7 Personality Traits & Skills for Careers in Criminal Justice

If you like the idea of working in the criminal justice system, before you can begin applying for roles, it’s crucial that you have the right skillset behind you first. While many may think the criminal justice field solely consists of police officers or detectives, there are tons of other roles in the sector that you could apply for, such as a security manager, counselor, or criminologist.

Administrative law

Regardless of the role, there are key personality traits and skills that can help you be a better fit for the field. If you aren’t sure you have what it takes, here are some of the attributes employers are looking for.


With the majority of the criminal justice field rooted in government laws and regulations, this means that collaborating with government agencies can result in tons of paperwork and waiting time. As a lawyer, police officer, or counselor, you may have to wait several months for your client before they are seen by a judge. If you struggle with being patient, there are a few useful strategies that you can use, such as:

  • Reframing the situation
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Practicing gratitude

While we have all been told to be patient at some point in our life, if it’s part of your job role, you need to master this skill effectively. 


Working in criminal justice means that you’re on the correct side of the law, however, this means that integrity is crucial when it comes to earning respect from both your managers and clients. If you don’t put your personal beliefs or bias to one side, this could have a negative impact on your relationship with coworkers, clients, and the local community.

It’s crucial for criminal justice professionals to establish integrity in everything they do in order to be accepted and welcomed by society. To help people in the best way possible, criminal justice professionals need to prove their commitment, resourcefulness, and integrity to build trust. Rather than acting on personal feelings, judges and police officers must act based on the regulations and laws of the land.


Criminal Justice is largely based on helping those in need, which naturally requires you to be empathetic. There are many individuals who mistake empathy for sympathy. Being empathetic is having the ability to understand and be sensitive to an individual’s situation without showing pity (which is regarded as sympathy). There are several benefits of being able to give and experience empathy, which include:

  • Building social connections with others
  • Understanding what people are feeling and thinking
  • Helping you regulate your own emotions
  • Promoting helpful behavior

If you are a correctional officer, you need to be empathetic towards a prisoner’s sadness about being locked away from their friends and family, as well as not being able to make decisions for themselves. A police officer should show empathy regarding the emotional stress that many individuals face when a crime has been committed. 


Courage is a crucial trait that you will need to ensure your point of view gets across and your voice gets heard. Courage can help you move up the ranks, become a leader, as well as assert yourself as a key figure. 

Special agents, security managers, corrections managers, and criminologists live their day to day lives to protect and serve the community. With many roles in criminal justice requiring individuals to handle firearms, confront conflict head-on, as well as being first on the scene to critical situations, you will need to be prepared for any eventuality. There are various benefits that having courage can bring, such as:

  • Building confidence
  • Overcoming fear
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Managing your emotions


Discernment is a summary of all the traits listed above so far, meaning you will have the ability to analyze and judge something. If you plan to work as a criminal justice professional, you will be required to demonstrate discernment on a daily basis to ensure you take the correct steps and have the best intentions. 

Whether you work as a police officer, corrections officer, or security personnel, there are many decisions that you will need to make within an instant, so having the ability to make the correct decision is vital for protection, conflict resolution, as well as preventing a situation from escalating. In many situations, making the wrong decision can genuinely be a case of life and death.


No matter what role you pick in criminal justice, it’s crucial that you know how to communicate effectively with whomever you come into contact with. Whether it’s clients, coworkers, or helping those in the community, being confident and listening to those in need will mean you make the correct decisions going forward. There are other benefits of having good communication skills, such as:

  • Promoting motivation
  • Altering individual’s attitudes
  • Helps in socializing
  • Keeps you in control


When working in criminal justice, you may be in a role which requires you to be in charge of others. Whether it’s by working as part of a team, or you’re there to assist others, knowing how to take charge and lead is crucial. There are many employees who will look up to you and come to you for help, so making sure your voice is heard is important, and possessing strong leadership skills is crucial.

Gaining Skills

Before you embark on a career in criminal justice, it’s important that you have the right education and credentials behind you. For example, if criminology is your calling, you can study for a criminology degree online in Canada. There are several roles that you can go into once you have completed this degree, such as:

  • Criminal justice faculty
  • Corrections officer
  • Private investigator
  • Forensic analyst
  • Probation officer

If you like the idea of helping those in need and making a positive impact on people’s lives, a career in criminal justice may be the right option for you. To ensure you’re the right fit for the job, it’s important that you possess all the personality traits and skills listed to help you flourish in your role.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.

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