If you believe in justice being served and helping people then a career in criminal justice might be just for you. Missouri Western State University’s Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Social Work adds that you should consider such a career, “if you are honest, have sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility; if you are interested in a career where you can serve people and work for the betterment of society…”
Criminal Justice consists of numerous divisions, including law enforcement, corrections, forensics, homeland security, criminology and the judicial system. So how do you decide which specific career is your calling?
Some take a personality or career quiz to see what positions the results suggest. One well known test is called the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. After completing the test you end up with a four-letter result. There are 16 possible personality types according to this test each with their own four-letter code. For example, ENTP stands for Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving. According to Ball State University’s Career Centre, corrections officers, lawyers, detectives, psychologists and other positions may be good fits for ENTP personality types. Professions such as litigation attorneys, coroners and ballistic experts are popular among INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging) personality types, states The Community College of Baltimore County.
Looking at personality types broadly, it seems obvious to say that natural leaders are more likely better-suited to the roles of sheriff and police chief compared to natural followers. Or someone who is precise, detail-oriented and organized is probably better suited for court reporting or a forensic science roles compared to someone who lacks these skills.
However personality types, talents and expertise on paper should not absolutely guide you when deciding your future professional goals. The way to truly find out which position is your true calling is to experience it in the real world:
- Read books, articles or blogs written by law enforcement, legal, corrections or other criminal justice professions describing true accounts of their jobs.
- Volunteer or complete internships with agencies or organizations, such as tutoring prisoners, shadowing a lawyer or joining a police corps.
- Talk to career coaches or guidance counsellors at your high school or (prospective) college/university.
- Contact criminal justice professionals in your area and ask if you can meet them to ask them questions about their jobs.
Once you get a better idea of what criminal justice profession you desire, it will be easier to select a particular field of study. If you have already started your degree, this step will help you to decide what to specialize in for the remaining years of your program.