As long as there is crime, there will be demand for skilled experts in the field of criminal justice. It is one of the fastest growing employment categories according to the U.S Bureau of Labor statistics, with tens-of-thousands of job openings in the next decade. As exciting as positions in local law enforcement or investigative work can be, the field of criminal justice is actually much larger than you may realize.
Nobody knows that better than John “Rocky” Hewitt, Ph.D., Extended Education and Arts & Science Professor at Brandman University. Along with a distinguished 37-year career in law enforcement, including serving as assistant Orange County Sheriff, Rocky has helped mold future generations of law enforcement for more than 30 years as a college professor. He retired from law enforcement in 2004 as one of the top police executives in America.
“When many people think of criminal justice they envision an officer in a black and white stopping vehicles and writing tickets, and that’s certainly part of police work, but there are so many other careers in law enforcement,” Rocky said.
“Today, more than any time in our history, the improvement in crime scene investigation, the advent of DNA analysis and other technology, and new challenges such as cybercrime and homeland security have brought about an emphasis on education which in turn makes it very difficult to become a police cadet without a college degree. Over the past two years, Chancellor Brahm, Vice Chancellor Bullock and Dr. Jeremy Korr, Dean of Arts and Sciences have spearheaded a Brandman Law Enforcement Advisory Board, made up of 21 law enforcement related personnel, including among others, police chiefs, individuals from California State Peace Officer Training, District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s Department and Social Services. Their goal has been to revamp our Criminal Justice curriculum into one of the most credible any student could choose to attend. Our program includes a variety of disciplines in Arts and Sciences including Leadership, Victim Advocacy and Social Justice, Forensics, Private Security and Corrections. We also offer a minor in Criminal Justice which is compatible with those seeking a Sociology or Psychology Degree. Each of these areas of study will give our students great insight into exciting career fields that can guide them to a rewarding future.”
Rocky also mentioned the Law Enforcement Leadership program available through Extended Education, under the direction of Dean Nancy Salzman. “This program can be taken for a certificate, or if desired, additional requirements can be met for transferrable credit. The program is divided into three tiers, each 11 weeks in length. Areas of study include Servant Leadership, Ethics, Work/Home Life Balance, Performance Management, Conflict Resolution, and Leading Change.”
“With any of the federal agencies like the FBI or US Marshals student’s need to earn their degree first before they can qualify for a position,” he said. “The opportunities in criminal justice are growing because unfortunately, our society will always have to deal with crime. A degree in criminal justice can open many career doors and those who have their diploma will earn more money and typically get promoted faster. Private security is another area that is pretty much wide open and those with degrees will find many positions in management and organizational leadership available to them.”
Whether a student is interested in a private sector job or traditional public service job, the benefits of a degree in Criminal Justice from Brandman University include:
- A curriculum that examines the causes of crime, criminal law, the
role of police, and forensic science
- Exciting specialization areas -
- homeland security
- private security services
- victim advocacy
- Valuable exposure to practical knowledge through faculty who are
experts in the industry
- Field trips and hands on experience at crime labs, coroner department, and correctional institutions
With each of these specializations the student will gain new insight that can be applied at any level of criminal justice. Besides local small, medium, and large police agencies, crime scene investigators, coroner investigator, district attorney investigator, or probation officer, state and federal positions in Highway Patrol, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, or Department of Homeland Security are also highly rewarding careers that are vital to the safety and security of the public.
“Our students are both professionals working in the criminal justice field who are looking to advance within their organization and individuals with an interest in criminal justice that are looking to go into a career with a department or agency but may be working in another field,” Rocky said.
Whatever the student’s situation, Brandman’s blended online and classroom instruction, and completely online program will provide engaging learning that works around the student’s schedule.
Throughout the interview Rocky gave credit to many people at Brandman; too numerous to mention in this article. He wanted to be sure however, that special appreciation went out to Dr. Laurie Dodge, Associate Vice Chancellor of Accreditation and Assessment, Charmaine Harrell, Director of Military and Veteran affairs, Estella Chavous, Director CCR, Southern Region, Ricardo Lorenzana and Kathleen Wilson from Extended Education, Franci Ramynke from Marketing, and all of the academic counselors at every Brandman facility, especially Theresa Hadfield from the Irvine Campus. "They all do an outstanding job," Rocky Said.