How to Teach Criminal Justice

If you have worked in the Criminal Justice field and you now want to impart that knowledge and experience then you should consider teaching Criminal Justice in a community college near you. Criminal Justice courses are expanding rapidly as students get more and more interested in these professions.


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    Develop a cadre of experiences in the Criminal Justice field that are at least five years in length and full-time.
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    Obtain the required education to teach at the college level. Some community colleges will hire instructors as adjunct faculty (part-time) with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice or related field. Others may require a Master's degree in Criminal Justice or any Master's degree with 18 hours in Criminal Justice. All credentials must be obtained through regionally accredited institutions.
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    Get your resume ready and include any teaching or training experience and your relevant Criminal Justice experience. Obtain letters of recommendation from Criminal Justice supervisors.
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    Apply for adjunct faculty pools. One source of jobs is
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    Contact the hiring manager at your local community college. Hiring managers for these programs can be Department Heads, Academic Chairs, Program Coordinators, or some full-time faculty members have some responsibilities in this regard.
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    Remain persistent and agree to teach online if they need someone to do this. Often it is a timing issue where adjunct faculty members are identified upon short notice needs for one reason or another.
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    Never turn a course down because you are not sure you can prepare in time. Bite the bullet and put in the extra effort to get in the door.
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    Once you are hired you will want to obtain a sample syllabus and the textbook. Many textbooks have test banks and power points provided by the publisher. Obtain all of these through your hiring manager. Prepare in-class assignments for students in addition to small lecture components. Include frequent quizzes to bolster attendance and make everything fun and interesting!
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    Once you have obtained good reviews from students and supervisors then you can try to apply for full-time positions. It is very rare for full-time faculty members at community colleges to be hired with no adjunct or prior full-time teaching experience even with a lot of field experience in Criminal Justice.


  • Get a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice. It is considered a 'pure' credential and it will be easier to get a position.
  • Consider writing and publishing white papers, an article, or even reviews of law enforcement practices, or technologies. These 'extra' efforts will distinguish you as someone interested in remaining current with the field, and they position as an authority on some subject, topic, or information. Trade magazines, professional journals, or other publications specific to the law enforcement field would be preferred, however, publishing outside of your law enforcement field can also be acceptable.
  • Get accustomed to teaching online even if you do not like it as much. It will become larger and you will be forced into these technologies at some point anyway. Your marketability for full-time is dramatically increased with full-time development and teaching experience.
  • Avoid war stories. A few every once in a while makes it interesting but it should not be the entire class.
  • Utilize technology whenever possible.
  • Learn to teach in a dynamic way and not the way you were taught. Make it fun and exciting and engage the students.


  • Do not show up for an interview in clothes that indicate you do not wan the job.
  • Check for misspellings and other grammatical problems with your resume, cover letter, etc. Many colleges may not ask for cover letters or resumes but they automatically take those out that do not have them.

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Categories: Legal Careers | Teaching