In order to thrive in a field such as criminal justice, continuous learning is a must. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go back to school, you just have to be updated on the latest news and trends in the field. There are many good journals and associations out there that provide quality information and membership. Here are some below.
Journals often publish changes not just in law enforcement procedures, but also updates in the present law code. More than that, it’s also important to be updated with the latest breakthroughs in forensic science. Subscribing to journals allows you the convenience to not have to attend lectures, seminars, or workshops. Different journals specialize in a particular criminal justice field. Here is a quick glance at some of the criminal justice journals currently published.
- The Corrections Compendium – The Corrections Compendium is published by the American Correctional Association. Most of its published content are research-based and peer-reviewed. Published four times a year, every issue contains a combination of featured articles as well as state and national news on the criminal justice field. Furthermore, they also publish commentaries by professional and academics in addition to international profiles and book reviews.
- Journal of Forensic Sciences – The American Academy of Forensic Science publishes this journal for an exclusive audience of paid subscribers. Their issues are often about current trends on forensic science topics. You can also expect news on regulatory updates, technology advances, and new research methods. A subscription will provide members with access to over 7,000 pages of their back issues.
- Journal of Criminal Justice – Published only six times a year, the Journal of Criminal Justice covers both national and international topics in the field. Aside from discussing corrections issues and police policies, they also issue incisive insights on how society is interwoven with chronic offenders. Additionally, they also publish topics on rehabilitation practices and how technology has affected law enforcement on the whole.
Bulletins and Magazines:
- The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin – This bulletin was established in the 1930s and has been FBI’s way to publish related topics on the law enforcement community. Articles typically cover a broad range of topics. They typically publish pieces on police patrolling, changes in protocols, effective firearms training, as well as legislative and judicial issues.
- PI Magazine – Although PI magazine is not a research-based journal, it is an informative magazine that can be used for reference for a variety of current topics. Magazine features often tackle surveillance techniques. They also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working for different organizations. Also included are small business tips, book recommendations, and technology reviews. They also publish future investigation workshops and seminars.
There are different associations committed to particular specializations in the criminal justice field. Joining these associations is an amazing way to get updated on the latest industry news. It’s also a good way to find out about upcoming training, workshops, and seminars. Moreover, these associations can offer you the opportunity to extend your network. Below is a partial list of active national associations you might want to join.
- National Association of Police Organizations – NAPO presses on problems that are significant to police officers across the nation. The association regularly hosts an annual convention as well as seminars on both legal and legislative issues. They are also the ones who are in charge of the TOP COP awards known to bestow recognition to officers who have exhibited stellar service for that particular year. Another great resource is their website where they typically post news about legislative events. They typically publish events that have affected or is bound to affect the law enforcement community.
- Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association – This non-profit association takes pride in being non-partisan. They represent law enforcement officers as a whole from over 65 different federal agencies. Their main goal is to update their members on legislative issues that can foreseeably affect their jobs. Both retired and current officers are usually encouraged to join. More importantly, the association offers a scholarship program for the children of retired, deceased, and current members.
- United States Association of Professional Investigators – This association is the only nationwide organization geared toward professional investigators. Members can network through arranged regional conferences and seminars where they can learn about the latest news and trends in the industry. There’s also a list of services available in an exclusive directory for members.
Crime and Corrections Association:
- American Correctional Association – For over a century, this association has been known to uphold the welfare of corrections workers around the world. They offer accredited corrections training programs that can be taken online. Programs range anywhere from emphasizing mental health, community corrections, adult corrections, as well as juvenile justice. There are also ample networking opportunities at their yearly conferences and training workshops. Aside from these, they also regularly publish corrections positions.
- American Academy of Forensic Science – AAFS membership is geared toward crime lab technicians, criminalists, as well as lawyers and document examiners, to name a few. Their programs often promote professional development, opportunity to network as well as job boards for job seekers in the field. Students who are interested in this field can also participate in their forum aptly named Young Forensic Scientist’s Forum. This forum provides a learning and teaching avenue for all members.
- The International Crime Scene Investigators Association – This association is aimed at individuals working as C.S.I. agents or considering on becoming one. The association’s site provides links to future seminars and workshops across the country. They also host a job board and imparts valuable information on certification and training programs. Those who want to pursue a career as a C.S.I. agent will have the opportunity to learn more about the profession. Some of the things they can learn are crime scene photography and basic crime scene processing once they join.
Being a criminal investigator is a dream for many. However, a lot of times, students find themselves victims of diploma or course mills that are not accredited in the first place.
These are schools which offer criminal justice programs but don’t have the right accreditation status. This ends up in being issued with degrees that are essentially worthless. This can happen when you take your university or even college accreditation lightly. As a result, it’s likely to have some consequences for your career and even your finances.
An unaccredited program means wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a degree you can’t use and lacks credibility. The worth of your criminal justice degree diploma will depend on the kind of school in which it is attained. If that school lacks accreditation, it will have an impact on your career and educational advancements. This especially rings true when you’re planning to pursue graduate studies at a reputable institution.
Why Accreditation is Important
Accreditation is generally a mark of approval of the quality standards. It certifies that the quality of education offered at a particular criminal justice school can satisfactorily meet the quality levels. These criteria have been set by reputable accrediting organizations.
These accrediting bodies can be regional or national in their scope and have been approved by the US Department of Education. Their role is come up with a set of evaluations standards to be used in evaluating the schools. They also carry out the necessary peer assessment in order to ascertain whether a certain school has met those standards. Institutions or programs from reputable schools generally request such accreditation in order to raise the profile and appeal of their courses.
Having an accreditation is not just about the appeal. It unlocks plenty of opportunities for the school which will have a bearing on the careers and educational journey of the students. For example, schools which have been accredited are able to offer their students’ federally approved financial assistance.
More About Regional Accreditation
Regional accreditation is particularly advantageous for a number of reasons. These include the following:
- A school that is national accredited generally accepts credits from the criminal justice schools which are regionally accredited.
- On the other hand, schools which are regionally accredited are unlikely to accept credit transfers from schools which are nationally accredited.
- A lot of graduate schools where you can go for the MSc or Ph.D. are generally regionally accredited. They will readily accept credit transfers from other regionally accredited schools.
- With very few exceptions, students from schools which are regionally accredited generally have to grapple with less scrutiny compared to those who come from the criminal justice schools which are nationally accredited.
However advantageous regionally accredited schools are, they may not be convenient or accessible to all kinds of students. If that is the case, a nationally accredited institution will suffice. Make sure the school you’re attending has any of these forms of accreditation as a primary consideration. Recruiters and managers particularly, pay very close attention to the reputation and accreditation status of the school you’ve attended. There are some schools which will simply carry more weight in the jobs marketplace.
Guarantees of Accredited Schools
Schools that have an accreditation status generally guarantee you that there is some oversight on the instructions issued and that they’re authorized to issue those degrees. Additional steps that you can undertake in order to ensure accreditation include the following:
- Check if the school or program is recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
- Ensure the school is accredited by any of the seven regional accrediting organizations which are recognized by the federal government.
Remember that regional accreditation is the most desirable option, This is due to the ease with which you can transfer your credits to another regional or nationally accredited institution.
Ensure the program in the school has also been accredited by reputable professional organizations such as the National Bar Association. Ascertaining the programmatic accreditation can tell you about your chances of being hired after graduating from a particular school.
What To Be Wary Of
Watch out on the “international accreditation” status touted by some criminal justice schools. Some of these programs which are unable to meet the US national and regional accreditation may begin touting some worthless “international accreditation” in order to look more credible.
Check the school’s website and determine if they have proudly displayed their accreditation status. If it is not there, give them a call and ask. Your future depends on your taking those extra steps in due diligence.
Resources for Finding Accredited Criminal Investigator School
If you’re planning on pursuing a career in criminal justice, salary is indeed an important point to consider. However, for you to know if you qualify for a certain income level, there are certain degree requirements that you have to know.
As it is, criminal justice degrees are a popular choice for anyone planning to work in law enforcement roles. Pursuing a career in police work, homeland security, forensics or corrections as a law enforcer or security person, entail that you have at least an associate’s degree.
Criminal Justice Salary Range Depending on Degree
Continuing to the master’s level, of course, opens plenty of other opportunities in diverse fields for you. Many of the positions that have good pay will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Typical salary range with a bachelor’s degree is anywhere from $35,000 to $78,000 depending on the type of criminal justice job you’re aiming for.
The highest paying criminal justice careers that require masters degrees or higher usually pay anywhere from $57,000 to $89,000 annually. This depends on the job you’re eyeing.
Having an associate’s degree also opens up many other doors of opportunities. This is especially true in private security or various junior law enforcement roles.
For advanced administrative work in the criminal justice service, you’ll also need to obtain a master’s degree. You don’t need to attend a “brick and mortar” college in order to obtain your criminal justice degree. So long as the school or the program is accredited by reputable accrediting organizations, you can take up criminal justice degrees online. This type of degrees gives you a great deal of convenience and flexibility.
Advantages of Criminal Justice Online Degrees
Online degree programs, like their campus equivalent, come with various advantages and disadvantages. Pick a program if you feel it will suit your situation and circumstances. The most obvious advantage of the criminal justice online degrees is that they provide a great deal of flexibility for the students. They are suitable for professionals who would like to further their studies along with non-traditional students.
Students taking the criminal justice online degrees are generally able to undertake courses at their own convenience. Wherever there is good internet access, they can have on-demand access to professors, other students, and the course material.
This is one of the reasons why the criminal justice online degrees are preferred by those who are already working in the field. Online degree takers are hoping to increase their knowledge in order to take up more demanding and more rewarding positions.
A lot of people doing police and corrections work generally begin with an entry level positions. These positions may only require an associate’s degree and other forms of low-level qualifications such as a high school diploma. In some instances, a police academy training is required as well. However, in order to rise up in positions such as administration, a bachelor’s degree is generally required. This is where the criminal justice online degrees come in handy. Some advanced positions may even require a master’s degree in a criminal justice field.
There is also the cost advantage. The online criminal justice programs tend to cost much less than the on-campus programs. Also, the fact that you do not have to travel to the campus or live in the college dormitory also results in significant cost savings.
The online programs require that you master utmost self-discipline. Dedication is also key since you are basically studying without much supervision. Many students who are taking online courses face this dedication challenge which isn’t an issue in a traditional college or university.
Studying alone from the comfort of your laptop also means there is less time for networking which is always an integral part of the college experience. Going to a campus allows you to make connections with people who are going on to leading positions in your professions. It is these kinds of connections that you can also leverage later on in order to advance your career. Some online colleges provide online networking platforms but still, these cannot beat the power of face-to-face networking in colleges and university campuses.
No two criminal justice schools are the same. It is, thus, important to take a good look at the various options available. Make sure you consider each one’s merits and whether it’s a good option for you.
How to Choose a Suitable Criminal Justice Online Degree Option
Look at the specialization and electives of the online course program:
Look at the course catalog offered by the institution: The size of it is always an important consideration for some students. Additionally, determine whether they offer the right specializations that you need to undertake. For instance, schools such as Harvard only offer criminal law practice. There, students can become lawyers in different areas of the law system.
Look at the type of faculty: The type of faculty is also an important consideration. What is the experience of the professors? Do they have real-life experience in the criminal justice world? There are certain colleges whose staff includes pure academics who may not have any professional experience and who have built a body of experience based on research and consulting on criminal policies.
It is advisable to opt for a faculty that has a real-world experience. They can be more practical-oriented and also keep the curriculum current with the needs of today’s criminal justice practice. A faculty that has a professional and practical approach in all fields of criminal justice can guarantee you a very qualitative experience.
The cost of tuition: Of course with online justice programs, you do not have to grapple with the residency costs. But the cost of tuition can still be high in some of the more reputable schools offering these online degrees. Look at the cost per credit which can range from $200 per credit to up to $800 per credit. Additionally, there are some schools which charge low rates for in-state students but very exorbitant rates for the out-of-state students. This is why you also need to factor that if you’re considering pursuing your degree in a school which is based out-of-state.
Where you want to work
Where you wish to work will also dictate your online criminal justice degree choices. Every school has various strengths as pertains to the employment prospects that they could open for you. It is always best to attend an online criminal justice program offered by a school that is situated in the place where you’re likely to work. Some of these campuses will leverage their reputation with the in-state and local employers. So if you are a resident in these places, you are likely to have more opportunities coming your way after you have completed your course program.
For example, some reputable schools can assist their students in procuring internships with the relevant employers. This could include the State Probation and Parole, local attorneys or even the Public Defender’s Office. Students can also get placement outside the traditional law enforcement fields in jobs such as counselors in jails, and case managers. Also included are human services fields like correctional officers, fraud investigators, social services, court administrators, and private investigators among many others.
Other Criminal Justice Studies Info
There are a number of things that you need to know when considering to pursue criminal justice studies. It’s important for you to have relevant details because it will help you in deciding if it fits your expectations or requirements.
The first thing that you should consider is whether it is an accredited institution and then if they have the specific criminal justice degree you’re eyeing. Not all institutions who offer a criminal justice degree are the same. Some specialize in different fields that may be different from what you want.
Once you’ve gone through different options available to you, settle on the specific criminal justice studies you prefer and go for it. Below are more details on these.
Types of Criminal Justice Studies
The second thing that you need to know when you are choosing a school is the types of degree programs and coursework they offer under the criminal justice. Even if the school you want to apply to is very good it will not be the right one if it does not have the specific program you want to pursue.
Check out whether your preferred university has the criminal justice degree of your choice. You can do this by visiting their website for any relevant details about the courses that they are offering.
Additionally, when you’re reading information on your chosen criminal justice degree, you should be sure to look at their credit requirements of the school. You should also look at the statistics about the rate of student completion of various degree programs. This will allow you to gauge the difficulty of their program and see if it’s something that you can accomplish.
Deciding on Prospective Careers
When you are looking at a school’s degree programs, try and research to see if the course will be viable for your prospective career. Some of the schools may be providing a curriculum that is more general, and others will be more specific in the degree programs that they offer.
You can also compare the curriculum that is being offered in the different schools. This is so you can see what will be the best for your post-school career goals.
Knowing whether the location of the school is right for you is very important. It will greatly be a convenience for you if you feel that your environment is conducive to your goals and growth as a person.
If you want to attend a school that’s a little more distant to your original location, make a point to be familiar with its surroundings. Also take into account any opportunities available in the area. During internship or job application, you will benefit a lot from knowing what the surrounding departments in the area have for you.
Costs and Fees
The cost of attending that school per semester or an academic year is very important to know. This way, you’ll know if you’re capable of managing the costs of living and studying at your potential school.
If you think you need financial aid for you to be able to pursue a degree in criminal justice, look at a few options from either your school or government aid. By looking at the cost you will know which school falls under your capabilities to foot your degree program in criminal justice.
Admission criteria are also crucial for applicants to know when choosing a school. It is the admission criteria that will determine the prerequisites for joining that particular school. This usually comes in the form of GPA cutoff, written essays, or interview attendance that is set by the school. From the prerequisites, you will be able to measure your chances of joining that school.
When choosing a school you should also know about their typical schedules and the minimum or maximum allowable course load per term. If you want to study part-time in criminal justice while working then having the right schedule is important in juggling each competently. After you’ve made your assessment, you can then pick the options that will best favor your desired schedule.
The bottom-line is that a reputable school is likely to put you on a fast-track to success in the criminal justice field.
When looking for a suitable criminal justice online degree, start by compiling list of all the colleges in your state. Furthermore, look at the surrounding states which offer the program that you’re looking for. Eliminate the worst or poorly ranked programs from the list in order to narrow down to the most reputable course programs. Have a finalized list of reputable colleges along with what it would cost you to attend each of those programs.
Once you have found a reputable institution that you can comfortably afford, explore what each of these offers by contacting their respective criminal justice departments. You can call them or even email them in order to inquire about the specifics so that you can determine if they will be a good fit for you.
A continuing education certificate program is a non-degree but credit-bearing certificate program. It’s designed to help you meet the needs of dynamic workplaces in the criminology field.
Students can choose from very flexible programs when it comes to continuing their education. Furthermore, many certificate programs are structured to offer a comprehensive coverage in the criminal justice field. This allows you to maintain your competitive edge in the job marketplace.
There are numerous subjects which are offered under further education in criminal justice. As a result, it’s important to ensure that all the courses making up the continuing education program have been accredited by the relevant organizations. Upon the completion of your education in the field, credits will be posted in your college or university transcripts.
Advance Your Current Career
Continuing your education in criminal justice will equip you with the requisite skills that will help advance your current career. If you’re ambitious and want to go farther in your field, taking additional courses can help you chart a new career path. In addition, it can also help you pursue some specific interests in particular areas of criminal justice. This could be in careers relating to criminal rehabilitation, community, and social services or law enforcement roles.
Classes typically include busy working adults who want to gain knowledge in particular areas of their field. These can include a wide range of learning in the following fields:
- Criminal law and procedure
- Law enforcement
- Social Control
- Crime Deterrence
Skills that Further Education Help Improve
Furthering your education is going to improve your critical thinking, problem-solving, presentation as well as communication skills. Those taking these courses are able to apply theory to practical problem-solving. It also helps build a great academic foundation that you can follow through in your future graduate work.
The great thing about the continuing education programs is that there is a great deal of flexibility in terms of the timing. You can take as little or as much load as you wish depending on the amount of time and commitment that you can put into the program.
If you have a lot of personal and professional responsibilities, you can minimize the workload. On the other hand, if you have lots of time on your hands, you are able to take as many courses as possible. You get to choose your pace and progress based on the courses that you take.
You can always fast-track your continuing education program by making the most of your credit transfers. You can also transfer credits for the coursework that you have carried out in other accredited colleges. There is generally no time-limit for credit transfers although it is important to verify the requirements for credit transfer when you are applying for a continuing education program.
Lectures and Seminars for Continuing Your Education in Criminal Justice Program:
There are various classes that you can undertake sit for when you are undertaking your continuing education in criminal justice degree program. These include the following:
- Introduction to Law
- Contract law
- Law and ethics
- Paralegal certificate program
- Forensic Computer examiner
- Certificate in strategic public communications
- Legal secretary
- Legal Research and writing
- Business organizations and the law
- Legal transcription
- Certification in Risk Terrain Modeling
- Business Law
- Mediation and Conflict Resolution
- Mediation and Arbitration
Continuing your education has a very strong self-directed study aspect. Self-directed learning, self-study or independent study places an emphasis on a self-imposed responsibility. This means that your learning process will be more or less dependent on you.
In this case, adults at various junctures in their professional careers, take the initiative in determining their learning needs and charting out their learning goals. They also choose the appropriate learning resources and then implement the right learning strategies. They then assess the outcome of their self-directed learning process.
While self-learning when it comes to criminal justice is often accomplished with the help of others, the emphasis is often on self-learning or auto-formation.
Benefits of Continuing Your Education in Criminal Justice
If you are faced with a dead-end job with few opportunities for promotions or advancement, the continuing education programs (CEPs) can open new paths for career transition. Getting more education in a specific area will take you closer to that career that you have always wanted. CEP will open doors that were previously closed for you and puts you in a better position to pursue better job opportunities. Additional benefits that can be derived by going through CEP include the following:
- Enhance your promotion opportunities and score higher paying salaries. Specialized training will help you get certain high-profile positions such as administration and management.
- Increase your marketability by obtaining more education in a specialized area.
- Develop new knowledge along with skills that will help you in career transition.
- Get an in-depth of knowledge into various subjects of personal interest.
- Just the act of embarking on continuing education can have a very positive mental impact which will positively influence other areas of your career and life.
You can return to school at any age and at any point in your career in order to pursue new knowledge. The beauty with CEPs is that you are not zoned into any one area of academic field. Therefore, you can pursue virtually anything that interests you and use that to climb new ladders in life.
Institutions Offering Continuing Education Programs
- Criminal Justice and Security – University of Phoenix
- Criminal Justice Certificate – PennState Altoona
- Online Criminal Justice Degree – Columbia Southern University
- Online Criminal Justice CEUs – Quantum Units Education
- Criminal Justice Undergraduate Courses – Boston University Metropolitan College
- Law and Criminal Justice – University of Wisconsin
- Criminal Justice Programs – Amarillo College
The most important part in applying to entry-level criminal justice jobs is the interview.
An interview provides you the opportunity to convey why you’re the best fit for the job. One of the main purposes of interviews is to assess how suitable a job candidate is to the position. Your qualifications may look good on paper, but there are also other aspects of the job that are as important as the skill requirements.
On your part, you also need to make sure that their workplace culture and needs are right for you. An interview is an opportunity for you to get a feel of the work involved as well as the people you’ll be interacting with..
Types of Interviews
A lot of firms and government agencies will typically conduct the initial interview over the phone. Once they call you, make sure to jot down few notes during the call to serve as your reference. Organizations undertake phone interviews because it’s a way for them to weed out candidates that may not be a good fit for the position.
If you manage to impress the hiring manager during the phone interview, you will then be invited for a personal interview. Candidates usually go through a series of this kind of interviews with a number of managers and department heads. This is because organizations want to make sure you’re the right fit for all the job responsibilities the job will entail. This is why naturally, all the potential higher ups you might work with have an input on the decision to hire you.
These personal interviews will typically ask you in-depth questions about your experience,qualifications, education, and training. Expect a few questions on your character or personality as well. Common questions include asking why you think you’re the best candidate for the job, what your strengths and weak points are, or even how you respond to stress or difficult situations.
Government agencies might also run such oral interviews with their candidates. These interviews are often designed to assess your reaction to a set of certain scenarios. The process usually starts with three agents asking questions that will test your decision-making process, interpersonal skills, emotional stability, judgment and knowledge to some relevant issues.
Tips Before Going to an Interview
Once you succeed the interview phase, you’re now a step closer to nabbing the job. In order to ace the one-on-one interview, make sure to use the following tips to help lessen your anxiety and increase your chances of making a positive impression in the interview.
- Prepare – You should never go into an interview unprepared. Don’t just be familiar with the job description, practice by answering potential interview question as well. There are numerous of online resources that list typical interview questions. You can then have a friend or family member pose as the interviewer then have them honestly give you feedback. Their critique will show you areas where you need to improve. Practicing is also a good way to relieve your anxiety since preparing helps build your confidence to tackle the interview head on.
- Be Professional – This is always an essential part of any interview, but one where many people still fail to do. Show up to the interview on time and appropriately. Jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, tennis shoes, and unruly hair may not help project you as competent. Make sure to turn off your phone as well. Act courteously to every person you interact with at their premises. After all, you never know who you might end up working with.
During the Interview
Here are some expert tips on how to ace your way during the actual interview.
- Sell Yourself with Specific Accomplishments – Don’t be shy to talk about your achievements. Don’t just mention your stellar working record, let them know the work involved and what you made to stand out. For instance, you can talk about particular crime prevention programs you’ve enacted or how you’ve helped increase the output rate from your previous job. When the time to decide comes, the interviewer will remember candidates who specifically told her what they can do for the organization.
- Show Interest – Candidates who make the effort to engage the interviewer and show interest in the job increases his or her chance of grabbing the job. Don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions about the job duties. Make sure that your nonverbal actions show openness. Smile and nod your head from time to time to show that you understand what the interviewer is saying.
- Follow Up – Wrap up the interview by thanking the interviewer for his or her time. After which, follow-up with a brief email if you haven’t heard from them within the set period they advised.
Criminal justice internships are an amazing way to expand your skills before taking an actual job in the criminal justice industry.
Pursuing one can give you valuable on-the-job experience even while still attending school. A lot of federal agencies, as well as police departments across the nation, offer a variety of internship programs. These programs provide students the opportunity to learn about what criminal justice jobs entail.
Some internship positions will allow you to be part of a law enforcement team. This will enable you to learn the fundamentals of the job and gain additional skills in the process.
Typical Intern Responsibilities
An intern’s job may not be that exciting all the time. You’ll be made to run errands most of the time and might also have to do some paperwork. Don’t think that you’ll get to ride a squad car, pull people over for traffic violations, or assist in making arrests.
What an internship will provide you is an expansive overview of the workings of the specific department or agency you’re working in. For the most part, you’ll likely spend 80% of your time observing and the remaining 20% doing actual work.
You’ll also be assigned to specific units such as juvenile, crime scene, or traffic control, to name a few. You might also be permitted to shadow some members of the said units. Nevertheless, due to current laws and protocols, there will be situations wherein interns will be strictly limited to observing. You will also be asked to do some of the least important work. This usually includes helping compile statistics, assist writing reports, developing materials for programs, or answering non-emergency calls.
Will you get paid?
Unfortunately, many internship positions are not paid. This applies to a large number of internships in different criminal justice fields.
This is because you’re trading your time to have the opportunity to see firsthand the everyday operations of the agency or department you’re working in. Moreover, you’ll also have the chance to interact with managers as well as directors in the department you’re in. This is why, in essence, what you’re gaining is priceless. Organizations deem that that fact alone is worth than any form of financial compensation.
Advantages of Completing an Internship
The actual work is one of the main benefits of completing an internship. This experience is what will back up the theories you learned in school. You can have a much better understanding of how the concepts you discussed in class can be used.
More than just the practical application know-how, this experience will also help to serve to boost your credentials. Not many applicants are accepted in FBI or other police departments. There are many applicants vying for internship positions at these agencies so competition can be stiff. When it comes to increasing your chances of being accepted, make sure your academic and extracurricular standing are above average.
Experiencing the duties and responsibilities in your criminal justice internship will help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Based on the work you enjoy as an intern, you can also decide what specialization to take. From there, you can decide what other steps can help you attain your career goals.
Professional relationships built during your internship period is also crucial. If your higher-ups have seen your dedication and willingness to learn at work, you might likely be able to land a spot in their agency or department in the future. Alternatively, they may also refer you to other divisions looking to hire new recruits and agree to be included in your professional references.
Applying for Criminal Justice Internships
Remember to apply for these internship positions as early as possible. Aside from the fact that there are a lot of other students putting in applications, an agency or department’s selection process can also extend for a few months. They wouldn’t just assess you on your academic merits, but will also likely perform a background check on you.
Check if the college or university you’re attending is already affiliated with any police departments and federal agencies in your state. If so, feel free to ask how you can extend an application with its partner agencies. However, it’s important to not just depend on your school to source internships. Make a list of other available federal agencies or local departments you want to work for and then contact them if they have any internship positions that are open.