Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Oregon

The Oregon Employment Department states that there is expected to be an 8.5% growth rate in the number of police officer jobs in Oregon between 2012 and 2022. The Employment Department notes that there were more than 250 detectives working in the state as of 2012, and expects the number of criminal investigator jobs to grow by 18% through 2022.

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The number of paralegal and legal support professional jobs is expected to grow faster than other occupations throughout Oregon as well. According to the Oregon Employment Department, the number of paralegal and legal assistant jobs will grow by 21.9% through 2022.

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Whether in law enforcement, criminal investigations, legal support, or any of the other fields that make up Oregon’s criminal justice system, attaining a relevant degree proves to be extremely beneficial or outright mandatory.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs in Oregon

The State of Oregon Employment Department expects the total number of police officer and sheriff job openings to be much higher than the statewide average for other occupations, with more than 180 jobs opening each year through 2022.

Guidelines for How to Become an Oregon Police Officer

Working as a local police officer means being on the frontlines in protecting the people of Oregon. To do so, most police departments in Oregon require that an applicant is at least twenty-one years old and has a high school diploma. An entry-level applicant to a police department, such as the City of Portland Police Bureau, should have either education or work experience that includes at least one of the following:

  • An associate’s degree of at least sixty credit hours
  • Another state’s police certification
  • Two years of continuous work at a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency
  • Two years of service working in a law enforcement agency within Oregon
  • Two years of active duty or four years reserve U.S. military service

Once eligible, an applicant may start the hiring process, which takes anywhere from six months to a year. Throughout this process, an applicant will have to pass written tests, physical tests, oral interviews, background checks, and psychological and medical evaluations. Some of the top Oregon police departments include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • City of Portland Police Bureau – Portland
  • Baker City Police Department – Baker City
  • Redmond Police Department – Redmond
  • Hubbard Police Department – Hubbard
  • Condon Police Department – Condon

Requirements to Qualify as an Oregon State Highway Patrol Officer

State troopers are trained to protect the public in both the rural and metropolitan areas across the state of Oregon. The Oregon State Police has many special career opportunities for troopers, including becoming an aircraft pilot, criminal detective, patrol trooper, narcotics detective, or homeland security detective.

The minimum qualifications to become a state trooper include being a U.S. citizen, having a high school diploma, being at least twenty-one years old, having a current driver’s license, being in good health, and being able to meet the strict medical and physical requirements. Applicants that meet these requirements will begin the application process, which includes:

  • Passing a physical fitness test
  • Passing a written test
  • Passing a background investigation

Once accepted, the applicant must pass Oregon state police pre-academy and basic police academy training.

Essential Training to Become a Detective in Oregon

Detectives in Oregon may find work at the local, state, and federal levels at institutions such as these:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigations – Portland, Eugene, Bend, Pendleton
  • City of Portland Police Bureau Detective Division
  • Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division

Detectives working at the local level generally first become police officers and work their way up. Similarly, at the state level, the Oregon State Police has a special Criminal Investigation Division, which strategically places detectives across the state in order to work with local and federal police to protect the people of Oregon. These criminal investigators generally start as Oregon state troopers and work toward investigation work.

Criminal investigators, or detectives, in working with the Oregon State Police will get to specialize in one of the following investigative subjects:

  • Major Crimes
  • Drug Enforcement
  • Arson/Explosives
  • Investigative Reports

Lastly, a detective may find work at the federal level with the FBI or other federal law enforcement agency. At this level, a criminal investigator must meet the federal requirements of being between twenty-three and thirty-seven, having obtained a minimum of a four-year degree from an accredited college or university, and having at least three years of professional work experience.

Paralegals and Legal Support Professionals in Oregon

Paralegals get to work under the direct supervision of lawyers and attorneys, assisting them with ethical, organizational, and confidential responsibilities.

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Because the legal support field is growing so quickly and is quite competitive, any way to stand out among applicants is beneficial. Attaining a certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an American Bar Association (ABA) certified school will give an applicant a leg up in the field. There are eight certified paralegal schools in Oregon, with over half of them located in Portland.

After attaining a paralegal education, the Oregon Paralegal Association (OPA) recommends that paralegals attain voluntary certification through examinations. OPA, as a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), recommends that paralegals take the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exams (PACE) and/or the Paralegal Core Competency Exams (PCCE). These exams will lead to certification that will prove the paralegal’s advanced skill and knowledge.

Major Law Firms in Oregon

Paralegals may find work with some of the best law firms in the state. The U.S. News & World Report states that some of the best-rated law firms in Oregon include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Angeli Ungar Law Group LLC – Portland
  • Arnold Gallagher P.C. – Eugene
  • Ater Wynne LLP – Portland, Seattle, Menlo Park
  • Ball Janik LLP – Portland
  • Barran Liebman LLP – Portland
  • Batchelor Meditation & Arbitration – Portland

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

The Oregon Employment Department expects the number of forensic science technician jobs to grow by 7.4%, and crime scene investigator jobs to grow at 6.9% by the year 2022. This spells great opportunities for Oregon’s crime scene technicians and forensic scientists.

Guidelines for Obtaining Jobs in Forensic Science in Oregon

Forensic scientists generally specialize in chemical, anatomical, or biological laboratory analysis of crime scene evidence. Because of the meticulous accuracy required of forensic technicians, jobs are limited and extremely competitive.

For an entry-level position in a state organization, such as the Oregon State Police Forensics Division, a qualified candidate would meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Four-year degree from an accredited college or university in forensic science, biology, chemistry, or other sciences
  • Hand-on experience in forensic laboratories

The Oregon State Police Forensics Division notes that applicants who have experience in laboratories that are accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board will be preferred. The more experience an applicant has, the more likely he or she is to be a serious candidate. Thus, an applicant should take every possible opportunity to gain experience, including volunteer work or internships.

At the federal level, a forensic scientist may find work in biometric analysis, scientific analysis, or as a member of the forensic response team with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Services. To be employed as a forensic examiner with the FBI, an applicant would need to be a U.S. citizen, have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in biology, chemistry, forensic science, or another related area, and at least one year of specialized experience. An applicant may substitute specialized experience with at least three years of higher-level graduate or doctorate education at the GS-11 level.

Qualifications for Oregon Crime Scene Investigation Jobs

A crime scene investigator will provide technical support for crime scene survey, documentation, court presentation, and photography.

A crime scene investigator, like the forensic scientist, may find work in local police departments. At the state level, a crime scene investigator may join the Oregon State Police.

Crime scene investigators may also find work with the FBI Laboratory Services in crime scene documentation. To be employed as a crime scene investigator with the FBI, an applicant would need to have a strong resume, including a four-year degree in criminal justice or crime scene investigation and specialized experience.

Organizations for Forensic Scientists and Crime Scene Investigators in Oregon

  • Oregon State Police – Forensics Division
  • City of Portland Police Bureau – Forensic Evidence Division
  • Baker City Police – Investigations Unit
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations – Laboratory Services – Portland

Oregon Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Oregon Employment Department notes that probation officer and correctional officer jobs grew faster than the statewide average in 2012. This field is expected to grow by 7.2% by the year 2022, opening up more than fifty jobs each year.

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How to Qualify for a Job in the Oregon Department of Corrections

Correctional officers maintain order and enforce rules in Oregon prisons. Most officers will find work in one of the 14 different state department prisons. The Oregon Department of Corrections classifies correctional officer as an entry-level job, but there are also four different correctional officer classifications that require different levels of skill and education. A college degree in criminal justice, sociology, or criminology is helpful to allow an applicant stand out among the applicant field. The four different classification levels with increasing education are as follows:

  • Corporal
  • Sergeant
  • Lieutenant
  • Captain

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Must be at least twenty-one (21) years old
  • Corrected vision should be no less than 20/30 in each eye
  • Must be in overall good health
  • Must have high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Must have a Class B Commercial Driver’s License
  • Must have passed the REACT (Baseline) Test with National Testing Network (NTN) prior to application
  • Must pass a twelve (12)-month Oregon Basic Corrections Course after application

The Oregon Department of Corrections oversees fourteen (14) state prisons, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Coffee Creek Correctional Facility – Wilsonville
  • Columbia River Correctional Institution – Portland
  • Deer Ridge Correctional Institution – Madras
  • Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution – Pendleton
  • Mill Creek Correctional Facility – Salem
  • Oregon State Correctional Institution – Salem
  • Oregon State Penitentiary – Salem
  • Powder River Correctional Facility – Baker City

Requirements for Jobs in the Federal Bureau of Prisons In Oregon

FCI Sheridan is the only federal correctional facility in Oregon. Federal prisons look to hire GL-05 or GL-06 applicants based on work experience. Entry-level applicants must qualify for employment at this location by meeting the following educational requirements:

  • Must have successfully gradated from a four (4)-year accredited college or institution
  • Must have taken at least nine (9) credit hours from an accredited graduate school in Criminal Justice, Social Science, Criminology, or another related field

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