If you have worked in criminal justice and now want to take your know-how into a classroom setting, opportunities to earn a monumental paycheck are available in the Los Angeles region. Top post-secondary criminal justice educators are receiving annual wages reaching $162,000, according to latest employment trends.

(Photo Courtesy of Christopher Westhoff)

(Photo Courtesy of Christopher Westhoff)

The yearly median income for these instructors is $78,000, which is 26 percent higher than the national norm. It is an industry that is presenting probable cause for job seekers that are considering law enforcement as a vocational path.

“There are many avenues of criminal justice for individuals to pursue, including becoming a prosecutor or defense attorney, paralegal, probation officer, corrections officer and police officer,” said Christopher Westhoff, an attorney who teaches a criminal law course for UCLA’s paralegal program.

Westhoff became a practicing attorney in 1974. He worked for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where the former prosecutor ran a trial training program. Westhoff said the advent of emerging technology has had a profound effect on criminal justice instruction.

“When I first started as a criminal prosecutor, there were no computers, internet or cell phones,” said Westhoff, who received his Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law. “Teaching has become easier, learning tools are more accessible to students and the exchange of information is simpler because of technological advances.”

What are an instructor’s key attributes?

“A good teacher is one who enjoys conveying knowledge to students. He or she is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and about the subject matter.”

How will criminal justice education change by 2024?

“If current trends continue, more teaching will be done online. However, there will still be the need for the physical portion of law enforcement training to be conducted in person.”

What is your advice to those seeking a career in law enforcement?

“If law school is your calling, go for it. If being a law enforcement professional is what interests you, then find a police force or corrections organization that will offer you the best opportunity to succeed and follow your dream. There are lots of very good choices for a career.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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