Criminal Justice

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Area

Social Services 

  • Corrections
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Juvenile justice
  • Program development
  • Outreach

  • Mentoring
  • Victim’s assistance
  • Counseling
  • Casework
  • Prevention services
  • Advocacy

  • Supervision
  • Assessment
  • Reporting
  • Grant writing
  • Consulting
  • Administration

Employers

  • Government agencies
  • State and federal correction facilities
  • County jails
  • Precinct station houses
  • Prison camps
  • Youth correction facilities
  • Voluntary correction facilities

  • Halfway houses and pre-release programs
  • Reintegration programs
  • Alternative schools
  • Juvenile detention centers
  • Juvenile group homes
  • Women’s and family shelters
  • Domestic violence agencies

  • Immigration and naturalization services
  • Medical centers
  • Other nonprofit organizations
  • Adult education providers
  • Public and private high schools
  • Residential treatment facilities

Strategies

  • Pursue classes or training in topics such as victimology, social problems, diversity issues, or grieving.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in psychology, sociology, social work, or child and family studies.
  • To work with juveniles, gain experience with youth through sports teams, as a summer camp counselor, in parks and recreation programs, or community/religious youth groups.
  • Seek volunteer or internship positions in areas such as employment interviewing, social casework, substance abuse, rehabilitation, or juvenile justice.
  • Learn to work well with people of diverse backgrounds. Study a second language for increased marketability.
  • Maintain a blemish-free driving and criminal record.
  • Gain firearms and self-defense training for some areas.
  • Earn a master’s degree in social work or counseling for therapy positions.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in criminal justice or business for upper-level positions in facilities.

Area

Judiciary and Law

  • Court reporting/transcription services
  • Court clerkship
  • Security
  • Legal assistance

  • Legal research
  • Administration
  • Legal representation

Employers

  • Government agencies:
    • Department of Social Services
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Treasury
    • Department of Defense

  • Local, state, and federal courts
  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Public interest law organizations
  • Self-employed

Strategies

  • Develop strong research, computer, and writing skills.
  • Consider a double major or minor in the humanities such as English, philosophy, or history as these build strong writing skills.
  • Attend a post-secondary vocational or technical college that offers court reporting (CR) or Paralegal (CLA) certification programs.
  • Join a research group and learn to use software packages for research positions.
  • Seek opportunities to observe courtroom proceedings and become familiar with the legal system.
  • Participate in mock trial groups.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations to gain admittance to law school.
  • Research admissions requirements for individual institutions.
  • Obtain a law degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Area

Law Enforcement 

  • Patrolling
  • Investigating
  • Probation
  • Parole

  • Court security
  • Surveillance
  • Loss prevention
  • Forensics

Employers

  • City/County Government Organizations:
    • Police departments
    • Correction facilities
    • County sheriff departments
    • Liquor Control Commission
    • Animal control offices
  • State Government Organizations:
    • State troopers
    • Crime laboratories
    • Penitentiaries

  • Federal Government Organizations:
    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
    • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
    • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    • Department of Homeland Security
    • Postal Service
    • Federal Marshals
    • Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
    • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • National Parks Service
    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives
    • Armed services

  • Prisons
  • Detention centers
  • Youth correction facilities
  • Airports and other transportation facilities
  • Crime laboratories
  • Colleges and universities
  • Banks and retail organizations

Strategies

  • Obtain related training or certifications such as CPR, first aid, or EMT. Seek training in firearms and self-defense.
  • Volunteer to work in a police department or campus safety department.
  • Complete a formal police academy program upon graduation.
  • Develop strong interviewing, researching, writing, and computer skills.
  • Maintain a healthy and physically fit lifestyle.
  • Learn to work well with people of diverse backgrounds and develop multicultural competency.
  • Study a “mission critical” language as those are in high demand by the federal government.
  • Become familiar with the government application process.  Seek assistance from your campus career center.
  • Many federal law enforcement agencies primarily hire candidates with experience (e.g., military, law enforcement, or other areas). Research entry requirements for the agencies that interest you.
  • For a career in Forensics:
    • Obtain a double major in criminal justice and a hard science such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry.
    • Complete an internship in a crime laboratory to gain experience in the forensic application of science.
    • Consider earning a master’s degree in Forensic Science or related discipline for increased opportunities.

Area

Business

  • Private security
  • Consulting
  • Installation
  • Investigating
  • Systems integration

  • Global intelligence
  • Private investigation
  • Internet security
  • Surveillance

  • Loss prevention
  • Property loss management
  • Program development
  • Staffing and training

Employers

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Private security companies
  • Software companies
  • Retail organizations

  • Hotels and resorts
  • Health care facilities
  • Transportation services
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Manufacturers

  • Other large corporations
  • Local, state, and federal agencies
  • Private individuals
  • Self-employed
  • Online companies

Strategies

  • Minor in business or computer science, and/or take related courses in computer science or computer systems.
  • Gain experience in an area of interest through internships, jobs, or volunteer positions.
  • Seek opportunities that include training in the hardware and software of security systems.
  • Develop exceptional written and oral communication skills, along with the ability to present information to others.
  • Pursue leadership opportunities in campus organizations to hone interpersonal skills.
  • Attend firearm safety courses. Obtain first aid and CPR certification.
  • Consider gaining military experience and training.
  • Maintain current knowledge of computer languages and technology.
  • Obtain a high GPA to ensure a greater number of graduate school opportunities.
  • Earn a graduate degree in business or law for upper-level positions.

Area

Education 

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Supervision and consultation

Employers

  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Earn a graduate degree for post-secondary teaching opportunities.
  • Serve as a tutor to other students.
  • Develop strong written and oral communication skills and the ability to present materials well to others.
  • Assist a professor with research.
  • Take additional coursework related to research and statistics.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong recommendations from faculty.
  • Network with others in your field through membership in professional associations and organizations.

General Information

  • Most entry-level positions for criminal justice majors reside with law enforcement and social service organizations.
  • Depending upon one’s career goals, earn a master’s degree in disciplines such as criminal justice, forensic science, social work, counseling, or business to obtain positions involving therapy, higher levels of administration, forensics, or research. Earn a doctoral degree for university teaching positions.
  • Many criminal justice professions require candidates to possess strong oral and written communication skills, good listening skills, and the ability to work with a wide range of diverse populations. Fluency in a second language is also desirable.
  • Obtain experience through volunteer, practicum, or internship opportunities.
  • Supplement program of study with courses in business, psychology, anthropology, or sociology. Course work related to the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, or biochemistry) is necessary for career opportunities in forensics.
  • Internet security is a rapidly growing area with a wide variety of career opportunities. Supplement coursework with computer science and technology courses to gain entry into this field.
  • Conduct informational interviews and job shadow with professionals in fields of interest to learn more about opportunities.
  • Stay up to date on advancements in your field by reading professional journals and related literature, joining professional organizations, attending conferences, and networking with others.
  • Be prepared to complete physical and psychological testing, fitness evaluations, and other evaluative tools for entry into law enforcement and related careers.