As a Maryland resident interested in pursuing a career in the criminal justice field, you’ll be happy to know that you can get started down a path toward the career of your dreams just by following three simple steps!

Of course, that’s not to say that working in the criminal justice field won’t take a lot of effort, dedication, and commitment on your part, but taking those first initial steps is something very easy and something that far too many people put off for far too long. So, don’t wait another second. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can be enjoying an exciting and lucrative career in criminal justice!

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Field: If you’re like most people, when you think of the field of criminal justice, you probably think of police officers and perhaps parole or probation officers and the like. Did you know though that there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of capacities in which criminal justice professionals can work?

They might work in forensics, in criminal investigation, as bailiffs, as county sheriffs, and even as members of the central intelligence agency (CIA), the secret service, or the federal bureau of investigation (FBI). The possibilities are truly limitless, but not if you don’t know they exist! So, before you do anything at all, spend some time researching criminal justice, its definition, all that it entails, and the many fascinating ways in which criminal justice professionals can work.

Make sure that you keep a list of the careers that you think could be a good fit for you. You’ll need them as you continue on to step number two and plan your career in the criminal justice field.

Step 2: Find the Job That’s For You: Now that you’ve got a list of jobs you think you might enjoy doing within the field, it’s time to see how those thoughts stack up against reality. Go online and research the different careers you have marked. Read, in detail, about what they entail. Also take note of the educational, training, and other requirements necessary for the job or jobs of your choosing. Above all, make sure that you are honest with yourself as you read this information.

If you ever feel that you are not innately cut out for a particular job or that you are not willing to complete the education it takes to do a certain job, don’t feel bad. Not every job is for every person, and this does not mean you aren’t right for the field; it just means you need to keep looking until you find the job that is a perfect fit for you, your weaknesses, and most importantly, your strengths.

Step 3: Plan out Your Education and/or Training: Now that you know the job you want to do and what it will take to get there, there’s absolutely nothing left to do but to start making things happen for you! This is an exciting time, one in which you can find educational and/or training programs, depending upon your dream job’s requirements, within your state that match up with your aspirations.

Don’t ever make any hasty decisions about schools or training programs. Just as you’ve done so far during this process, take the time to do your research, to think and reflect on your own thoughts and feelings, and to ultimately come to a decision that will be the most beneficial for you and that is the most grounded in reality and in what you are willing to do to reach your dreams.