Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Ohio

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that as of 2013, there were over 22,000 police officers employed throughout Ohio. The number of jobs for police officers and sheriff patrol officers is expected to grow by 2.7% between 2010 and 2020 according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. This means almost 800 new law enforcement jobs will be created in the state each year.

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There were also 12,630 correctional officers employed in the state of Ohio as of 2013 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services estimating 246 job openings for COs each year for the foreseeable future.

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Ohio’s criminal justice system is also made up of 7,290 paralegals as of 2013, representing one of the highest rates of employment for paralegals in the country.

These statistics describe just part of the state’s criminal justice community, which works together to investigate, prosecute and punish criminals in the state. Whether in law enforcement, criminal investigations, legal support, crime scene forensics or corrections, the right education is key to becoming part of Ohio’s criminal justice system.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs in Ohio

Obtaining a job in the law enforcement and criminal investigation field means becoming a police officer, sheriff’s deputy or highway patrol officer with one of the state’s law enforcement agencies.

How to Become an Ohio Police Officer or Sheriff’s Deputy‘s

Becoming a police officer is a perfect job for those who want to serve and protect the public in Ohio’s urban and rural communities.

The many different police divisions include both police departments and sheriff’s offices. Some of the many departments across Ohio include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Aberdeen Police Department
  • Ada Police department
  • Belmont County Sheriff’s Office
  • Belmont Police Department
  • Geneva Police Department
  • Dayton Police Division – Central, East, West Dayton
  • Lancaster Police Department
  • Akron Police Department
  • Cincinnati Police Department

Each division has its own employment requirements, but most divisions adhere to qualifications similar to the Columbus Division of Police:

  • Completion of High School (or equivalent)
  • Must be Twenty Years of Age When Applying
  • Must be Twenty-One Years of Age When Employed
  • Must Hold Active, Current Driver’s License
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen

If eligible, an applicant must complete the following steps:

  • File An Application
  • File Abbreviated Background Questionnaire
  • Pass Entry Level Police Officer or Civil Service Exam
  • Complete Background Interview with Investigator
  • Take and Pass Polygraph Exam
  • Receive Conditional Letter of Appointment
  • Complete Oral Interviews
  • Complete Rigorous Medical and Physical Exam

Requirements to Become an Ohio State Highway Patrol Officer

Becoming a state trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol is an intensive, boot-camp-like process that will prepare a trainee to have the potential to rise to the ranks of Colonel. The Ohio State Highway Patrol supports a variety of criminal justice jobs in addition to highway patrol officers. The team is also made up of dispatchers, driver examiners, motor vehicle inspectors, or load limit inspectors.

To become part of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a United States Citizen
  • Establish Ohio Residency
  • Be Between 20-34 Years of Age
  • Have Uncorrected Vision No Worse than 20/125
  • Have No Visible Tattoos or Body Art
  • Have a High School Diploma (or equivalent)
  • Obtain Officer Operator License

If these requirements are met, the two-month application process may begin. This application process includes the following:

  • Pre-Employment polygraph Exam
  • Background Investigation
  • Medical Examination
  • Physical Fitness Evaluation and Assessment
  • Five Months of Intensive Academy Training

The main Ohio State Highway Patrol office is located in Columbus, Ohio, and there are posts in almost every Ohio county, including:

  • Brown
  • Butler
  • Carroll
  • Fayette
  • Gallia
  • Jackson
  • Knox
  • Muskingum
  • Ottawa
  • Pike
  • Warren

Essential Training to Become a Detective in Ohio

There were 1,970 detectives employed in Ohio as of 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most detectives start as a member of a law enforcement agency, such as the police or state highway patrol. Through experience and education, officers are able to work up to the level of detective. Any working private investigator in Ohio must attain a private investigator license or a security services license.

At the state level, the minimum qualifications for employment as an agent include having successfully completed basic peace officer training, having attained two (2) years of training or experience in law enforcement, and passing fitness testing entry standards. In order to move up as a detective, it is often necessary to attain further education, such as a four-year degree from an accredited college or university.

The following requirements are necessary to become a member of the Ohio State Patrol Investigative Unit:

  • Be at least twenty-one years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be a resident of Ohio
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have Ohio Peace Officer Training


  • Attend Basic Peace Officer Academy at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy

Paralegals and Legal Support Professionals in Ohio

Paralegals get to assist lawyers by preparing, researching, and organizing legal precedents and records in any number of practice areas, which may include everything from family law and estate planning, to real estate and corporate law. Sometimes, paralegals in Ohio are even employed in corporations to assist with patents and trademarks and to manage lawsuits.

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There are many universities and colleges that offer programs in paralegal studies. This education often leads to a certificate or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Programs that meet strict standards may be recognized and approved by the American Bar Association.

The Paralegal Association of Central Ohio recommends becoming an Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Certified Paralegal. This certification shows a paralegal’s commitment to excellence and high level of knowledge, training, and experience. To attain this certification, a paralegal will need to complete the certification program, which includes completing an application and passing paralegal certification examinations.

Major Law Firms in Ohio

When looking for open paralegal positions in Ohio, consider some of these law firms, which may be hiring paralegals to assist firm partners:

  • Thompson Hine – Dayton, OH
  • Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnson – Wooster, Medina, Mount Vernon, Millersburg, and Ashland OH
  • Frost Brown Todd LLC – Columbus, OH
  • Robert Half Legal – Columbus, OH

How to Qualify for Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Ohio

Forensic lab technicians and crime scene technicians gather, assess and analyze the physical evidence from crime scenes. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services expects 13.3% growth in the forensics and crime scene investigative fields between 2010 and 2020.

Jobs for forensic scientists, detectives, and crime scene investigators may be found at the following Ohio organizations:

  • The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) hires forensic scientists, detectives, and crime scene investigators. The Bureau will contract workers to state, local, and federal agencies when needed.
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol – Investigative Unit Enforcement hires federal task force investigators, evidence officers, detectives, and special investigations task forces to implement state, local, and federal laws.

Requirements for Forensics Jobs in Ohio

Forensic scientists are truly scientists, analyzing the crime scene evidence using anatomical, chemical, or biological scientific knowledge, experiments, and procedures.

There are nine (9) accredited schools of forensic science in Ohio that offer certificates, associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in forensic science. Because of the accurate, scientific nature of the job, most jobs only look to hire applicants with degrees in forensic science or other scientific fields, such as biology, anatomy, or chemistry.

  • With a forensic science degree, a graduate may consider job titles such as criminologist, digital/multimedia scientist, toxicologist, engineering scientist, odontologist, pathologist, physical anthropologist, behavioral scientist, or document examiner.

Certification is not required for many jobs in Ohio, but because the forensics field is so competitive, any certification or advanced education will help distinguish a forensic scientist. The American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) offers a Certification as a Forensic Toxicology Specialist to any applicant meeting the following standards:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic or Natural Science
  • Possess three (3) Years of Full-Time Work Experience
  • Pass ABFT Forensic Science Exams

Qualifications for Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Ohio

A crime scene investigator will need to be able to perform on-site investigations using evidence and supplies. The investigator will analyze, review, and classify crime scene data.

Most Ohio CSI jobs will require that an applicant have a high school diploma, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in law enforcement or criminology, and Ohio Peace Officer Training. Sometimes, jobs will even require that an applicant hold a license to practice medicine.

The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute also offers a Certified Criminal Investigator (CCI) Program. To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Member of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute
  • Have No Felony Convictions
  • Have Two (2) Years of World Experience, an Associate’s Degree with one year of Experience, or a Bachelor’s Degree.

Organizations for Forensic Scientists and Crime Scene Investigators in Ohio

Forensic scientists, detectives, and crime scene investigators will find work in Ohio at the federal, state, and local levels, including:

  • Cuyahoga County Prosecutor – Cleveland, OH
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol – Columbus, OH
  • Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory – Dayton, OH
  • Ohio Attorney General – London, OH
  • Franklin County Coroner – Columbus, OH
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Akron
  • Ohio Division of Criminal Investigations – Columbus
  • Fairfield City Police Department Investigations Section – Fairfield
  • Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office: Criminal Investigation Bureau – Fairfield

Federal Bureau of Prisons in Ohio and Ohio Department of Correctional Services

Ohio State Correctional Officer – Ohio correctional officers are responsible for supervising the living, dining, transportation, and work of inmates. In Ohio, correctional officers are assigned one of three shifts and receive two consecutive days off each week.

Although Ohio only requires applicant’s to have a high school diploma or equivalent, many correctional officer jobs require that an applicant have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in social science, behavioral science, criminal justice, or a comparable field. Often, obtaining a degree helps to distinguish stronger applicants.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction requires that correction officers successfully pass Corrections Training Academy in Orient, Ohio. This academy serves to introduce officers to the field, and it provides basic, centralized training.

Correctional officers may look for jobs in medium to high security prisons, such as:

  • Southern Ohio Correctional Facility – Lucasville
  • Mansfield Correctional Institution – Mansfield
  • London Correctional Institution – London
  • Marion Correctional Institution – Marion
  • Southeastern Correctional Complex – Lancaster

Federal Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officers in Ohio – Working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons offers a family and career-oriented environment, opportunities for advancement, and a way to make in difference in the lives of inmates.

To be eligible to work at an Ohio Federal Correctional Facility, such as FCI Elkton, an applicant must be younger than thirty-seven years old, have a four-year degree, or at least three full years of full-time work experience, equivalent to the GL-04 grade level. In order to meet the GS-06 level, an applicant must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have nine semester hours of graduate study in criminal justice, criminology, social science, or another law field


  • Have one year of specialized experience as a correctional, detention, or police officer, border patrol agent, state trooper, sheriff, park ranger, deputy sheriff, or mental health residential facility worker.

Ohio only has three federal correction institutions, which are as follows:

  • FCI Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio
  • Cincinnati RRM in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • NE Ohio CORR CTR, Youngstown, Ohio

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Ohio

Homeland Security in Ohio – Working in Homeland Security is perfect for those interested in protecting borders and vital infrastructure from the threat of terrorist attack. The Ohio Homeland Security Division, which is the state’s homeland security agency, categorizes homeland security officers as working on the regional, local, and state levels.

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Because the law enforcement jobs for homeland security are high-level security jobs, such as protecting the heads of state, enforcing immigration laws, and enforcing economic security, applicants will want to distinguish themselves through high levels of education and experience. The Division of Homeland Security will look at applicants’ measurable competencies, competitive experience, certifications through examinations, and general knowledge, skills, and abilities.

  • Emergency Management in Ohio – Emergency management is the right field for those providing relief in the event of emergencies, which may involve everything from disaster mitigation, to managing school safety programs. The Ohio Emergency Management Agency oversees the state-level facets of emergency management.

Depending on the job, the emergency management agency expects applicants to have an associate’s, bachelor’s or a master’s degree. The Ohio Emergency Management Agency requires employees to undergo Homeland Security training and exercise programs.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency has the following branches dedicated to emergency response:

  • Internal/External Affairs
  • Fiscal and Grant Monitoring
  • Communications/IT
  • Preparedness Grants
  • Field Operations
  • Training and Exercise
  • Mitigation
  • Recovery
  • Radiology

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