Almost every college student seeks an internship at some point during their educational journey, regardless of their major. It is a beneficial experience and gives you an advantage over other candidates when applying for jobs. The same applies to a criminal justice internship.
Many people strive to work within the criminology field, which requires a criminal justice or law enforcement degree. There are also criminology degrees. Your path will depend on what career you want to pursue after graduation. Hence, enrolling in an internship is the first step to gaining skills and learning about the field. This article dwells on the best criminal justice internships college individuals may find.
What is Criminal Justice Internship?
Criminal justice internships can be extensive and quite invigorating. It is a supervised work experience in which students or recent university graduates interested in the career take on new tasks and a novel experience. It allows the person to gain an opportunity that provides firsthand experience and a chance to develop both professional and communication skills within real-world settings.
Like any other internship, criminal justice ones are not always paid; it depends on the organization or institute you will be working under. Moreover, you often have the liberty to determine if the position is a full-time or part-time one, depending on when and where you will be taking the internship.
According to Learn Organization, the three most common career paths for someone studying criminal justice and their average salaries are:
- Police Patrol Officer: $70,000
- Probation Officer: $61,900
- Paralegal: $83,330
All the above careers will grow within the next five years. More employment positions will be open for new candidates and fresh graduates.
But who typically offers criminal justice internships? Mostly, it boils down to law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, government agencies, and other organizations related to criminology.
The benefit of such internships includes interacting with various law enforcement individuals. That includes officers, attorneys, lawyers, and other professionals. Some of the responsibilities you should expect include data analysis, research, and case preparation.
What Careers Can You Pursue in Criminal Justice?
Before discussing the careers that a degree in criminal justice offers, you might want to find out which top universities offer the degree in the first place. According to research conducted by U.S. News, the top 5 universities with a stellar criminal justice degree are:
- Boston University (Boston, MA)
- Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
- University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
- Villanova University (Villanova, PA)
- Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
This overview will provide you with a general idea of where you can study and where you can potentially find a criminal justice internship. Since those colleges are specialized in the field, the campus resources will provide you with research opportunities within the department. Moreover, the professors will have extensive knowledge of where you can find relevant work experience.
That said, what careers can one pursue in criminal justice? Firstly, you must understand the definition of criminal justice. Cornell University provides an extensive description. In a gist, governments utilize the system of practices and institutions to maintain specific protocols and control.
Hence, your opportunities are wide open and involve a wide range of positions. Below is a more detailed analysis of a few career paths.
Law Enforcement Officer
As a law enforcement officer, you will be responsible for maintaining public safety and ensuring the law is set and abided by. A law enforcement officer includes various positions, including federal agents, state troopers, police officers, and sheriffs.
According to Indeed, forensic science is among the most fascinating career paths if you’re patient, ready for research, prepared for analysis, and detail-oriented. You will be responsible for analyzing evidence from investigations, working in labs, examining DNA, and helping solve crimes.
A correctional officer works in high-security institutes, including jails, prisons, and correctional facilities. Your tasks will revolve around supervising prisoners, ensuring the regulations are set in place and maintaining the general order within the institute.
As an attorney, you will have to provide legal support and advice to those who come to you seeking it. You collaborate closely with clients to assist them with their legal matters. Moreover, other job prospects are available, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and criminal case representatives.
You probably already know what a probation officer does. While it might be a less exciting position, your responsibilities are essential. You must supervise the newly released individuals removed from custody and put on parole or probation.
5 Best Internships for Criminal Justice Students
There are various places in which you can apply for an internship. However, narrowing down the list to provide you with the best criminal justice internships for college students is essential.
The specific requirements will vary according to the particular internship, which we will discuss below. Find the best internship for criminology students and other individuals enrolled in a related field below.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Honors Internship Program
The FBI Honors Internship Program is one of the most sought-after internships due to its prestigious reputation and limited positions. It allows college students to work closely with FBI agents and other employees on real-life cases.
As for the requirements, check out the list below:
- Candidates from, but not limited to, the following fields: law, science, technology, engineering, foreign languages, journalism, accounting, criminal justice, and information technology.
- The candidates should be highly analytical, adaptable, intuitive, ready to take the initiative, and have stellar communication skills.
- Must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in full-time degrees
- Maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0
- Must first pass all the background and investigation checks required by the FBI
U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Internship Program
The specific requirements and details might vary according to the district. However, the differences will be slight and barely relevant. Hence, this section will focus on the U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Internship Program the District of Minnesota offers.
The requirements are as follows:
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Have essential computational skills, which include Microsoft Office Suite
- You must be a U.S. citizen or an individual with eligibility to work in the country
- You must exhibit extraordinary communication abilities, including both verbal and written
U.S. Marshals Service Internship Program
While this is an unpaid chance to work with the Department of Justice, it is an excellent opportunity for many college students. The U.S. Marshals Service Internship Program is offered to college students in their junior and senior years who are enrolled in sociology, criminal justice, psychology, and political science fields.
The requirements to apply for the position include the following:
- GPA of 3.0
- Must be a full-time student seeking a university degree that is 4-years long
- Must be both physically fit and an excellent communicator
- Ability to work for 24 hours per week in Greensboro, North Carolina
District Attorney’s Office Internship
One of the undergraduate criminal justice internships is from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The summer internship program they offer provides compensation, in which you will receive $525 per week. As it is a 9-week program, which is in-person, you will have to commit your summer to it fully.
As for the specific requirements, they are as follows:
- Strong academic record, but it is not the sole factor that determines whether the committee accepts your application
- Exhibit excellent character qualities, including maturity, integrity, and responsibility
- Have already taken at least one criminal law class or a course within a related field
- Must be legally allowed to work within the country
- Must have completed at least two years of college within your degree before the start of your internship
U.S. Office of Personal Management Internship
The Office of Personal Management offers this internship. It allows individuals to experience numerous opportunities within the Federal field. This is a paid internship, and it can even provide you with the opportunity to obtain a permanent position within the civil service.
The eligibility requirement is that you must currently be a high school student, or a college enrolled in a 4-year program.
How to Find Criminal Justice Internships?
When it comes to college internships, criminal justice ones are like any other. We can give you general advice to contact your professors, ask them for advice, and research any options they provide.
Moreover, we encourage you to apply to the abovementioned internships but ensure you meet the minimum criteria. There is never any harm in applying to as many places as possible and anticipating the results.
What to Look for in a Criminal Justice Internship?
When it comes to criminal justice internships, there are a few items to consider, including:
- Opportunity to experience firsthand work in the field
- Training that provides you with motivation, support, and supervision
- One that is relevant to your career goals or one that allows you to explore your options
- Consider whether you want monetary compensation
- Aim to find a flexible opportunity, especially if you are going to enroll in one throughout one of your college semesters
Wrapping Things Up: 5 Criminal Justice Internships for College Students
The bottom line is that various criminal justice training programs are available to you. You do not have to limit your options. The abovementioned internships are among the best opportunities in the United States.
That said, the one you should apply to will vary from one person to another. You should evaluate your future career goals, determine the experience you want, and decide where you want to work. The above article discusses everything you might need to know about criminal justice internships, so keep it as a reference for future use.