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Careers in Criminal Justice

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.

Connect with your Career Coach

careerservices@apus.edu

877-755-2787

 
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.
Career Options
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 and 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, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students 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 to federal service outstanding men and women 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 for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.

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 whom 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.

Organizations

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

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

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