When thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice, there are many considerations to keep in mind. The time it takes to complete the program, the rigor of the coursework and the benefits of the degree should all play a part in the decision. Cost, however, is usually the primary concern. Fortunately, there are affordable criminal justice graduate programs for those who wish to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice.
The Rising Cost of Graduate School
Those pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice should consider the trend of rising tuition. As The New York Times reports, “over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars.” Private universities often charge double or triple these amounts, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Graduate schools are not immune, either. By one estimate, graduate school tuition has increased 60 percent in the last 10 years.
Is It Worth It?
While the cost of a master’s degree in criminal justice is rising, the investment may be worth it. According to a report issued by GetEducated, a consumer resource for online education, the top criminal justice graduate programs all cost less than $20,000. While that may seem expensive, consider the benefits of a master’s degree in criminal justice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that those holding a master’s degree can expect to earn an average of $1,341 a week. Further, the 2014 unemployment rate of those holding a master’s degree was nearly half of the national average. The benefits of an advanced degree, it seems, outweigh the costs.
Where Can I Get One?
A number of colleges offer online criminal justice graduate programs. For example, Lamar University offers online courses in its master’s degree in criminal justice program for under $1,000 a class. This cost is effectively offset by the potential earnings of someone who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice. For example, the 2015 median yearly pay for police and detectives exceeds $60,000, according to the BLS. With a master’s degree in hand, you may be able to work toward a career in the FBI or the CIA, where salaries can exceed $70,000.
A master’s degree in criminal justice may be a smart choice to advance your career and boost your earning power. Since tuition is rising for everyone, it is important to see if the investment in your education will pay off in the long run.
Learn about the Lamar University online MS in Criminal Justice program.