Helpful tips to prepare for graduate study in Criminal Justice:

Demonstrate your writing ability- Joseph Ryan, department chairman of the criminal justice and security department at Pace University, says writing samples are hands down the most important part of the application to his program.

Have an academic reference, even if you haven’t been in school for a long time. 

Make sure your personal essay statement makes you stand out, has proper grammar and no spelling errors.



Create a game plan: list the strategies and resources you want to use.

  • Prepare your job-search tools: have a well prepared cover letter and resume with key industry terms.
  • Practice: Mock interviews
  • Target industries and organizations that appeal to you
  • Follow up on your applications.
  • Use our virtual career center! 
  • Google and LinkedIn can be great resources to find companies/positions you may not have thought of and can help make connections.
  • Use company pages as opposed to job sites such as indeed and monster.
  • Do not limit yourself to one type of search method.
  • Start applying early: Start applying to jobs the beginning of your senior year and apply to internships in the fall if you’re looking for one in the summer.
  • Don’t expect your job search to be quick and easy.
  • Think beyond just your major. (http://www.career.vt.edu/JobSearchGuide/TopTipsJobSearch.html)
  • Realize your first job will probably not be your dream job, it takes time to get there
  • Attend career fairs
  • Know the industry and the jobs that may be in it.
  • Research skills and experience the industry prefers. (http://as.cornell.edu/job-and-internship-search-process)
  • Keep your mind open, many opportunities may be available that you may not have thought about before.
  • Apply to jobs and internships even if they may not seem like the best fit for you at the moment, it can show you other options and may surprise you with new opportunities.

Criminal Justice Related

  • Use USAjobs.gov, it is the main site for all federal/government positions and internships. The FBI just switched to using https://www.fbijobs.gov/
  • Most Criminal Justice internships roll over each year, create a list and reapply if you do not get accepted the first time.
  • Search for police departments, fire departments, mental health facilities and etc, near you and see if they have any opportunities. Call them if they don’t have it listed on their website.
  • Look at state websites for opportunities within government.
  • Not all government jobs are located in Washington, DC, 84% are located outside of the city.
  • Be patient, it can take 105 days to fill a government position 
  • Choose jobs you are qualified for and remember that veterans get preference.
  • Make sure your application is 100% complete! Online applications may require you to go to other sites to finish them, uncompleted applications will not be looked at. 
  • Look for local women, victim shelters that may have volunteer and internship opportunities.
  • Check with the local court and judicial branch for possible opportunities.
  • Check with small, local law firms
  • Criminal Justice jobs are not just located within government agencies, look at large companies and the private sector. Many companies have their own security department that deals with cyber and physical security.
  • Look at the local nonprofit organizations that may have victim services, juvenile and family services, and other opportunities.

  • Why do you want to work in this industry?
  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Why are you leaving your current role (if not entry level)?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What is your greatest failure and how have you learned from it?
  • Describe a time you did not get along with a co-worker.
  • What motivates you?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What about this job interests you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Do you have any questions?


  • Don’t put everything on it, only keep related jobs and experience, however keep a masters jobs list so you can switch out jobs depending on what you are applying for.
  • Keep it reverse chronological (most recent first)
  • Keep it to a page, you want your information to be concise
  • Keep the format simple.
  • Use keywords.
  • After graduation, put your experience first and education second, employers are going to care more about you work experience than where you went to college.
  • Highlight honors, not your GPA
  • Include continuing or online education.
  • List out your skills.
  • Constantly refresh it!
  • Do not include: personal details, salary requirements, “References available upon request”

Criminal Justice Related

Career Resources for Criminal Justice Majors:

Criminal Justice Degree Types:

Criminal Justice MS

Criminal Justice PhD

Forensic Science Technology MS

Investigations MS

Criminalistics MS

Criminology MS

Master of Public Administration

Financial Crime MS

Forensic Accounting MS

Justice Administration MS

Public Policy and Administration PhD

Criminology PhD

Statistics PhD

Law Degree

Career Paths:

Master’s Degree:

  • Correctional Officer Supervisor
  • Police and Detective Supervisor
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Criminologist
  • Supervisory Criminal Investigator
  • Security Manager
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Professor/Researcher
  • Public Policy Analyst


  • High level academic/Research positions
  • Criminologist/Statistician

Police, Fire and Ambulance Dispatchers

Median Salary:$36,300

Outlook: +8% (average)

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Median Salary:$38,520

Outlook: +31%

EMTs and Paramedics

Median Salary:$31,020

Outlook: +23%

Fire Inspectors and Investigators

Median Salary: $53,990

Outlook:+6% (below average)

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Median Salary:$24,020


Police and Detectives

Median Salary:$56,980

Outlook:+5% (below average)

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Median Salary:$48,190

Outlook:-1% (no change)

Social and Human Service Assistants

Median Salary:$28,850


Social Workers

Median Salary:$44,200


Correctional Officers

Median Salary:$38,970

Outlook:+5%(below average)

Private Detectives and Investigators

Median Salary:$45,740


Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

Median Salary:$41,500


Sociologists (Criminologist)

Median Salary:$74,960


Political Scientists (Policy)

Median Salary:$102,000


Statisticians (Criminal Justice Stats)

Median Salary:$75,560


Career Resources for MS Criminal Justice:

Salary and job outlook information

Job Title Median Salary Outlook
Private Detectives and Investigators $44,570 +5% (average)
Social and Community Service Managers $62,740 +10% (average)
Forensic Science Technicians $55,360 +27% (faster than average)
Information Security Analysts $88,890 +18% (faster than average)
Sociologists $72,810 -1%
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $39,270 +22% (faster than average)
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $49,060 +4% (slower than average)
Emergency Management Directors $64,360 +6% (average)

Add a related coursework section, change it depending on the position you are applying for.

  • If you have any industry related training or volunteer experience list it after job experience.
  • Be truthful and check facts, most criminal justice jobs do background checks and will discover false information.
  • Include any organizations, publications, awards and special projects.

  • Why do you want to work in this industry?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • What is your greatest failure and how have you learned from it?
  • Describe a time you did not get along with a co-worker.
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about a difficult experience you had in a clinic or internship and how you overcame it.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Tell me about an ethical work situation you had to deal with.
  • What would you do if you were assigned a case you were morally opposed to? How would you reconcile the conflict between your personal beliefs and the case?
  • What would you do if your supervisor told you to file a case but you did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty?
  • How would you go on building a trusting relationship with a client?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • Forensic Psychology Related:
  • Try to define processes and methodologies you use in your Forensic Psychologist job
  • How do you go about setting goals with subordinates?
  • How would you define success for someone in your chosen Forensic Psychologist career?
  • How would you describe your work style?\
  • Why did you apply for this Forensic Psychologist position?
  • How do you stimulate the sharing of further information?
  • What are the qualities of a good Forensic Psychologist? (http://t-interview-questions.com/Forensic+Psychologist/interview+questions)
  • How would you handle a psychotic outburst in the clinic waiting room?
  • What kinds of things go into a psychological assessment?
  • Do you believe in short term or long-term treatment?
  • Criminal Justice Management Related:
    • What is the burden of proof to sustain allegations of misconduct against a police employee?
    • What does a bifurcated investigation mean in law enforcement?
    • Why do you want to be a police officer?
    • What have you done to prepare yourself for a career in law enforcement?
    • What would you do if you saw your pastor run a red light?
    • What would you do if you saw a fellow officer not pay for their meal?
    • What would you do if you were called to a fight and found it involved your best friend?
    • What would you do if during a call, a racial slur was directed at you?
  • Forensic Computer Investigation Related:
    • Aside from taking courses, what sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your pursuits as a forensics examiner?
    • Can you give me an overview of what forensic topics have been covered in your classes?
    • Do you have any experience with programming? If so, what languages are you proficient in?
    • How would you be able to tell at the hex level that a file has been deleted in FAT12?
    • What is metadata? What is affected by it? What attributes does it represent?
    • What makes you a good digital forensics examiner?
    • What made you interested in digital forensics?
    • What specific tools have you used to recover deleted files?
    • When solving a problem, tell me about the steps you go through to ensure your decisions are correct or effective.
    • Why is it important to sanitize your analysis media?
    • What experience have you had with network forensics?
    • Which area within the forensics field are you most interested in? (e.g. malware analysis, network forensics, mobile device analysis, data recovery, e-commerce, etc.) (file:///C:/Users/grad-career/Downloads/CDF_Preparing_for_an_Interview(0).pdf)
    • What is MD5 Checksum?
    • Name some common encryption algorithms that are used to encrypt data.
    • What is an .ISO file? SAM file?
    • What is data mining? Data carving?
  • Victimology Related:
    • Why have you selected a career in social work?
    • Have you had the experience of working with people of a race or sexual orientation different from yours? (be able to articulate how culture impacts our work re: abuse/neglect/prevention/ intervention etc.)
    • Are you sensitive? Are you intuitive?
    • Are you an active listener? Are you able to engage clients?
    • Think of a client you have liked/disliked and tell me how you dealt with the counter transference issues.
    • Do you feel you can be objective in counseling a teen about abortion?
    • What techniques do you use in crisis intervention work?
    • In terms of family therapy, what is your theoretical orientation?
    • Are you prepared to make home visits?
    • What are the risk assessment/signs of abuse/neglect?

Think of the following industries

  • Private Security
  • Loss Prevention
  • Local/Federal Government
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Drug Enforcement Administration
    • Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    • Police Departments
    • State Government Offices
  • Counseling Services
  • Consulting Services
  • Emergency Management Organizations
  • Private Investigation
  • Local Nonprofits
  • Forensic Consulting
  • Private Industry (many technology firms have their own cyber/forensic investigators)
  • Law Firms
  • Women’s Shelters

[engine_collapse title=" List of Colleges & Universities that offer Criminal Justice Programs " state=""]


  • University of New Haven
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Western Connecticut State University

New York:

  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Buffalo State University
  • Iona College
  • John’s University

New Hampshire:

  • Southern New Hampshire University


  • Lasell College
  • American International College
  • Delta State University
  • Curry College
  • Bridgewater State University

New Jersey:

  • Rowan University (online program available)
  • Rutgers University
  • New Jersey City University
  • Monmouth University


  • Grand Canyon University (AZ)
  • Keiser University (FL)
  • Boise State University (ID)
  • University of Iowa (IA)
  • Wichita State University (KS)
  • John Hopkins University (MD)


  • Northeastern University (MA)
  • Ana Maria College (MA)
  • Walden University
  • Kaplan University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of New Haven
  • Boston University
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • California State University
  • Lewis University (IL)
  • Utica University (NY)
  • Adler University (IL)
  • Norwich University (VT)
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • Columbia College (MO)
  • Florida State University
  • Tiffin University (OH)
  • Sam Houston State University (TX)
  • Arizona State University
  • Pace University (NY)
  • University of California, Irvine


Related Groups:

American Correctional Association (ACA)

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)

American Criminal Justice Association- Lambda Alpha Epsilon (ACJA)

American Society of Criminology (ASC)

American Sociological Association (ASA)

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ)

National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)

Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA)

Corrections Related

American Jail Association (AJA)

American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)

International Community Corrections Association (ICCA)

National Institute of Corrections (NIC)

Crime Analysis Related

International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA)

Justice, Research and Statistics Association (JRSA)

Forensic Psychology Related

American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)

American Psychological Association (APA)

International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology (AA4CFP)

Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP)

International Justice and Security Related

American Society for Industrial Security International (ASIS)

International Counterterrorism Officers Association (ICTOA)

Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (GLOBAL)

Investigative Services Related

American Academy of Forensic Sciences (IAFF)

American Polygraph Association (APA)

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC)

High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA)

International Association for Identification (IAI)

International Association for the Study of Organized Crime (IASOC)

Juvenile and Family Services Related

National Juvenile Court Services Association (NJCSA)

National Organization for Human Services (NOHS)

National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS)

Law Enforcement Administration Related

Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU)

International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA)

International Association of Women Police (IAWP)

National Black Police Association (NBPA)

National Sheriff’s Association (NSA)

Victim Services Administration Related

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)

World Society of Victimology (WSV)

Criminal Justice Consultants

Criminal Justice Networking and Information Exchange

Criminal Justice, Policing and Crime Investigation Student and Employer Network

Criminal Justice Specialists

Criminal Justice Students and Graduates


Corrections Connection

Juvenile and Adult Corrections

Crime Analysis

Crime Analysis- Criminal Victim

Forensic Psychology

All About Forensic Psychology

Autism Legal, Advocacy and Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology Research and Practice

International Justice and Security

Defense, Justice and International Security Division

Restorative Justice International

Terrorism in the World- Intelligence Analysis

Investigative Services

Forensic DNA Group- Crime Scene Investigation

Fraud Prevention, Detection and Investigation

International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals, USA

Security and Investigation

Juvenile and Family Services

Family Office Services

Juvenile and Adult Corrections

Law Enforcement Administration

Law Enforcement and Body Guard Association

Law Enforcement Crime Center

Law Enforcement Network

Law Enforcement Professionals

Loss Prevention and Law Enforcement Network

Victim Services

Crime Analysis- Criminal Victim

V.O.I.C.E.S. Victim Services

Victim Services Coalition


Helpful websites: