Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

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Published January 19, 2023

Looking for a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Washington? You should consider these top-tier graduate programs and jobs in the Criminal Justice field.

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Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Washington

If you are seeking the best degrees in Washington for criminal justice, then please review the rankings below. There are many opportunities to pursue a master's degree in a variety of fields. A master’s degree can open doors for employment in various fields.

Master's degree-holders earn an average of $6,296 per month and $81,848 a year. The rate of unemployment for those who graduate from a master's program is 2.6%, while the unemployment rate for those who hold a high school diploma is 6.2%.

Criminal Justice Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Washington in the Criminal Justice Profession

A degree in criminal justice prepares students for careers as law enforcement officers, criminologists, and crime scene investigators. Students learn about the causes of crime and how to apply crime prevention measures. They also investigate crimes and work with police departments to help solve both local and national crimes. A criminal justice major gives students an understanding of various topics, including corrections, environmental criminology, and juvenile delinquency.

Washington's median annual salary is $50,450, or $24.25 per hour. This fact applies to all the 3,205,930 employees in the state. The BLS reports that the state's lowest 10% of earners bring in approximately $30,460, while the highest 10% make about $127,470. This table shows what detectives and criminal investigators make on a regular basis.

Key

Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Washington
Detectives and Criminal Investigators Nationally
All Occupations in Washington
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Washington and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Among 51 states (including Washington, D.C.), Washington ranks number 40 on the cost of living index. It measures the national average cost of living against specific states. According to the U.S. average, all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive) that average. Washington's cost of living is 113.9, which is 13.9% higher than the national average. Learners interested in relocating to Washington can use the cost of living comparison to determine the right fit for them.

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From 2020 to 2030, jobs for detectives and criminal investigators are projected to grow by 2.5%. The BLS projects the total employment will change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. Master's degrees are required for some positions. There are many common job titles that include:

  • Detectives and criminal investigators
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Deputy United States Marshal
  • FBI Investigator
  • Homicide Detective
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Narcotics Investigator
  • Police Detective

Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

#1 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in criminal justice at Washington State University, located in Pullman, offers high academic quality. The program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in criminal justice. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program recommends a background in criminal justice or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as the library and gym, are accessible to students who live on campus. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Washington State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master of arts in criminal justice and criminology

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,781

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,879

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,202
Out-of-state
$25,145
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
31,159
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Seattle University

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in criminal justice program at Seattle University, located in Washington, offers a flexible online format. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to criminal justice. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. The admission requirements include a background in criminal justice or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library and gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Seattle University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program Name: Master of arts in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,500

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$47,565
Out-of-state
$47,565
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
7,050
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Central Washington University

  • Ellensburg, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in law and justice degree at Central Washington University, located in Ellensburg, uses a flexible distance learning format. Graduates train for leadership roles in the criminal justice field while earning their degree from the program. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in criminal justice. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in criminal justice or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their area. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. The criminal justice program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Central Washington University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 86%

Total Online Master's Programs: 21

Program Name: Master of science in law and justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,822

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,007

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,475
Out-of-state
$22,551
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
11,174
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Financing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Financial aid helps many degree-seekers lower the cost of college. Some students also qualify for both federal and private student loans. There are some colleges that offer scholarships and financial aid.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Washington

In Washington, the cost varies based on which college you attend. Public and private institutions share some similarities. You can determine whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you by reviewing the information listed below:

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Washington vs. National Average

Key

Washington
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Would it be possible to attend a private college or university? The tuition at private schools is generally higher. A graph that provides information about attending private colleges in Washington is available here.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Washington vs. National Average

Key

Washington
National Average

Chart

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Federal Student Loan Information

Thinking about borrowing student loans to fund your education? You should keep in mind some important factors before committing to a loan program.

The following data will assist you in determining what students tend to borrow on a regular basis.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The major differences between on-campus and online programs include the cost and the class size. Online programs offer at least three advantages: flexibility, affordability, and convenience. On-campus programs are more costly on average because of student fees. Attending classes does, however, have some advantages.

Top Criminal Justice Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Florida Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

A private college differs significantly from a public college in several ways. In general, public and private schools have different costs. Public institutions are funded by the government and therefore have fixed costs. The government provides grants and scholarships to cover these costs as well. Based on the student's previous academic performance, private colleges often offer merit scholarships.

Students attending private colleges often benefit from more one-on-one time with their professors. There are several pros and cons to attending a private institution over a public institution.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do detectives and criminal investigators make in Washington?

The mean annual wage for in-state detectives and criminal investigators make $108,550.

In general, are criminal justice graduates in high demand?

The total number of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to change 2.5% from 2020 to 2030.

Can you get an online master's in criminal justice?

You can get an online master's in criminal justice. Most schools today offer some form of online education.

How long does it usually take to complete a master's degree?

Typically, a master's degree takes two years to complete. Part-time students will take longer to complete, and the completion time will vary from student to student.

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