The Criminal Justice program seeks to prepare majors for a variety of careers by fostering the knowledge and skills needed to be successful broadly in the field as well as the flexibility and depth needed for success in individual positions. Public sector opportunities such as law enforcement – at the community, state, national or international level – encompass uniquely meaningful and engaging ways to serve the common good, strengthen society, and provide compassionate support for individuals. Employment in the public sector offers positive personal incentives as well, as law enforcement and public safety positions generally offer stability, decent pay, decent benefits, and retirement.

While criminal justice graduates often enter the workforce as police officers, the prospects
for expanded opportunities are vast. A criminal justice degree can also prepare a student
for careers in, probation, asset management, crime scene investigation, corporate security, corrections administration, federal protective services, or corporate loss prevention. Additional education may be required for some career paths. A criminal justice degree can also serve as pre-law degree and the basis of a criminal law career.

Most local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies require applicants to possess a college degree. A criminal justice degree helps graduates develop skills that those agencies are looking for, including:

• Communication skills. Police and detectives must be able to speak with people when gathering facts about a crime and to express details about a given incident in writing

• Empathy. Police officers need to understand the perspectives of a wide variety of people in their jurisdiction and have a willingness to help the public.

• Good judgment. Police and detectives must be able to determine the best way to solve a wide array of problems quickly.

• Leadership skills. Police officers must be comfortable with being a highly visible member of their community, as the public looks to them for assistance in emergency situations.

• Perceptiveness. Officers, detectives, and fish and game wardens must be able to anticipate a person’s reactions and understand why people act a certain way.

Click here for the Curriculum Guide.

Careers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for people with criminal justice degrees to increase by 7% yearly through 2026. There are currently almost 810,000 jobs in criminal justice in the United States. The continued need for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for criminal justice graduates, although demand may vary by location.

Sample Job Titles

Law Enforcement  
Corrections Officer
Probation Officer  
Forensics Analysis  
Private Security  
Paralegal

810,000

jobs in criminal justice
in the United States

Faculty Profiles

Steve Jones, PhD

History & Social Science
Professor and Department Chair
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