Whether you want to protect your community or advocate for the ethical treatment of offenders, a degree in criminal justice can help you achieve your professional goals. In as little as two years, you can earn an associate degree and qualify for the majority of entry-level positions in law enforcement, security, and corrections. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can open up even more exciting and lucrative criminal justice careers.
When looking for your first criminal justice job, you benefit from starting your search early. Review this page to learn more about the type of degree and skills you need to pursue a particular position. Read about average wages in the industry to help you negotiate or plan for your first criminal justice salary. Discover the costs and benefits of working in various states throughout the country, and connect with resources that can help you build your professional network and secure a job offer.
Skills Gained in a Criminal Justice Program
By earning a criminal justice degree and completing subsequent training programs, you can develop a variety of skills essential to your success as a law enforcement, security, or corrections professional. Employers look for indicators of these skills to ensure that new hires have the ability and empathy to take on these critical public service roles. While you do not need to excel in all of these areas before beginning a criminal justice program, use this list to help gauge whether the profession is right for you.
- Personal Ethics
Because criminal justice professionals often operate within positions of power and authority, they must possess unimpeachable personal ethics. Employers seek individuals who can tell the difference between right and wrong and choose to act in order to benefit the public good rather than for personal gain.
- Communication Skills
Many jobs in the criminal justice field require professionals to convey information clearly and effectively. As a police officer, you may need to communicate orders during extremely tense situations. As a rehabilitation officer, you may need to connect with individuals from very different backgrounds. In both scenarios, your ability to communicate determines your success.
- Attention to Detail
Solving a crime obviously demands an acute attention to detail. But picking up on subtle changes in an individual’s behavior may also help you prevent a tragedy. Improperly filling out paperwork can allow a criminal to escape police custody. The criminal justice field needs individuals with detail-oriented mindsets.
- Writing Skills
Like many professions, criminal justice jobs involve a great deal of writing. You may need to write a report about an incident you handled as a law enforcement officer or request more funding for a prison education program as a rehabilitation specialist. No matter what career path you choose, you must write well.
- Technical Expertise
Most criminal justice degree jobs require some type of technical expertise, depending on the specific position. Working in a forensic laboratory, for example, demands a high level of scientific expertise. Working as a cybersecurity consultant also requires significant expertise, though in a very different discipline. Try to find a criminal justice program that can help you develop the technical skills you need for the career path you choose.
Why Pursue a Career in Criminal Justice?
Many people pursue a career in criminal justice because of a strong desire to serve their communities. As a police officer or security guard, you play a key role in protecting the lives and property of your family, neighbors, and community. As a probation or parole officer, you can help people set their lives in order and become productive members of society once again.
A career in criminal justice also offers steady job opportunities and above-average compensation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment rates for protective service occupations will grow by five percent through 2026, or roughly as fast as the rate of growth for all other occupations. In 2017, protective service occupations boasted a median annual wage of $39,550, slightly higher than the median salary for all other jobs. The BLS projects that some jobs in the criminal justice field, such as private investigator, will see considerably stronger employment growth and even higher salaries.
Earning a degree in criminal justice allows you to pursue opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels of government. It can also enable you to work for nonprofit organizations advocating for victims’ rights or more just policies for offenders.
How Much Do Criminal Justice Majors Make?
Criminal justice degree salaries depend on a variety of factors. For example, you can likely make more money working for a prestigious defense firm than you can working in a public defender’s office. You can expect to make more money by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field that you can earn with only an associate degree in criminal justice. Likewise, individuals with many years of experience typically command higher salaries than those newly graduated from college. And, finally, location greatly affects potential earnings, though you should consider cost of living when comparing salaries.
Meet a Criminal Justice Professional
McKinsey Wiltermuth Project Coordinator for the Greene County Family Justice Center
McKinsey Wiltermuth is serving as the Project Coordinator for the Greene County Family Justice Center, which is an internationally recognized best practice model for communities to address the needs of domestic violence survivors and their families. McKinsey previously worked as the Case Manager for a domestic violence shelter. She worked to create an environment with survivor-driven success in her efforts assisting survivors in achieving a life free from violence. She attended Missouri State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology in 2017. She received the Newman Civic Fellowship and the Student Talent and Recognition award for her Excellence in Service.
What Made You Decide To Become A Criminal Justice Major?
For the majority of my life, I had wanted to be an attorney. In my first year of college, I started with a major other than Criminology, and quickly learned I was not enjoying it and really second guessing my career options. During this time, I was a nanny for two attorneys and their advice to me was to pick something I was interested in, something I knew would keep my attention. I have an odd obsession with documentaries on crime and decided I would go with Criminology as a major. It may have been a silly reason for picking the major, but ultimately it kept me engaged in my classes and striving to learn more about our Criminal Justice system. During this time, I also learned about my passion for helping people and I truly got to see all of the different avenues that there are out there for doing that, which led me to my career today.
What Skills Did You Learn While Working Toward Your Degree?
I learned so many skills as a Criminology major. One that I wasn’t a huge fan of at the time but has been a great asset to have is the research component. I learned a lot about asking questions, never being afraid to question why something is done a certain way. Like any other college student, I also learned a lot about time management.
How Did These Skills Help At Work?
The skills I learned as a Criminology major are endlessly aiding me in my career. From things as simple as being able to be fully engaged in a conversation and understanding the jargon to be able to present new ideas confidently. In regard to the research skills, it has helped me because there is always a benefit to having statistics and being able to show best practices in your work. I’m able to articulate the “why” behind policies and procedures, and why I choose the methods of practice I do. It also helps to better understand the population I’m working with, researching trauma awareness and really learning about it helped me to develop a better understanding for those I’m serving. Time management is a valuable skill in work and everyday life and has helped me to stay on top of my caseload. The ability to ask questions has been a major benefit as often in the Criminal Justice system, people are overworked and tend to do things a certain way because that is how it has always been done. It takes new and innovative individuals coming in the door and really questioning things to start to see some positive change forward.
Do You Have Any Tips For Criminal Justice Students?
Build relationships with professors. They are there to help you and shape you so take advantage of that. Most professors have office hours; go to them even if you don’t have any specific questions about assignments. Really get to know them and their experience. Relationship building is key. You will likely need to ask them for references later so start building relationships now.
Job shadow your entire time in college. Even if you think you know what you want to do as a career, you can never have too much information about other professions. Even if you only go for 2 hours, go! Even if you aren’t sure it will be a good fit for you, go! If nothing else, you will gain an appreciation for the other professions within the field, which will help you better do your job when you graduate.
Pick a major related volunteer activity (for me it was a domestic violence shelter) and go for 5 hours a month. It is absolutely doable and it will again give you information on what you think you like to do and insight into the inner operations of that profession. It also shows future employers that you are dedicated to something. You might not have a lot of work experience, but volunteer work and internships count for just as much if you can show consistency and what you learned.
How to Work in the Criminal Justice Field
Earn Your Degree
You can take on entry-level roles in the field of criminal justice, such as correctional officer or paralegal, with only an associate degree. These programs provide an overview of fundamental subjects, such as ethics, criminal law, and juvenile justice. Many local law enforcement agencies also hire individuals with associate degrees, though larger departments and state police agencies may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree.
To qualify for federal law enforcement jobs, such as working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), you must hold a bachelor’s in criminal justice or a related field. Bachelor’s programs offer more in-depth preparation in crime scene investigation, homeland security, and forensic psychology. They also typically include experiential learning opportunities. Many criminal justice employers require a bachelor’s to advance into supervisory roles.
Some positions, such as forensic scientist, require highly specialized skills. As such, you often need a master’s degree in an applicable field in order to apply. An advanced degree can also give you a competitive edge when seeking out jobs that come with a great deal of responsibility, such as emergency management director or intelligence analyst. Most individuals who earn a doctoral degree in criminal justice pursue careers in academia.
How Many Years of College Does It Take to Be a Criminal Justice Professional?
Most students earn an associate degree in criminal justice in two years. On average, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in a total of four years and a master’s degree in the field in two. The time required to complete a doctoral program varies considerably, though most students finish these programs in 3-7 years.
You can potentially earn your degree faster by completing it online. Some programs allow students to complete coursework asynchronously and at their own pace. In other words, you can advance through the curriculum as soon as you master a particular subject. Especially if you have previous experience in criminal justice, this option can enable you to earn your degree in substantially less time than in a traditional classroom setting.
However, you should make sure to understand what this kind of learning entails. When you work individually, you cannot rely as much on the support of classmates or your instructor. In addition, online education requires a great deal of discipline and organizational skills to meet deadlines. Think carefully about whether you possess the work habits an online program requires.
Concentrations Available for Criminal Justice Majors
- Computer Forensics
Computer forensics involves the collection and analysis of legally admissible data. For example, an individual working in computer forensics may search the computer of an individual accused of internet fraud for evidence. Private forensic technicians may also seek out digital information that proves an individual’s innocence or helps them win a civil case.
Median Salary: $69,226
- Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers work at the local, state, and federal levels. They may patrol highways to ticket those who exceed the speed limit, in addition to other duties. In addition to a degree in criminal justice, most law enforcement officials must complete some form of academy training.
Median Salary: $46,446
- Criminal Psychology
Criminal psychology describes the study of the behavior and thoughts of criminals. It plays an important role in the apprehension of criminals, but it can also help mental health professionals and policymakers understand how to better prevent crime in the first place. Licensed criminal psychologists need at least a master’s degree.
- Emergency Management
Emergency management personnel respond to natural disasters and manmade emergencies, such as mass shootings. These individuals often specialize in a particular type of emergency, like wildfires or the spread of a toxic substance, though many emergencies require the coordinated responses of many kinds of specialists.
Median Salary: $57,907
- Forensic Accounting
Like computer forensics, forensic accounting essentially involves the collection and analysis of data for a legal purpose. However, forensic accountants focus specifically on financial transactions. For example, they may review a suspected criminal’s bank accounts, assets, and tax returns to find evidence of money laundering or embezzlement.
Median Salary: $65,302
- Homeland Security
Homeland security officials protect populations and infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats. They can work in a variety of areas, such as air transportation or nuclear safety. Increasingly, homeland security has become a part of the responsibility of local and state law enforcement, supported by federal funding and coordination.
Median Salary: $75,000
What Jobs Can You Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?
The type of program you enroll in will strongly affect what type of jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree. An associate degree, for example, qualifies you for most entry-level positions. In many jurisdictions, an associate degree allows you to apply to enter a law enforcement training academy.
With a bachelor’s degree, you may qualify positions with greater authority and responsibility. For instance, the FBI requires that all applicants hold a four-year degree from an accredited institution, along with three years of professional experience. Many police departments and correctional facilities also require a bachelor’s for supervisory roles.
For some specialized positions, like forensic science technician, and highly competitive roles, such as the chief of a large, urban police department, you may benefit from earning a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Outside of careers in postsecondary education, you typically do not need a doctorate in criminal justice.
Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
An associate degree in criminal justice represents an excellent way to enter the field. You can typically complete these programs in two years, though many students choose to study part time to keep their current jobs or balance other personal obligations. Upon graduation, you qualify for a variety of jobs in corrections, security, and law enforcement, though you must often also complete a training program to become a sworn police officer.
Some associate programs allow you to choose a specialization from the many criminal justice fields. For example, you may want to pursue an associate degree in homeland security to prepare for jobs in customs enforcement or emergency response.
- Correctional Officer
Correctional officers oversee individuals convicted of crimes and those in jail awaiting trial. They enforce rules and maintain order in correctional facilities, supervise the activities of inmates, give reports on inmate conduct, and escort inmates outside of the facility as necessary. Corrections officers may also play a part in delivering rehabilitation services.
Paralegals support the work of licensed attorneys. They maintain and organize files; conduct legal research; investigate cases; draft letters, briefs, and other documents; and provide other administrative support. They cannot represent clients, though they may assist a lawyer during a court appearance. Increasingly, paralegals must hold a bachelor’s degree.
- Private Investigator
Private investigators, typically working for companies or individual clients, search for information in criminal and civil cases. For example, the parent of a missing child my hire them to aid in the search. They may also work as background investigators for an employment firm. In most states, private investigators must hold a license to practice.
- Warrant Officer
Warrant officers execute warrants and serve summons within a particular jurisdiction. Typically, law enforcement officials serve arrest warrants, leaving warrant officers to serve warrants that compel individuals to pay taxes or appear before a court. Warrant officers may also deliver subpoenas.
- Police Officer
Police officers apprehend criminals, protect and assist members of the public, maintain public order, and work to prevent crime. Police officers typically work for local or state agencies. While you can become a police officer with just an associate degree, you usually need a four-year degree to receive a promotion.
Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can open up more advanced and lucrative opportunities within the field. Most students complete these programs in about four years, whereas associate degrees typically take two years.
Bachelor’s programs offer deeper training in areas like sociology, judicial administration, international criminal justice, and legal traditions. Students can also participate in internships with local law enforcement agencies and criminal justice organizations, preparing them for the day-to-day realities of criminal justice bachelor’s degree jobs. Students pursuing a particular subfield can customize their course of study by choosing a concentration in homeland security, corrections, and crime scene investigation.
- Parole Officer
Parole officers help individuals who have been released from prison transition back into society. They monitor their clients’ whereabouts and ensure they meet the restrictions placed on them during parole. They also help connect former inmates with support services, such as substance abuse counseling or job training.
- Correctional Treatment Specialist
Correctional treatment specialists develop and help implement rehabilitation plans for inmates. These plans may involve continued education, job training, community service, or counseling. Treatment specialists work closely with corrections and parole officers. They also write reports that help parole boards determine whether or not to release inmates.
- CIA Officer
Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) perform many duties. Some work domestically, analyzing intelligence gathered from wiretaps and satellite reconnaissance to inform decisions related to foreign affairs. Others work abroad, collecting intelligence in the field themselves or managing a network of informants who provide valuable information.
- DEA Agent
Officials working with the DEA attempt to stop the production and distribution of illegal narcotics. Like CIA officers, DEA agents may work either domestically or internationally. DEA agents often focus on high-level traffickers, leaving minor drug violations to local and state law enforcement officials.
- Computer Forensics Investigator
Computer forensics investigators collect and analyze digital data. In addition to expertise in information technology, these investigators must also have extensive legal knowledge so as not to uncover information in a manner that makes it inadmissible in court. Most employers prefer to hire forensic investigators with at least a bachelor’s, though some may seek out candidates with an advanced degree.
Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice
Earning a master’s degree in criminal justice can prepare you for specialized roles or give you an advantage over the competition when applying for leadership positions. Students usually earn these advanced degrees in about two years.
Master’s programs bring an interdisciplinary perspective to understanding, preventing, and responding to crime. For example, students in these programs often explore the sociological and environmental underpinnings of criminal behavior. Such an understanding of criminal motivation can prove enormously helpful to policymakers.
While interdisciplinary in nature, many programs encourage students to specialize in a particular area. Like bachelor’s programs, students can select concentrations, such as homeland security, corrections, or crime scene investigation.
- District Attorney Investigator
District attorney investigators serve as sworn law enforcement officers within their jurisdiction. They conduct investigations on behalf of the district attorney’s office. As part of these investigations, they may interview victims, witnesses, and suspects. They may also conduct searches as long as they have an appropriate warrant. These investigators may also serve warrants and subpoenas.
- Forensic Examiner
Forensic examiners, also known as forensic technicians, use their scientific expertise to help solve crimes. They may visit crime scenes to collect evidence, such as blood or fingerprints. They analyze this evidence and provide information to law enforcement agents. They may also testify in court regarding the evidence and its link to an accused individual.
- Criminal Profiler
Criminal profilers create descriptions of offenders to aid in law enforcement investigations. For example, a criminal profiler may use the evidence of a crime to identify the gender, physical description, and potential field of employment of an offender, helping investigators narrow the scope of their inquiry and eliminate suspects.
- Emergency Management Director
Emergency management directors create and oversee the implementation of emergency response plans. These plans help communities cope with and recover from natural disasters and manmade emergencies, such as acts of terrorism. Because of the limited number of these opportunities, an advanced degree may better position you for these roles.
- Senior Intelligence Analyst
Senior intelligence analysts typically direct the work of lower-level analysts, though they may gather intelligence themselves as well. They must also possess strong managerial skills and the ability to synthesize relevant information from large amounts of data. In addition, senior analysts convey actionable intelligence to policymakers.
Doctoral Degree in Criminal Justice
Outside of academia, most employers do not require a doctoral degree in criminal justice. However, these programs can help you develop research and analytical skills that may benefit you in many high-level roles in the field, especially those in intelligence.
To graduate from a doctoral program, students must write and defend a research-based dissertation. Because students establish the pace of their work when writing their dissertation, the time needed to earn a doctorate varies considerably. Most students can complete these programs in roughly 3-7 years.
To become a forensic psychologist, you must hold a doctoral degree. However, states closely license individuals who use the title “psychologist,” and a degree in criminal justice typically does not meet licensure requirements. Instead, you must hold a Ph.D. in psychology or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) degree to pursue this role. If you hope to become a forensic psychologist, you should instead consider a psychology doctorate program that offers a concentration or coursework in criminal justice studies.
- Crime Analyst
Crime analysts review data to help law enforcement officials prevent and respond to crime. For example, analysts might notice an uptick in home burglaries in a particular neighborhood and recommend that their law enforcement colleagues assign more officers to patrol that area. Or, an analyst might find patterns in a series of assaults to help identify the perpetrator.
- Forensic Psychologist
Forensic psychologists, as noted above, must hold a doctorate in psychology to use this title. They leverage their expertise in the human mind and human behavior to aid in solving crimes. Forensic psychologists, like criminal profilers, create descriptions of offenders that can help investigators as they search for suspects.
- Professor, Postsecondary or Higher Education
Professors at colleges and universities teach students pursuing degrees in criminal justice. They also typically conduct research within their particular area of expertise and use their findings to write scholarly articles or books. Some criminal justice professors may also consult with law enforcement agencies on matters of policy or active investigations.
- Senior Researcher
Senior researchers, often employed by academic institutions, collect and analyze data. They may do so to support a particular investigation or as part of an effort to improve criminal justice policy and practice. Senior researchers typically oversee the work of lower-level researchers or graduate students.
- Supervisory Special Agent
Working within the FBI, supervisory special agents lead teams of federal investigators. While they may participate in field work themselves, supervisory special agents often serve more of a managerial role. They establish the direction of an investigation based on the reports and evidence compiled by the agents working underneath them.
Unexpected Careers for Criminal Justice Majors
Many students pursue a degree in criminal justice with the intent of becoming a police officer or law enforcement agent. But graduates can pursue a variety of careers with a criminal justice degree due to their highly flexible skill set that they can apply to many different occupations.
For example, a criminal justice degree can help you learn how to investigate crimes like robbery or assault. But you can use these same skills to investigate instances of arson, animal cruelty, or internet fraud. In criminal justice programs, you learn how to communicate and work with members of your community. These same interpersonal skills can serve you just as well working with hunters and fisherman as a fish and game warden. Since you developed an understanding of the law in preparation for enforcing it while earning your degree, you can also apply this knowledge to advocate for the rights of victims when the system fails to protect them. Below is a list of criminal justice jobs that you may want to consider.
- Animal Cruelty Investigator
Animal cruelty investigators respond to reports of threats to animals. This may include violence against animals, but it can also entail individuals not adequately providing for animals under their care. Animal cruelty investigators can take steps to remove animals from dangerous environments and bring charges when necessary.
- Victim Advocate
Victim advocates provide support to individuals affected by crime. They may offer emotional support or refer victims to counseling. They can coordinate services, including legal aid and housing for those fleeing from abusive situations. They may also work to change policies or practices that harm larger groups of victims.
- Fish and Game Warden
Depending on their jurisdiction, fish and game wardens may serve as sworn peace officers. They patrol state and national parks and preserves, ensuring that any individuals in those areas adhere to applicable laws and codes. Wardens may investigate crimes or code violations within their jurisdiction and work with law enforcement and justice officials to prosecute offenders.
- Fire Inspector and Investigator
Fire inspectors and investigators serve as specialists working for various law enforcement agencies. They examine fire scenes to determine whether arson has been committed. If they determine an individual intentionally set a fire, they collect evidence in an attempt to identify and ultimately prosecute that individual.
- Fraud Investigator
Fraud investigators may work for law enforcement agencies or private organizations. They respond to allegations or evidence of fraud, conducting interviews, surveillance, and searches to find evidence of crime or wrongdoing. The information fraud investigators collect can be used in criminal and civil cases.
Where Can I Work as a Criminal Justice Professional?
Criminal justice professionals can work in a wide variety of fields and settings. Many students choose a criminal justice major because of the opportunity it gives them to serve their own community, but others may want to work at the state, national, or even international levels. Just remember that early decisions about where you work and the kinds of roles you take on can shape the long-term trajectory of your career.
You can find many jobs in criminal justice, such as police officer, in any state across the country. However, you may need to relocate to take advantage of some more specific employment opportunities.
For example, working as a customs enforcement or immigration officer may require you to live in a border state, or a city with an airport or seaport that welcomes large numbers of international travelers. Similarly, if you hope to work in a high-level position in federal law enforcement, you may need to move to Washington, D.C.
Location also greatly affects salary. Criminal justice professionals working in urban settings typically make more than those in rural areas, though you also need to consider the higher cost of living in cities. Use the map below to learn more and help inform your decision about where to work.
Detective and Criminal Investigators Occupations Employment and Salary by State
- Legal Services
Legal services often describes public legal assistance for criminal and civil matters. In this industry, you may work as a victim advocate or an assistant to a public defender.
Average Salary: $46,880
- Police Department
Local and state police departments enforce the law, investigate crimes, and apprehend criminals. Within a police department, you could work as a police officer, criminal analyst, or forensic technician.
Average Salary: $48,155
- Law Firm
Law firms, made up of licensed attorneys, defend their clients from the prosecution and bring cases against other defendants. At a law firm, you could work as a paralegal, legal secretary, or private investigator.
Average Salary: $49,058
Within the education industry, criminal justice professionals most frequently work as resource officers, or law enforcement officers assigned to schools. These officers work to reduce crime on campus and protect students.
Average Salary: $49,505
- Insurance and Financial Services
Insurance and financial services companies may employ fraud investigators to help prevent or prosecute individuals who commit credit card, banking, insurance, or other forms of fraud. These companies may also employ security guards to protect physical property.
Average Salary: $57,910
- Health Care Services
Like the insurance and financial industries, healthcare companies and organizations rely on private investigators to help combat fraud. They also hire security guards to protect hospitals and health centers.
Average Salary: $61,609
- Information Technology (IT) Services
Within the IT field, criminal justice professionals may find work as a forensic computer technician or criminal analyst. IT specialists may detect computer crime or use computers to collect evidence of other crimes.
Average Salary: $63,523
How Do You Find a Job as a Criminal Justice Professional?
To get a job in criminal justice, you need an updated and well-polished resume. You can use the Purdue Online Writing Resume Workshop to learn about how to best present your education and experience to potential employers.
You also need a strong professional network to find and take advantage of job opportunities. LinkedIn, a professional networking website, offers advice on how to use their platform to connect with others in your field. You can also contact your school’s career services office to learn about networking events in your area. Connecting in person helps you develop stronger relationships than simply connecting online.
Finally, use search engines to search for jobs efficiently. Indeed, for example, aggregates job listings from thousands of websites and job boards. Your school’s career services office can also connect you with alumni who may know of job opportunities at their organization. Additionally, many of the resources listed below promote job openings to their members.
Professional Resources for Criminal Justice Majors
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences: With members including academics, practitioners, and students, ACJS promotes professional and scholarly activities in the criminal justice field. It organizes national and local meetings, gives awards to recognize exemplary service in the field, publishes several scholarly journals, and certifies academic programs. It also maintains an employment bulletin on its website.
- Alpha Phi Sigma: The National Criminal Justice Honor Society: Founded in 1942, Alpha Phi Sigma recognizes academic excellence in the criminal justice field. Members can access a private career site and apply for a variety of scholarships and grants. Alpha Phi Sigma also hosts an annual conference and supports students through local chapter resources.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences: AAFS represents a diverse constituency of professionals working within the forensic sciences. Its mission entails advancing science and its use in the legal system. AAFS publishes a scholarly journal, lists job opportunities, and offers referrals to lawyers for expert witnesses. It also hosts an online reference library for its members.
- American Correctional Association: ACA serves the professional interests of correctional officers and rehabilitation professionals. It offers online and in-person professional development resources, establishes standards and accreditation guidelines for the field, hosts conferences and workshops, and advocates on behalf of its members. It also provides scholarships to aspiring corrections professionals.
- American Probation and Parole Association: Despite its name, APPA serves as the leading international professional association for those working in probation and parole functions. APPA aspires to strengthen the collective voice of its members through advocacy and education. It administers a national leadership training institute, provides online and on-site professional development opportunities, and accredits academic and continuing education programs.
- American Society of Criminology: ASC pursues greater scientific understanding of the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of crime and delinquency. It creates forums for interdisciplinary research, gives awards for scholarly contributions to the field, organizes a mentoring program for its members, and features a job board. It also hosts a number of networking opportunities, including an annual meeting.
- International Association of Women Police: Representing female law enforcement officers across the globe, IAWP works to bolster the capacity of women in policing. It provides financial support to members through its “adopt-an-officer” program, and it hosts regional professional development events around the world. A scholarship program helps members from outside of the U.S. or Canada attend IAWP’s annual training conference.
- National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice: NABCJ provides support to people of color working in the field of criminal justice. NABCJ’s mission involves drawing more minorities into the profession, and it works to accomplish this goal by awarding scholarships, hosting networking and training conferences, and establishing local student chapters. NABCJ has also created a code of professional ethics for its members.
- National Criminal Justice Association: A nonprofit member association, NCJA works with all levels of government to promote effective criminal justice policy and secure necessary funding for justice assistance programs. NCJA provides its partners and members with training and technical assistance, grant management support, and access to data and research. It also plays a role in covening criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and scholars.
- National Organization of Hispanics in Criminal Justice: Founded in 2003, NOHCJ promotes equal opportunity for Hispanics and other minorities in the field of criminal justice. Although primarily an advocacy organization, NOHCJ recently established a scholarship program for young Hispanics interested in pursuing a postsecondary degree in criminal justice. It also hosts an annual education and networking conference.