Criminology & Criminal Justice Careers

What can you do with a CCJ Degree?

CCJ is a very broad field encompassing a wide variety of career options.


Criminology and criminal justice jobs can involve:

  • Making or enforcement of the law or crime-related policy
  • Preventing or reducing crime and delinquency
  • Address the harms caused by crime and/or efforts to control crime
  • Monitoring and holding accountable the people, organizations, and agencies that make or enforce the law
  • Assessing the causes of crime and developing approaches to reduce it
  • Measuring the effectiveness of crime prevention or criminal justice programs and practices

While the many of CCJ graduates pursue employment in the criminal justice field (e.g., law enforcement, courts, corrections), many also work in a closely related area like crime prevention, child protective services, substance abuse counseling, victim advocacy, loss prevention, fraud investigation, or private security.


Because our Department emphasizes a social science approach to the study of crime, graduates are also well-equipped for positions outside of criminal justice that require strong leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.


How many jobs are there in Criminal Justice?

The short answer to this question is “a whole lot!

For the year 2016 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were 3.6 million jobs in protective services (e.g., police officers, deputies, probation/parole officers, correctional officers, private security) and another 1.2 million in the legal profession (e.g., prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, magistrates, legal assistants).

Looking at state and local law enforcement alone there were 12,326 municipal police agencies, 3,012 sheriff’s offices, and 50 state police agencies in 2013 (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics). These agencies employed 724,690 full-time sworn officers and 39,101 officers on a part-time basis. Another 320,670 people were employed full-time by these agencies in a civilian capacity (44,398 part-time). For local police departments these figures represent a 35% increase in full-time employees since 1987.

At the federal level, most people already know about the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI. In reality there are more than 60 different federal agencies with law enforcement responsibilities. This includes:

  • Air Force Office of Special Investigations
  • Air Force Security Forces Center
  • Amtrak Police
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Police
  • Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement
  • Bureau of Reclamation Office of Law Enforcement
  • Coast Guard Investigative Service
  • Defense Intelligence Agency Police
  • Department of Commerce Office of Security
  • Department of Defense Police
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development Protective Service Division
  • Department of the Air Force Police
  • Department of the Army Civilian Police
  • Department of the Navy Police
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Enforcement Removal Operations
  • Federal Air Marshal Service
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Federal Reserve Board Police
  • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division;
  • Marine Corps Provost Marshal's Office
  • Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center Police
  • National Background Investigations Bureau
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Police
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology Police
  • National Institutes of Health Police
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • National Security Agency Police
  • National Zoological Park Police
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service
  • Office of Border Patrol
  • Office of Export Enforcement
  • Office of Health, Safety and Security
  • Office for Law Enforcement
  • Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation
  • Office of Probation and Pretrial Services
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
  • Transportation Security Administration Office of Law Enforcement
  • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
  • U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations
  • United States Army Criminal Investigation Command
  • United States Army Military Police Corps
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • United States Coast Guard Police
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement
  • United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations
  • United States Marine Corps Civilian Police
  • United States Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division
  • United States Marshals Service
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy Department of Public Safety
  • United States Mint Police
  • United States Navy Military Police
  • United States Park Police
  • United States Pentagon Police
  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Supreme Court Police
  • Veterans Affairs Police

What's the right career path for you?

With so many career options available we encourage you to use your time in the CCJ program to explore your interests, acquire new skills, develop relationships with faculty and practitioners, and build a body of knowledge that will lead to job opportunities down the road. Students in our undergraduate bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate program, and MS graduate program also have the opportunity to work in the field to acquire applied experience through our internship program or field projects.

Looking for a job right now?

The Criminology & Criminal Justice Department regularly receives job announcements and recruitment inquiries from a variety of agencies and employers. These announcements are posted on CCJ's Facebook page so look here for upcoming job opportunities. PSU also provides a variety of career services for students and alumni, including position postings, job search resources, and resume assistance through the Career Services Center.