According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chicago boasts high employment opportunities for post-secondary teachers in criminal justice and law enforcement. Whether you’re already in the criminal justice field looking to pursue different career options, or just interested in the many different career paths within this field, it’s important to understand the educational requirements needed to succeed in criminal justice.

Keith Atterberry is an adjunct professor in Criminal Justice for Roosevelt University, and offers some insight into how his formal education has attributed to his success.

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How does your education relate to your current role?

“As an undergraduate, I planned to attend law school, but my plans changed after a professor encouraged me to present research I was interested in at a university student research symposium. In 2009, after matriculation into the Ph.D. program in criminology, I was fortunate to be awarded the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship. DFI provides a four-year academic fellowship to Fellows in pursuit of a doctorate. Fellows are required to teach in Illinois for a period of time after earning their Ph.D.”

How has your education contributed to your success?

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“I have been fortunate to teach criminal justice at several local universities. Teaching has enhanced my teaching credentials, and has afforded me an opportunity to pass this knowledge on to students. Any personal success I have achieved is directly correlated to my success in developing the minds and critical thinking skills of my students. I have worked as a researcher, assisting the principle investigator on several federally funded research studies with the police and public as study participants. Also, I’ve published a book review, co-authored a book chapter, and am currently working on a manuscript submission to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Corrections.”

What advice can you offer others going into criminal justice?

“Criminal justice includes research, teaching, the study of crime, as well as the practice of law enforcement, courts and corrections. Research these areas to determine whether the requirements match your interests and ambition. There are many opportunities in the field for those who are determined, and have a plan for success.”

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a bachelor’s in communication and is currently working on her master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.