Engineering vs Criminal Justice?

<p>So I'm a Junior and will be graduating high school next year, but I still can't seem to choose a career path. I've narrowed it down to two choices: Engineering and Criminal Justice.</p>

<p>I'm intrested in engineering because you get to make stuff. I'm leaning towards aerospace, architectural, and civil engineering. I've had a drafting class in middle school (creating buildings on the computers and the whole 9 yards) and it seemed great. Also I've talked to a few people (who are engineers) and they loved the job. </p>

<p>Also I'm intrested in Criminal Justice. I'm currently taking a law class and it's by far the one of the top 2 classes I've ever taken (the other was the engineering one). I'm not exactly sure which field in Criminal Justice but I like Police work such as a Detective, stuff that I don't have to stay in the office all the time. However I'm intrested in the court room too, such as the judge but not really being an Attorney. </p>

<p>What's everyone else's opinions on this?</p>

<p>Those two majors are very different in terms of career possibilities and difficulty...
anyway, Criminal Justice usually leads to law enforcement. It's not necessarily a good major for law school. Some popular majors for law school applicants are Philosophy, Economics, Political Science, English, among other things, but any major can apply to law school.
Judges ARE attorneys.
Engineering is very math heavy. You don't seem to know too much about the processes associated with becoming an engineer/attorney/judge etc. so maybe you should look into specific majors and their class requirements. For example Engineering requiring a year of calc, differential equations, linear algebra + whatever. I think you shouldn't narrow it down until you get a better understanding of the correlation between majors and certain careers, and what fits your skills/interests best</p>

<p>If I were to choose Criminal Justice I would be leaning towards Law Enforcement a lot more compared to the hardcore law stuff like being a Judge. In Law Enforcement I know you need at least a basic understanding of the law (obviously so you can enforce it, duh). I don't plan on going to law school as of right now, possibly later on if the chance presents itself.</p>

<p>I understand Engineering reqiures a lot of math, which isn't a problem for me at all. Math is one of my strongest subjects along with science and technology (computer science, building computers, coding programs, etc). </p>

<p>I'm just trying to come to a confident decision because depending on which major I plan on, I can take some courses for next year. I want to finish college as soon as possible so I'm trying to avoid the situation where I walk in blind and not know what I'm doing. Both intrest me and a career counselor has narrowed careers down towards engineering, but I seem find the law enforcement career to be more "exciting" as a career compared to engineering.</p>

<p>Just because you are an engineer doesn't mean you can't do stuff within law enforcement as well. More particularly - if you are interested in criminal justice/law enforcement related careers, I'd highly recommend majoring in computer science/computer engineering. For example; the National Security Agency recruits a ton of civil engineering/computer science/math majors for signals intelligence-related fields such as cryptology, the FBI does too...in fact, computer science/information technology is one of the headings under which the FBI recruits special agents. If you end up not wanting to go into law enforcement, engineering/computer science is a lot more versatile in terms of careers (and you'll make a lot more money too). To me, criminal justice is kind-of a useless major unless you pair it with something else. A lot of times, law enforcement careers are better suited for other majors anyways.</p>

<p>I love technology and so far every year (and will next year) I've taken a computer science class with Basic, Java, HTML, and C++ languages and also a semester of hardware related stuff. Even though it's one of my biggest intrests, I wouldn't want it as my career because I can't picture myself sitting infront of a desk 24/7 just programming. Things like cryptology and information science ("using" computers to accomplish a goal stuff) I'd be very intrested in but getting through the college courses of programming would probably make me want to shoot myself. Hardware is something I'm considering as well but I'd probably take electrical engineering if my career reqiures it. </p>

<p>In Law Enforcement I was picturing just a regular cop, every cop that I've talked to loved their job and they seem to have fun with it. FBI and agencies like that is something I would choose as a career in the blink of an eye, but that's quite a leap...</p>

Thank you for your insight on this topic, I am a high school senior trying to determine what majors to look for in colleges and this seems to be the right fit for me

Also a possible route would be engineering then law school and get into IP/patent law.

Wow, I can’t believe this post was made 10 years ago… Well, here it goes. I’m a high school senior about to graduate with a Mathematics AA (because of my school’s dual-enrollment program), and I’m torn between majoring in Aerospace Engineering or Criminal Justice.

Here’s the thing, after four years of working towards earning a Math AA, I’ve realized how much I actually despise doing math. Sure, I might be good at it, but I’ve never really enjoyed learning about math (at least not anymore). Engineering heavily involves math, and frankly, I feel burnt out. I’m afraid that if I pursue Aerospace Engineering in college, I’ll be miserable doing it. But in the end, I would have much more career opportunities and benefits in the long run in comparison to Criminal Justice. I like Aerospace Engineering in the sense that it has to do with the aeronautical and space industries, but like I said, it heavily involves math. Criminal Justice, on the other hand, has always been something I’ve considered. Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted do something with Law Enforcement. However, the downside is that I won’t be making as much when compared to engineering, and if I choose this path, I might have to take additional classes for the major. Whereas for Engineering, I’m already ahead because of my Math AA. Do I tough it up, and pursue a degree that would give me a better chance at being well off career-wise? Or, do I take a chance and major in something that I might actually be passionate about?

Side note Another thing I was thinking was that maybe I can just push through and get an Aerospace Engineering degree and still go for something in Law Enforcement after college since you don’t necessarily need criminal justice degree to get a job in the field. And, if all else fails, then I can always fall back on Aerospace.

I don’t know if anyone will actually respond to this considering it’s been 6 years since the last response, but I feels good to get it out there. If anyone reads this, please let me know what you think. Thanks.

Many paths in engineering will give you a rock-solid math foundation without condemning yourself to it for life. Math is an important way to develop the rigorous mindset you need to be an engineer, but it does not necessarily become your everyday tool; computer science is a great example of that (even though some aspects of computer science deal with specific problems like computability, computational complexity, or cryptography using discrete math). Other engineering majors (like aerospace engineering) use math as a tool to describe natural phenomena (physics). It is almost never math for the sake of math. The closest “pure math” engineering major I can think of is operations research (essentially process optimization); perhaps information theory within electrical engineering. These are relatively narrow forays. Even then, they are often heavily mixed with computational science and machine learning these days. But none of that matters: once you’re in college you’ll be deciding your path; it is nothing like high school.

You’re pondering dramatically different career decisions based on completely the wrong parameters (not your fault). If you want to know if engineering is for you, the question to ask yourself is: Do I like to use my ingenuity to create stuff that will be used to solve real-life problems? Engineers make, whether it’s a software product, a space ship, or an artificial joint. They make stuff that blows your mind and help improve other people’s lives. It is intellect and creativity at the service of humanity.

Thank you. I think I really need to just take a step back and look at where I see myself in the next 10 years. What is my end goal? What do I excel at and and what are my true passions? How can I combine my skills and interests and do something that will make a positive impact? These are questions I need to have an answer to soon. Definitely a lot of thinking…

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Major in engineering and if you decide to pursue federal law enforcement, it’ll work out. The more selective federal law enforcement agencies don’t need criminal justice majors. They need applicants with skills like computer science/electrical engineering, language, accounting, law degree + experience. Don’t limit your opportunities by majoring in criminal justice.

Also, the pay in federal law enforcement (particularly the FBI) can exceed that of some professional engineers. After year 5 as an Agent, you are eligible to apply for a FBI HQ Supervisory Special Agent position. You can hit the federal pay cap in 3-4 years (~173k/year at the moment) and elect to step back down into Field Agent position and retain the pay for the rest of your career. There are also a lot of Reservists in federal law enforcement and that’s another source of part time income along with a second federal retirement/annuity. There are quite a few grossing close to 200k/year in low cost areas around the country. Then there are also some that have left the FBI prior to being eligible for their 6c (LEO) retirement. A lot of those came in with backgrounds like computer science/electrical engineering, worked cyber investigations and developed private sector contacts that enabled them to get offers that were 4x greater than the federal pay cap.

You’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. Most college students change their major at least twice until they decide on what to study. The key is to go in with an open mind. There’s a lot of great majors and career paths to choose from.