Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in North Carolina
According to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report 2013, the crime rate statewide dropped seven percent since 2012. This included a 5.4 percent drop in the rate of violent crime and a 7.2 decrease in the property crime rate. The one category that increased slightly between 2012 and 2013 was the arrest of juveniles under age 18 for violent crimes, but this increased by just one percent.
Although crime across the state of North Carolina decreased as a whole, in some of the state’s larger cities, the crime rate increased. For example, in Asheville, crime increased eight percent from 2012 to 2013. Likewise, in Cary, crime was up nine percent. Crime in Durham rose three percent; in Greenville, three percent; and in High Point, crime was up two percent.
As these numbers indicate, crime is still a problem in the state of North Carolina. This creates an even greater challenge for professionals in North Carolina’s criminal justice system. Criminal justice degrees in North Carolina are quite desirable right now, as job opportunities for candidates with the right education are expected to remain favorable in the state:
- Paralegals, professionals who assist licensed attorneys, should see the greatest increase of jobs within the criminal justice arena in North Carolina. Between 2010 and 2020, jobs for paralegals in North Carolina are expected to increase by 24.5 percent.
- Job opportunities for police and sheriff’s officers in North Carolina are projected to increase by sixteen percent from 2010 to 2020.
- Jobs for North Carolina detectives and criminal investigators, which numbered 3720 in 2010, are projected to total 4180 by 2020, representing an increase of 12.4 percent.
- Correctional officer jobs in North Carolina should increase by about six percent during the decade.
Graduates of North Carolina’s criminal justice programs should find that a promising job market awaits them.
Law Enforcement Jobs in North Carolina
The Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that North Carolina is home to 448 law enforcement agencies statewide (circa 2008). There are approximately 185 officers per 100,000 North Carolina residents.
Qualifying for Police and Deputy Sheriff’s Jobs in North Carolina
Police and deputy sheriff’s officers in North Carolina must fulfill the requirements of their individual departments and/or county sheriff’s offices. These vary, but usually include:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have no felony convictions or serious misdemeanor convictions/charges on record
Employers of police and deputy sheriff’s officers in North Carolina include agencies such as:
- Wake County Sheriff’s Office- Raleigh
- City of Wilmington Police Department- Wilmington
- Winston-Salem Police Department- Winston-Salem
- Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office – Winston-Salem
Qualifying for Detective Jobs in North Carolina
Detectives, otherwise called criminal investigators, in North Carolina must first meet requirements for police officer, deputy sheriff or state trooper (depending upon the organization for which they wish to work as a detective). Requirements to become a detective usually include:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a North Carolina drivers license
- Have no significant criminal history
- Hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related discipline
North Carolina law enforcement agencies that employ detectives include:
- North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations – Raleigh headquarters, districts statewide
- Fayetteville Police Department Investigative Bureau – Fayetteville
- Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division – Greensboro
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Investigative Services Group – Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Qualifying for North Carolina State Trooper Jobs
State troopers work for the North Carolina Highway Patrol. They must meet strict requirements, such as:
- Being between 21 and 39 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED (college education preferred)
- Be a US citizen
- Be a legal resident of North Carolina
- Have no significant criminal history
There are nine troop locations statewide, plus headquarters, which North Carolina’s state troopers are based out of. They include:
- Raleigh (headquarters)
Forensic Scientists and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in North Carolina
Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators in North Carolina handle the evidence obtained from crime scenes. They examine and process this evidence to determine its relation to the crime scene and often to help obtain a conviction against the perpetrator of the crime.
CSIs and forensic scientists are found within North Carolina agencies such as:
- North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory Division – Raleigh and Asheville
- North Carolina Highway Patrol Investigations Unit – statewide
- Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit – Greensboro
- Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification – Raleigh
Qualifying to Become a Forensic Scientist or CSI in North Carolina
Crime scene investigators and forensic scientists in North Carolina usually need at least an associate degree, and preferably a bachelor’s degree, to obtain a job. Examples of degrees available in the state include:
- Associate of Science– Forensic Investigations
- Bachelor of Science–Forensic Science
- Bachelor of Science—Forensic Biology
- Bachelor of Science- Criminalistics
Many of North Carolina’s CSIs and forensic scientists choose to become professionally certified by a nationally recognized organization. One of the most common certifications is by the International Association for Identification’s North Carolina chapter. Their certifications can help further a career in CSI or forensic science in the state.
Correctional Officer Jobs in North Carolina
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Division of Prisons, the state is home to 37,686 inmates in 66 facilities. There are also three federal prisons within North Carolina. Correctional officer jobs may be available within any of these facilities.
Qualifying for CO Jobs with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Division of Prisons
Those wishing to work for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Division of Prisons must be at least 20 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Possessing college credits is also an advantage.
Some of the state-run prison facilities in North Carolina include:
- Catawba Correctional Center – Newton
- Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution – Spruce Pine
- Buncombe Correctional Center- Asheville
- Rutherford Correctional Center- Spindale
- Mountain View Correctional Institution – Spruce Pine
Qualifying for Correctional Officer Jobs with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in North Carolina
In order to qualify for a correctional officer position with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in North Carolina, one must be between the ages of 20 and 37, a U.S. citizen, and have either a high school diploma/GED and three years’ experience or a bachelor’s degree.
Federal prisons located in North Carolina include:
- Rivers Correctional Institution – Winton
- Raleigh Residential Reentry Management – Butner
- Butner Federal Correctional Center – Butner
Paralegals and Legal Support Jobs in North Carolina
Paralegals and legal support professionals assist licensed attorneys with legal matters in North Carolina. Employers of North Carolina’s paralegals include:
- Smith Debnam – Raleigh
- Crumley Roberts- Greensboro
- Maitin Law Firm, PLLC – Raleigh
- State of North Carolina – Wake County
- Department of Justice Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys – Charlotte
Qualifying to Become a Paralegal in North Carolina
Paralegals who plan to pursue optional professional certification as a North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP) must graduate from an American Bar Association-approved or North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification-approved paralegal studies program. Degrees that are approved include:
- Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
- Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
- Associate of Science In Paralegal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
Professional certification is optional for North Carolina paralegals. The North Carolina State Bar and North Carolina Paralegal Association offers optional certification as a North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP). Obtaining this certification requires U.S. residency, graduation from an ABA/NC Board of Paralegal Certification-approved paralegal studies program, and passing a Paralegal Certification Exam.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in North Carolina
Homeland security and emergency management jobs are important to North Carolina’s criminal justice system. According to the Department of Homeland Security, as of 2009 Charlotte, North Carolina is being watched because it is an urban area with a high terrorism threat potential.
Those holding homeland security and emergency management jobs in North Carolina deal with threats to the state’s safety and respond to emergencies as they occur.
Examples of potential employers of homeland security and emergency management personnel in North Carolina include:
- North Carolina Department of Public Safety Homeland Security Department – Raleigh
- FBI Field Intelligence Group – Charlotte
- North Carolina Department of Public Safety Emergency Management Division – Raleigh
- Buncombe County Emergency Management – Asheville
Qualifying for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in North Carolina
Degrees are vital to succeeding in these types of jobs. Potential degrees that can help land these jobs include:
- Associate of Science in Emergency Preparedness
- Bachelor of Science in Intelligence and National Security Studies
- Certificate in Emergency Management
- Graduate Certificate in Security Studies
Degrees by State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia