Should I Get A Master’s Degree In Criminal Justice?

The answer really depends on what type of criminal justice profession you want to be in and what your plans for the future are. If you want to be a police officer, criminal investigator or forensic science technician, you don’t really need to get a master’s degree in criminal justice. Bachelor’s degrees would be sufficient to get you into the profession.

However, there are criminal justice careers that would really require a postgraduate degree. Forensic psychologists and criminal profilers require a deeper understanding about the human psyche and you’ll only get this kind of training and educational preparation with a master’s degree. If you also want to teach and train students in colleges and universities in any of the areas of criminal justice, you will also need a master’s degree at the very least.

The decision to obtain a degree in criminal justice is a personal one. Even if you can continue to earn a living in the field of criminal justice without an advanced degree, there are times when postgraduate degrees are going to be beneficial. Nonetheless, you will have to balance this with the financial considerations that going back to school would entail. The cost of tuition and other expenses are no laughing matter so you will have to decide if a master’s degree will really work to your advantage or not given the requirements of your profession.

To make the decision easier, there are some considerations that would make going back to school to get your master’s degree in criminal justice quite advantageous. One of the first is that you have plans of getting that executive level or management post. A postgraduate degree in criminal justice is definitely going to give you an edge over other candidates who only have bachelor’s degrees under their belts. This is because master’s degree programs are designed to deepen your understanding about the profession. If there are interviews and testing assessments that need to be carried out, what you learned in your classes will be put to good use.

Another good reason to take up a master’s degree is if you have plans to do research on criminal justice issues and work as an adviser to senators or other congressmen. Working as a legislative staffer and advising the members of the state legislature on public policy matters dealing with criminal justice will require a master’s degree. If you want to pursue a career in research even if it is not with a government body but with nonprofit organizations and other think tanks, an advanced criminal justice degree will still be necessary not only to gain entry but to be able to efficiently do the job.

We’ve already mentioned this above but it’s worth repeating that if you have plans to teach in college, a postgraduate degree will be the main requirement. However, do keep in mind that if you have plans to go into the academy fulltime, you will need more than a master’s degree as most would require doctoral degrees. If you only intend to teach part-time as an adjunct professor while you’re still working fulltime in your current profession, a master’s degree in criminal justice is usually sufficient.

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