Careers in Criminal Justice and Prospects Essay

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A cursory glance at job market statistics offers a grim picture, leading many to pessimistic conclusions. The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that increasing numbers of young people are graduating from college and entering the job market now, leading to increased competition in many job sectors (1). Likewise, rates of unemployment have been at near-record lows, especially for young men (United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 1). Baeurlein also points out the problem that many college students have with debt accumulation from student loans, making it difficult for them to get a foothold on their careers. Yet not all graduates are doomed to flounder in the labor market. I am pursuing a career in adult probation and parole. On reason why I am optimistic about my future prospects is that working in corrections is a public service sector job that does not have the same types of market fluctuations as jobs in the private sector. Not only that, the United States Department of Labor shows that this job sector is growing, albeit slightly (“Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists”). All college graduates need to be ambitious and strong-willed, confident that jobs will be available to them if they work hard, applying their education towards reaching their goals. Therefore, once I have completed my college education, I probably will not have difficulty starting the career that I want.



All college graduates, including me, will struggle a little at first. As Abel, Dietz and Su point out, “difficulties are not a new phenomenon: individuals just beginning their careers often need time to transition into the labor market,” (1). The new graduate is young and inexperienced. Many college graduates assume that their degree is sufficient to get them into the door for their first real interviews, which is a grave error. In fact, some college students even “spend their college years just getting by, partying, and essentially, wasting their time,” (Kim 1). I am not one of those people. Although I might struggle at first to get my footing in the real world, I am not squandering the best years of my life in college.

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I have a vibrant social life, but I still make enough time for studying hard and doing well in my classes. Knowing how important networking and job hunting is for me now, I have already made some contacts in the criminal justice field. Working as an intern and as assistant have helped me to acquire some on-the-job training that will prove helpful when I land my first job, whether in Missouri or another state. I will not be a completely inexperienced young graduate, but someone whose resume speaks for itself. I will have solid grades and some credentials as a new corrections officer.



That being said, the starting salaries for my target position are low. Increasing numbers of graduates do have to accept part time or low wage jobs, partly because new graduates have been “particularly vulnerable” to the economic recession that ended in 2009 (Davis, Kimball, and Gould 1). The slow pace of economic recovery has affected government jobs as much as they have affected the private sector. Even though the United States does spend a fair amount of taxpayer money on maintaining its criminal justice system, there are budget restrictions that prevent salaries in some states from increasing at a rate commensurate with increases in costs of living and inflation. Having said that, I am still optimistic about finding a job right away after I graduate. Job outlook for the upcoming year is positive, increasing on par with national averages for all other sectors (“Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists” 1). I have no illusions about earning top dollar the first year after I graduate, unlike some of my peers who might feel a sense of entitlement. Because I have reasonable expectations about what to expect, I will work hard my first few years as an entry-level parole and probation officer. My superiors will recognize my good work and I will be rewarded with commensurate….....

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Works Cited

Abel, Jaison R, Richard Deitz, and Yaqin Su. “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Current Issues in Economics and Finance. Volume 20, Number 1. 2014. https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/current_issues/ci20-1.pdf

Bauerlein, Mark. “The Major and the Job Market, the Dream and the Reality.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-major-and-the-job-market-the-dream-and-the-reality/40779

Davis, Alyssa, Will Kimball, and Elise Gould.  The Class of 2015. Briefing Paper 401. Economic Policy Institute.  May 27, 2015. http://www.epi.org/publication/the-class-of-2015/

Kim, Brian.  Top 10 Reasons Why College Graduates Can't Get a Job.  BrianKim.net http://briankim.net/articles/top-10-reasons-why-college-graduates-cant-get-a-job/

“Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists.” United States Department of Labor. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm

United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. School’s Out. July 2011. https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/schools_out/

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