Obtaining a master’s degree in criminal justice can help you to advance your career in many areas of criminal justice and law enforcement. Not only does this master’s degree pave the way to management and leadership jobs in law enforcement; it also can prepare you for dynamic careers in criminal investigations, security, homeland security, emergency management and forensics.
Below are five of the best salaries and jobs available for professionals with a master’s degree in criminal justice.
#1 Criminal Investigator Supervisor
A supervisory criminal investigator is a management professional who oversees criminal investigators and may oversee several investigations at the same time. As a supervisor in this important law enforcement role, you will often assign a specific case to an investigator or detective. Also, you may develop and implement new departmental policies in your law enforcement workplace.
Supervisors also must ensure that police officers and investigators are collecting evidence needed to conduct investigations, and to do so according to procedure. Also, reviewing the reports of junior criminal investigators to ensure they are accurate and thorough is very important to the proper conclusion of investigations.
Supervisors also usually need to determine who is needed to process a crime scene.
The median salary in this field is $57,100, but those with more than 10 years of experience can make $100,000 per year for managerial roles.
#2 Emergency Management Director
Emergency management directors ready procedures and plans for proper responses to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. These managers also play vital roles in leading the response during and after the event. This requires emergency management directors to work closely with public safety managers, public officials, nonprofit groups and various state, federal and local agencies.
Typical job duties for this type of law enforcement professional are:
- Assess possible hazards and ready plans to properly respond to emergencies and disasters to minimize any risk to property and people
- Meet with public safety stakeholders, the public and private businesses to set up plans for emergency response
- Completely organize emergency response plans and programs for all first responders, staff and volunteers
- Coordinate how resources and equipment are shared within the community and across communities to help aid the response in a natural disaster or terrorist attack
- Apply for funds from the US government for emergencies, including for planning, responses and recovery
- Oversee effective maintenance of facilities that are needed for emergency situations
Emergency management directors must expertly analyze equipment, resources and staff so that the proper response to an emergency can be given. They often run emergency training classes for volunteers, staff and local agencies.
After an emergency, the director needs to accurately assess damage and coordinate with the government to get help and supplies where they are needed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary in this field is $70,500.
#3 Private Detective or Investigator
These professionals specialize in the search for information regarding various legal, financial and personal matters. They can offer a variety of services such as background checks, finding people who are missing, and investigating computer fraud.
Some of the most common duties in this role are:
- Conduct surveillance of possible suspects or criminals
- Collect evidence that may be presented to a client or to a court
- Verify income and employment for those under investigation
- Interview people to collect information on those being investigated
- Check backgrounds for criminal history and civil judgments
- Investigate ID theft and computer crimes
With the rise of the Internet and technology, there are many services provided by private detectives and investigators today for private individuals, attorneys and companies. Some of the most common are doing background checks for possible new hires, investigating employees for criminal acts, proving infidelity in a divorce case, and locating people who are missing.
Much of this work is done today with a computer so that information can be gathered such as addresses, phone numbers, financial data, and records of arrests. But plenty of surveillance also is done of those who are being investigated.
The median salary in this field is $48,190.
#4 Forensic Science Technician
A forensic science technician helps a criminal investigation by analyzing and collecting critical evidence. Many technicians focus their careers either on investigation of crime scenes, or on lab analysis. A great deal of time is spent in this occupation writing reports for supervisors.
For technicians who work crime scenes, common duties are:
- Analyzing crime scenes to determine what type of evidence should be gathered and how to do it properly
- Take pictures of the evidence and the crime scene
- Make hand drawings of the crime scene as needed
- Record all findings and observations, including where evidence was located
- Collect all evidence: weapons, fingerprints and any bodily fluids
- Preserve and catalog all evidence for transport to the crime lab
For technicians who work in the lab, typical duties include:
- Handle microscopic, biological and chemical analysis on evidence that is taken from the crime scene
- Explore potential links between a crime and suspects using DNA results and other modern analysis tools
- Review digital media for any relevant crime information
- Talk to experts in toxicology and others to collect evidence
Most forensic science technicians have a biology or chemistry background, but it is becoming more common to earn a master’s in criminal justice for this role.
The median salary in this position is $56,750.
#5 Probation Officer Supervisor and Correctional Treatment Specialist
Probation officers and supervisors monitor and work with people on probation to discourage them from committing new crimes. Supervisors in this role typically will oversee several probation officers to ensure that each probation case is being handled properly.
Common duties in this field are:
- Meeting with probationers and probation officers
- Evaluating those on probation and overseeing how probationers are being overseen by probation officers
- Provide resources to probationers and probation officers to minimize chances that new crimes will occur
- Review and write reports about individual probationer cases
A correctional treatment specialist is a type of case manager who works with probationers and helps them with a rehabilitation plan to minimize chances of committing more crimes. They use their criminal justice training to evaluate inmates with the use of psychological tests and questionnaires. They also work with other probation officers and staff to develop effective parole and release plans for each person.
The median salary in this field is $50,100.
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- Forensic Science Technicians. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm#tab-5
- Emergency Management Director. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/emergency-management-directors.htm
- Private Detective and Investigators. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm#tab-2