Henderson Police Department Criminal Investigation Division – Henderson

Nevada’s Forensic Science Professional Qualifications

All forensic scientists in Nevada need at least a bachelor’s degree. This may be in forensic science, or a specific scientific area such as chemistry, biochemistry or toxicology.

Although unnecessary to become hired as a forensic scientist in Nevada, professional certification is available through several nationwide agencies. They include the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and the International Board of Forensic Engineering Sciences. These types of certifications can set a forensic scientist apart from his or her peers and identifies the highest levels of professionalism and ethics in the field.

Nevada’s CSI Qualifications

Crime scene investigators in Nevada are typically civilian jobs, not sworn law enforcement positions. They usually require some type of specialized education in the field of forensics and crime scene investigations at the associate degree level. Examples of jobs include crime scene technician, latent print analyst and blood pattern specialist.

Professional certification is not mandatory for Nevada’s CSIs, but can set one aside within the field. The Nevada State Division of the International Association for Identification offers certification in specific areas of crime scene investigation, as well as training and education for working professionals in the field.

Correctional Officer Jobs in Nevada

According to the Nevada Workforce Informer, the Nevada Department of Corrections employed 2660 correctional officers in 2012.

Correctional officers in Nevada must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, have no felony or domestic violence convictions, have no DUI/DWI convictions in the past seven years and no more than two DUI/DWI convictions total, and have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, though an associate degree in corrections is becoming increasingly common among job candidates. Two years of experience working in any field is also necessary before the Nevada Department of Corrections will hire a correctional officer.

The Nevada Department of Corrections operates the following facilities, all of which employ correctional officers:

  • Warm Springs Correctional Center – Carson City
  • Southern Desert Correctional Center- Indian Springs
  • Northern Nevada Correctional Center – Carson City
  • Lovelock Correctional Center – Lovelock
  • High Desert State Prison – Indian Springs
  • Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center – Las Vegas
  • Ely State Prison – Ely

Paralegals and Legal Support Jobs in Nevada

By law, Nevada’s paralegals and legal support workers must work under the direct supervision of a state licensed attorney.

Nevada’s paralegals may receive training by attending a college or university program or by being trained on the job. Examples of certificates and degrees often earned by paralegals in Nevada include:

  • Associate of Applied Science-Paralegal
  • Paralegal Studies Certificate

Professional certification is an option for Nevada’s paralegals. Two main agencies offer certification for paralegals. One is the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), which certifies qualified paralegals through examination with the credentials Certified Paralegal (CP) and Advanced Paralegal Certified (APC). The other chief credentialing agency for paralegals is the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), which offers the certifications Registered Paralegal (RP) and Certified Registered Paralegal (CRP) by examination.

These types of agencies and firms employ paralegals in Nevada:

  • Washoe Legal Services Bankruptcy Clinic – Reno
  • Jimmerson Hansen P.C. – Las Vegas
  • Bell & Young, Ltd. – North Las Vegas
  • Parsons, Behle & Latimer, P.C. – Henderson

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Nevada

Other types of jobs that may require a criminal justice degree are found in the emergency management and homeland security realms in Nevada. These jobs involve preventing and responding to emergency situations of all types, natural and man-made.

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These jobs are highly specialized and require a minimum of a bachelor degree, or post-bachelor certificate, which may be in public safety, criminal justice, emergency management, security studies, or homeland security.

Employers of Nevada’s homeland security and emergency management personnel include:

  • Nevada Division of Emergency Management – Carson City
  • Nevada Office of Homeland Security – Carson City
  • United States Secret Service- Las Vegas and Reno
  • FBI Resident Agencies -Elko and Reno
  • FBI Field Office – Las Vegas

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