If you’re considering a career in criminal justice in the state of Alaska, then you’ll be happy to know that this is an excellent time for it. Jobs are constantly available in many different areas of the field, and qualified employees enjoy above average salaries and steady job security.

However, the criminal justice field is not for everyone. Not only is it difficult to qualify for these positions, the work is often demanding and requires its workers to have a thick skin. If you know all this and still think a job in criminal justice is right for you, then follow these helpful steps to make your career dreams a reality.

1. Research, Research, Research!: With a background in criminal justice, you can literally do hundreds of different jobs. Professions within the realm of the field include criminal investigator, central intelligence agency (CIA) employee, forensic investigator, immigration officer, secret service, federal bureau of investigation (FBI) employee, police officer, and many more.

Each of these jobs will have its own requirements, both educationally and personally, and it’s up to you to familiarize yourself with all of the ones you are interested in. Once you have selected the career of your choice, research to find out what you must do to obtain that career. If you know what is required of you upfront, you can avoid wasting your time, effort, and money.

2. Get an Education: Most jobs in the field will require you to have some level of higher education. Even for those that don’t, you can often significantly increase your chances of being hired and earn a higher salary right from the start if you have some formal schooling.

If you decide that school is a smart choice or a necessity for your career of choice, then make sure that you spend some time finding the right one. A good school will be accredited and will offer you appropriate and relevant coursework. It should also have a good reputation in the community or state and a history of putting its graduates to work.

3. Experience is Everything: Either while you are in school or shortly after graduation, you will want to strongly consider getting in some real experience in the field. The most common way to do this is by taking on a related internship or by doing job shadowing, in which you actually observe a criminal justice professional as he or she works.

Not only are these opportunities an excellent way to gain experience and build up an impressive resume, but they can also lead to job offers and the forging of important connections within the field.

You can find out about such opportunities by speaking to the career center at your college or university, or you can find them yourself by browsing through job postings or contacting places of employment that you are interested in directly. If you have any connections within the field, utilizing them for an internship or job shadowing placement is also a good idea.