Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in North Dakota
The oil boom may be flooding the North Dakota economy with money, but this “modern-day Gold Rush” has also resulted in spikes in crime statewide. For example, a February 2014 article reported that federal prosecutions in the western portion of North Dakota nearly tripled between 2009 and 2013, mainly due to drug cases.
In Ward County, meth seizures increased from $63,000 in 2012 to more than $400,000 in 2013, according to the sheriff’s office, while in Bottineau, the ATF, upon opening a bureau there in the first five months of 2013, dealt with 14 weapons cases throughout western North Dakota. Further, a joint effort between local, state, and federal officials called Operation Winter’s End has resulted in charges against more than 40 people accused of dealing heroin and meth in and around the Fort Berthold reservation.
A North Dakota State University study from 2012 entitled “Policing the Patch,” found that calls for service in Williston quadrupled from 2005 to 2011. About one-third of all police officers in the study reported that the drug problem in their region was “acute.”
According to North Dakota’s Uniform Crime Report from 2012, overall crime increased nearly 8 percent between 2002 and 2012. Violent crime increased 7.2 percent in 2013 alone, and 20 murders were reported during the same period, the highest number since 1993.
North Dakota’s increasing crime problem has no doubt spurred the need for local, regional, state, and federal criminal justice professionals, from criminal investigators and police officers to correctional officers and even paralegals.
Law Enforcement Jobs in North Dakota
Law enforcement officers are some of the most visible criminal justice professionals in North Dakota. Law enforcement officers in North Dakota, who are largely responsible for public safety and patrol, may work at the state or local level.
Requirements for State Law Enforcement Jobs in North Dakota
Law enforcement officers in North Dakota who work at the state level are employed by the North Dakota State Highway Patrol. Police officers for the State Highway Patrol work out of one of the following regions:
- Northeast Region: Covering Grand Forks and Devils Lake
- Southeast Region: Covering Fargo and Jamestown
- Southwest Region: Covering Bismarck and Dickinson
- Northwest Region: Covering Minot and Williston
To qualify as a North Dakota State Trooper, candidates must possess at least one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree
- An associate’s degree and at least two years of work experience
- An associate degree and at least two years of military service
At least 60 semester hours may be substituted for an associate degree.
Requirements for City/County Law Enforcement Jobs in North Dakota
At the local level, police officers in North Dakota may work for city or county agencies. Most agencies require candidates to be U.S. citizens, to possess a high school diploma or GED, to possess a valid driver’s license, to be at least 21 years old, and to be free of any felony convictions. Many departments also require candidates to possess some type of post-secondary education.
For example, candidates for police officer jobs for the Minot Police Department may be deemed “highly desirable” by the Department if they possess either previous law enforcement experience or a four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field.
Just a few of the local police/sheriff’s departments throughout North Dakota where law enforcement officers may find a plethora of professional opportunities include:
- Fargo Police Department
- Bismarck Police Department
- Williston Police Department
- Grand Forks Police Department
- Cass County Sheriff’s Office
- Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department
- Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department
Requirements for Criminal Investigation Jobs in North Dakota
In addition to patrol duties, law enforcement professionals in North Dakota at the state and local level may work as detectives/criminal investigators. Most law enforcement agencies require detectives or criminal investigators to first work as police officers as to gain valuable experience in the field.
Many agencies also look for criminal investigator candidates to possess some type of post-secondary education in areas such as criminal justice and police science. Typical degrees for criminal investigators include:
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
- Master of Science in Criminology
- Bachelor of Science in Victim Studies
At the state level, criminal investigators may work for North Dakota State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Unit or for the North Dakota Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The criminal investigators of the BCI are responsible for assisting local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in both drug and criminal investigations. The BCI also maintains the sex offender registration and criminal history systems.
At the local level, criminal investigators/detectives may work for a sheriff/police department’s criminal investigation unit. Larger law enforcement agencies often have multi-level investigation units, while smaller agencies have smaller teams of investigators who are responsible for performing investigations in any number of areas.
For example, the Bismarck Police Department has a Criminal Investigations Section that is responsible for conducting investigations of all felony and lengthy non-traffic criminal cases.
Correctional Officer Jobs North Dakota
Correctional officers at the state level in North Dakota work for the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which operates the North Dakota State Penitentiary, the Missouri River Correctional Center, and the James River Correctional Center. The criminal justice professionals responsible for security within the state’s institutions include:
- Correctional officers
- Parole officers
- Correctional case workers/specialists
- Correction agents
The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also oversees the county correctional facilities throughout the State. Just a few of the county facilities are located in:
- Barnes County
- Cass County
- Emmons County
- Grand Forks County
- Logan County
- Morton County
- Richland County
The entry-level security officer of the corrections profession is the correctional officer. Candidates for correctional officer jobs in North Dakota must, at a minimum, be a U.S. citizen and they must be able to pass a criminal record and background check.
Although not always a requirement for correctional officer jobs in North Dakota, many individuals interested in a career in corrections often choose to pursue a degree in an area such as criminal justice or police science. Typical degree programs for individuals in this profession often include:
- Associate of Applied Science in Justice Systems/Police Science
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Corrections and Case Management
- Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
Criminal Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in North Dakota
Forensics and crime scene investigation are vital to the criminal investigation process. Crime scene investigators are called to the scene of a crime to secure the scene and collect and preserve evidence. Forensic scientists then take the collected evidence and analyze it in a laboratory setting. Prosecutors rely on the work of crime scene investigators and forensic scientists to prove the innocence or guilt of suspects in a court of law.
Forensic scientists may work through smaller crime labs within local police departments, although the majority of forensic laboratory work in North Dakota is done through the Attorney General’s Crime Laboratory, which provides support to the State’s criminal justice system through the analysis, identification, and comparison of physical evidence.
The services provided through the Attorney General’s Crime Lab, which is located in Bismarck, include:
- Breath Alcohol
- Fire Debris
- Latent Print
Due to the highly technical nature of these criminal justice professions, four-year and even graduate degrees are commonplace. Crime scene investigators often possess degrees such as:
- Associate of Science in Crime Scene Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigation
- Bachelor of Arts in Forensics
- Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice, Forensic Investigations
Forensic scientists often possess degrees such as:
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Forensic Science
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Forensics
- Master of Science in Forensic Chemistry
Paralegal Jobs in North Dakota
Paralegals are often considered to be the backbone of any successful legal practice, as they adeptly complete much of the background and research work required to bring a criminal case to trial.
Most employers seek candidates who have completed a course of study in a recognized paralegal program. Recognized paralegal educational programs, which may result in a certificate of completion or an associate or bachelor degree, are usually those that have been accredited by the American Bar Association.
Experienced paralegals also often pursue professional certification, which allows them to demonstrate their advanced skills, experience, and education to potential employers:
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- National Association for Legal Professionals
Just a few of the major law firms in North Dakota include:
- Vogel Law Firm, Bismarck
- Serkland Law Firm, Fargo
- Fredrickson & Byron, Bismarck
- Morley Law Firm Ltd., Grand Forks
Federal Criminal Justice Jobs in North Dakota
Although the majority of criminal justice professionals in North Dakota work at the state or local level, there are a number of federal criminal justice agencies with offices and operations throughout the State, including:
- United States Secret Service: Fargo
- Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives: Fargo
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: Resident agencies in:
- Grand Forks
The minimum pay level at which most federal criminal justice professionals are hired is the GS-5 level. This level requires candidates to possess either a four-year degree or related experience. Therefore, it is common for candidates for federal criminal justice jobs to possess degrees such as:
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Criminology
- Bachelor of Science in Public Administration
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration
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