A Master’s Degree Can Further Your Criminal Justice Career

Last Updated on January 14, 2023

There are a number of ways for individuals to advance their career. An undergraduate degree and time on the job used to be the standard for advancement in many career fields. However, more and more employers in a variety of professions are looking to hire individuals for advanced positions that possess work experience as well as a graduate degree. The field of criminal justice is no different. Although graduate degrees in criminal justice are younger in existence than other programs, the value of holding one is increasing in the minds' of employers.

Why Earn a Master's Degree?

A Master of Science in Criminal Justice, just one of a handful of graduate criminal justice degrees, designed to provide individuals with a chance to polish their educational background and enhance their analytical abilities. As the field of criminal justice advances, employers are increasingly looking to hire or promote individuals that hold a graduate level degree.

What You'll Study?

No two Master's programs in criminal justice will offer the same coursework. An individual already employed in the field of law enforcement is going to enroll in a program that offers a program focus that matches the field of law enforcement. On the other hand, an individual working in private security or social services will likely enroll in a program that offers coursework focused in these specific areas.

Examples of typical coursework include, but are not limited to, criminology, victimology, youth crime problems, white collar crimes, terrorism, forensic behavior analysis, and criminal justice administration.

Career Options

There are two reasons that many students will decide to pursue a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Many students will complete an undergraduate degree and realize that a Master's is their best shot at landing their chosen career in criminal justice and go right into the program. Others will take an entry level job and work in criminal justice for a number of years. When they either feel trapped in their career or become interested in a new path in criminal justice, they pursue a Master's to build upon their experience and make themselves more attractive to employers.

A Master of Science in Criminal Justice will open the door to a variety of career fields, many of them at the administrative or management level of criminal justice. The following are a few examples of positions available to graduates:

  • Police Detective
  • Federal Agent or Secret Service Agent
  • Probation Officer
  • Correctional Treatment Specialists
  • Private Security Consultant

It is important to keep in mind that no two employers will be looking for the same qualifications. Individuals can land entry level positions in any of the careers mentioned above with undergraduate degrees, or less in some cases. However, in order to advance into management positions in these fields a Master's degree may be necessary. For example, Probation Officers do not need a Master's degree to break into the career field, but over time employers will look to promote those with experience and an advanced education.

There are a number of options available when it comes to earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. However, for many looking to enhance their education it may not be possible to leave their job and return to school full time. There are nearly 200 certified Master's degree programs in criminal justice available in the United States, making it possible for criminal justice professionals to continue working while boosting their education credentials at night and on the weekend.

In the end, earning a degree online is a quick, effective, and certified option for individuals looking to increase their chances at promotion without leaving their job and sacrificing their financial security.

Sarah Rawson is an avid blogger and independent researcher. She has recently been researching various online Corrections Officer school programs and reporting her findings to various higher education blogs.

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