Criminal justice is an exciting field with a wide range of career opportunities. Although there are few criminal justice positions that require a master’s degree, having one will position you ahead of your peers for some of the most popular and desirable jobs in the field. A master’s degree can also help you earn a higher salary in the same position as someone who only holds a bachelor’s degree.
What exactly can you do with a master’s in criminal justice? There’s no shortage of possibilities. Whether you’re already a practitioner or looking to change careers and enter criminal justice, here’s a look at some of the most popular jobs for graduates who hold a master’s degree in criminal justice.
Correctional Treatment Specialist
Correctional treatment specialists, also known as case managers or correctional counselors, work with probationers to develop and implement rehabilitation plans that will keep them from committing new crimes and ending up back in jail.
As a correctional treatment specialist, you will monitor the progress of parolees and probationers to make sure they meet the terms specified in their rehabilitation plans and/or probation contracts.
Demand for correctional treatment specialists primarily depends on funding for corrections, which is good news for job seekers considering the U.S. Department of Justice requested $8.5 billion in total funding in 2015 for prison facilities and programs that reduce recidivism.
The stakes are much higher for law enforcement officials at the federal level, which is why federal agents typically earn more and have greater career opportunities than local and state police officers. Federal agents are paid according to the federal law enforcement officer salary table, which provides more consistent pay increases with additional experience and/or education.
Some agents are also eligible to receive locality pay (14% to 35% of base salary) and Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), a 25% bonus added to locality pay. Multiple government agencies are in need of criminal justice graduates to fill federal agent positions, including:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Criminal Justice Management
Positions related to the oversight, administration and supervision of the criminal justice system are the natural “next steps” for those working in the field of criminal justice who want to advance their careers.
With experience and an advanced criminal justice degree, you will be prepared for any number of high-level managerial and administrative roles, including police chief, security manager and security director. These and other law enforcement executive positions are responsible for shaping the field of criminal justice in America.
The nature of the position means fewer management roles are available compared to entry-level law enforcement positions, but professionals with a combination of experience and education will be prepared to lead in police departments, federal law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice organizations. According to more than 400 individual salary reports on Payscale.com, the average salary for a police chief in the United States is $70,977.
Law Enforcement Educator
For law enforcement professionals who want a change of pace, there are many opportunities throughout the country to train the next generation of criminal justice practitioners. As a law enforcement educator you will share the knowledge and skills you acquired in the field and in the classroom with men and women who are themselves pursuing a career in criminal justice.
Direct law enforcement experience is helpful, but holding a graduate-level criminal justice degree is almost always a requirement to enter the field of law enforcement education.
Whatever your passion, interests, and career goals are, the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Saint Joseph’s University will help you take your criminal justice career to the next level. Our curriculum is designed to give you maximum flexibility in the job market and make you a highly desirable candidate for any job you apply for.
However, if you are unsure if Criminal Justice should be your main focus consider a specialization in Criminal Justice.