What Can You Do with a Master's in Criminal Justice?

There are a number of different career paths are available to those with a master's degree in criminal justice. Learn about the different kinds of jobs, their salaries, and the outlook of employment. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Jobs That Require or Utilize a Criminal Justice Master's Degree

Correctional Treatment Specialists

Correctional treatment specialists work with inmates, parole officers, and other agency staff to evaluate an inmate's ability to reintegrate into society. They can perform psychological tests or create questionnaires for the inmate, devise parole and release plans, and recommend education and training programs to help the inmate acquire or improve job skills, as well as write reports about the inmate's criminal history and give knowledgeable predictions about whether or not the inmate will commit crimes after release. A master's degree in criminal justice could be useful for this position because the individual can utilize their knowledge of criminal behavior.

First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

First-line supervisors of police and detectives supervise and coordinate the investigations of criminal cases, assign cases to police and detectives and guide them, and ensure that all investigations are following protocol. These supervisors are also in charge of handling promotions and transfers, training new staff, writing reports, and dealing with professionals in other agencies that may be working with law enforcement. The knowledge of criminal law and regulations that is gained in a criminal justice master's program can be useful for this job.

FBI Special Agent

Special agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation can either work alone or with a team to investigate and solve crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction, such as kidnapping, human trafficking, white-collar crime, or serial murder. There are several types of crime that an FBI agent can specialize in, however, typical job duties for all agents include examining crime scenes for evidence, analyzing evidence, interviewing suspects, witnesses and/or friends and family of suspect or victim, making informed decisions based on evidence and testimony, and arresting any suspects, as well as some travel. Critical thinking, thorough knowledge of the law, and understanding of criminal behavior are important skills for this career, and a master's in criminal justice can give individuals these skills, however, all careers with the FBI require additional training through the FBI Academy.

Crime Analysts

Intelligence analysts who specialize in crime aid law enforcement and special agents by gathering, analyzing, and evaluating information in order to help law enforcers make informed decisions during investigations. This information can be obtained through databases, evidence found on the scene, field observation, confidential resources, and public records, and the analyst can use it to make logical guesses about criminal activity. Criminal justice master's programs teach criminal law and behavior, as well as research and analysis skills, so an individual with this degree could carry these skills into a job as a crime analyst.

Criminal Profilers

Criminal profilers can work for the FBI, or any other federal or state-level agencies, as well as be an independent consultant for-hire; if working for the FBI, an individual will need FBI training and may work in the field, but research positions are available. Profilers assist law enforcement professionals by analyzing crime scene evidence and eyewitness testimonies and using that information to build a psychological profile of the criminal that should tell their motive, method, some aspects of their identity, and if/when they will commit another crime. An individual with a master's degree in criminal justice should have a knowledge of criminal behavior and psychology, so this career path may be a good fit.

U.S. Marshals

There are several types of U.S. Marshals, ranging from judicial security, prisoner transportation, fugitive operations, and prisoner operations, among others, but the main responsibility of a marshal is to protect and serve the country. Marshals may provide protection for federal judges, safely and securely transport federal prisoners from correctional institutions, districts, or countries, lead or be a part of task forces to track down and arrest fugitives and work with local and state governments to arrange jails and prisons. A criminal justice graduate degree counts as qualifying experience for anyone wishing to become a U.S. marshal, and additional marshal training is required.

Job Title Median Salary (2018) Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Correctional Treatment Specialists $53,020* 6%
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives $89,030* 5%
FBI Special Agents $64,465** 5%
Crime Analysts $46,482** 5%
Criminal Profilers $57,325** 5%
U.S. Marshals $55,000** 7%

*BLS - Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

There are several kinds of career paths an individual with a master's degree in criminal justice can take. The skills they learn can prepare them for jobs in research as well as the field, that will utilize their knowledge of crime, the law, and criminal behavior.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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