What can I do with a degree in CRIMINAL JUSTICE?
The information below is only a sample of the possibilities a degree in Criminal Justice can provide. For specific requirements of employment please contact employers at their respective websites. The best way to connect with employers is to attend the Career Expos that happen on-campus every semester. Maintain a blemish-free driving and no criminal record. Resumes and references are always needed, therefore make sure to have one always updated and make sure your references know that they are being listed.
JUDICIARY AND LAW SECTOR
|*Legal assistance||Restorative Justice Mediator|
|*Legal research||*Victim Advocate (juvenile or adult)|
*Court administration (court manager,
court assistant, court operations specialist)
|Local, state and federal courts||County Prosecutors Office|
|Law firms||Public Offender’s Office|
|Corporate legal departments||Public interest law organization|
Remember in order to practice law you must hold a law degree, but some of the positions listed above are eligible with just a B.A. However, some positions require a certification in a specialty are such as: paralegal, victim advocacy, alternative dispute resolution or legal secretary. If you are considering going to law school having experience will benefit you. Highly consider applying to the Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI)* here at UTEP. This program will allow you to have a glimpse of what law school is about and if it truly is a fit for you. This is a summer program, so if you find out that this may not work with your schedule then an alternative would be to minor in Legal Reasoning. Classes in legal reasoning will allow you to take political science courses that introduce case law and research methods in law. Look at UTEP’s Public and Professional Programs* website for availability of these programs. Lastly, law school is very competitive and you must have at least a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Internships are very important for experience opportunities therefore, highly thinking about adding one of those to your resume.
*UTEP LSPI: http://law.utep.edu
*UTEP Public and Professional Programs- https://www.legalstudies.com/vendor/utep/
- Community colleges
- Alternative education programs/schools*
- Public and private high schools*
- Teacher inside detention facilities, jails, or prisons*
Consider participating or enrolling in a research independent study on-campus with a faculty led project. Take the most you can from research methods courses and write research papers on areas of your personal focus. Aside from research also attempt to participate in an internship at an agency or volunteer at a community center or organization that has a mentor or role modeling emphasis. Recommended minors can be in Spanish, Statistics, Rhetoric Writing or Psychology. Maintain a GPA above a 3.0 and look into graduate programs during your junior year in college. The requirement for a full-time professor position at a community college or part-time at a university is to at least have a master’s and that you have 18 hours in that subject. If you’re interested in a full-time position at the University level consider an on-campus PhD program in Criminal Justice or Criminology.
*Will require for you to complete an Alternative Teaching Certification, instead of a Master’s or Ph.D. program. See the College of Education: Teacher Education Program for more information on this certification.
*To teach in higher education
- Correctional Officer
- Counseling/ Correctional Services Specialist
- Juvenile justice
- Probation or Parole officers
- Case Manager
|Adult correctional facilities||State Parole Departments|
|Alternative schools||Domestic violence agencies|
|Youth correction facilities/Juvenile detention||Adult Probation (county/state)|
|Women and family shelters||Juvenile group homes|
|Halfway houses and prerelease programs||Bureau of Prisons|
|Immigration and Naturalization Services||Corrections Corporation of America|
|Geo Group||U.S. Pretrial Services|
|U.S. Probation (Admin. Office of the U.S. Courts)||County jail|
Seek courses in topics such as victimology, social problems such as drugs, alcohol abuse, or mental illness, diversity issues or anger management. Consider a minor in Psychology, Rhetoric Writing, Health Promotion, African-American studies, Chicano studies, Spanish, or Sociology. Gain experience by participating in an internship with an agency or volunteering with at-risk youth or at women shelters. Learn to work well with people of diverse backgrounds and how to network. Learning another language can be helpful if you are seeking working with people of diverse backgrounds. Obtaining related training or certification such as CPR, First Aid or EMT can serve as supplements in your resume when applying for a job. Pursuing a master’s degree is recommended, but not a requirement in most cases. A master’s program in Social Work, Counseling, Criminal Justice or Criminology would be recommended or a graduate certificate in Public Health. A substance abuse counselor requires additional state license or certification in chemical dependency and/or substance abuse.
LAW ENFORCEMENT SECTOR
|Police Officer/Detective||Intelligence/Crime Analysis|
|Special Agent||Crime scene investigation|
City/County Government Organization including:
|Police Departments||Liquor Control Commission|
|County Sheriff Departments|
State Government Organizations including:
|Highway Patrol||State Wildlife, fisheries and park service|
|Department of Highway Safety|
Federal Government Organization including:
|U.S. Postal Service||Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)|
|U.S. Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks||Internal Revenue Services (IRS)|
|Secret Service||Department of Homeland Security (DHS)|
|Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)||U.S. Marshals|
|U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)||Immigrant Customs Enforcement (ICE)|
|United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)|
|Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)|
Consider a minor in Intelligence and National Security Studies, Rhetoric Writing, Spanish, or Management. Analytical and problem solving skills will be needed. Participate in an internship with a local, state, or federal agency. Become familiar with the government application process, maintain a clean driving/criminal record, and maintain a good credit. Background checks take a while to process, so begin the application process during the third to last semester before graduation. Many of the federal agencies post their job openings through http://usajobs.gov so create an account ahead of time. Always have a resume ready and edited before posting it on the application. The UTEP Career Center https://www.utep.edu/student-affairs/careers/ has workshops on resume building and cover letters.
Crime scene evidence is processed and tested in a lab by a forensic scientist or technician (ballistics, toxicology, serology, DNA expert) which requires a B.S. degree in chemistry, biology, or physics; NOT a degree in criminal justice.
|Private security||Compliance manager|
|Information security analyst||Transportation security screener|
|Global intelligence||Private detective/investigator|
|Private investigations||Background screening analyst|
|Loss and prevention||Internet security|
|Insurance companies||Department of Homeland Security|
|Private security companies||Casinos|
|Software companies||Online companies|
|Hotels and resorts||Manufacturers|
|Healthcare facilities||Transportation services|
Take criminal justice courses in white collar crime, cybercrime, and crime prevention. Minor in Business (Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Management or General Business), Computer Science or Intelligence and National Security studies. Seek practicum/internship experiences that include training in the hardware and software of security systems. Seek leadership opportunities and develop strong interpersonal skills. Most of these companies seek employees who have analytical skills and have experience or background in technology or computer information systems. Many private detectives/investigator jobs require having a public /government law enforcement experience first and developing contacts. Establishing a reputation later to open your own business as a private consultant.
Many “forensic” jobs such as forensic accounting, forensic computer investigator, forensic nurse, or forensic psychologist require an advanced degree in that area such as accounting, computer science, nursing or psychology—the degree should NOT be in criminal justice.