If your life’s ambition has been to protect and serve, there’s no more rewarding career path than criminal justice. A career in criminal justice encompasses a wide range of professions, each with its own benefits and challenges. Among them, many roles require regular physical demands while all criminal justice paths can be mentally exhausting. If you know you are up to the challenge and capable of balancing a unique combination of physical and mental demands, while serving your community, then Herzing’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program may be perfect for you.
Included among the many criminal justice careers that Herzing can help prepare you for are:
- Police Officers investigate crimes, apprehend criminals and perform community outreach. They often spend long hours on their feet and must have the endurance to maintain their energy levels across their shifts. Officers must also have the sound judgment to safely operate law enforcement equipment, identify potentially challenging situations and effectively de-escalate conditions when necessary. *
*Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.
- Border Patrol Agents keep the nation's borders safe and secure, which involves a fair amount of physical activity on a day-to-day basis. They may need to hike long distances, operate vehicles in challenging terrain, and carry heavy equipment.
- Correctional Officers maintain order and security within correctional facilities. They may need to physically restrain inmates, respond to emergencies, and perform cell searches, which requires strength and endurance.
- Probation Officers supervise individuals who have been released from prison or who are on probation. They may need to travel to various locations, conduct home visits, and meet with offenders in the community.
If you’re ready to support your community as a courageous criminal justice professional, familiarize yourself with some of the common mental demands of the job and what you’ll need to know to handle the physical exertion as you protect and serve.
Knowing the Mental Demands
Something only recently brought to the forefront of public conversations is the mental demands of many careers. Criminal justice is no different and, in many ways, is more mentally taxing than the average job. In any of the careers we’ve highlighted, you’ll be trusted to make split-second decisions in fast-paced environments. When lives are on the line, it’s important you maintain your mental health and come prepared for the types of high-pressure situations you could find yourself in.
To prepare for the mental demands of the job, consider engaging in mental health practices such as meditation and mindfulness. A strong support system is a major difference-maker in the experience of a criminal justice professional, directly contributing to your ability to handle such fast-paced, high-pressure situations. Herzing University offers a variety of resources to help students cope with the mental demands of the job. The faculty and staff are trained to support students through difficult times, and our counseling services are available to all students, even after hours.
Enduring the Physical Demands
More commonly understood are the physical demands future criminal justice professionals will need to be prepared for. It’s important to maintain strong health, which begins with engaging in regular exercise and strength training. Endurance and strength are two key factors for staying in shape, something that can be achieved with consistency and a commitment to effective workout routines and good nutrition.
Herzing University offers programs that can help students prepare for the physical requirements of becoming a police officer. The Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program, for example, includes coursework in physical conditioning, which covers the job’s physical demands and provides students with the tools they need to maintain their physical health.
Balancing the Challenges to Serve the Greater Good
Maintaining a positive attitude is essential for anyone pursuing a career in criminal justice. The job can be challenging and stressful, but it can also be even more rewarding and fulfilling. By pursuing your education while maintaining good mental and physical health, you are becoming the best version of yourself, and in turn, becoming exactly the type of person your community wants and needs. The right attitude and degree path can propel you to a profession that can change your life and allow you to positively impact, and even save, the lives of those around you.
Herzing University offers a variety of accessible criminal justice programs that provide prospective professionals with a career-based curriculum, flexible schedule and lifelong support. Take the first step toward a rewarding career in criminal justice today.