What jobs will I be qualified for once I earn my Master of Criminal Justice Degree?
Still not sure if criminal justice is the best career choice for you? Then read through the list below. These are jobs in the criminal justice field, and each is followed by a description of the job and the duties that come with it.
For some of these, an advanced degree is an nonnegotiable requirement. For others, the master degree allows applicants to apply successfully with fewer years of work experience than would otherwise be required. A master degree can also allow applicants to by-step entry-level positions and start a career at a higher level of both pay and responsibility.
Read the list carefully. If one – or more – really speaks to you, then you’ll know that earning a Master of Criminal Justice degree is the right career move for you.
- FBI special agent – While the FBI will consider applicants with only a BA in criminal justice, having a master degree means you will need fewer years of relevant job experience – normally three years – to be qualified to become a special agent. FBI special agents perform a wide range of ever-changing duties, all part of, according to the FBI website, a career filled with “uncommon days and amazing experiences.” On any given day, an agent could find themselves interviewing suspects in the morning, testifying in a court case at noon and “planning an operation” with other agents by evening. Other career paths within the FBI open to someone with a Master of Criminal Justice degree include intelligence analyst, surveillance specialist, federal police officer, security specialist and facility operations specialist.
- Director of court services – Working as a top-level manager, the director of court services is responsible for the smooth operation of nearly every aspect of a court services division. Their duties can include creating compliant court procedures and practices, managing day-to-day court operations, creating and maintaining forms and records, aiding the enforcement of child support, as well as overseeing the staffing of all the departments for which they are responsible.
- Criminal justice teacher – Criminal justice is taught at many different levels, from high school all the way through college, in the private sector, the public sector and even the military. Criminal justice teachers teach the basics of criminal justice to those interested in making the field their career. To teach at a public high school, a teaching license would also be required. To teach at the university level - though not at the community college level – requires a doctorate.
- Criminologist – Crimes – and the people who commit them – cannot be successful addressed by our society and its criminal justice system without a thorough understanding of its root causes. That’s where the criminologist comes in. They study crime and its various causes, looking at when and where criminal behavior develops and assessing various methods of rehabilitation for effectiveness. With this information in hand, criminologists can aid law enforcement officials as they look at various methods of crime deterrence. Criminologists can also be called upon by lawmakers as they create public policy. They can work in a wide range of settings, from academia to law enforcement, working both in the field and behind a desk compiling crime-related statistics, interviews and other data all with an eye toward understanding the different aspects of criminal behavior and how best to address it.
- Criminal profiler – While the criminologist looks at overall trends in crime, usually over a wide geographic area like a whole neighborhood or an entire state, the criminal profiler focuses on a single crime, in a very specific time and place. The criminal profiler examines the evidence gathered from the scene of a crime to create a possible profile of the perpetrator. Details in that profile can often accurately predict the age, sex, economic background and education level of the perpetrator. Law enforcement officials use these details as they look for their suspect. Criminal profilers can also be asked to determine whether or not a crime scene has been altered to hide crucial evidence and can often reconstruct what happened during the commission of a crime based on the physical evidence left behind at the scene.
- Forensic anthropologist – One of the most hands-on of the criminal investigation fields, forensic anthropology is the study of human remains. Forensic anthropologists are called to a suspected crime scene when a body is discovered. Using detailed information gathered from the remains, the anthropologist can help investigators determine if a crime has been committed, and then solve that crime by revealing the age and sex of the victim, as well as when and how that person died.
- Correctional supervisor – Correctional supervisors work at the head of correctional institutions such as prisons, probation departments and parole departments. Working as the chief of operations in these institutions, the correctional supervisor oversees other staff members, assigning jobs, reviewing reports and making decisions that affect not only the wellbeing of the staff, but that of people being held or processed within the corrections system, as well.
- Forensic psychologist – Human behavior and the criminal justice system are irrevocably woven together. Forensic psychologists use their understanding of human behavior to assess convicted or suspected criminals for their fitness to stand trial, serve as expert witnesses during the course of a trial, make recommendations during sentencing, make risk assessments for convicted criminals up for probation, and also work to ensure that incarcerated individuals receive treatment services which will allow them to successfully transition from prison back into public life. While becoming a registered forensic psychologist requires a doctoral degree, those with a master degree can work in the field without this registration.
Working in the real world
Still interested? Good! But, this is a big decision you’re trying to make. So, let’s take a look at whether or not jobs are available in the field of criminal justice. Real jobs, available right now.
A quick search of national job sites gives us the information we need. At the time this article was written, here is a small sampling of the available jobs. And these were just the tip of the iceberg!
Using the simple search term “criminal justice” and adding “Colorado” for the location, here’s what turned up:
- The Center for Employment Opportunities, Denver, Colorado – Needed to hire a site supervisor to help those who were formerly incarcerated to find current employment.
- 1st Alliance Behavioral Health, Pueblo, Colorado – Needed to add a clinical care coordinator to its staff to help in providing support to clients who were working to be released from parole and find a healthy, productive way to reintegrate into society.
- Rite of Passage, Durango, Colorado – Was looking for someone with a degree in social services or criminal justice to fill a program-director position, working to provide services and opportunities for at-risk youth. For this position, a master degree was “highly preferred.”
- Mercy Housing, Denver, Colorado – Was advertising for a compliance specialist to monitor the housing units and their managers within its affordable housing network to ensure that they met with all affordable housing codes and program requirements.
- Denver Water, Denver, Colorado – Needed to hire a security specialist to investigate on-site threats and to evaluate and instigate on-going security measures.
- BI Incorporated, Greenwood Village, Colorado – Wanted to hire an intensive-supervision case manager to follow the guidelines of the Homeland Security department while preparing electronically monitored participants for release into society.
Now it’s your turn. Start at one of the nationally-known online help wanted sites, type in a relevant search term and add your location. Use any of the job titles listed at the start of this article, or you can use more generic search terms like “master of criminal justice,” “legal,” “criminal justice degree” or even “court system.”