11 Best Paying MBA in Criminal Justice Careers

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The number of different careers in criminal justice is extensive. Many of these positions are available for those who hold a bachelor’s degree, but it is almost expected that they will continue on to achieve a master’s degree in that field as well. By obtaining a master’s degree, and particularly an MBA in Criminal Justice, salaries can increase by around $15,000 to $20,000 per year on average.

Those looking for a career in criminal justice can work for federal, state, county and local law enforcement. Additionally, opportunities exist in the private sector. Generally speaking, criminal justice careers are divided into a number of different categories: legal services, academia, private security, homeland security, forensic science, corrections and law enforcement.

If you do hold an MBA in Criminal Justice, it is likely that your career choice will be driven by passion. However, being financially compensated for that passion is also very important, particularly because achieving an MBA will have been a significant investment in itself.

Below are what we believe to be the 11 best paying MBA in Criminal Justice Careers.

1. Air Marshal

After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security instituted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Their goal is to ensure airlines are safe, focusing on crew members, passengers and the craft itself. The TSA developed the Air Marshal Service, which is manned by armed undercover agents who are present on global flights to protect the craft and its occupants in case of a hostile act. Air marshals fly 181 days per year and are trained to identify suspicious behavior on board crafts and to address this if need be. It is a high pressure job, which is reflected in low average working times (5 hours per day) and reasonable remuneration packages. According to Federal Law Enforcement, an air marshal will earn between $17,083 and $155,500 per year. Those at the top end of the scale almost all have a master’s degree such as an MBA in Criminal Justice.

2. CIA Analyst

A CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) Analyst is responsible for assisting the CIA in keeping the government safe. Essentially, CIA employees collect pieces of data in relation to national security. An analyst then interprets all the information that is collected and draws conclusions from these, which drives national security policy and how agents in the field behave. They also focus on discovering hidden ties between different pieces of information, keeping the interest of our country safe both here and abroad. According to the CIA, the salary for these professionals ranges from $50,864 to $99,296 depending on experience and education.

3. CIA Officer

CIA Officers are also known as agents. Popular culture often depicts them as spies, but this is just a small element of the entire operation. Agents are responsible for the collection of data and information using any source available to them. They use this to evaluate issues in relation to national security, while at the same time working together with other agencies to help keep the nation safe. CIA agents often work undercover and will use “spy” equipment. The majority of agents currently live in Washington, D.C., but an unknown number also live abroad, where they collect data that relates to the interests of this country. According to CIAAgentEdu, the average salary for a CIA Officer is between $74,872 and $136,771. However, this is for special agents and investigators, who are the highest earners (and highest educated) of all.

4. Computer Forensics Investigator

This is one of the newest roles within criminal justice. Essentially, these specialists uncover digital information from hard drives, computer systems, storage devices, CDs and electronic communication methods and utilize this to protect the interests of the nation. One potential employer for a computer forensics investigator is the National Security Agency, for instance. However, they also commonly work in private businesses and within the IT industry. Others work as consultants. According to the Info Sec Institute, these specialists earn between $50,000 and $75,000. However, the demand for these jobs is very high and it is certainly possible that salaries will increase accordingly.

5. Correctional Treatment Specialist

A correctional treatment specialist is charged with identifying relevant programs for inmates and ensure they are referred to them. They then monitor how they progress and whether this is beneficial to their overall rehabilitation. Their goal is to give each prisoner the necessary skills to prevent recidivism. They are also heavily involved with creating release plans, including early release, weekend furloughs, work release programs, probation and parole. Demand for these professionals is increasing tremendously due to prison overcrowding. According to CorrectionalOfficerEdu, the average salary for this professional is $48,190. However, this is at bachelor degree level. It is known that holding an MBA can add between $15,000 and $20,000 per year to an average salary. It is also for this reason that the top 10% of correctional treatment specialists earn $83,410 per year and above.

6. DEA Agent

A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent investigates major drug crimes both here and abroad. They are responsible for collecting evidence and preparing it, they conduct surveillance operations, they write reports of their investigations, they interview witnesses, they place arrests and they size assets where needed. Furthermore, they work together with agencies on all levels in relation to drug intelligence. Salaries for DEA agents vary. However, those who hold an MBA in Criminal Justice tend to start on the GS-13 pay scale, which has a starting salary of $92,592, according to Criminal Justice USA.

7. Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors can work in a variety of different fields. Often, they manage border patrol agents, immigration enforcement agents, counter terrorism agents or TSA screeners. They tend to oversee entire departments, managing budgets and more. According to Salary.com, their average salary is $124,943.

8. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants are specialized in applying forensic knowledge on a financial basis. This means they often look at embezzlement and other such crimes. They also conduct audits, identify discrepancies in public companies, prepare witness testimony and review the financial statements of Fortune 500 companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for all accountants is around $61,690. However, those who hold an MBA and those who work in forensic accounting in particular tend to be closer to the top 10% of earners, meaning their salary is at least $106,000 per year.

9. ICE Agent

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents work within immigrations and customs and they can work in a range of different fields within this. This can include human trafficking, border patrol, cyber crime, child exploitation, intelligence gathering, deportation and so on. The deportation process is where most ICE agents find employment, which means they work with criminal and illegal migrants, focusing on their apprehension and physical deportation. Additionally, they work with a lot of paperwork, which they check at customs. At border patrols, they examine passports and perform surveillance on people suspected of immigration violations and so on. Furthermore, they work hand in hand with a range of other agencies, such as Border Patrol, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Salaries vary greatly depending on level of education and experience. However, those with an MBA may enter at GS-9, which stands at between $41,563 and $54,028 per year according to Federal Law Enforcement.

10. Secret Service Agent

Secret service agents tend to work either in investigation or protection. Depending on which one of the two they focus on, their role will also vary. Protective agents will look after current and past presidents and their families. Investigative agents look into crimes such as identity theft, fraud and counterfeiting. The salary range of a secret service agent is between $43,964 and $74,891 according to Forbes.com.

11. Victims Advocate

Victims advocates are in increasingly high demand as there is there is greater understanding of how important it is to offer proper support to victims of crime. As such, these professionals can work across a range of different settings, including charitable organizations. There role mainly revolves around offering emotional support to people who have been victims of crimes, including contacting them if their attacker is released from prison, for instance. According to Indeed.com, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $54,000 at bachelor’s degree level.

Additional Resources

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com