5 Steps to Get Jobs with a Criminal Justice Degree
posted October 14th, 2014 by Tricia Hussung
If you are interested in a career in the criminal justice field, there are a lot of options available to you. Whether you want to work in law enforcement, corrections or the courts, demand for trained criminal justice professionals is on the rise. For example, employment of law enforcement professionals is expected to grow five percent through the year 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But while the jobs exist, you may not know where to start when it comes to finding jobs with a criminal justice degree. At King University, we want to make sure our students feel prepared for employment after graduation. This simple, five-step guide can help you get on track to the criminal justice career you want.
Employment of law enforcement professionals is expected to grow five percent through the year 2022.
Step One: Get an Education
No matter what your career goals ultimately are, the best place to start is by earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Because of advances in technology and public policy, employers in the field are looking for trained professionals to meet the demands of today’s criminal justice system.
King University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice designed to prepare you for challenging and rewarding careers in areas like probation, parole, law enforcement and the court system. Our program also brings restorative justice to the forefront, bringing victims and offenders together to foster community growth and repair relationships. The most important part of your job search is getting the qualifications you need to get hired, and earning a degree shows employers that you have the knowledge it takes to succeed.
Step Two: Develop Your Skills
It’s important to stand out to potential employers. If you can speak another language, have strong computer skills or have a lot of real-world experience, feature these types of skills prominently on your resume. And if you want to develop skills in any of these areas, now is the time to get started. You can learn languages and computer skills via online college courses or downloadable software, and can find volunteer opportunities in your community with a quick Internet search. It’s a good idea to get real-world experience before you begin your job search or while you’re still in school, but it’s never too late to get started.
The most important part of your job search is getting the qualifications you need to get hired, and earning a degree shows employers that you have the knowledge it takes to succeed.
Step Three: Choose a Career Path
Throughout your criminal justice studies, you probably thought about which career might be right for you. It’s important to take stock of your personal abilities and interests, then apply them to your criminal justice job. You may want to look into some of the careers that are expected to have high demand in future years, such as those in corrections, probation and cybersecurity. Remember that jobs in criminal justice are available in the private sector as well, so make sure you have looked into careers like loss prevention and security.
Step Four: Begin the Job Hunt
After you’ve chosen the career path you’re interested in, it will be time to begin the job search. In the criminal justice field, background checks and assessments of your physical and mental abilities are common. Don’t be daunted by these hurdles, however — though the hiring process can be overwhelming, careers in criminal justice are both rewarding and respected.
Make use of online career sites and job postings, and make sure you have a LinkedIn account so that potential employers can access your skills and qualifications easily. Sign up for email updates when jobs you may be interested in come up, and network with past classmates and instructors. All of these strategies will help make the job hunt easier for you. If you actively seek out jobs and apply for a wide range of positions, you’ll find the position you’re looking for.
If you actively seek out jobs and apply for a wide range of positions, you’ll find the position you’re looking for.
Step Five: Start at the Bottom
It’s important to remember that justice careers do not happen overnight. It’s likely that you’ll need to start out in an entry-level position and work your way up. In highly competitive fields such as federal government agencies, be prepared to put in the time at the bottom. Though it is possible to get hired right away in the role you’re interested in, it’s more common to start out in jobs that allow you to gain experience and the training you’ll need for future promotions.
In the criminal justice field, experience and years on the job matter, so try not to be discouraged if you don’t get your dream job right away. After all, no matter what your role, you are working to make the world a safer place and gaining valuable experience.
Get started on the path to the criminal justice career you’re looking for. Discover how King University’s online bachelor’s degree program can help you meet your goals.