2 answers

What opportunities are available for women with Criminal Justice degrees?

Asked Snellville, Georgia

Law Enforcement has many components - Police, Lawyer, etc. What particular opportunities are available for women with Criminal Justice degrees? Particularly African-American women. I've read that "the complexity and size of the criminal justice system means an array of opportunities". However, exploring those opportunities and more importantly, securing positioning there is not as easy to identify. #criminal-justice #career-development

2 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


You will have the same opportunities as every other person, and then some! Agencies have EEO criteria they are striving to meet. Many have shortages of women, and African Americans. Although you may not want to be hired because of these factors, the truth is, as you already know, it is something that will work in your favor. However, there are certain threshold requirements you must meet, pertaining to things such as GPA, physical conditioning, vision, hearing, criminal background, etc. So long as you meet these criteria, you should have no trouble getting a position as a patrol officer, probation officer, detention officer, etc - all positions that don't have enough women.

Where you go from there is up to you: investigations, training, administration, K9, law school, crime victim advocate, etc. The key is to get your foot in the door, see what appeals to you, and move on from there. My recommendation would be to do two years as a patrol officer, and then re-evaluate your career. That is because it takes about two years to get good as an officer - to be exposed to a good mix of calls, and learn to handle yourself in tense situations.

Best of luck!!


Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The first thing for you to do to see what your opportunities are in Criminal Justice would be to take an interest and aptitude test to see which opportunities would be most suitable for you based upon your personality traits. Since the application of this degree is very broad, it would be helpful for you to talk directly to people involved in the appropriate areas of Criminal Justice to see how you feel about what they are doing and get their suggestions.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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