The best criminal justice masters degree jobs include roles in government law enforcement and also careers in psychology and profiling. There are many career paths for graduates with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
When we hear of a student in a criminal justice program, we typically think of law enforcement as the common career path. That is just the beginning of what a graduate of a criminal justice master’s degree program can pursue. There are many criminal justice careers that are fulfilling and offer excellent job growth, wages, and advancement potential. Here are five careers open to graduates of criminal justice master’s degree programs.
Careers with a Master’s in Criminal Justice
Criminal justice professionals can find many excellent jobs with a master’s degree.
- Criminal Profiler
- Forensic Psychologist
- DEA Agent
- US Marshal
Criminologists are a select group of sociologists who research why people commit crimes and participate in illegal behavior. They analyze and research statistics, patterns, trends, demographics, and geographic locations to determine the best methods to prevent it in the future.
Most of a criminologist’s career is spent conducting research in an office or gathering information in the field. They may also interview criminals to determine specific factors or motives that may have contributed to the crimes. The Princeton Review states that while criminologists advance their careers as they gain experience, they seldom go from one agency to another.
How do you become a Criminologist?
To become a criminologist, you typically need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology, or a related field. Some criminologists may also pursue a criminal justice master’s degree or higher in the same field. Depending on the role, some employers may also require experience or specialized training in a particular area, such as cybercrime or forensics. Additionally, many criminologists must know relevant laws, regulations, and procedures.
What is the Criminologist’s job outlook?
The job outlook for criminologists is positive. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth for criminologists to grow 8% from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than the average for all occupations. Furthermore, the need for research and analysis of criminal activity to help inform public policy and prevent crime drives the demand for criminologists. PayScale reports that criminologists earn between $32,000 and $77,000 annually.
2. Criminal Profiler
What does a Criminal Profiler do? A criminal profiler is a professional who uses psychological and investigative techniques to analyze criminal behavior and develop a psychological profile of an offender to help law enforcement identify, apprehend and prosecute criminals.
Profilers analyze physical evidence from crime scenes, such as the type of weapon used and the way a crime was committed, to build a profile of the perpetrator. They also interview witnesses and victims to understand the offender’s modus operandi, motivations, and psychological makeup. Criminal profilers often work with police departments to help with investigations and are sometimes called upon to offer expert testimony during court proceedings.
How do you become a Criminal Profiler?
To become a criminal profiler, you’ll need to gain experience in criminal investigations. Typical jobs include a police officer, detective, or forensic scientist. You’ll also need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as criminology, psychology, or sociology. Depending on the position, you may also need a master’s degree in psychology or criminal justice master’s degree.
Additionally, criminal profilers must have completed specialized training in profiling techniques, such as interviewing and interrogation, criminal behavior analysis, and crime scene investigations. Finally, you may need several years of experience in law enforcement or a related field before you start a criminal profiling career.
What is the Criminal Profiler job outlook?
The job outlook for criminal profilers is positive. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects positions in this field to grow 8% between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is slightly faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, an increased focus on crime prevention and the need for more sophisticated investigative tools will fuel job growth in this field. PayScale reports that criminal profilers earn between $36,000 and $84,000 annually.
3. Forensic Psychologist
Many people confuse Forensic psychologists with profilers, but they’re different. While they may study the patterns of criminals, they do not profile them. Instead, forensic psychology assesses the criminal and determines what they may need regarding treatment services. For example, they may decide a criminal has mental health needs or is not fit to stand trial.
Forensic psychologists use psychological research and principles to address legal questions and issues. They may work in various settings, including law enforcement, the court system, correctional institutions, and private practice. Some provide psychological assessments such as risk assessments, competency evaluations, treatment recommendations, and research trends in criminal behavior. Additionally, they may provide expert testimony in court. Forensic psychologists also make sentencing and post-incarceration recommendations to the court or legal system using risk assessment methods.
How do you become a Forensic Psychologist?
To work in this career, individuals must complete a doctoral degree in psychology focusing on forensic psychology. This should include specialized coursework in forensic psychology, such as criminal behavior, psychology of the criminal justice system, and the legal system. You will also likely be required to complete a dissertation related to forensic psychology. After completing your doctoral degree, you must obtain a license to practice psychology in your state or province. Finally, you must obtain specialized training in forensic psychology, such as through internships, residencies, or mentorship.
What is the Forensic Psychologist’s job outlook?
The job outlook for forensic psychologists is very positive. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of forensic psychologists is expected to grow 14% from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to an increased demand for mental health services, as well as for individuals specializing in the intersection between psychology and the legal system. PayScale reports that forensic psychologists earn between $44,000 and $120,000 annually.
4. DEA Agent
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents are federal law enforcement professionals who study the drug industry and drug trafficking. These special agents use their information to help bring drug-related criminals to justice. Because of the enormity of the drug industry, a DEA agent may be required to travel to different areas. Their job duties include observing drug-related activities, coordinating and running task forces, writing reports, performing undercover work, arresting perpetrators, confiscating evidence, and testifying in court.
How do you become a DEA Agent?
To become a DEA Agent, you must meet specific requirements and complete a rigorous application process.
- Be a US citizen
- Hold a valid driver’s license
- Be at least 21 years old
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
- Have at least three years of full-time work experience in a law enforcement or related field
- pass a comprehensive background investigation
- pass a physical fitness test
- pass a psychological evaluation
If you meet all the requirements, the next step is to complete an online application. After submitting and reviewing the application, you may be asked to complete additional forms and provide other documents. Once the application is approved, you will be invited to participate in the DEA Agent Selection System, which includes an assessment center and interview. Successful applicants will then be invited to attend a DEA Drug Enforcement Agent Training Program.
What is the job outlook for a DEA Agent?
The job outlook for a DEA Agent is expected to be favorable in the coming years, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 5% growth rate in the field from 2021 to 2031. This growth rate is much higher than the average for all occupations, which is 4%. According to Payscale, DEA agents earn between $20,000 and $102,000 annually.
5. US Marshal
US Marshals are agents who work for the United States Marshals Service. These law enforcement professionals often work for the federal government on high-profile cases. They’re often called upon to assist local law enforcement agencies in finding and arresting fugitives. Marshals also provide protection for court officers, serve arrest warrants, and provide court security. They apprehend fugitives or convicted offenders who do not comply with the laws.
How do you become a US Marshal?
To become a US Marshal, you must meet the qualifications and requirements of the position. This includes being a US citizen, possessing a valid driver’s license, having at least a bachelor’s degree, and having at least three years of full-time work experience in a related field. Once you meet the qualifications, you must apply and complete the application process, which includes a written exam, an interview, a medical exam, and a background investigation. After being selected, you must complete training at the US Marshals Service Training Academy.
What is the job outlook for a US Marshal?
The job outlook for a US Marshal is very positive. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 5% increase in the employment of US Marshals from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected to be driven by increased security needs and demand for law enforcement personnel.
At the start of their careers, they earn around $45,000. However, wages increase as they advance to higher levels. The salary of a US Marshal varies depending on experience, location, and other factors. According to the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the salary range for US Marshals is between $45,371 and $166,500.
More: US Marshall Service
What is Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice is a system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts. It involves punishing people who break laws by imprisonment, fines, probation, or other sanctions. It also involves preventing crime, restitution to victims, and community supervision.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
A master’s degree in criminal justice provides students with various career opportunities. Those holding a master’s degree can pursue careers in law enforcement, corrections, private security, risk management, consulting, and policy analysis.
A master’s degree in Criminal Justice can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to pursue a career in the field. Graduates gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system and the various facets of law enforcement, corrections, and the court system. Additionally, they have a better understanding of the legal, social, and ethical issues related to crime and punishment.
An advanced degree in criminal justice also helps students form a better understanding of the criminal justice system and its components. Thus allowing them to make better decisions and progress in their careers. It can also provide students with the necessary skills to pursue leadership roles in the criminal justice field. Or to gain specialized knowledge and skills, such as in forensics, victimology, research methods, or criminal psychology. With a master’s degree, you can also gain the necessary skills to become a policy advisor or a leader in the criminal justice field.
What Do You Learn in a Criminal Justice Masters Program?
Below are some courses students may take in an MCJ program.
- White-Collar Crime
- Public Safety
- Public Safety Administration
- Organized Crime
- Research Methods
- Administration of Justice
- Digital Forensics
What is the Job Outlook with a Master’s in Criminal Justice?
The job outlook for those with a master’s in criminal justice is very positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for criminal justice and law enforcement is expected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.
Positions such as police officers, investigators, probation officers, and correctional officers are expected to have the highest job growth. Those with a master’s in criminal justice may also find employment in law enforcement, corrections, criminal justice administration, and policy analysis.
Other Careers with a Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree
Unlike many fields that offer only limited choices, criminal justice jobs are plentiful and offer many career choices in both legal and law enforcement. Additionally, a criminal justice career offers excellent benefits. Finding an excellent career path with a Master in Criminal Justice (MCJ) can be challenging but extremely rewarding. Below are some additional criminal justice master’s jobs.
- CIA Agent or CIA Analyst
- Criminal Justice Management
- Computer Forensics Investigator
- Federal Protective Service Officer
- Forensic Accountant / Forensic Examiner
- Information Security Officer or Analyst
- IRS Special Agent or Fraud Investigator
- State Law Enforcement Officer
- Police and Detective Supervisor / Police Chief
- District Attorney
- Probation Officer
- Detective Supervisors
- Attorney General Investigator
- Emergency Management Director
- Correctional Officer
- Correctional Officer Supervisor / Correctional Officer Supervisors
- Security Management Specialists
- National Security Criminal Investigators
Is a Master’s in Criminal Justice Worth It?
Yes, a master’s in criminal justice is worth it. This degree can open doors to lucrative and rewarding careers in law enforcement, corrections, and security. It can also teach you to advance your career and take on leadership roles. With a master’s in criminal justice, you can also become an expert in the field, which can help you professionally and personally.
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