Program Showcase

One Degree, Many Possibilities

Career Options Abound with a Justice Degree

A desire to help others is essential for Justice students. Many of these students also have the desire to elevate their current careers, and they have made the decision to earn a college degree.

Second-year student Paulette Cox attends the College part time, in addition to raising a family, working full time at the Veterans Hospital as a central processing technician and volunteering for different organizations. A class schedule that could accommodate her lifestyle was essential.

"The College is a rewarding experience,” she said. “The hours are flexible—they worked for me.”

After graduating with honors this
May, she plans on attending a fouryear
institution and majoring in Criminal Justice. Her career goal is to move into another government agency, perhaps the Department of Defense or Homeland Security, and obtain a different occupation.

“You can get your degree and better
yourself,” said Cox. Students can take several different career paths within the Police, Corrections, Parole/Probation or Corporate/Homeland Security concentrations. Most of the estimated 400 students in the program choose the Police and Parole/Probation tracks.

“A lot of our students want to get into law enforcement, local or federal,” said Tom Doyle, associate professor and coordinator of the Justice program. He is also a retired commanding officer and 25-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. “They mostly want to join local police departments such as Philadelphia.” Some students are interested in joining the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); or Secret Service. For students not already working in the field, guest speakers, as well as faculty retired from the field, bring on-the-job expertise to the classroom.

"Our faculty includes a retired police inspector, attorneys and a retired probation officer," said Doyle. “Students love that we have faculty with real-life experience.”

“The faculty are very personable,” said Cox. “They help you with any problems. Professor Doyle is my advisor, and he showed me what I needed to do to achieve my goals.”

Tom Doyle
Tom Doyle, associate professor and coordinator, Justice

Many current police officers also are getting their associate’s degree in Justice from the College and continuing on to earn their bachelor’s degree. “The Police Department gives points toward promotion for educational attainment,” said Doyle.

To accommodate busy schedules, degree classes are taught at the Police Academy or online by the College’s faculty. These classes are offered to active and retired law enforcement officers, correctional officers and their immediate family.

Additional career choices for graduates include security management for corporations or other crucial positions within the criminal justice system, such as private investigators, homeland security officers and youth detention officers.

Doyle added that these occupations not only offer the chance to help someone, but they provide an unknown factor that many find appealing.

“Never knowing what will happen day-to-day intrigues people,” he said. “You are learning all the time, and every day is something different.”