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Government Jobs for MS in Criminal Justice Graduates

If you want to take your criminal justice career to the next level — perhaps even moving on to a federal career in the FBI or the CIA — a master’s degree in criminal justice can be a smart move.

Federal jobs vary in accountability and compensation, so based upon your unique skills and interests, there may be several avenues to explore. Below are a few job options, many of which are available directly through the federal government, others work with government entities.

Mid-Management-Level Jobs and Salaries

Criminal Profiler — A criminal profiler works with police departments to help find missing details and make inferences about how a crime occurred. He or she helps assemble information about a suspect. Other responsibilities may include analyzing evidence and speaking to family members. There are several methods of criminal profiling — some abstract, some concrete. Annual salaries of criminal profilers are generally around $54,000.

Criminal Research Specialist — These specialists work in most major American cities and foreign countries to battle drug trafficking, human trafficking, weapons smuggling, illegal exports, violent crime and terrorism. Criminal research specialists work with Homeland Security at national borders, where they conduct research and manage investigations into complex criminal operations. A criminal research specialist can expect a salary of approximately $71,000.

Criminologist — Criminologists ascertain why a crime was committed, and they try to anticipate future crimes. Understanding crime rates and demographics is key in this position, as is a background in human behavior and psychology. Criminologists sometimes also work in university settings. With a master’s degree, the average salary for a criminologist is around $70,000.

FBI Special Agent — For anyone considering a career in the FBI as a special agent, what you can expect is the unexpected. There are no “typical” days working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agents spend their time gathering evidence, executing search warrants, testifying in court, making arrests and completing paperwork. This job does not have typical hours, and it often requires relocation. FBI agents with a master’s degree can earn a salary of over $62,000 a year.

Forensic Scientist — A forensic scientist works in federal or state crime labs and analyzes evidence from crime scenes, documents facts and determines which examinations and tests to conduct. The scientist then conducts those tests, documents their results and writes precise, clear reports for use in court. Forensic scientists often testify as expert witnesses. To qualify as an expert witness, forensic scientists need a background in education as well as training and experience. Forensic scientists earn an estimated salary of $56,000 per year.

Intelligence Analyst — Intelligence analysts commonly work for the FBI, and the vast majority of them have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. This position is responsible for working behind the scenes, analyzing and gathering material from a variety of sources like law enforcement databases and intelligence networks. Intelligence analysts use this data to anticipate and prevent highly organized crime or to solve the toughest cases in the nation. An intelligence analyst can expect a salary almost $70,000 per year.

A master’s degree in criminal justice provides a variety of opportunities, especially for those interested in a career with the FBI. Whether you prefer a role working in the background studying and analyzing crime scenes or a more active role in the field protecting our communities, there are federal positions available to advance your career to the next level.

Learn about the Lamar University online MS in Criminal Justice program.


AAFS: What Do Forensic Scientists Do?

U.S. BLS: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015

BLS: Occupational Outlook Handbook — Forensic Science Technicians

FBI: Frequently Asked Questions

Insider Monkey: 11 Highest-Paying Jobs With a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

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