Criminal justice is a very broad field, covering a wide range of professions including law enforcement, information security, and forensic science. Though there are many careers for criminal justice students, most require the same key characteristics:
- Strong Ethical Sensibility
If you're in criminal justice, you're there to serve the public. As such, you should be ethical, act fairly and always in the best interest of the people.
- An Interest in Promoting Justice
Those working in criminal justice should be interested in supporting and upholding the law.
- Highly Alert
Law enforcement officers and similar professionals need to be highly alert and aware of the world around them.
- Knowledgeable of Laws
Officers should always be familiar with laws and how to enforce them.
Effective leadership skills are critical for taking quick action and directing people when necessary.
- People Skills
Communication and people skills are critical in everything from directing traffic to conducting an interview to testifying in court.
- Physical Fitness
Officers of any type should always be in excellent physical condition to meet the demands of their role in criminal justice, such as a foot chase.
- Quick Thinking
Those working in criminal justice must be of sharp and sound mind, able to adapt to situations quickly and make snap decisions with good judgment.
- Ability to Handle Stress
Most criminal justice jobs, even office jobs, can be emotionally and/or physically demanding. It is therefore important that professionals be able to deal with this stress in a constructive manner.
- Technical Know-How
Criminal justice professionals -- such as those involved with information security -- should be quick learners possessing excellent computer skills.