How Can Online Learning Help you Find your Career in the Public Sector?

Working in the public sector can take you down a multitude of career paths. If you love helping people, then taking a bachelor’s degree in criminology, for example, allows you to find various jobs in the public sector. Online learning is one way of switching from a mundane office job to following your passion for forensics and police work.

What are the advantages of online learning?

  1. Accessible

Teaching institutions such as colleges and universities make learning accessible to all through online degrees. You may have an established career already or you might be at home bringing up a family. Putting everything on hold for a certain period can be difficult, if not impossible, for many. That’s where online learning comes in. You can take any online degree from any college in the world from the comfort of your home. In addition, you control the learning schedule entirely – you can fit the curriculum around your work schedule or family commitments.

  1. Affordable

College fees have become notorious because of the massive debt that people incur. However, online learning courses offer the same curriculum and level of education at a more affordable price. You can choose the method that fits your budget across the country – or the world. Plus, you’ll save even more money on housing and commuting to campus because you’ll be taking the course from the comfort of your own home. You might even get the costs partially or fully reimbursed by your employer if the course is related to your job.

  1. Improves your career options

Taking an online degree is a great way to carve out a new path if you feel stuck in your current job. In fact, you are not alone. The number of people taking online courses to switch careers is increasing. Online learning allows you to continue working until you build the necessary qualifications. Remember that getting a new job in the public sector, for example, can take months due to specific requirements.

  1. Personalized attention

Taking an online degree gives you instant access to a learning advisor or tutor at the click of a button. There is no need to queue up to speak to a lecturer or wait for available slots on particular days. Online learning offers you complete support from start to finish. You also have a study network of colleagues and fellow students to turn to for help.

What are your career options in the public sector?

So, what are your options for careers in the public sector if you take a bachelor’s degree in policing and criminology? These are eight of the most in-demand public sector jobs in 2022.

  1. Customs officer

A customs officer is the first point of contact when a foreigner visits any country. They need to be passionate about law enforcement, skilled, and well-versed in the law. Their responsibilities include:

  • Regulating exports by filing the proper documents with every shipment
  • Checking personal belongings such as packages and the belongings of people entering the country
  • Collecting excise duties on objects such as alcohol and cigarettes
  • Arresting and charging offenders who break the law or pose a threat
  • Checking personal and commercial items entering the country for any contraband
  • Regulating imports, as duties on items vary depending on the country of origin

So, how do you become a customs officer in Canada? The entry requirements call for a high school diploma as a minimum. However, a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law enforcement, or psychology is advantageous. Not only will it make you more competitive than other candidates, but the skills and knowledge you gain will also complement the official training. Aside from the entry requirements, you will need to pass the officer trainee entrance exam with multiple choice questions. If you pass, then you move to the interview stage.

  1. Probation officer 

Probation officers help people reintegrate into society while promoting a safer community. The job description is varied – there will never be a dull day at the office.

The duties of a probation officer fall into two main categories: cases and investigations. The investigations include assisting clients’ release plans as requested by the courts, and looking into and reporting violations of court orders. A probation officer must also complete reports and case documentation for each client.

Overseeing cases also comes with its responsibilities. These include:

  • Assessing the client’s strengths, risk factors, needs, and motivations
  • Collaborating with the client’s support system, such as family and friends
  • Liaising with colleagues
  • Referring clients to programs and services
  • Carrying out interventions to reduce criminal behavior
  • Taking part in case discussions
  • Home and field visits
  • Attending court hearings

The qualifications required for the job are a university degree in a related field or a two-year diploma with two years of experience. The online bachelor’s degree in criminology gives you the perfect tools to become a probation officer. You will learn the essential life skills of case management, risk control, and counseling.

  1. Correction officer

Correction officers in Canada work on a municipal, provincial and federal level. They hold order in detention areas and correctional institutions, such as prisons. In addition, they guard detainees and offenders. The job calls for a skillset that includes enforcing and protecting, coordinating and supervising, and communicating, with a strong background in law enforcement.

The job includes:

  • Providing an escort to detainees in transit
  • Supervising offenders during work assignments, meals, and recreation periods
  • Patrolling assigned areas
  • Observing the behavior of offenders and preparing reports
  • Preparing admission, program, release, transfer, and other reports
  • Supervising and coordinating the work of other correctional service officers
  • Observing the conduct and behavior of offenders and detainees to prevent disturbances and escapes

Although the minimum requirement is secondary school education, a bachelor’s degree in criminology will give you a head start over other candidates. It will provide essential skills such as counseling and give you a background in emergency response, security policies, and procedures.

  1. Addiction counselor

Addiction counselors have a crucial function in society. They help individuals, families, and communities identify addictions while preparing treatment plans. Help can range from prevention to detox programs. A counselor can also help those suffering from addiction pinpoint or explore the motivations behind their behavior. This awareness forms a vital stepping stone to recovery. The role of an addiction counselor is complex, delicate, and has a broad reach over families and the community. The required skills include surveillance, critical thinking, research, assessment, crisis management, and relapse prevention. Addictions can form through an eating disorder, sex, gambling, drugs, smoking, or alcohol. Counselors can make referrals and guide addicts and their families while reviewing.

Addiction counselors also work with institutions and organizations to create awareness about prevention programs and their work. Although the minimum qualifications vary in Canada’s districts, an addiction counselor needs at least a bachelor’s degree in criminology, an elective in addiction studies, and many hours of experience.

  1. Animal control officer

This job is perfect if you love working with animals and have a passion for law enforcement. An animal control officer investigates and inspects complaints related to animals. Animal control officers conduct detailed investigations and collect information, witness statements, and evidence. They also increase awareness about legislation in the community.

One of the requirements for this role is a two-year diploma in a field such as police studies, criminology, and security. An online bachelor’s degree in criminology can provide you with the required skills to advance in this career. A course with a curriculum elective focusing on animal control teaches you how to handle animals. You will also learn how to communicate with the public and explain state and local laws related to animal control.

  1. Mediator

Mediators are people who help those who are in conflict reach common ground. These could range from marital disputes and family issues to work disagreements. Although a mediator cannot impose a settlement, their neutral presence can transform the dynamics from one of disagreement to a truce. This can help shape the settlement’s outcome positively for all involved. A mediator must be highly skilled in negotiation, with an expert grasp of the law. They must also be excellent communicators and facilitators, bringing out the best from both parties. According to the Canadian Bar Association, mediation is “the intervention into a dispute or negotiation by an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party who has no decision-making power, to assist disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute”.

In fact, it is the informal setting behind mediation that makes it so successful. Both parties need to agree to mediation, which remains completely confidential. You do not impose any orders or decisions, but assist the negotiation in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement that is fair to all parties. One example of a criminology study in Canada that offers the option to choose mediation as an elective is the online bachelor’s in criminology and policing by Wilfrid Laurier University.

  1. Police officer

The most common type of law enforcement official that people encounter is a police officer. Whether local or metropolitan, a police officer has to uphold the law, investigate crime, prevent crime, help the community and create awareness. The process to become a police officer in Canada is competitive. In fact, thousands apply every year. In addition, it is not as simple as applying to join the force. Once you complete the assessments, interviews, and physicals, there is a psychological evaluation and cadet training.

The minimal educational requirement to start the enrolment process is secondary school education. However, taking a course in criminology and policing is one way to stand out from the crowd. Not only will having a bachelor’s degree give you an advantage during the selection process, but it will also open the doors to higher positions. These include security directors, crime analysts, and emergency management specialists. The degree will also pave the way for higher pay brackets.

  1. Victim advocate

A victim advocate’s function is to support victims of crime, including their families. The support could be emotional, providing information to help them move on, guiding the victims to the resources they need, or helping them comprehend the judicial process. A victim advocate needs specialized training to assist their clients. They need to be an expert in crisis intervention, be empathetic, have strong listening skills, and participate in a problem-solving process that often involves officials from other departments. Victim advocates also require vital counseling and advocacy skills to offer their clients moral and emotional guidance and support. They often accompany the victims to court hearings and meetings with lawyers or law enforcement.

Their services include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Providing emotional support to victims
  • Referrals and providing resources
  • Creating awareness about victimization
  • Assisting with Crime Victims’ Compensation applications
  • Providing information on legal rights and protections
  • Providing information on the criminal justice process
  • Assisting victims and their family members in submitting statements to the court
  • Intervention with landlords, creditors, and employers on behalf of the victim
  • Information on crime prevention
  • Assistance with funeral/memorial arrangements
  • Assistance with safety planning
  • Assistance in navigating the medical systems

Unlike a police officer, the services of a victim advocate are offered by the private and public sectors. The Canadian government offers various victim services across departments, non-governmental organizations, the courts, and the police. A criminology degree will give you the skills to take up this career.

Professions in the public sector are highly popular, with hundreds, if not thousands, of potential candidates applying for the role. Even if you already have an established career in the public sector, a course in policing and criminology will help you brush up your knowledge and teach you new skills.

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