Careers & Internships


What can you do with a degree in criminal justice?

Studying criminology and criminal justice can be the starting point for many fulfilling and interesting careers. Two primary career paths exist: the public sector, which operates under the control of the local, state, or federal government, and the private sector, which is privately operated and funded.

Examples include:

  • Public Sector (Government):
  • Private Sector (Non-government):
    • Retail/Wholesale (e.g., Walmart, Kroger, Target, The Home Depot, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Mars, Coke, Costco)
    • Services (e.g., hospitality, finance, consulting, fitness, tourism, media, technology, social media providers)
    • Healthcare (e.g., hospitals/medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers)
    • Manufacturing (e.g., automotive, industrial, technology)

Every industry, whether public or private, has a need to manage risks, protect assets, and maintain security. To do this successfully, they need people with a unique skill set to provide expertise, conduct analyses, and offer strategic counsel.

Notable differences between public and private sector career paths include those in the private sector offer a broader range of career options where one can move from one discipline to another, often without leaving a company. Additionally, where the public sector is more structured in compensation (salary and benefits) and career progression (in which years of service often play an important role), the private sector can potentially offer base salaries which are significantly higher, along with stock options and bonus packages as part of total compensation. Private companies are also much less structured; therefore, career progression is often more fluid and performance based.

Alumni Career Paths

Our alumni have gone on to work as law enforcement officers/federal agents, retail executives/leaders, crisis management experts, risk mitigation consultants, technologists, attorneys, forensic investigators, and more. Visit our alumni profiles to learn more about jobs held by alumni.

Undergraduate Internships

Internships provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct career exploration and build a record of experience in the field. Many of our students complete for-credit internships. These internships provide an opportunity for you to extend your knowledge about the inner workings of criminal justice agencies from the classroom to the field. Students who complete internships are able to

  • understand how to apply principles, concepts, and theories that they learned in criminology and criminal justice courses to the practical work experience in the field of criminal justice
  • recognize how much of what they learned in the classroom is consistent or inconsistent with the actual practice of criminal justice officials who work within criminal justice agencies
  • gain meaningful work experience in a criminal justice agency that aids in securing employment
  • experience the opportunity to interact with criminal justice professionals, observe their behavior, and develop oral and written communication skills that accelerate both personal and professional development

A variety of internship placement opportunities are available in both public and private sectors, offering real-world experiences and opportunities to “test drive” a particular career field. If you are interested in completing a for-credit internship through the Department of . Criminology and Criminal Justice, contact our internship director, Doug Klutz.

Students participating in the internship program will need to complete an internship form and return it to Mr. Klutz.

Top Internship Placements in Tuscaloosa

Trade Organizations that Recruit Job Applicants for Retail Positions

  • Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
  • National Retail Federation (NRF)
  • National Grocers Association (NGA)