Criminal Justice Careers

For assistance in career planning, job searching, resume/cover letter writing, interviewing and/or graduate school applications, contact:

Laura Pell
Career Counselor, College of Arts and Sciences

Also check out Handshake. Handshake is ASU's premier Career Management System for job searching. Go to address above, click on "Student/Alumni Login" and use your Appalnet username and password to sign in. You must accept authorization statement to proceed. Accepting allows us to show your resume to potential employers. Follow steps to complete your profile and upload your resume(s).


Are you interested in crime? Law enforcement? Courts? Corrections? Controversial issues such as the death penalty? Do you want to study these subjects and pursue a career based on your interest? If so, you should select criminal justice as a major.

Criminal Justice is the study of crime and the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Criminal Justice uses scientific perspectives and methodologies to examine crime and society's response to crime in the United States and around the world. Because of its breadth and diversity, criminal justice is a very popular undergraduate major.

Criminal Justice majors qualify for many different careers in private and public sector organizations, including careers in law enforcement, courts, and corrections at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Criminal Justice training also provides valuable preparation for participating in community organizations, movements on behalf of specific social policies, or even seeking elected or appointed positions in government.

By majoring in criminal justice, you can obtain a position such as:

Correctional Personnel

Court Personnel

Federal Law Enforcement Personnel

Forensic Science Personnel

Private Security Personnel

State and Municipal Law Enforcement Personnel


Undergraduate Majors Who Will Be Seeking Immediate Employment

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can lead to employment in all of the above areas. These jobs can utilize the analytical skills and/or administrative competence of criminal justice majors. To prepare to seek employment:

  • Consult your teachers and college placement counselors. Seek advice about opportunities and about how your own skills and achievements can best be used. It is never too early to contact your college's placement office and determine how to identify jobs that interest you and to prepare to apply for these jobs.
  • Explore other job opportunities by contacting government agencies, corporations, local, state, and federal employment agencies, newspapers, and professional associations.
  • Prepare a resume. Emphasize broad analytical and communications skills as well as substantive knowledge gained from your criminal justice courses. Highlight internship and job experiences.
  • Send your resume to organizations that interest you and work with your college placement office to schedule interviews with businesses and government agencies recruiting on your campus. Pursue direct contacts for jobs that interest you by talking with people in these jobs and asking their suggestions.
  • Pursue direct contacts for jobs that interest you by talking with people in these jobs and asking their suggestions.
  • Seek out an internship while you are still in college with an Organization that interests you.

Other Options

Graduate School

If you are completing your undergraduate studies and wish to go on to graduate study, you have several options. If you would like to continue to study criminal justice and are considering a career in criminal justice: Discuss your interest with your advisor and with your professors in criminal justice. Ask for guidance about graduate study and about the work of criminal justice professionals. The American Society of Criminology and The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences have information to help you, which identifies the programs and faculty and entrance requirements for all graduate programs. The criminal justice department at your college or university should have these publications. If not, they can be ordered from the appropriate organizations. Contact the departments and institutions whose programs interest you and follow their application procedures.

If you are interested in graduate study in criminal justice but not in pursuing a career in research and college teaching, there are master's degree programs in criminology and criminal justice. Many of these are specialized professional programs in law enforcement, courts, and corrections. To learn about these programs, you should consult with your advisor and with criminal justice faculty, especially faculty who specialize in the field or specialties that interest you.

Law School

Some criminal justice undergraduate majors go on to law school. Many criminal justice departments and most colleges have a pre-law advisor to assist students. Consult this advisor for procedures on how to apply to law school. For information on specific law schools, consult directories at your college and university library or career office. You may also contact the American Bar Association (312-988-5000) for information. 

For more information check out the Career Exploration Office!