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Personal Writing: Criminal Justice Career Choices

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For this assignment, I will be highlighting three possible areas within the Criminal Justice (Career choices/decision) in which I am currently highly interested in. During no other time in the United States Criminal Justice history, has the discipline encompassed so many several highly diverse as well as fields, specifically geared towards the processing of all aspects of crime and criminal activities. During this semester, I have had the privilege to learn more about the criminal justice field, as well as the possible options and their offerings of each career field. Specifically, the disciplines (fields) of interest in which I may be possibly interested in pursuing after my time as a “patrol officer” are becoming either a, “Fish & Game Warden, a State Police Officer or a member of the Department of Homeland Security, particularly obtaining a position with the United States Border Patrol.

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Each of these specialties although all are part of the criminal justice industry, has different requirements as well as, duties, pay scales (salary) continuing education requirements and most importantly service functions. Specifically, the “Fish & game Warden officers, work to enforce fishing, hunting, and boating laws in addition to, patrolling, hunting grounds, fishing areas, conducting field search and rescue operations, actively investigating complaints and accidents of visitors as well as helping to aid in the prosecuting of court cases in instances when their jurisdiction requires them to do so” (International Association of Chiefs of Police, & Matrix Group International, Inc. (2008). I believe I would like to pursue this career field (option) because, I overall enjoy the “great outdoors” and thus obtaining an occupation that takes you outdoors (such as being a Fish & game Warden officer) seems to be like great job that could work in order to obtain personal “homeostasis” as being outdoors is well known by scientist to be overall less stressful then working in other environments. The requirements of becoming a Fish & Game Warden officer are simple. An individual must being between the ages of 18-21 to start in the career field. “Individuals applying for federal game warden jobs through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must be between the ages of 21 and 36” (How to Become a Wildlife Officer. (2014, February). Furthermore, an applicant must be a citizen of the United States, possess a valid driver’s license (knowing how to operate various motor vehicles such as a boat, bike or an ATF is also a positive for this position). Applicant must have no prior Felony, Misdemeanor, or Domestic Violence Convictions, and undergo successful completion of a criminal background check, in addition to a mental/physical health assessment. Still most, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prefers candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree “(How to Become a Wildlife Officer. (2014, February). The bachelor’s degree can relate to either the field of criminal justice itself, or be obtained in “Natural Resource Conservation, Wildlife Conservation, Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science, and Fish and wildlife management” (How to Become a Wildlife Officer. (2014, February). Furthermore in certain states/jurisdictions, a Fish & Game Warden is subjected to workforce training (hours needing to be completed) which varies from state to state. In addition, some general law (criminal justice) enforcement courses and training are required by most states and agencies (both on a state and federal level). Course programs most suited for this profession generally include a “combination of lecture courses, laboratory work and field experience.”(How to Become a Wildlife Officer. (2014, February). The “salary” for a “Fish and Game Warden” varies depending upon rather or not an individual works for a state, local or federal agency as well as the state in which they work. Fish and Game Wardens are generally paid the highest in Illinois ($88,270 yearly salary), then in New Jersey ($82,800) followed by Maryland ($74,620), then California ($72,630) and lastly,Tennessee (68,070) (United States Department of Labor, & U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, March 30). Likewise, states with the highest employment (concentration rate) for this career choice are mostly located in “Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Maine and Idaho” (United States Department of Labor, & U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, March 30). These states however only pay their “Fish and Game Wardens” between $40.000 -$55,000 (yearly salary). While the benefits of being a “Fish and Game Warden” include but may not be limited to “paid holidays, vacation time, sick leave, overtime allowances, health/vision and dental benefits (for themselves and their families) (McKinney, Q. (2016).

Another specialization (criminal justice (career) department) in which I am also interested in is the “State Police”. I am interested in this form of duty and civil service within the criminal justice field because, the State Police (in all states) are constantly in the field, working with people ,expressing concern for the lives and safety of others, as well as being “Pro Social”. In short, the State Police have more individualized powers then the regular police officers across police departments across the United States but also has the best capabilities of putting their power to go use and for the benefit of the people. State Police also do not have limited jurisdiction in their respective states unlike regular police officers, thus they do not need any special “clearance” when it comes to both helping and intervening as it refers to helping bystanders and fellow police officers alike. I myself am a very helpful and highly “Pro Social” individual, thus doing things for others seems like a great match as far as being a “State Police Officer” is concerned. The State Police officers job for the most part consists of “arresting criminals, actively patrolling highways, in addition to enforcing both motor vehicle laws” (International Association of Chiefs of Police, & Matrix Group International, Inc. (2008). This of course includes but may not be limited to checking suspects for their license, registration, and proof of car insurance. State Police across the country also have the authority to issue “traffic citations” to reckless drivers in addition to file “accident/incident reports, direct traffic when needed, Provide First Aid care when protocol calls for it (can “call in” for emergency services), work as investigators in crimes, carry out various administrative department tasks, and even perform court ordered/related duties. State police serve a very vital role in the American Criminal Justice system, as they also help to “provide comprehensive law enforcement services, especially in rural areas or small towns.”(International Association of Chiefs of Police, & Matrix Group International, Inc. (2008).

The requirements to become a “State Police Officer” in any of the states within the union are highly diverse and vary according to both state as well as agency an individual gets hired by. However for starters, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age, have completed either a GED program or have a high school diploma, have a current valid driving license accompanied by a clean driving record (this means no DUI’s, excessive speeding, parking or other tickets form the state), as well as having no prior history of felonies, domestic violence issues, or any convictions involving “public corruption” or “illegal “drug history. Again, it is highly important to keep in mind that certain specific requirements may vary from state to state as well as jurisdiction to jurisdiction but the latter mentioned are the most basic requirements. Lastly, all State Police Officers ( State Troopers) must submit to “Polygraph Testing”, as well as a highly extensive background check (which most oftentimes includes but is not limited to checking past work history, overall reputation and even financial standings such as credit score/reports). Furthermore, State Troopers must also submit oral interviews as well as several tests which “score” the participants intelligence in math, reading, writing. While physical fitness tests must also be passed and include but may not be limited to both , “long run and short running, push-ups, sit-ups and successful completion of multiple handgun firing exercises and flexibility tests.”(, (2016).Furthermore, a medical exam consisting of hearing, visual testing, as well as a through psychological assessment is also required and consequently performed, in order to obtain employment as a state trooper. The psychological assessment and testing protocol, is to make sure that the individual applying for the State Trooper position is in fact mentally capable of withstanding the highly amounts of stress that come along with the career. The average “state police officer (entry level) earns approximately $45,000 yearly” (, (2016).

Lastly, the final department in which I may be interested in after my work as a patrolling officer is possibly working for the “Department of Homeland Security” specifically becoming a “U.S. Border Patrol agent”. I am very interested in these prospective career positions because, I believe that by working in this section within the criminal justice field, that it would not only allow me to help not only better serve my community and state but also the American people as well as our own personal (best) self-interests as a nation! Specifically a “U.S. Border Patrol agents protect more than 8,000 miles of international land and water boundaries” ( The basic requirements for becoming a U.S. Border Patrol agent include but are not limited to, being a citizen of the United States, in addition to honing highly developed “interpersonal skills, judgment, and problem-solving abilities” (Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents. (2014, May 16). Like all other agencies that I have mentioned in this paper, for the position of becoming a United States Border Patrol agent, one has to have a valid driver license from their respective state, as well as pass the “CBP Border Patrol entrance examination” which consists of three main parts of the test. These three sections of the examination, covers an individual‘s own logical reasoning skills amongst other personality and intelligence traits. Furthermore, United States Border patrol Agent are required to be bilingual (speak Spanish and English). For those who are not natural speakers of the alternative language “an artificial language test that predicts your ability to learn Spanish; and an assessment of job-related experiences and achievements can be reasonably obtained” (Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents. (2014, May 16). In addition, a potential candidate for a U.S. Border Patrol agent position must be no older than 37 years of age upon selection, present a veritable personal resume which must include but may not be limited to, describing any and all job duties that you want considered in the determination, corresponding transcripts, grade-point calculations and averages (GPA counts!), as well as any other documents requested by the Hiring Center. In addition, mandatory (as well as random) drug screening tests as permitted by the police department force must test negative or any and all illegal substances are pursued in a highly randomized matter. The need to be physically fit and highly active are also absolute requirements for this position followed by undergoing extensive medical evaluations, before appearing before an oral board reviewing in order to demonstrate your capabilities for the position of “Border Patrol Agent”.

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Out of all of the three positions reviewed for this assignment, I would have to say that the position of being an United States Border patrol Agent is the most demanding in nature because, Border Patrol Agent oftentimes, work on operational details away from home for extended periods of over 30 days or more (at a time), as well as accept appointments at any location on the southwest border of the United States. The Border Patrol Agents must also undergo active training throughout the year including weeks of studying, and “intensive physical and academic training” (Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents. (2014, May 16). In addition to frequently working irregular shifts (oftentimes at night) which oftentimes include but may not be limited to, the holidays, any and all types of weather conditions, potentially dangerous scenarios, having to frequently work alone, be able to confidently drive several different types of motor vehicles (including ATF’s) across rough and jagged terrain, dry regions, and other dangerous areas, as well as the honing of a new language (in this case Spanish), and lastly having/ or working hard to obtain the ability to fly aircraft carriers for example: Helicopters among other attributes, skills and abilities. The salary of an “entry level” United States Border Patrol Agent “ranges from about from $33,829 to $42,948, depending on experience and qualifications” (U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (2016). Some extra “perks” to the career are embedded in both the “overtime pay” of the United States Board Patrol Agent and include a highly impressive “25 percent by working overtime and picking up weekend and holiday shifts” ( (2003).

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