Starting a Career in Criminal Justice: Tips for People with Disabilities
by Micah Norris
Many people think that if you want to work in criminal justice, you have to be a police officer or a district attorney. However, people with disabilities can find many different and fulfilling career opportunities in the criminal justice system. Whether you intend on seeking employment or starting your own business, you’re bound to find your place in this exciting industry! For example, you could work as a court clerk, intelligence analyst, or paralegal professional.
Here are some tips to help you get involved in criminal justice and overcome any disability-related obstacles that come up along the way.
Launch Your Own Business
Starting a business can be a great move for people with disabilities. Launching your own company means you won’t have to deal with discrimination from hiring managers or problems with inaccessible work environments. You get to call the shots.
One option is to launch a business providing law enforcement training. For example, you could open a new police academy or launch a continuing education course for law enforcement officers. You have access to countless resources that can help you build a successful police officer training business.
Another option is to open a legal consulting firm. Legal consultants provide legal advice to businesses or individuals, often specializing in certain fields. For example, you could specialize in commercial law, financial law, or work as a criminal consultant. You will need to acquire a few credentials before launching a legal consulting firm, starting with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Earning a degree in criminal justice will open the door to jobs in corrections, the court system, public administration, security, and more. You could also seek a specialized criminal justice degree such as a Bachelor of Science in security management or correctional program support services.
Consider Your Education Options
if you want to find employment in the criminal justice industry, you will also need an appropriate education. Online programs are typically more accommodating for people with disabilities, enabling students to learn when, where, and how it works best for them. Regardless of whether you want to learn on campus or online, you have many degree options to consider. You don’t necessarily need a degree in criminal justice to work in law. Employers in the criminal justice industry often seek professionals with business degrees for roles in management, human resources, marketing, and sales.
Land Your First Job
Once you’ve earned the appropriate credentials and you feel ready to work in the criminal justice industry, it’s time to find your first job. The Balance Careers explains that you will have to work your way up the ladder before you can land a high-paying job in this industry. Start your search with entry-level careers. For example, you could find a job as a police dispatcher or work in loss prevention until you gain the experience needed to fill larger roles.
When it comes to job hunting with a disability, make sure you know your rights. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to disclose your disability to the hiring manager. However, you may have to mention your disability if it will affect your job performance or if you require the employer to make reasonable accommodations. Just make sure your interview focuses on your skills and qualifications, not your disability!
Working in the criminal justice industry is exciting and fulfilling. If you have a disability, pursuing a career in criminal justice can give you an incredible confidence boost while making a positive contribution to your community. Whether you want to be an entrepreneur or work your way to the top of the corporate ladder, start planning your path today.
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