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Careers in Criminal Justice

 

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There are a variety of professional opportunities one can pursue within this industry, such as a probation officer, which is spotlighted below. Networking, gaining experience, and knowing where to look for employment are all critical components to successfully entering this field. Use this guide as an introduction to the variety of options and tools to successfully launch or advance your career.

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Useful Skills within the Criminal Justice Field

Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.

Negotiating -
Bringing people together to discuss and resolve differences.

Reasoning -
Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness -
Being aware of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way that they do.

Speaking -
Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in group settings to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.

Teaching -
Teaching others how to do something.

Persuasion -
Persuading, encouraging and motivating others to accept your ideas.

Decision Making -
Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.

Helping -
Actively looking for ways to help people.

 
Careers


Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry, using our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only) or by speaking with a career coach.

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.

Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers
Bailiffs
Clinical Psychologists

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary
Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Fire Investigators
Fish and Game Wardens
Forensic Science Technicians
Fraud Examiners, Investigators and Analysts
Immigration and Customs Inspectors
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

Judicial Law Clerks
Law Teachers, Postsecondary
Lawyers
Loss Prevention Managers
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Police Detectives
Police Identification and Records Officers
Security Managers
Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs
Social Workers, All Other
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Career Spotlight: Probation Officer

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a Probation Officer as “someone who works with and monitors offenders to prevent them from committing new crimes.” 

Types of Probation Officers: 

Adult probation officers
Juvenile probation officers
Parole officers
Correctional treatment specialists 

Education and Other Requirements

While each state, county, or agency has different requirements, most require a bachelor’s degree, a minimum age requirement of 21, and the ability to pass various background and drug testing. 

Training

Training for probation officers varies by agency, and is typically sponsored by the local, state, or federal government; many require candidates to pass a certification test. 

For more information on becoming a probation officer, check with your local and state correctional facilities.

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships organized by interest or by federal program. 

There are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key. 

Pathways
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students as well as training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans; due to their military service obligation, they will have up to six years to apply). The internship program for current students replaces the replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract outstanding federal service members from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF. 

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience and, in some cases, full-time employment to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in criminal justice. The list below provides a few places one might find employment specific to this degree.

Federal Agency Examples
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Federal Marshals
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
National Parks Service
Postal Service
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Organizations
AEGIS
CACI
County Sheriff's Departments
Crime Labs
Kroll
Law Offices
Local and State Police Departments
NYPD Employment Opportunities
Omniplex
Penitentiaries
State and Local Courts
Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. (SA-TECH)
USIS

While many of the major job search engines will have several positions to choose from, those listed below are specific to the criminal justice field.

Search Engines:

911Hotjobs.com
Corrections.com
Officer.com
Police Employment
Security Jobs Network

 
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Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations
Conferences and Expositions
Get Connected: Social Media and Publications

A login may be required for access to social media.

Criminal Justice Program – LinkedIn
Public Safety Program – LinkedIn
Security & Intelligence – Twitter
In Public Safety – AMU sponsored blog

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