Below is a list of all of the Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Programs we could find, from over 1,800 schools across the US.
Criminal justice careers can span from law enforcement to corrections, law offices and even psychology practices. A master's degree in criminal justice will help you focus on a specific subsection of criminal justice, advancing your career prospects and earning potential.
Below, we speak with Dr. Jeff Lee, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Troy University and Brendan Hardy of the University of Colorado, Denver.
How can you get to the next level in your career?
There are many practical reasons to pursue a master's degree in criminal justice. It is possible to pursue employment opportunities at local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with just a bachelor's degree; however, come promotion time, a master's degree can provide a much needed edge in advancing within the field. The master's degree in criminal justice offers an interdisciplinary combination of liberal arts, ethics, social science research, and science in criminal justice, deepening your understanding of the field and potentially opening up new career opportunities.
Why go online for your master's degree in criminal justice? Most master's degree programs in criminal justice are designed for working criminal justice practitioners who already possess a bachelor's degree in the field. An online master's degree is uniquely suited to this type of student because it offers the flexibility to pursue education at your own pace, while working. This is not only financially beneficial, but it also has an educational benefit. Students can apply what they learn in class directly to the field.
Can you get hired with an online master's degree?
A question that often emerges when people consider getting an online master's degree in criminal justice is "how will employers perceive my online degree?" Top notch employers like the Central Intelligence Agency are familiar with most virtual institutions. A 2006 New York Times article revealed that between 5-10 percent of new employees at the agency had completed some or all of their coursework online. A 2007 article in Distance Learning Today revealed that 62 percent of employers actually view online degrees in a positive light and equal to degrees earned on campus. For some there is a benefit to attending an online program at a school that also has well-known on-campus programs. Many of these schools confer the exact same degree whether you pursue your master's on campus or online.
How will you know which program to pursue?
The three different types of master's degree programs in criminal justice - Master of Arts (MA) degree in criminal justice, Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree, Master of Science (MS) degree in criminal justice - each provide a more expansive understanding of criminal justice theories. The programs offer students the chance to expand into topics such as victimology and the investigative use of forensic science, among others. In the process, the degree opens up a variety of career opportunities.
The degree allows students to advance to leadership positions within law enforcement agencies, move into career opportunities like managing a private security consulting firm, pursue opportunities within criminal justice research, or, in the case of the Master of Science degree, continue on to study in a doctoral degree program. The job website monster.com has listed the salaries of a number of jobs for those with master's degrees in criminal justice, and salaries range from as low as $38,946 per year for a position as a Deputy Sheriff to as much as $72,000 for a position as an agent with the FBI.
Getting into an online criminal justice master's program is just as tough as getting into a traditional criminal justice master's program. Generally, a bachelor's degree and GRE test scores are required. Online criminal justice programs vary between those that are exclusively online and those that have brief on-campus components. Verify the program's structure early.
Where can you find more information?
Resources for students contemplating a master's degree in criminal justice include The Crime Report (http://www.thecrimereport.org/), a comprehensive news service covering the diverse challenges and issues affecting criminal justice. Criminal Justice Ethics (http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/cje/) is a semi-annual journal housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It focuses on the ethics of the field. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (http://www.acjs.org/) fosters professional activities along with criminal justice education, research and policy analysis within the criminal justice field.
Please feel free to contact the schools using the links below. You should try to contact multiple schools to get a good range of programs to compare, since they often differ widely in terms of tuition, admissions requirements, and even how truly "online" they are. We tried to restrict this list to the programs that appeared to be all, or nearly all, online, but it’s still best to confirm the details directly with the schools.