How to Build a Career in Criminal Justice

Tim Carman knows a criminal justice career was the right choice for him.

"I always wanted to work with people. In this career, you have an impact and can actually see the results of your work,” he said.

Carman, who is the former director of probation and parole for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, started his journey at EKU. He got his bachelor’s degree in corrections and juvenile justice. He later returned to get a master’s degree in education that has opened doors to additional career opportunities in both the public and private sectors.

He began his career as a pre-trial officer. He then spent several years working in juvenile corrections and served as director of a group home for delinquent boys. After that, he transitioned to adult corrections and joined the division of probation and parole. He worked his way up from officer to assistant supervisor to branch manager before being promoted to director. He has since retired from that position and now works in mental health services.

Carman has seen education change the course of his life and the lives of others. In his experience as a hiring official, it was not uncommon to have 150 applicants for a single position. Seeing a college degree on candidates' resumes sent a clear message about their commitment. “You see their willingness to sacrifice because they are investing in a career – not just job – a career,” Carman explained.

He’s also watched employees earn degrees, while balancing their jobs and family obligations, that resulted in increasing their salaries and advancing their careers. “I’ve seen satisfaction in the work that they’ve done. It really did pay off,” he said.

Now Carman is sharing his expertise as an instructor in the EKU Online Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies program. His students do not simply learn from the textbook. He shares his own stories and wants them to seek out the advice of other professionals. “I encourage them to communicate with those people who are in the field and let me know what they thought [so I can then] bounce back to them some of what I’ve experienced in my career,” he added.

As a former supervisor, Carman has this career advice: “Without education, you are very limited. Don’t limit yourself.”

Published on June 21, 2016