This website was created to provide a comprehensive guide to students for finding resources regarding a master’s degree in criminal justice. Whether they are earning that degree currently or just want to learn more about it, they can find information here. Depending on the chosen school where the degree will be received, it may be called a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) or a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ).
Different schools may have different designations for this degree, and the exact program requirements may also vary.
Visitors to this site who are interested in criminal justice can get information about the top MACJ and MSCJ programs in the US. They will also learn about salaries, job demand, career options, and opportunities to help them pay for their education.
You may be wondering about the value of getting a MACJ or MSCJ degree, and you can find that information here, as well. You can learn about all the doors this degree will open, the most popular jobs that are undertaken by people with this degree, and how the curriculum will better prepare you for a solid career in the criminal justice system.
Many universities are now offering excellent MACJ and MSCJ programs online. There are a lot of advantages for students in these programs. They are able to work on a full-time or part-time basis, and take classes around their work schedule.
They also don’t have to relocate, and can “attend” class from anywhere in the country or the world. People who are caring for families benefit, as well, since they can get their education while their children are in school or asleep, and work around the other obligations they have in their daily life.
Among the skills that you can learn in an MACJ or MSCJ program are:
- The legal system
- Written and oral communication
- Human resources
- Time management
- Criminal behavior
Students can also ask for free information about MACJ and MSCJ programs and the universities where those programs are offered. We are glad you decided to visit our site. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can do to assist you.
Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree Overview
A Master of Criminal Justice (whether MCJ, MACJ, or MSCJ) degree is a professional, graduate degree that is considered to be very desirable for those who want to work in government agencies, police departments, nonprofits, and many different types of law enforcement. It can also be used to teach criminal justice education at the high school or college level.
An MCJ, MACJ, or MSCJ degree generally focuses on the criminal justice system, but goes beyond police work to consider probation and parole, surveillance work, terrorism, and all related ways of getting involved in bringing various types of criminals to justice. Many MCJ programs offer concentrations, such as cybersecurity, counterterrorism, surveillance, and more. Most MCJ, MACJ, or MSCJ programs take two full years to complete, but there are some that require fewer courses and may be completed in a shorter period of time.
A related degree is the Master of Criminology. (MS – Criminology or MC). Many universities will offer only one degree or the other, but some do offer both.
Online Master’s in Criminal Justice
There are a number of high quality online universities today that offer excellent online criminal justice graduate degrees. By electing to earn your degree online, you will have much more flexibility in your educational journey. You can continue to work at least part time, and possibly attend a college that is in another part of the country or world.
Reasons to Earn a Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree
There are a number of great reasons to earn a criminal justice degree. It can lead to many options for a rewarding and profitable career, depending on the opportunities the student is looking for. The salaries for those with criminal justice degrees can really vary, depending on the type of job you take and the organization with which you work.
Median salaries for correctional workers start near $40,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but salaries for private investigators and social workers who have a master’s degree in criminal justice are often higher. The Bureau also reports that the job opportunities for that degree will remain neutral, with little to no growth in the next decade.
Master’s in Criminal Justice Course Requirements
Some of the most common classes that you will need to complete for this graduate program are:
- Criminal justice management
- Crime, causation, prevention, and control
- Policy analysis under conditions of change
- Quantitative methods in criminal justice research
- Design and analysis in criminal justice research
- Applied statistics in criminal justice
- Seminar in criminal justice
- Seminar in criminology
- Demonstration research project
Many professionals who apply to a university to earn their MCJ already have a background in the criminal justice system. They may have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or law, but some have changed professions and will have degrees that are not as closely related to their chosen master’s program.
To work toward a master’s in criminal justice degree you will want to have taken courses in English, communication, law, policy, history, government, and law enforcement. Having a statistical or analytical background can also help, making classes in accounting, finance, or mathematics helpful.
Criminal Justice Career Outlook
As mentioned above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for correctional officers and related careers that require a criminal justice degree will remain flat through the next 10 years. There will be jobs available, but not at extremely high levels. A MCJ degree could put you ahead of your competition for the available jobs in your chosen field.
- Correctional Officer Supervisor –Correctional officer supervisors focus on ensuring that corrections officers are handling their job duties properly. This is generally done in a prison or jail setting, and smaller settings may mean the correctional officer supervisor has a larger number of duties. The salary for this position is generally around $55,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Criminal Profiler — A criminal profiler looks for evidence as to why someone who commit a crime. The goal is to determine what type of person would be a likely suspect, in order to help law enforcement in their efforts to locate the person guilty of the criminal behavior.
- Criminologist — Criminologists study the causes of crime on a large scale, as opposed to studying individual crimes. They focus on ways in which public policy can be changed in order to make recommendations that can help improve quality of life for a community. Salaries vary widely, depending on experience and location.
- Police and Detective Supervisor — A police and detective supervisor operates and manage departments, and ensure that officers do their jobs correctly, stay motivated, and stay as safe as possible. Generally, they make around $78,000 per year, with regular line officers making around $57,000.
- Supervisory Criminal Investigator — A supervisory criminal investigator supervises criminal investigators in a management-level position, and may also get involved in investigations that are complex and high-level. They assign cases, read reports, and work with other agencies to reduce or eliminate criminal behavior.
- Forensic Examiner — A forensic examiner can work in a general capacity, or with a specialization like media, pathology, or engineering. These examiners often look at complex problems and consider the evidence left at a crime scene in order to draw conclusions about the criminal behavior that occurred.
These are only a few of the career options that are available to MCJ graduates. Any job that requires knowledge of the criminal justice system could be a good fit for someone with that degree.
Job Opportunities After Graduation
Once you earn your master’s degree in criminal justice, you can look for work in many places, including:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- State and federal prisons, local corrections facilities
- Private security corporations and protective service
- Private investigative services
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Border patrol
- State and national parks
- U.S. Customs
- Child protective services
- Risk management/assessment companies
According to US News and World Report, the areas of criminal justice that offer the best jobs and salaries are:
- Criminologist: A criminologist studies what motivates criminals to break the law. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median pay in this field, which is related to sociology, is $72,000, and the field is expected to grow by 18% by 2020.
- Forensic psychologist: Explores the psychology of a defendant in a criminal case. The median pay is $66,000 per year, with job growth at 22%.
- Police detective: Pursue criminals, gather evidence, testify in court and interview suspects. Median pay is $68,000.
BLS also states that the field of private detectives and investigators is going to grow at 21% in the next 7 years. The median pay in the field is $42,000 but the top 10 percent earn $75,000.
Indeed.com reports that the average salary for police detectives is $60,000.
One of the best ways to fund your MCJ degree is to choose from the methods listed below. A lot of universities offer programs to help you pay for your education.
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Boston University Metropolitan College
- Sam Houston State University
- Bethel University
- National Criminal Justice Association
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
- National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center
- American Correctional Association
- American Probation and Parole Association
- International Association of the Chiefs of Police
- American Criminal Justice Association
- National Association of Police Organizations
- National Black Police Association