Do you dream of becoming an FBI agent? Do your fantasies involve flashing a DEA badge or working in a DHS office? If so, you'll need a master's degree in criminal justice, one of the fastest-growing fields in America.
If you're serious about protecting yourself, your neighborhood or your country, here's what you need to know about securing a master's degree in criminal justice.
At its core, criminal justice is about upholding the law and safeguarding innocent citizens from harm. It's up to you to decide how your skills are best applied to these goals. If you're an active, take-charge individual, you might favor a career in corrections or law enforcement; or, the local courthouse could always use another dedicated administrator or judge.
Regardless of your eventual specialty, all criminal justice jobs will require you to have an intimate understanding of crime, punishment, law, order, and the court and corrections systems.
Unlike lesser degrees and certifications, a master's degree says that you have the patience and work ethic necessary to succeed in some of the country's most demanding careers. Criminal justice isn't for the faint of heart, and you'll see that mentality reflected in both your workload and the breadth of material you'll be expected to master.
Here's a quick overview of some of the courses you'll need to take in pursuit of a criminal justice degree:
The study of criminals, the reasons behind their motives, and ways in which they can be stopped
The study of what makes a killer choose his specific victims and what demographics are at the highest risk of being caught in a crime
Classes that give an overview of the realities of prisons, perpetrators, recidivism rates, among other subjects
- The Legal System
Classes that examine what happens from the moment a criminal is handcuffed through possible jail sentencing
Unlike an associate's degree, which will typically only open doors for entry-level work, a bachelor's degree will allow you to jump right into the action with field positions and even leadership posts. Here are just a few jobs you may be qualified for with a BA or BS in criminal justice:
- Police officer
- FBI agent
- Homeland security officer
- Court administrator
- Forensic analyst
- Ballistics expert
- Social or corrections worker
- Crisis management official
- Paralegal or legal secretary
- Anti-terrorism specialist
There are many more, but it all depends on your education and interests. Criminal justice is a varied and ever-changing industry, one designed to keep up with the pace of today's offenders, so don't wait. If you'd like to make a difference in the world, get on the path to a criminal justice master's degree today.