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Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

A variety of careers can benefit from a master’s degree in criminal justice. Some career paths actually require such an advanced degree for entry, while others regard a master’s degree more as a competitive advantage that distinguishes job candidates. In today’s competitive job market, every advantage counts, and a master’s degree in criminal justice could be the smart option for those aspiring to leadership in criminal justice.

Careers That Require a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Not all careers in criminal justice require a master’s degree. When deciding whether a master’s degree in criminal justice is right for you, it is important to determine if an advanced degree will provide a good return on your investment for your chosen career path. Jobs that typically require an advanced degree tend to include those that involve leadership in criminal justice. University professors, upper management and public policy advisers are usually required to hold at least a master’s in criminal justice.

Careers That Do Not Require a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Some careers in criminal justice do not require a master’s degree. According to Timothy Roufa, a criminology careers expert, police officers, detectives, forensic technicians and loss prevention specialists generally do not have to hold masters degrees.

Nonetheless, these careers may view applicants with an advanced degree as more qualified than their competitors.

Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

While a master’s degree in criminal justice is not for everyone, there are distinct benefits for those who earn the degree. From a career advancement perspective, a master’s degree positions one for leadership roles. When it comes to salaries, master’s degree holders tend to earn more, even if actual pay will vary by years of experience and other factors. Data on earnings and educational attainment from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workers with a master’s degree earn 18% more than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Earning a master’s degree in criminal justice can be a significant investment of time and money that often pays off in the long run. Whether or not your chosen career path requires it, you can still enjoy a significant return on your investment over the life of your career. Many universities offer a master’s degree in criminal justice, and some even offer the coursework online. Finding a quality program that is accredited is an important step in deciding whether a master’s degree is right for you.

Learn more about Lamar University’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice online program.


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