Choose a Criminal Justice College Instead Of Falling For the Law School Swindle

For as long as anyone can remember, having a law degree was the ticket to a high salary and heaps of respect. In a crushing article written by the New York Times, the writer interviewed recent law graduates and revealed the dirty truth behind what many people call a prestigious degree. Despite this indictment of law schools and the reality of the graduates, we need people trained in the law in order to keep America safe from the inside out. A criminal justice college might just be the ticket to this balance.

The truth about law degrees today:

  • Statistics offered by the American Bar Association (ABA) in conjunction with the National Association for Law Placement say that 93% of law graduates were working nine months after graduation - even if the job was NOT in law.
  • U.S News statistics can be easily "massaged" by each institution, but are still approved by the ABA.
  • High tuition and low-cost makes law schools the "cash cow" of higher education.
  • No impartial bodies check to see if surveys taken by U.S. News Report for Law School Rankings are sound, leading many to assume that colleges "massage" numbers for better rankings.
  • Four years of undergraduate school and another three years of graduate school plus the added thousands of dollars and extra months after graduating to take the bar exam.
  • With the U.S recession, hundreds of law firms around the country had to downsize and suspend promotions.
So what are some alternatives for a career that involves law studies and will only incur a small portion of the debt that many law graduates have?


A paralegal is basically the jack-of-all-trades assistant to a lawyer. He or she will do the administrative duties of keeping documents on file, researching for cases, drafting up important documents and helping the lawyer prepare for important trials and other cases. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected growth of 13 percent by 2018 in this career field with a median salary of $46,129 and the top 10 percent making more than $73,450. Most paralegals have earned an associate's degree or completed a certificate training program after another related undergraduate degree through a criminal justice college. Many continue with a graduate master's degree also through a criminal justice college.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These men and women are trained to protect workers, the environment and property from harm by conducting safety inspections, designing safe work places and making public spaces safe for people and the environment. They also help to keep a business efficient when it comes to employees and equipment. They must have an in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations. There is a projected growth of 11 percent by 2018 with a median salary of $62,250 and the top 10 percent earning more than $93,620 (BLS). Most of these specialists will have a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or a related field like chemistry or engineering. A certification from a related credentialing organization in the field is not required, but encouraged, by employers. Those that advance to leadership positions generally have a lot of work experience and an advanced degree.

Claims Adjuster and Examiner

The person that deals with an insurance holder's claims filed with their insurance company for business or personal claims. They investigate, validate and negotiate settlements between the insurance company and the claimant. Anywhere from a medical claim to a natural disaster, claims adjusters are the bridge between the person and the insurance company. Job opportunities are expected to be about average for 2018, with growth at a steady 7 percent with median earnings at $55,760 and the top 10 percent earning more than $84,260. Education requirements are not as strict - although employers might show preference to a college-educated candidate. It would be beneficial if the degree was in a related field, such as medicine or business. Continued training in certain fields is necessary for advancement. For example, a medical claims adjuster needs to be up to date on the latest medical advances and legislation.

Career options are not limited for those that may want to be in a field related to law, but do not want to risk the high tuition of a law school. These three options require knowledge of law and legal studies, but do not have the student in school for an expensive education that can last years. A respected and accredited criminal justice college will prepare you for any of these careers. These days the options are getting even wider with the availability of criminal justice colleges online.

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