As criminal justice majors, it’s important to make the most of your criminal justice education. One way to do that is by getting a criminal justice internship!
Internships are an excellent way to gain valuable experience in the criminal justice system and could help you find a career after graduation. But how can you get one? And what should you expect if you do?
There are many different types of criminal justice internships available. But they all have something in common: they give students who want to work in criminal law or criminal investigation an opportunity for hands-on experience at their desired field before entering the workforce.
Read on for six great tips, we’ll answer eight common questions, and give the three top criminal justice internship programs available.
One: Start Looking for Internships Early
The first tip is to start as early as possible.
If criminal justice is your passion, it’s important to get started right away! Look for criminal justice internships at the start of your junior year or even earlier if you can manage it. You’ll have a better chance of being selected and will be able to prepare yourself more thoroughly .
Two: Research a Number of Programs (and Varieties
The second tip is research a variety of criminal justice internships.
There are many different types of criminal justice internships available, but they all have something in common: they give students who want to work in criminal law or criminal investigation an opportunity for hands-on experience at their desired field before entering the workforce.
A quick list of a few types of criminal justice internships include:
- criminal law
- criminal investigation
- criminal justice administration
- criminal science (crime scene investigation, forensic psychology)
Start early and research a number of different programs that may be available on your campus or in the surrounding community. You never know what experience you
The best way to find these opportunities? Research online using sites like InternMatch , CareerOneStop, and a number of others.
Bonus tip: You’ll also want to know how long these programs last (e.g. for the summer).
Three: Take Advantage of Campus Opportunities
The third tip is to take advantage campus opportunities. Do this by taking your research (from step two) and talking with a career counselor. They’ll have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you get started.
All criminal justice internships are different, but they all require a lot of hard work!
Bonus Campus Tip: Do you know any criminal justice professors? Maybe they can help!
Ask them to tell you about their current or former interns, use the power of social media ,and ask around at your college’s career center . You never know who may be able to point you in the right direction.
Four: Network, Network, Network
Tip four is to network with criminal justice faculty, criminal justice professionals and criminal justice students. The first step is to look for those campus opportunities.
Then, after you prove you’re serious about finding an internship, those faculty may put you in contact with the actual organizations offering positions for CJ majors.
Key point: Networking is important when it comes to internship hunting, regardless of your field!
Do this by taking your research (from step two) and talking with a career counselor. They’ll have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you get started . You can also ask criminal law or criminal
Five: Build a Resume That Can Help You Land the Internship
Tip five is to build up your resume so that it can land you an internship .
Criminal Justice internships are not easy to come by, but when they’re offered they go fast!
Here are a few quick pointers to include in your resume and cover letter:
- Include criminal justice-related work experience
- Make sure your cover letter is well-written and tailored to each individual internship opportunity
- Get letters of recommendations from professors and staff in the CJ department
Six: Know You Want a Criminal Justice Career
Criminal justice internships are a great way to figure out if criminal law or criminal investigation is something you want to pursue as a career path. Internships give you experience while benefiting the organizations you join.
While you’re doing the work, think about whether or not this is the career you want.
Potential downsides of a CJ career include:
- Long hours
- Stressful environment
- Dealing with criminals (obviously!)
Top Three Internship Programs for Criminal Justice
The American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Internship
The ABA’s Rule of Law Internship Program offers criminal law and criminal investigation internships in over 90 countries.
These programs offer the opportunity to work alongside host country lawyers, judges and criminal justice professionals.
Interns and fellows for ABA ROLI will collaborate with members of their assigned department to acquire an understanding of international development projects and rule of law
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Undergrad Honors Internship
The FBIs Honors Internship Program is an internship for criminal justice majors and those interested in criminal law or criminal investigation.
The FBI’s Honors Internship Program offers the opportunity for criminal justice majors to learn about the criminal investigations division through hands-on work.
The program also offers a chance at a full time criminal justice position after graduation.
NOTE: The criminal law or criminal investigation internships offered through the FBI’s Honors Internship Program are paid positions.
The National Institute of Corrections Internship
The NIC internship program offers criminal law and criminal investigation internships for criminal justice majors.
The NICI program is a federally-funded internship opportunity that offers criminal justice majors the chance to work for criminal justice agencies. NICI internships offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
NOTE: The NIC also is open to volunteers, which is a great way to get your foot in the door with the organization. This is a great way to set yourself apart for a paid internship later in your education.
8 Questions About Criminal Justice Internships Answered
What percentage of internships are paid?
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers , about half are paid.
What criminal justice internship opportunities are available?
There are many criminal justice internships to consider. Some criminal law criminal investigation, criminal science (crime scene investigation, forensic psychology), corrections and several others.
Where can I find criminal justice internships on campus?
At CareerOneStop, we’ve compiled a list of criminal justice internships on and off campus.
How long does it take to find an internship?
It can take anywhere from a few days to several months. Plus, think about the timing around when the programs open up. (Think summer internships).
What criminal justice internships are available?
A few organizations offering criminal justice internships include:
- The American Bar Association
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- National Institute of Corrections and many more
What criminal justice internships are the most competitive?
Criminal justice internships are competitive. The most competitive are criminal investigation, criminal law, and criminal psychology (forensic psychology).
How do I apply for criminal justice internships?
First, get your resume in order by formatting it in a way that will make employers take notice. Tailor your resume to each criminal justice internship opportunity you apply for.
Then, follow our tips in this article!
How do criminal justice internships benefit students?
These internships benefit students by giving criminal justice majors real-world experience and connections.