Criminal Justice Majors - PSU CCJO Internships
The CCJO internship provides students with the opportunity to explore working environments within the criminal justice field to learn which aspects of the work fit with their personal interests, skills, abilities, working styles and goals. The internship is designed to allow students to apply their academic knowledge in an authentic setting in order to enhance understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system through field experiences and written reflections. Internships provide the practical experience students are unable to gain through coursework, alone and can qualify as experience on resumes.
Goals of an Internship
An internship can assist students in…
• Clarifying career goals.
• Identifying steps to recognizing achievable goals, hindrances to achieving them and discovering strategies to overcome the hindrances.
• Understanding the interconnectedness of various social service agencies with the community.
• Describing the differences between classroom learning and real world learning.
• Recognizing “shades of gray” and social constructionism in behavior defined as “criminal.”
• Appreciating the importance of integrity, honesty, and an ethical approach to a career.
• Reflecting on and describing ways to bring enthusiasm and ethical leadership to a career.
• Adding work experience to their resumes, networking in the criminal justice field, and earning strong letters of recommendation from internship site supervisors.
How Internships Work
CCJO seniors complete an 8-credit internship with a criminal justice (or closely related) agency by fulfilling 200 hours interning with a CJ agency, averaging ten (10) hours per week. This is usually done by taking two 4-credit classes over the course of two (2) ten-week terms. In addition to field site hours, students complete four (4) reading assignments, four (4) written assignments, and an MS PowerPoint presentation for each 4-credit class.
Where to Look for an Internship
Most of the time, a student will find an internship locally (i.e., a law enforcement agency in the area in which the student lives). A search may begin by contacting federal, state, county, and city criminal justice agencies (police departments, sheriffs’ offices, courts, district attorneys’ offices, or correctional institutions), starting with agencies focusing on the area in which the student has the most interest. Students particularly interested in working with victims, or juveniles, or courts, for example, should first contact agencies (or departments within agencies) which deal with those particular interests, but should not reject opportunities to explore internships emphasizing other experiences. When initiating contact with an agency, the student should ask to speak to someone who is able to provide information about the agency’s internships or volunteer opportunities.