Criminal Justice Major Skills List

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A criminal justice major could qualify you for an array of law enforcement roles, from police officer to park ranger, paralegal to forensics expert, and many more options. Some criminal justice work is more technical, like becoming a computer forensics expert, for example. Some roles will be more physical, like becoming a fish and game warden, or a detective. No matter which role you choose, there are a number of skills any employer will look for in someone with a criminal justice degree.

How to Use Skills Lists

Use the skills mentioned here to help you in your job search. Use them in your resume, especially in the descriptions of your work history. You can also use them in your cover letter to describe prior work experience. Consider mentioning a few of these traits in order to give examples of how you’ve demonstrated them in prior work.

You can also use these words in your interview. Come prepared to discuss the top skills listed here. Be ready to share examples of how you've exemplified each.

Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Four Most Important Skills Employers Look for in Criminal Justice Majors

Applying Ethical Standards to Criminal Justice Issues

A criminal justice professional will be on the front lines of maintaining and upholding the basic ethical standards of society.

Across a number of related fields—from policing to park rangering—legal as well as moral ethics are paramount for success. A criminal justice major should not just be well-versed in the details of the law, but should understand and embody the spirit of ethics as well, and display these qualities in all areas of their work.

A criminal justice major should have a sense of right versus wrong, even when those ethics are tested by difficult people or situations. Criminal justice professionals often end up in positions of power that demand public trust. Maintaining scrupulous ethics will help you to model standards throughout your department or office, as well as help to influence positive outcomes and consequences in your field of expertise.

Writing Skills

A big part of most criminal justice careers will involve writing. Strong written communication skills are essential to anyone who hopes to be successful in the field.

You may need to create reports to get approval for a warrant. Or, you may need to keep records of happenings. Other reports and documents that criminal justice majors might end up being responsible for include policy papers, proposals for funding, and reports detailing findings or conclusions. In some cases, a well written report could mean the difference between convicting a criminal, or seeing them set free. Cases are often lost or not even tried because of badly written arrest reports.

A good criminal justice professional must effectively be able to communicate the details of the topic at hand, in writing.

Whether it’s to apprehend a criminal, explain findings from research, or convey some other pertinent idea, a criminal justice professional will certainly be required to be a comfortable writer.

Research Proficiency

A criminal justice major should have strong skills and proficiency in the area of research, and related topics like preparing research findings to be shared with colleagues and others. This includes the ability to access resources with crime data, comfort with assessing models, the ability to create charts and graphs and to utilize data visualization software, to interpret social science research data, and create presentations.

You might be asked to analyze public policy that impacts criminal justice. For example, you might be called upon to study and analyze the impact of reforms on criminal justice systems on given topics, in specific areas, to see how prior solutions or changes to certain policies have impacted cases or crime trends.

Technology Skills

Criminology and criminal justice related jobs are becoming increasingly more techy. The techniques and systems used to unlock traditional cases are becoming more technological over time. Simultaneously, the field of cybercrime has opened up a whole world of new careers in criminal justice. These professionals focus on crimes in the cyber world, and cyber security. For cyber-specific roles, as well as more traditional criminal justice roles that will employ various technologies to solve problems, employers will look for technical acuity and proficiency in prospective employees.

Criminal justice is a major that comes with myriad possibilities for employment. Depending on your skills, temperament, and interests, criminal justice could be a great field of study for someone concerned with security, ethics, and society. Weigh your strengths against the skills listed here to see if you might be a good candidate for a criminal justice role.

Criminal Justice Major Skills List

Here's a list of the skills that employers seek when hiring Criminal Justice majors. Skills vary by job, so also review these skills lists for a variety of different occupations.

Highlight the skills you acquired during your studies, internships and jobs held during college in your cover letters, resume and job applications.

A - D

  • Accessing resources with crime data
  • Adapting to changing circumstances 
  • Analyzing public policies impacting criminal justice
  • Analyzing societal and economic factors contributing to crime
  • Applying ethical standards to criminal justice issues
  • Assessing models for correctional facilities
  • Collaboration
  • Composing criminal justice case analyses 
  • Constructing arguments based on fact
  • Creating Charts and Graphs
  • Critical Thinking
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Debating
  • Decision Making
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Detail Orientation
  • Develop hypotheses for criminal justice research

E - N

  • Evaluating the efforts of organizations to control crime
  • Evaluating the validity and reliability of criminal justice research studies
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Interpreting social science research data
  • Interrogation 
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Investigating crimes
  • Leadership
  • Managing Stress
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Multitasking
  • Note taking

O - Q

  • Observational
  • Organizational
  • Physical conditioning 
  • Planning projects
  • PowerPoint 
  • Presentation 
  • Prioritizing Tasks
  • Problem Solving
  • Producing Presentation Slides
  • Quantitative

R - Z

  • Reading comprehension
  • Researching legal precedents
  • Research Techniques for Criminal Justice
  • SAS
  • SPSS 
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management 
  • Writing essays supporting criminal justice perspectives
  • Writing research papers about criminal justice topics

More Lists of Skills
Here’s a list of skills employers are looking for, including soft skills, general skills, and hard skills for a variety of different jobs.

Read More: How to Answer Interview Questions About Skills | What to Include in a Resume Skills Section | List of Skills Employers Seek in Job Applicants