5 Top Paid Criminal Justice Internships

5 Best Paid Criminal Justice Internships

Paid criminal justice internships are an excellent way for students to obtain hands-on training while they work in the criminal justice field. Internships allow the student to combine theory with practice, allowing the criminal justice graduates to utilize the knowledge they have gained in the program.

Criminal justice is a large field with many occupations criminal justice candidates can choose from various internships. Undergraduate students majoring in the field can find placements at the local, state, and federal levels. These programs provide new skills, hands-on experience, and real world training. Below are five criminal justice paid internships for students.

 Criminal Justice Student Internships

  1. Local Police Departments and State Law Enforcement Agencies
  2. Local and Federal Bureau of Prisons
  3. International Agencies and CIA
  4. Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
  5. Law Firms and Courts

1. Local Police Departments and State Law Enforcement Agencies

Local Police Departments and State Law Enforcement Agencies

This internship opportunity might be the easiest for students in criminal justice to obtain because they don’t have to look much further than their local police or sheriff’s department. Although each internship opportunity is different, they’re all the same: they have the student working alongside a police officer or deputy. Criminal justice students learn all aspects of the law, from riding in a squad car and dispatching to performing an interrogation.

Students also learn how to fill out paperwork and the importance of accuracy. There couldn’t be a better internship for the candidate who wants to get first-hand experience in what their local police department does for their community. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers and deputies are in high demand.

  • County Sheriffs Office
  • Local Police Departments
  • City Police Departments
  • State Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

A Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is another place where interested students can find summer internships. Investigators assist with state reporting, conduct background checks, address searches, and pay invoices as needed. They also conduct qualitative analysis related to fraud, assist with address searches and criminal history searches, and conduct additional research as requested.

Additionally, some of these internship jobs offer highly competitive compensation. SIU manager requirements include strong research skills and critical thinking skills. Below are some other daily tasks interns may complete.

2. Local and Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Pathway Program, offered through the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is a paid placement for students choosing criminal justice as a career. This program teaches students about the United States prison system and how it is maintained.

The internship pays the intern and provides them with on-the-job training and various educational opportunities. At the end of the program, the intern receives a review, and if the intern did an excellent job, he or she might receive a potential job offer.

  • County Jails
  • Community Correctional Centers
  • County Department of Corrections
  • Department of Probation and Parole

3. CIA and International Agencies

When it comes to interesting criminal justice internships, many students feel the one-year CIA internship is at the top of their list. Although the internship requires interns to move to the Washington, DC, metropolitan area for the entire year, the intern earns a salary. Because CIA internships are popular, criminal justice applicants should apply as early as possible.

Interns work alongside a Collection Management Officer and perform many of the same duties. The student will learn about analyzing intelligence, the distribution of human intelligence, the collection of intelligence, and the process of interviewing suspects.

  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • United Nations (UN)
  • Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)

4. Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

The FBI, or the Federal Bureau of Investigations, has many criminal justice paid internships. Students who don’t mind relocating and are interested in an exciting internship can check out the Honors Internship Program through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This 10-year program is in three field offices or headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, or Washington, DC.

The candidate gets the opportunity to see precisely what an FBI agent does throughout his or her day. They also get to learn about the different areas within the FBI. Throughout the internship, the candidate may work in executive management, alongside a field officer or with a data analyst.

  • US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • United States Park Police (more)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • US Marshals Office
  • Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS)
  • US Department of Justice (DOJ)

5. Law Firms and Courts

Very few towns don’t have at least one lawyer or law office. So, legal studies is another relatively easy place for a criminal justice student to find an internship. When we see lawyers on TV, we typically see them in a courtroom, either prosecuting or defending a client. social and racial justice

As an intern in a law firm, the individual sees all aspects of being a lawyer or paralegal. The candidate works with the legal staff and legal assignments include briefs, risk related client issues, memorializing witness interviews, depositions, prepping witnesses, and court filings. They also learn about criminal procedure and attend court proceedings and trials. The individual can assist an attorney through an entire case from beginning to end. Many prior legal interns go on to law school. Current law school students fight for social and racial justice reform.

  • Private Law Offices
  • County District Attorney’s Office
  • State District Attorney’s Office
  • County Circuit Court, Clerk’s Office
  • City District Attorney’s Office
  • House of Representatives in your state
  • State Supreme Court
  • County Public Defender’s Office
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Legal Aid Society
  • City Public Defender’s Office
  • Public Defender of Circuit Court
  • American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU)
  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

What is a Paid Intern?

Interns are students who work in a professional learning experience. These training opportunities offer practice work related to their career path. So, these interns build work experience for their resumes, work in a position before committing to a career, and are competitively paid. Paid internships are common for both undergrad and graduate college students.

What Do You Do in a Criminal Justice Internship?

The daily work tasks in a criminal justice internship vary depending on the program and interning agency. However, most paid interns have a fair amount of responsibility. Most work under the staff’s direct supervision and help them complete the daily workload. Thus, interns get an up-close look at the job.

Why Consider Criminal Justice Paid Internships?

An internship program can set you apart from other job applicants in a competitive job market. Work experience offers an opportunity for significant professional growth. And some offer highly competitive compensation and also benefit packages comparable to a job.

What is the Difference Between a Paid Student Internship and a Job?

One difference is the length of time. Typically, internships last a few months to as long as a year. However, a job is a long-term commitment. Jobs provide individuals with work for many years. Both provide individuals with professional experience. But, a formalized internship program can lead college students to a successful career path.

How Do You Find the Best Internships?

There are many local, state, national, and international criminal justice paid internships.


One way to find an internship is to visit a city, county, state, or federal agency website. You can find current opportunities and some of the jobs available to graduates.

School Career Center

Additionally, most colleges and universities have an internship coordinator for the department or the school. The internship coordinator at your school can help you quickly find some of the best opportunities. So, reach out to them if your school has one on staff.

Job Boards and Internship Databases

Another great strategy is looking at local job sites and various social media platforms. Sites like Indeed and SimplyHired have both internship and job postings. Individuals can register to receive the latest job alert for Criminal Justice Paid Internships. Google is also a great way to set up a job alert.


This site has company reviews and also a database for jobs and internships. Students can sort internships by area and user reviews. (website)

Global Experiences

Global Experiences helps students find internships abroad. (website)

Internships dot com

Students can search this giant internship database for jobs anywhere in the country in any field. (website)


LinkedIn is a job networking platform with an extensive internship opportunity database. Students can filter results and find the best internships. (website)


Students can search for specific internships or post profiles and have agencies contact them directly. (website)


This site connects student agencies and organizations where they can intern. It also offers work readiness training. (website)

Government vs Private Companies

The choice of a government internship or one at a private organization mainly depends on where the applicant wants to find a job after they complete the training. So, many individuals look at job listings to get an idea of what a position at the organization may pay.

Generally speaking, a dynamic and growing company pays more than the government. However, the benefits are typically better in a government job, especially at the federal level. Most federal employee benefits include health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, retirement, and consistent pay raises.

What are the Common Internship Deadlines?

Some applications are rolling, and others have a hard deadline. Generally speaking, students should arrange an internship approximately two months ahead of time. So, interested students should select a placement at least two months before the start of the semester during which they intend to complete the training.

  • Spring Internship period – Nov of the school year prior
  • Summer Internship – April 
  • Fall Internship – July 

What are the Application Requirements for a Paid Internship?

What are the qualifications to be an Intern? Applicants should have good interpersonal skills, strong customer orientation, and excellent communication skills. Additionally, employers prefer candidates for internships jobs with strong critical thinking skills. Research and analytical skills are also necessary, including quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Most schools have eligibility requirements for participation in internships. Additionally, each program may have a different application process. Below are a few of the most common criteria and conditions for an undergraduate student majoring in the criminal justice system.

  • the ideal candidate is working on or has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice
  • have demonstrated commitment to social justice
  • in good academic standing with an overall GPA of at least 2.0 and a major GPA of at least 2.0
  • some require applicants to pass a criminal background check, drug test, and social security background check.
  • applications should include a cover letter, work experience, education, and a resume
  • applications received without all information are removed from consideration
  • must be 18 or older at the time of application
  • a US citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship at the time of appointment
  • have a driver’s license and an acceptable driving record

What are the Agency Requirements for a Paid Internship?

Agency Requirements vary by organization. However, students should prepare for interviews, physicals, background investigations, and drug screenings. Some may even conduct psychological exams and polygraph tests. Additionally, each agency determines if applicants pass or fail their required tests.

How Much Do Interns Earn?

Many companies understand the value of training a future employee. So, they pay these future professionals a competitive wage. Indeed reports the average hourly rate for an intern in the US is $15.86 per hour. However, depending on geographic location and the employment sector, the base salary range is from $11.21 to $22.42.

Professional Organizations

Criminal justice professional organizations often have many resources for professionals in the field. But, many also have resources for students. So check out some of these organizations below to find information about internships, fellowships, scholarships, and employment opportunities.

  • American Society of Criminology (ASC)
  • Lambda Alpha Epsilon
  • American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA)
  • National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)
  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Law and Society Association (LSA)
  • European Society of Criminology (ESC)
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA)

What Jobs Can You Do with a Degree in Criminal Justice?

There are numerous opportunities for graduates of a criminal justice degree program. Additionally, successful candidates who complete an internship program have more opportunities. 

However, job offers contingent on completing a degree and passing a criminal background check. Below are some of the common job titles for graduates. 

  • Criminal Justice Policy Analyst
  • Criminologist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Special Agent
  • Victim Advocate
  • Criminal Justice Professor

Your Criminal Justice Career

Criminal justice careers are in law enforcement, investigation, or legal. Law enforcement and investigation deal with crime and criminals, individuals on the legal path work in law offices and courtrooms. Regardless of which dynamic professional setting a student may choose, they help society.

Internships provide students with rich experiences they can apply to practical situations in a future job. And practical experience is one of the essential items on an excellent resume. Furthermore, participating graduates are more likely to find employment in their major or criminal justice field.