What Careers are Available with a Master’s in Criminal Justice?

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Law Enforcement is a career made popular by television programs and media, but what kind of jobs in law enforcement can you get with a master's in criminal justice? The diverse field includes everything from business forensics to actual crime scene investigation. Some positions can be obtained with a high school diploma and some additional training. Still others require an associate or bachelor's degree. Many exciting and lucrative positions in criminal justice require a graduate degree.

Positions in Criminology

According to the website Career Profiles.info, criminology includes several different facets. For instance, a person with a graduate degree might become a criminalist. These professionals use scientific principles to analyze evidence that has been collected. They also write reports to be included in the investigations of other departments and sometimes testify in court. A criminologist studies criminal behaviors by doing research and analyzing data from populations of people to identify criminal behavior problems and possible causative factors. These are sociologists with concentrations in criminal justice. Forensic psychologists are professionals who utilize psychology to assist law enforcement in investigations. They sometimes do criminal profiling and counseling or work within the court system with juvenile victims as well as offenders. Also included in the field of criminology are penologists. These professionals may work to design rehabilitation programs for prisons and to help develop programs that will enable prisons, jails and other correction facilities to run smoother. Some penologists become administrators or policy makers at the state or federal level and some become prison wardens.

Criminal Justice Jobs in Law Enforcement

Numerous positions in the criminal justice field, such as a corrections officer or a policeman, do not require a graduate degree. These jobs are found at the local, state and federal level as community police officers and state patrolmen as well as investigators for the state bureaus of investigation and for the federal government as a CIA or FBI. To obtain an administrative position within these agencies however, applicants will be more successful if they have at least a master's in criminal justice. These professionals can become senior investigators and administrators for the Treasury Department, working as forensic accountants investigating fraud and designing secure computer systems to use in the investigation and presentation of cases.

Court and Corrections Positions

Within the criminal justice field, there is also a need for probation and parole officers. Although entry-level and rural placements do not necessarily require graduate degrees, anyone desiring a supervisory or administrative position in these careers must have at least a master's degree in criminal justice. Judges and magistrates are careers in criminal justice that can be highly lucrative. Surprisingly, these professionals don't have to be attorneys, but most do require applicants to have advanced degrees. Along this same path are mediators and conciliators. Entry level positions require an undergraduate degree but those professionals with a master's degree earn more and have greater job security.

Criminal justice careers can be very rewarding and many positions in the field are high-paying. Although the portrayal of the careers on television is probably not accurate, there is diversity and excitement in many law enforcement jobs. As in most professions, people with the highest earning potential and job satisfaction tend to be those who have a master's in criminal justice.