Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice 2021

Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice 2021

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Find a Master's Program
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

An online master's degree in criminal justice gives learners advanced knowledge and skills in criminal justice topics such as organizational behavior, issues in policing, and criminal profiling.

Graduates can work as police officers, probation officers, correctional treatment specialists, and correctional supervisors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earn a median salary of $53,020 per year, while first-line supervisors of correctional officers earn a median of $62,500 per year.

Top 10 Online Master's in Criminal Justice

#1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#2 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
#3 Florida International University Miami, FL
#4 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
#5 California State University – San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA
#6 California State University – Long Beach Long Beach, CA
#7 Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX
#8 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
#9 Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis, MO
#10 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville, GA

The Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Programs

Sort By
Rank School Location Apply More Information
4

Georgia Southern University 

Statesboro, GA Apply Now

About this school

An honors college serving the community of south Georgia, Georgia Southern is military friendly and serves over 20,000 students each year.

Georgia Southern's online master's in criminal justice and criminology degree confers expertise and practical experience on its graduates. The 36-credit program includes courses like criminological theory. Students can also choose a cybercrime emphasis.

Students need transcripts from their baccalaureate institutions indicating a 2.75 cumulative GPA to apply. Admissions also require students to submit two letters of recommendation with a completed application.

Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
53%
Online Enrollment
35%
5

California State University – San Bernardino 

San Bernardino, CA Apply Now

About this school

CSUSB offers an online master of arts in criminal justice. Students take courses covering components of the criminal justice system as well as research and statistical foundations.

Students need a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students need three prerequisites to begin, but can gain admittance conditionally and take the required classes during the first year. Students must also provide a statement of purpose and three reference letters.

Graduation Rate
57%
Percent Receiving Loans
35%
Online Enrollment
27%
6

California State University – Long Beach 

Long Beach, CA Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1949, CSULB now serves a student population of over 37,000 students annually.

The university offers an online master of science in criminology and criminal justice degree in an accelerated format. Course topics include crime and public policy and theories of crime causation. Students can complete the degree in two years.

To apply, students need to provide evidence of research accomplishment, GRE scores, or LSAT scores to demonstrate ability. The school also requires two recommendation letters, a personal statement, a resume, and official transcripts to apply.

Graduation Rate
69%
Percent Receiving Loans
32%
Online Enrollment
29%
7

Texas A & M International University 

Laredo, TX Apply Now

About this school

Poised at the gateway to Mexico, TAMIU serves over 8,000 students annually with a range of degree programs. It offers joint degree programs with both Mexican and Canadian institutions.

The school's online master of science in criminal justice degree gives students flexible learning options. Students study theory and practice in a variety of areas, including crime issues and societal trends.

Students need either a 2.8 GPA or a 2.5 GPA with work experience in a related field to apply. The school also requires a completed application, transcripts, and a professional resume to apply.

Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
34%
Online Enrollment
47%
8

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 

Slippery Rock, PA Apply Now

About this school

Founded originally in 1889 and revamped in 1960, SRU serves 8,500 students annually with many degree options. It offers a small, private education setting.

The school's master of arts in criminal justice offers students foundational training in theory, research, and statistical methodology. Students can complete the 30-credit curriculum in as few as 12 months and can choose a general, internship, or thesis option.

Students need an essay, transcripts, and two recommendation letters to apply. The school requires no standardized tests, but students can send them for reference.

Graduation Rate
67%
Percent Receiving Loans
70%
Online Enrollment
32%
9

Missouri Baptist University 

Saint Louis, MO Apply Now

About this school

A faith-based institution with a small student-to-faculty ratio, MBU offers over 70 degree programs for students around the world.

MBU's online master of science in criminal justice explores contemporary issues in the field from a Christian perspective. Courses include civil remedies in criminal justice, the criminal court system, and diversity issues in criminal justice. Students can access coursework through a 100% online format.

Students need official transcripts plus three letters of recommendation and a professional statement to apply. The school does not require applicants to submit standardized tests.

Graduation Rate
36%
Percent Receiving Loans
30%
Online Enrollment
31%
10

Georgia College & State University 

Milledgeville, GA Apply Now

About this school

Georgia College offers 34 graduate programs and serves a diverse student population from its campus in South Georgia and online. It provides a public, liberal arts foundation.

The school's online master of science in criminal justice offers 36 credits covering contemporary issues in the field. Courses include both required courses and electives designed to hone students' skills. Classes happen 100% online, with a required comprehensive exam at the end of the degree.

Students must have evidence of a bachelor's degree and a current resume detailing work experience. Georgia College requires a minimum GPA of 2.75, plus GRE (290), GMAT (450), or MAT (395) scores.

Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
44%
Online Enrollment
25%
11

McNeese State University 

Lake Charles, LA Apply Now

About this school

McNeese boasts over 75 years of education experience as a top-ranked public university. Located in southwest Louisiana, the school serves over 7,500 students every year.

McNeese's online master of science in criminal justice offers students a foundational range of knowledge in the criminal justice system. Students study ethics and justice, criminology, and corrections. Students can complete the program in as few as one and a half years.

Students must provide transcripts and proof of a minimum 2.5 GPA to qualify for admission. The school does not require standardized tests.

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
36%
Online Enrollment
57%
12

University of North Florida 

Jacksonville, FL Apply Now

About this school

UNF serves over 17,000 students annually in both graduate and undergraduate courses. It is a nationally ranked public university located in Jacksonville.

UNF's online master of science in criminal justice degree provides foundational training for criminology students. The program focuses on the interrelationship between theory, research, and practice. Elective courses include crime mapping, victimology, police effectiveness, and issues in social and criminal justice.

Students must submit official transcripts, a letter of intent, and two letters of recommendation to apply. The school requires a minimum 3.0 GPA to get started.

Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
34%
Online Enrollment
52%
13

TrineOnline 

Fort Wayne, IN Apply Now

About this school

Trine has 130 years of expertise in education, which it brings to its online program, TrineOnline. Students can complete or continue a degree entirely online.

TrineOnline's master of science with a criminal justice major offers students training in contemporary issues in law enforcement, including psychopathology, child welfare, and crisis response. The capstone project and demonstration offers students a chance to showcase their knowledge.

TrineOnline requires a completed application, GMAT or GRE scores, and a written essay to apply. The school does not specify a minimum GPA. Students can apply up to six graduate transfer credits toward their degree.

Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
93%
14

Jacksonville State University 

Jacksonville, AL Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1883, JSU offers 95 different programs and serves thousands of students each year.

The school's master of science in criminal justice offers students a 100% online degree option. Courses include applied data analysis, law enforcement, and applied ethics. Students complete a thesis statement and directed reading course. The non-thesis option requires a comprehensive exam.

To apply, JSU requires a completed application and official transcripts from all previous institutions. Students must submit three recommendation forms as well.

Graduation Rate
42%
Percent Receiving Loans
64%
Online Enrollment
68%
15

Webber International University 

Babson Park, FL Apply Now

About this school

A not-for-profit, private university, Webber is military-friendly distinction and has a student body that includes both international and local students.

Webber offers an online master's in business administration with a concentration in criminal justice management. Students in this program gain advanced knowledge of the criminal justice system, plus foundational training in business administration. Students can go on to teach or pursue careers as high ranking officials.

The program requires a completed application, resume, and letters of recommendation to apply. GMAT scores can help strengthen a student's application.

Graduation Rate
27%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
Online Enrollment
23%
16

University of Louisiana at Monroe 

Monroe, LA Apply Now

About this school

ULM provides education and community to nearly 10,000 students every year from its campus in Louisiana and around the world. Its online programs help students complete a degree or pursue graduate work.

The school's online master of arts in criminal justice offers a 33-credit thesis track and a 36-credit non-thesis track. Students take courses fully online and study relevant content areas, including criminal justice theory and the latest research.

Students need a cumulative 2.75 GPA to apply. The school requires a completed application and relevant transcripts to complete the admission process.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
Online Enrollment
34%
17

University of Wisconsin-Platteville 

Platteville, WI Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1866, UW-Platteville offers curricula taught by industry-leading faculty. The school is a leader in technological subjects, and over 8,700 students attend annually.

The school's online master's in criminal justice includes courses such as criminology theory and law as social control. Students can choose three emphasis areas to focus their career development, including criminal justice theory, criminal justice management, and victim and offender services.

Students need a minimum 2.75 GPA to apply. The school does not require GMAT or GRE scores, but does require transcripts and a completed application to complete the admissions process.

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
21%
18

University of North Texas 

Denton, TX Apply Now

About this school

One of the nation's largest universities, UNT offers 94 master's, 36 doctoral, and over 100 bachelor's programs. The university collaborates with community leaders and provides a path to careers in research and academia.

UNT offers an online master of science in criminal justice with a concentration in justice policy and administration. Students can complete the flexible program in two years, ending in a comprehensive exam that demonstrates skills.

Students must complete an application and send official transcripts to begin the admissions process. The graduate school requires a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.

Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
50%
Online Enrollment
46%
19

University of Providence 

Great Falls, MT Apply Now

About this school

A Christian university, UP offers degrees taught through a religious perspective. Students learn to understand themselves and their roles in the world through a connection to community and mentors.

UP offers an online master of science in organizational leadership with a concentration in criminal justice. The program prepares students to lead through faith and best practices. Courses include the juvenile justice system, administration of law enforcement agencies, and psychology of criminal behavior.

Students need a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. The school requires transcripts, a completed application, and three letters of recommendation to complete the admissions process.

Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
33%
Online Enrollment
55%
20

Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA Apply Now

About this school

Liberty offers its online programs from a faith-based perspective. Students can network with fellow scholars and gain access to faculty and mentors for academic and career success.

Liberty offers an online master of science in criminal justice. Students can choose from six specialties, including cybercrime investigation, forensic psychology, and homeland security. Courses include administration of justice organizations, criminal justice program evaluation, and human resources management in criminal justice organizations.

Students need a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. Students must offer all relevant transcripts and the admissions application to begin the process.

Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
Online Enrollment
90%
21

Boston University 

Boston, MA Apply Now

About this school

BU has over 34,000 students every year and offers more than 300 programs of study, focusing on cutting-edge education subjects.

The school's master of science in criminal justice offers students a flexible, online option. The program offers three concentrations: strategic management, crime analysis, and cybercrime investigation and security. Course topics include a history of criminal justice, white-collar crime, and terrorism.

Students must complete an application with relevant transcripts to begin the process. BU requires three recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a current resume, but no standardized exams.

Graduation Rate
88%
Percent Receiving Loans
33%
Online Enrollment
10%
22

Johnson & Wales University – Online 

Providence, RI Apply Now

About this school

With a 100 year history, JWU now offers students a worthy education completely online. Its degrees are flexible, affordable, and offer help with professional advancement.

JWU offers an online master of science in criminal justice. The program prepares students to work in law enforcement and correctional settings. Students take eight-week courses, including courses in advanced administration of criminal justice and juvenile justice issues. Students can complete courses at a flexible, self-paced rate, with some graduating in two years.

Students can apply year-round with an application form, relevant transcripts, and two recommendation letters. The school also requires a statement of purpose for graduate students.

Percent Receiving Loans
73%
Online Enrollment
100%
23

New Mexico State University 

Las Cruces, NM Apply Now

About this school

NMSU is a top-tier university that serves students from New Mexico and around the world. As a NASA space grant college, the school also offers an accessible education.

NMSU offers an online master of criminal justice. Courses include the nature of crime, advanced research methods, and a seminar in criminal justice policy analysis and planning.

Regular admission requires a 3.25 minimum GPA, though provisional admission is also available. Students must submit all relevant transcripts and a completed admissions packet.

Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
33%
Online Enrollment
43%
24

Michigan State University 

East Lansing, MI Apply Now

About this school

MSU offers students over 160 years of experience in higher education. A top-100 global university, it now serves around 50,000 students each year.

The school's master of science in criminal justice degree offers students a 100% online program option with asynchronous delivery. Courses include criminal justice management, foundations in homeland security, and comparative criminal justice. Students can choose from five specialization areas to further customize the degree.

Students need a completed application, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation to apply. Students must also write a personal statement to complete the admissions process.

Graduation Rate
80%
Percent Receiving Loans
42%
Online Enrollment
22%
25

University of San Diego 

San Diego, CA Apply Now

About this school

A private university, USD serves over 8,000 students annually with graduate and undergraduate degree tracks.

USD offers an online master of science in law enforcement and public safety leadership. The five-semester program covers best practices in community engagement, data fluency and analysis, and integrative capstone projects.

Students need professional experience in law enforcement or a related field with a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA to apply. The application process includes transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and an employer recommendation letter.

Graduation Rate
80%
Percent Receiving Loans
38%
Online Enrollment
8%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Programs Ranking Guidelines

Best Online Programs - Master's in Criminal Justice

We selected these programs based on their quality, the types of courses they offer, and their faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation. We took into account the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

What is a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice?

Master's in criminal justice degree programs provide an extensive understanding of the criminal justice system's organizational components and processes. These programs typically cover crime and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective, providing insights from areas such as public administration, sociology, law, and criminal justice. Students also learn to evaluate research-based information and apply it in the real world.

MCJ degree programs cover the ethical, systemic, and reintegration aspects of the criminal justice system. They cover the theory and application of criminal justice. Students learn to design research and perform quantitative and qualitative analyses.

An online criminal justice master's degree might cover the following subjects:

  • Analyzing Criminal Behavior
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Criminal Justice Statistics
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Research Methods
  • Theories of Social Control
  • Applying Principles of Leadership in Organizational Environments
  • Correctional Systems
  • Judicial System
  • Law Enforcement
  • Policy Analysis
  • Terrorism

Students pursuing a master's in criminal justice online may need to complete a thesis, a research project, or an internship.

MCJ students can focus their degrees on specific aspects of criminal justice. Criminal justice master's programs online typically offer concentrations in judicial management, federal law enforcement, security management, terrorism, behavior analysis, strategic management, homeland security, and forensics.

Online Master's in Criminal Justice Programs

A criminal justice degree can be your point of entry into a law degree program, or enable you to work in politics, academia, advocacy, corrections, homeland security, or law enforcement—to name just a few criminal justice jobs.

Students completing a master's in criminal justice online enjoy the flexibility to balance academic progress with personal and work responsibilities. Rather than driving to a physical classroom multiple times each week, distance learning programs allow students to watch lectures, turn in assignments, take exams, and interact with teachers and colleagues from any location.

When looking at master's in criminal justice programs online, prospective degree-seekers who desire flexibility should consider asynchronous degrees that allow students to complete assignments and watch lectures on their own time. Synchronous coursework, conversely, requires learners to log on at specific times and take part in live lectures and discussions.

Some students puruing online criminal justice master's degrees already work in the field and want to advance their knowledge while continuing to work. Others may hold bachelor's degrees and work in unrelated fields but desire a career change. Learners pursuing higher education at this level should know that they want to work in the criminal justice field after graduating.

Related Master's Degree Programs

As learners may recognize when researching prospective programs, the large criminal justice industry relates to several connected disciplines. Over the course of their research, some students may decide that criminal justice does not suit their needs. In those cases, the following related master's degree programs may prove a better fit.

The Advantages of a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice allow graduates to pursue a variety of professional paths, including positions as probation officers, forensic science technicians, correctional treatment specialists, and emergency management directors. Some individuals may feel a bachelor's degree provides all they need to enjoy a satisfying career. Others, however, may prefer an advanced degree to help them take the next professional step.

Individuals with master's degrees qualify for managerial and senior-level roles, which allow for more responsibilities and higher earning potential.

Individuals with master's degrees qualify for managerial and senior-level roles, which allow for more responsibilities and higher earning potential. Many government agencies and private and public security organizations look for candidates with advanced degrees to fill their high-level positions.

Some degree-seekers may consider completing a doctoral degree. The best candidates for these terminal programs typically possess distinct, nuanced ideas about the type of work they want to do. These degrees prepare learners for postsecondary teaching positions and advanced research roles. Review the following section to learn more about careers and salary options for criminal justice majors.

Choosing an Online Criminal Justice Graduate Degree Program

With so many online master's in criminal justice programs available, prospective students should take their time finding the perfect degree. State public university programs tend to offer the most affordable options, allowing students to save money without sacrificing quality. Prospective degree-seekers must take several factors into account when deciding where to apply and attend, measuring how the realities of each program measure up to their expectations. If a program does not meet your needs, keep researching until you find one that does.

  • Program Cost: Unless students secure significant scholarships, grants, or fellowship funding, college expenses can add up quickly. Find a program with low tuition or ample aid offerings. Individuals looking for state-specific information can review the Best Schools' guide.
  • Transfer Policies: Students sometimes choose schools that do not fit their needs, even after conducting extensive research. For this reason, applicants should seek out programs with transfer-friendly policies so that they can transfer credits to a new school.
  • School Size and Type: Even online students should consider school size and type, as these factors can affect class size. Private schools tend to offer smaller student-to-teacher ratios when compared to public schools, but many in-state options also cap class sizes to maintain intimate learning environments.
  • Program Length: Program length may vary based on whether a student enrolls in an accelerated, part-time, or full-time degree. Students in accelerated programs may complete their degrees in one year, as opposed to two years for regular degrees. Part-time students may take 3-4 years to complete their degrees.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Most online programs do not mandate on-campus requirements, but prospective students should double-check these requirements before enrolling. Distance learners who live within driving distance of their school may visit campus to take advantage of certain resources.
  • Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Many programs require students to complete some type of culminating project, such as a researched thesis, a professional paper, or a project demonstrating their learning throughout the program.

Accreditation for Online Criminal Justice Master's Degrees

Attending an accredited online criminal justice master's degree is an important step in the education process, as many employers seek out this distinction when hiring. While no large-scale accrediting agency exists in the criminal justice field, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences certifies certain programs that meet their requirements.

Outside of programmatic accreditation, degree-seekers should look for institutional accreditation, which falls into two categories: regional and national. Regional accreditation tends to require a more rigorous review of universities and how they serve their students. Four-year institutions tend to obtain regional accreditation, while trade schools usually seek national accreditation.

Four-year institutions tend to obtain regional accreditation, while trade schools usually seek national accreditation.

The US Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) both work to support and delineate accredited institutions. CHEA maintains an extensive roster of accredited institutions, while the ED provides the Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Education?

Students can complete an online Criminal Justice Master's degree program in about two years.

Criminal Justice Concentrations

Criminal justice is a diverse field, and many schools offer concentration options for learners who want to focus their knowledge in a particular subfield. The concentrations highlighted below provide an idea of what to expect, but students should consult individual schools to learn about their offerings.

Corrections

This concentration prepares graduates to work directly with inmates by teaching them about the corrections, probation, and parole systems. Students learn how prison facilities work, and how to accomplish goals within these systems.

Careers this concentration prepares for:

Warden, Probation Officer, Corrections Counselor

Investigations

Students who pursue this concentration learn about organized crime, evidence gathering, interrogation and interview methods, investigative techniques and handling career criminals. They may also gain forensic skills for reviewing crime data.

Careers this concentration prepares for:

Detectives, FBI/CIA agents, Investigators, Forensic Scientists

Juvenile Justice

This concentration prepares graduates to work in the juvenile justice system, addressing family violence, the effects of domestic abuse, laws surrounding minors, and juvenile rehabilitation.

Careers this concentration prepares for:

Violence Prevention Specialists, Juvenile Offender Advocate, Program Director, Rehabilitation Specialist

Criminology

For the more science-minded, this concentration introduces learners to topics including data analysis, criminological theory, understanding existing criminal records, and getting inside the minds of those who commit unlawful acts.

Careers this concentration prepares for:

Criminologist, Forensic Psychologist

Security Management

Individuals who want to work in private, public, and governmental security firms may pursue this concentration, which focuses on homeland security, threats of terrorism, information and network security, retail security, and security administration.

Careers this concentration prepares for:

Head of Security, Emergency Management Director, Forensic Computer Analyst

Courses in an Online Master's in Criminal Justice Program

  • Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice: This course takes an in-depth look at common legal issues in the field, including how ordinances, statutes, and constitutional provisions govern how to carry out justice at the state and federal levels. Students also come to understand how judges and other justice employers are selected, promoted, and terminated.
  • International Terrorism: Students in this course receive an overview of both the history of international terrorism and its current state. Specific topics include the rise and fall of individual terrorist organizations, funding sources, handling threats, use of technology, counterterrorism, and how to prevent future groups from rising.
  • Research Methods: This required course equips learners with the tools they need to engage in qualitative and quantitative criminal justice research. Degree seekers cover topics such as establishing validity, determining a hypothesis, measuring and sampling data, allowances for errors, and the use of statistics in establishing probable causes.
  • White Collar Crimes: With a focus on nonviolent crimes, this class teaches students about white collar crimes and how investigators catch criminals. Students explore the types of crime less common to today's world, such as bank robberies, before looking into more modern forms, such as credit fraud.
  • Homeland Security: A required course for those who want to work in national security, this class covers the history of the Department of Homeland Security since its founding in 2002 and explores issues handled by the department. Students also learn about domestic and international terrorism and study common security measures.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice?

Individuals pursuing a master's in criminal justice online can choose from several career paths, depending on their interests and skill sets. Some may want to work as agents or detectives, while others may prefer counseling or rehabilitative roles. Still others aspire to educate the next generation of criminal justice professionals. In all cases, graduates typically possess a penchant for research, fact-finding, and working with a variety of personalities.

Criminal Justice Salaries Based on Experience

FBI Agent

These professionals investigate federal crimes by collecting evidence, conducting interviews, analyzing data, and conferring with other justice colleagues. They often write reports about their findings and present these findings to supervisors.

Entry Level

$52,000

Mid-Career

$65,000

Experienced

$86,000

Late Career

$99,000

Professor of Criminal Justice

Professors work in colleges and universities to teach students about the discipline. They present lectures, create assignments, grade papers, counsel learners about career options, and conduct research in the field.

Entry Level

$60,000

Mid-Career

$70,000

Experienced

$87,000

Late Career

$100,000

Correctional Counselor

Working in correctional facilities, counselors help inmates work through rehabilitation programs, design job and/or educational training, write reports about the progress of prisoners, and liaise between inmates and prisons to ensure proper services exist.

Entry Level

$34,000

Mid-Career

$40,000

Experienced

$50,000

Late Career

$51,000

Forensic Computer Analyst

These professionals work to secure computer networks, root out malware and other corrupting files, and teach other employees about network safety. They may conduct reviews, offer training sessions, and report to supervisors on ongoing security issues.

Entry Level

$59,000

Mid-Career

$86,000

Experienced

$100,000

Late Career

$99,000

Employment Settings — Criminal Justice Degree Careers

  • Alternative Schools
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Child Support Services
  • City Government Agencies
  • Correctional Facilities
  • County Government Agencies
  • County Jails
  • County Sheriff Office
  • Courts
  • Department of Human Services
  • Domestic Violence Agencies
  • Education
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Government Agencies
  • Halfway Houses and Pre-Release Programs
  • Highway Patrol
  • Immigration and Naturalization Services
  • Juvenile Detention Centers
  • Juvenile Group Homes
  • Narcotics Bureau
  • National Security Agency
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of the Public Defender
  • Police Academies
  • Police Departments
  • Precinct Station Houses
  • Private Security Companies
  • Reintegration Programs
  • Social Services Department
  • State Police
  • State Prisons
  • SUSance Abuse Clinics
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • US Customs and Border Protection
  • US Department of Defense
  • US Department of Homeland Security
  • US Department of Justice
  • US Department of the Treasury
  • US Drug Enforcement Administration
  • US Marshals Service
  • US Postal Service
  • US Secret Service
  • Women's and Family Shelters
  • Youth Correction Facilities

Criminal Justice Membership Associations

Joining a criminal justice professional organization offers several benefits to both recent graduates and seasoned professionals. Many offer continuing education and training programs, which keep practitioners aware of industry shifts and provide opportunities to network with colleagues at conferences, through webinars, and in online communities.

  • National Criminal Justice Association The NCJA represents individuals working in local, state, and tribal government agencies by providing an annual conference, virtual events, webinars, training programs, and news on issues and policy in the discipline
  • American Society of Criminology The ASC serves members by providing regional divisions and meetings, a member directory, several trade publications, an active jobs board, member awards, and opportunities to take on leadership roles within the society
  • American Correctional Association For nearly 150 years, the ACA has supported members through professional development opportunities, healthcare options, annual conferences, in-house publications, resources, governmental advocacy, and a marketplace for eLearning, books, certifications, subscriptions, and videos
  • American Probation and Parole Association APPA offers two training institutes each year to ensure that members stay current on events in the field. The association also provides a thriving online community, regular virtual and in-person events, and professional development opportunities
  • International Association of Women Police Offering a voice for women working in law enforcement, the IAWP provides an annual conference, an adopted officer program, annual awards, mentoring, scholarship, networking, peer support, and ongoing training opportunities. Members also receive WomenPolice, a quarterly publication

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice?

Master's in criminal justice degree programs provide an extensive understanding of the criminal justice system's organizational components and processes. These programs typically cover crime and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective, providing insights from areas such as public administration, sociology, law, and criminal justice. Students also learn to evaluate research-based information and apply it in the real world.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice?

Individuals pursuing a master's in criminal justice online can choose from several career paths, depending on their interests and skill sets. Some may want to work as agents or detectives, while others may prefer counseling or rehabilitative roles. Still others aspire to educate the next generation of criminal justice professionals. In all cases, graduates typically possess a penchant for research, fact-finding, and working with a variety of personalities.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Education?

Students can complete an online Criminal Justice Master's degree program in about two years.

Header Image Credit: MoMo Productions | Getty Images