A specialized program is helping women find their niche in a changing industry.
Women looking to make a difference through a career in law enforcement have long had the option of completing a general studies program for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Graduates can go on to careers in criminal justice, such as police officer, parole officer, probation officer, and more. However in the last three years, The American Women’s College has given those with an interest in the human side of criminal justice another option: The Offender Rehabilitation and Victim Advocacy program.
“What I found through research and my own experience working in higher education, is that the criminal justice industry has dramatically changed over the past 15 years,” explained Scott Joubert, program director. The Offender Rehabilitation and Victim Advocacy program offers a secondary option, outside the typical criminal justice program, that specifically focuses on human services, sociology and psychology aspects of the industry. Students in the program will learn mediation, advocacy and empathy skills that will set the stage for them to enter into the criminal justice industry as advocates for victims in the role of educators, coaches and mediators in post-release and pre-release programs. It goes beyond a traditional psychology degree, and beyond a traditional criminal justice degree and prepares them to enter into these specialized fields.
“This program is unique in the sense that it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country right now,” said Joubert. The program was designed to address a void in the industry for students who chose to take criminal justice courses as a minor, but with the hope of taking the human services route.
The Offender Rehabilitation and Victim Advocacy program is accelerated and strictly offered online. All faculty teaching the courses are directly involved in their area of study—meaning they have years of experience in the field in their specific area, so students benefit from their direct expertise.
Many women choose this path because they are looking for a direct way to make a difference in their community. They may have been a victim themselves, or know a victim, and that personal experience has guided them to this field. “Now we’re starting to see overcrowding and budget cuts in our criminal justice facilities nationally,” explained Joubert. “People are being impacted by a lack of treatment, and lack of re-integration and at the same time we’re demanding more of our criminal justice practitioners.” A criminal justice degree through the Offender Rehabilitation and Victim Advocacy program gives graduates the tools they need to make a difference.