The bachelor of science degree program in criminal justice educates students to become effective problem-solvers as professionals in the field of criminal justice and provides its graduates with the communications and analytical skills critical to succeed in criminal justice and related careers. Through an interdisciplinary approach to the problems of crime and society, the program also equips students to pursue graduate study in criminal justice or related disciplines.
Many career possibilities exist for graduates of the Penn State Harrisburg Criminal Justice program. Graduates have pursued opportunities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals’ Office, sheriffs’ offices, municipal and state police departments, security and loss prevention programs, court administration, legal aid/paralegal, delinquency prevention programs, juvenile court personnel, youth shelters and other juvenile residential institutions, victim advocacy services, and probation and parole offices. Graduates may also apply for jobs in shelters for abused women and children, rape crisis centers, drug and alcohol programs, jails and prisons, halfway houses, and a wide variety of crime prevention and diversion programs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in criminal justice professions are projected to grow through the year 2026. In addition, the 2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that employment opportunities for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are expected to grow 20 percent through the year 2026, much faster than the national average for all occupations. Police officers have the highest rate of projected openings each year in the criminal justice field.
While job opportunities are increasing, so is the level of qualified applicants, which makes the field much more competitive. Those interested in working at the federal level and those wishing to pursue supervisory and other upper-level positions in criminal justice are especially encouraged to obtain a graduate degree. Furthermore, a graduate degree in criminal justice is a great step for those interested in doctoral studies or a career in the legal system.