Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training indicates that the legal professions will grow 10.5% by the year 2022, opening up over one thousand new jobs throughout the state. With this growth, opportunities for criminal justice professionals in law enforcement, criminal investigations, legal support, corrections will be abundant.

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Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs in Rhode Island

There are a total of 1,970 police officers employed in Rhode Island as of 2013, according to he bureau of labor statistics. That high number means that there are over 4 police officers for every thousand residents in the state.

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How to Become a Rhode Island Police Officer

The Providence Police Department is recognized as one of the oldest police departments in the United States, dating back to 1775. Further it is the second largest police department in the New England area, meaning that qualifications and requirements are stringent.

Large police departments, such as the Providence and Warwick City Departments, have extremely high qualification requirements, including the following:

  • Must possess a minimum of sixty college credits from an accredited college or university


  • Must have obtained three years of full-time police, law enforcement, corrections service or military duty
  • Must successfully complete N.I.M.S. Incident Command System

If eligible, applicants will need to pass a written, physical, medical, and psychological examination before being accepted as a police officer. There are many differing police stations in local Rhode Island counties, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Jamestown Police Department – Jamestown
  • North Kingstown Police Department – North Kingstown
  • Warwick police Department – Warwick
  • Pawtucket Police Department – Pawtucket
  • Bristol police Department – Bristol
  • City of Providence Police Department – Providence

Guidelines on Becoming a Rhode Island State Highway Patrol Officer

Many view the state police agencies to be some of the most prestigious law enforcement agencies. To become a state highway patrol officer with the Rhode Island State Police, an applicant must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be between eighteen and thirty-five years old
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED

Although it is not required, job preference will be given to applicants who hold four-year bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, or associate’s degrees that are transferrable to bachelor’s degrees. If eligible, an applicant will need to complete the following general application process:

  • Pass written examination
  • Pass physical examination
  • Complete Oral Board examinations
  • Take background, psychological, and medical examinations
  • Complete the Rhode island State Police Training Academy

There are a few different state patrol posts, located in the following Rhode Island cities:

  • Lincoln
  • Richmond
  • Warwick
  • Portsmouth

How to Become a Detective in Rhode Island

Detectives will assist local, state, or federal law enforcement to investigate crimes, conduct interviews, and collect evidence.

Although requirements may vary depending on the station, local and state level applicants will need to first become a police officer or a state trooper, meeting the local and state police requirements. Once an officer, there are many opportunities to advance into different divisions, such as the detective division, with advanced training and education.

At the federal level, the general requirements are higher. For instance, for a detective job with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, an applicant must be between twenty-three and thirty-seven, must have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university, and must have at least three years of professional experience.

There are many opportunities for local, state, and federal detective work. Police stations that may be hiring include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • City of Warwick Police Department Detective Division
  • North Providence Police Department Detective Division
  • Rhode Island State Police Detective Division
  • Federal Detective Agency – North Smithfield

Paralegals and Other Legal Support Professions in Rhode Island

Through the year 2022, there will be almost 400 paralegal and legal support job openings in Rhode Island, according to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.

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Paralegals may distinguish themselves as having an excellent level of skill, knowledge, and ability by attaining a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved school. There is one paralegal studies program in Rhode Island that offers certificates or baccalaureate degrees, located in Providence.

The Rhode Island Paralegal Association recommends that paralegals achieve voluntary certification through the National Federation of Paralegal Association Exams or the National Association of Legal Assistants exams. Taking these exams will lead to certification that will distinguish a paralegal among the high-volume applicant field.

Major Law Firms in Rhode Island

The U.S. News and World Report did an in-depth report on law firms throughout the U.S., and they state that the best law firms in Rhode Island include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. – Newport, Providence
  • Anthony M. Traini P.C. – Providence
  • Baluch, Gianfrancesco & Mathieu – Providence
  • Barlow, Josephs & Holmes Ltd. – Providence
  • Blish & Cavanagh – Providence

How to Qualify for Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training expects the career of forensic scientists and crime scene investigators to stay consistent, with 73 new jobs opening up the by 2022. These are wonderful professions for those who want to collect or analyze crime scene evidence.

Requirements for Jobs in Forensic Science in Rhode Island

Forensic scientists are the brains behind analyzing crime scene evidence. Generally, a scientist would specialize in a science field, either obtaining a degree in forensic, chemical, biological, or other similar sciences.

Forensic scientists may obtain jobs at the local and state level after becoming a police officer and receiving the appropriate further education. Because obtaining forensic science jobs is extremely competitive, a bachelor’s degree in a chemical, physical, or biological science and training in laboratories is necessary before application.

At the federal level, an applicant will need to obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, nationally recognized certification, and one year of specialized laboratory experience. An applicant may also need to obtain a clinical laboratory science practitioners license from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

How to Qualify for Rhode Island Crime Scene Investigation Jobs

Criminal investigators coordinate, manage, and direct investigations of crime scenes. In this, they organize, collect, and analyze crime scene evidence.

Crime scene investigators may enter special crime scene units through local or state police forces. These positions are not entry-level jobs, so if taking this route, applicant would first need to become a police officer or state trooper. Afterwards, further education in criminal justice and crime scene investigation would allow the officer to pursue the career path for crime scene investigations. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in crime scene investigations or forensic science is preferred.

Potential Hiring Organizations

When looking for job openings in this field, it will be helpful to consider the following local and state organizations:

  • Rhode Island State Police: Criminal Investigations Unit
  • North Providence Police Department: Special Investigations Unit
  • Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory
  • Rhode Island Department of Health: Forensic Sciences Laboratory

State and Federal Correctional Officer Jobs in Rhode Island

To become a correctional officer, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections insists that applicants meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be at least eighteen years old
  • Have a high school diploma
  • Hold valid photo identification
  • Be fluent in English

If eligible, an applicant may start the four to five month application process. This process will include passing a written, background, physical, psychological, and medical exam. An entry-level corrections officer will then go through a nine-week academy that provides that officer with safety, communication, defense, weapon, chemical, and CPR training.

An officer will then be able to be employed at one of the many correctional facilities in Rhode island, including the following:

  • Wyatt Detention Facility – Central Falls
  • Corrections Rhode Island Stt – Cranston
  • Rhode Island Corrections Department – Cranston

Homeland Security Jobs in Rhode Island

Homeland security focuses on securing and managing U.S. borders, safeguarding cyberspace, preventing terrorism, enforcing immigration laws, and enhancing overall security.

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Homeland security jobs in Rhode Island may be obtained at the federal and state levels, but they may also be found at local police stations, such as the Warwick police station. The Warwick station has three different homeland security teams, including the SWAT team, the DIVE team, and the explosive ordinance disposal unit.

In order to be eligible for these positions, a police officer would need to undergo intense training in special weapons, high risk situations, and protection, devoting sixteen hours a month to training.

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides jobs to recent graduates, experienced professionals, retirees, and veterans. For recent graduates, the only requirement includes having attained at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. After that, graduates may apply for further training or internship programs with the Department.

Some organizations that focus on emergency management and homeland security in Rhode Island include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rhode Island State Police
  • City of Warwick Police Department Homeland Security Unit
  • State of Rhode Island Fusion Center: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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