Career Information for C.J. Majors
Employment opportunities exist for Criminal Justice majors in all areas of the legal, law enforcement, and justice systems. Students majoring in Criminal Justice receive instruction on the theories and practices pertaining to the criminal justice system, crime prevention, and public and corporate responses to crime on the local, national, and international levels.
C.J. majors are also prepared to pursue graduate coursework in law or public policy as well as many other criminal justice related disciplines. If a graduate with a Bachelor's degree is looking for employment after graduation, opportunities exist at the managerial level in county, state, and federal criminal justice agencies. Research centers concerned with domestic and international issues, policies, and practices related to the criminal justice system provide additional opportunities to experience this exciting field.
While many graduates work in a related occupation, others choose fields which do not require a specific major, but rather a wide range of demonstrated skills and accomplishments. Regardless of your career choice, increase your marketability to employers through internships, service-learning, related work or volunteer experiences, good grades, and involvement in multiple college activities.
Students should check Rutgers Career Services website for a wealth of information regarding résumé clinics, job search workshops, internship seminars, networking events, alumni panels, career fairs, and so much more. Students can set up their Career Knight account at careers.rutgers.edu.
Crisis intervention skills
Critical thinking and analysis
Keen knowledge of the law and courts system
Problem solving ability
Risk taking orientation
“Criminal justice is a field that requires quick thinking, professionalism, and attention to detail. The following are skills emphasized in criminal justice programs and are essential to a successful career in criminal justice. Many are beneficial in both the law enforcement and corrections sides of this career area.
Communications skills are important in any career, but in a criminal justice environment, they can be the difference between peacefully settling disputes and preventing an escalation into violence. Here is a list of major communications skills critical to this field:
- Active listening, which is giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points made, asking appropriate questions, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Negotiation and the ability to bring others together and to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion to encourage a change in mindset or behavior.
- Speaking to others in a way that conveys information they can understand and act upon.
In addition, reading comprehension and effective writing tools are important for communicating with colleagues, some of whom work in different areas and may not be familiar with one another’s job responsibilities.
Strong social skills are also key in a criminal justice environment. Social perceptiveness is the awareness and understanding of other people’s reactions in a given situation. It can help predict trigger events and plan ahead. The ability to use critical thinking—using logic and reasoning— is an important tool for identifying strengths and weaknesses in tense situations. Similarly, complex problem-solving skills help identify complex problems and effectively review information to develop and evaluate options, and implement the best solutions. Finally, judgment and decision-making skills consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions and choosing appropriate ones.
Other practical skills can be strengthened to maximize success in this field:
- Coordination — Adjusting actions and reactions
- Instructing — Teaching or training others how to do something
- Monitoring — Self-monitoring/self-assessment, as well as other individuals or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people”
Career and Professional Resources
- Criminal Justice U.S.A. – Careers and Degrees
- Careers in Criminal Justice
- Criminal Justice Degree, College, and Career Blog
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service
- The American Society of Criminology
- Civil Service Commission for New Jersey
- Careers in Criminal Justice Job Descriptions
- Careers in Federal Agencies
- Top-Paid Liberal Arts Majors and Careers
A Sample of Related Occupations
|ATF Inspector||Bailiff||Border Patrol Agent||Chief Deputy|
|Child Welfare Caseworker||Correction Counselor||Correction Officer||Court Administrator|
|Court Clerk||Court Reporter||Crime Scene Investigator||Criminologist|
|Customs Patrol Officer||D.E.A. Agent||Deputy Sheriff||Deputy U.S. Marshall|
|Evidence Technician||F.B.I. Agent||Federal Protection Officer||Fingerprint Technician|
|Forensic Anthropologist||Fraud Investigator||Immigration Guard||Import Specialist|
|I.R.S. Agent||Lab Technician (Forensic Science)||Law Clerk||Law Librarian|
|Lawyer||Legal Transcriber||Medical Examiner||Paralegal|
|Penologist||Police Detective||Police Dispatcher||Police Lieutenant|
|Police Officer||Polygraph Examiner||Postal Inspector||Probation Officer|
|Psychologist||Secret Service Officer||Serology Technician||Social Worker|
|Special Agent, Customs||Teacher/Professor||Warden||Youth Counselor|
Types of Employers
|Banks||Border Patrol||Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms|
|Central Intelligence Agency||Colleges and Universities||Correctional Facilities|
|Criminal Courts||Customs and Immigration||Department of Agriculture|
|Department of Insurance||Drug Enforcement Agency||Entertainment Venues|
|Family Courts||Federal Bureau of Investigation||Federal Trade Commission|
|Homeland Security||Immigration and Naturalization||Justice Department|
|Juvenile Courts||Juvenile Justice Programs||Labs (Crime)|
|Law Firms||Medical Examiner’s Office||Military Police|
|National Security Agency||Parole Departments||Police Departments, Local and State|
|Probation Departments||Prosecutor’s Office||Public Defenders Office|
|Retail Stores||Security Organizations||State Attorney’s Office|
|State Department||U.S. Armed Forces||U.S. Postal Inspection Service|
Jobs Obtained by Rutgers Graduates
-First Jobs of Recent Graduates:
Analyst (Financial Company)
Assistant Mortgage Closer (Bank)
Billing Representative (Medical Center)
Child Care Counselor (School)
Clinical Coordinator (Outreach Program)
Family Service Worker (Division of Welfare)
Library Associate (Law Firm)
Loss Prevention Assistant (Department Store)
Military Police Officer (U.S. Army)
Police Communications (University Police Department)
Police Officer (Local Police Department)
Probation Officer (Probation Department)
Project Manager (Finance Company)
Quality Inspector (Private Company)
Security Screener (Transportation Security Administration)
-Jobs of Experienced Alumni:
Agent (Prosecutor’s Office)
Associate (Private Law Firm)
Attorney (Insurance Company)
Attorney (State Attorney General’s Office)
Claims Specialist (Insurance Company)
Directory of Security (Insurance Company)
Director of Franchise Operations (Hotel)
Immigration Examiner (U.S. Department of Justice)
Paralegal (Private Law Firm)
Police Officer (Local Police Department)
Sheriff’s Officer (Sheriff’s Department)
Supervisor Deputy (U.S. Marshals Service)
Vice President (Police Department)
Many of us are shy or reluctant to approach strangers in new social situations. That’s why it is key to get mentally geared up prior to attending a networking event. Your attitude often guides your behavior, and so you must overcome any negative self-talk that could hinder you from reaching out to prospective employers. Do these thoughts sound familiar?
- “Why should I bother trying to impress this person? I’m only one of a hundred students this person is going to see today.”
- “I don’t even know enough to engage the company reps in an intelligent conversation.
- “I’ve never really been good at meeting people. That’s just my personality.”
Such negative thoughts prevent you from pushing past any social roadblocks standing in your way. The truth is that many, if not most, people have similar thoughts in group situation and are just as hesitant to initiate conversations. However, if you change your attitude from negative to positive, you can instead take the lead. Remember:
- People enjoy talking about themselves. That’s one of the reasons why they attend networking events. Ask them questions to get them started in a conversation.
- People feel flattered when you show an interest in them and their work/organization. They will reciprocate your demonstrated interest in them with an interest in you.
- You have more to offer than you might think—you just have to believe it with a bit of self-confidence.
Sample questions you could ask an employer:
- What do you like the most/least about your work?
- Can you describe a typical work day or week?
- What type of education and experience do you need to remain successful in this field?
- What are the future career opportunities in this field?
- What are the challenges in balancing a work and a personal life?
- Why do people enter/leave this field or company?
- Are there other people with whom you recommend I should speak?
- When I call or email them, may I use your name?
Prepare and practice your self-introduction. To avoid being tongue-tied when you try to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, prepare a self-introduction that is clear, interesting, and well-delivered. What you say about yourself will depend on the nature of the event, but in any case, it should not be longer than 15-30 seconds. Here are a few examples:
- “Hi, my name is ___. I’m glad to have this chance to meet you and learn how a criminal justice major can break into your industry.”
- “Good morning, I’m ____. I used to be a former intern at ____. I’m really interested into becoming _____.”
- “Hello, my name is ___. I’m a junior Criminal Justice major and I am looking to find out what it is like working in _____.”
- Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Homeland Security Investigations
- New Jersey State Police
- Application Selection Process brochure
- Police Officer Training and Information
- New Jersey State Police brochure
- How to Become a New Jersey Police Officer or State Trooper: a manual written by Michael Di Lieto, a Class II police officer. The manual is available at the Program in Criminal Justice offices for students to preview. The manual can not leave the department—students are welcome to read through the manual at the department. The Introduction and the Table of Contents can be found here. Additionally, if you are interested in purchasing this manual, more information can be found here.
- New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement
- New Jersey State Police careers/jobs website
- New Jersey State Parole Board
- New York Police
- Pennsylvania State Police
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police brochure
- Protect the City, Join the Force: a brief DVD by the LVMPD. The DVD is available at the Program in Criminal Justice offices for students to preview. The DVD can not leave the department—students can watch the DVD on a personal computer or they can use the department TV.
- Relocation Assistance via the H.I.R.E. Program