Criminal Justice Internships and Volunteer Programs

By Peterson's Staff updated on Thursday, January 31, 2013

For those interested in criminal justice careers, landing a position in a criminal justice internship or participating in criminal justice volunteer programs provides a unique introduction to the field and delivers valuable real-world experience working beside like-minded, experienced veterans. Such real-world experiences can broaden your education and help you become a better professional in criminal justice.

Criminal justice internships

Some internships pay a small wage, but most positions are unpaid. On the other hand, students working in criminal justice internships can often earn college credits that count toward their degrees. Ultimately, whether paid or unpaid, an internship provides you with knowledge and experience that helps you forge a good career in criminal justice. To identify possible internships, you should contact:

Local Municipalities
One of first things to do to find internship programs in your community is contact your local police department or sheriff's office. Call the information desk or stop in and meet with someone in person. If there is a college or university in your area, contact the school; criminal justice internships may already be in operation. You will need to enroll in the school, and internships often require a separate application process.

Institutions of higher learning across the country, including Sul Ross State University, University of Albany, Michigan State, Georgetown, and many others, offer criminal justice internship programs that you should investigate. If the programs interest you, you will have to go through the college admissions process and then apply for an internship upon being accepted to the school.

Criminal justice volunteer programs

As a member of a volunteer program, you will not get monetary compensation for your services, but you will definitely gain a wealth of experience and knowledge. In addition, you are afforded an opportunity to become a valuable asset to the community. You can find more information about criminal justice volunteer programs through:

Local Municipalities
If there is a university in town, there may already be an established training program you can join. Just as you would search for internship programs in your local community, you should look into possible volunteer positions at your local police department or sheriff's office. If you are enrolled in an online university, tell your local law enforcement agency about the program and see what sort of opportunities they may have available. They might offer you a position in data entry or victim assistance or as a criminal justice officer aide, registration aide, community service intake processor, or crossing guard.

The Internet
Another option is to use the Internet to research volunteer programs in other parts of your region or in other states. Being enrolled in a mobile, online program could work to your advantage, as you can relocate to an area with a criminal justice volunteer program while still pursuing your education in a region that offers what you need.

Colleges Offering Criminal Justice Programs
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