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Best 20 Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2021

August 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

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A master’s degree in criminal justice helps to secure a competitive edge for professionals that choose a path to leadership in the expansive field. Consider earning a master’s in criminal justice/ most affordable master’s in criminal justice program and earn a high-quality advanced degree without the expensive costs associated with some programs.

Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Earning a master’s degree in criminal justice allows a professional in the field to take the next step along their career path and to excel in their chosen field. One of the benefits of earning a master’s degree in the field is the fact that there are so many career paths to take in criminal justice.

O*Net describes the duties of criminal investigators or special agents, and includes some job titles. Examples of job titles of an individual working in criminal investigations include:

  • Detective or detective sergeant
  • Criminal investigator or agent
  • Police detective or master police detective
  • Special agent or FBI special agent
  • Narcotics detective

Top 5 Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Rank School Location
1University of OklahomaNorman, Oklahoma
2Lamar UniversityBeaumont, Texas
3University of North TexasDenton, Texas
4University of Nevada, RenoReno, Nevada
5University of MississippiOxford, Mississippi

The expansive career opportunities available for graduates of a master’s degree in criminal justice program means that there are multiple career opportunities that allow a student to follow a path based on their particular career interests. Some people prefer a career in corrections, working in a prison or other correctional facility, rather than working as a criminal investigator or agent. Parole or probation officer supervisor positions likely require completion of a master’s degree.

Do you want to work as an intelligence agent, to have a career in immigration and customs, or to work in another federal agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or the U.S. Secret Service? Earning a master’s degree is often required for these types of positions.

The median annual salary and the job outlook for a criminal justice professional are other benefits to working in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the 2019 median annual pay for police and detectives was $65,170 per year, or $31.33 per hour. There is an expected ‘much faster than average’ job growth through at least the year 2029 in the field of criminal justice. The BLS explains that as a worker’s educational attainment increases, the level of unemployment decreases, while the earnings increase with each new education level.

Consider earning your master’s in criminal justice degree from one of these schools that offer affordable programs. Some schools offer their programs only in a traditional in-person format, while other schools offer programs in an online format, or provide both options for completing a master’s degree in criminal justice. Please note that the stated tuition covers only the cost of one credit hour of instruction. The listed tuition is the cost of instruction for resident students, which may differ from the rate charged to students that reside outside the state where the school is located, or that enroll in an online master’s in criminal justice program.

Best 20 Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

1

University of Oklahoma

  • Norman, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

The Extended Campus of the University of Oklahoma offers the accelerated Master of Science in Criminal Justice program that helps students develop critical skills needed for problem solvers, analytical thinkers and experts in public relations. Some topics covered include criminal justice policy development, the theoretical foundations of criminal justice, drug abuse policy, and ethics in criminal justice.

The program features the option to choose a track in restorative justice, corrections management, and administration and leadership. Offering the different tracks allows students to pursue the path that most interests them and aligns with their career goals.

Tuition: $289.90 per credit hour
Program length: est. 12-16 months
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2

Lamar University

  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Lamar University offers an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program for criminal justice professionals that want to enhance their career opportunities and earnings. Students gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theoretical foundations of crime control, planning and evaluation in criminal justice, issues in corrections, along with constitutional law, policing, and ethics.

Courses cover topics such as criminal justice leadership, criminal justice policy, planning and evaluation, homeland security, cybercrime, and serial murder.

Tuition: $300 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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3

University of North Texas

  • Denton, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at the University of North Texas prepares graduates for roles as researchers, scholars, administrators or for front-line positions such as police officers, detectives, probation or parole officers. Students gain an understanding of the nature and the scope of issues posed by criminal acts and behaviors, along with the administration and operation of criminal justice systems.

Students have the option of completing the program in the traditional on-campus format or in online format. Some courses include Criminal Justice Policy, Legal Aspects of the Criminal Justice System, and Advanced Criminological Theory.

Tuition: $277.79 per credit hour
Program length: est. 18 months
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4

University of Nevada, Reno

  • Reno, Nevada
  • Graduation Rate: 53%

Students that pursue the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at the University of Nevada, Reno learn how theory, research and social policy interact in respect to criminal justice. The program prepares graduates for leadership roles in criminal justice, or to continue their education to earn a doctoral degree, or to teach at the undergraduate level. Students learn the importance of problem-solving skills, policy analysis and addressing issues in criminal justice. The program offers a thesis and non-thesis option.

Tuition: $297.25 per credit hour
Program length: est. 18 months
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5

University of Mississippi

  • Oxford, Mississippi
  • Graduation Rate: 59%

The University of Mississippi offers an online accelerated Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree. Students choose either the Homeland Security and Emergency Management program option or the Criminal Justice Leadership option. Both concentrations offer students the opportunity to become effective decision makers and to gain the knowledge and skills to become criminal justice leaders.

The eight-week accelerated course format provides the advantage of completing the program much faster than the completion time for many traditional master’s degree programs in criminal justice. The school also offers a master’s degree in criminal justice program that is delivered in the traditional classroom format.

Tuition: $484.25 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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6

Trine University

  • Angola, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

Invest in your future as a criminal justice leader or administrator by earning the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree at Trine University. The online program was recently updated to focus on two very relevant areas of criminal justice, including crisis intervention and child welfare and the family. The unique focus areas allow graduates to pursue their passion for working in a leadership position within the criminal justice system or within the private sector.

Students in this master’s degree in criminal justice program study criminal justice research and writing, criminology, crisis intervention for law enforcement, psychopathology, child welfare and the family, victimology and several other study areas.

Tuition: $575 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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7

Sacramento State University

  • Sacramento, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Sacramento State University is a generalist degree that focuses on a variety of focus areas across the field of criminal justice. Students gain a greater depth of knowledge related to the profession, which features a contemporary curriculum. Some topics covered in the curriculum courses include research methods, criminological theory, advanced research design, juvenile justice, psychodynamics of confinement, and law adjudication.

Tuition: $347 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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8

Florida International University

  • Miami, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 72%

Florida International University offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice program that was specifically developed for criminal justice professionals that want to advance their education to the doctorate level, or for students that look forward to a career in academia. Other students want to advance their career and turn to a focus on applied research and analysis with criminal justice agencies and organizations.

The program includes courses in research methods, theory in criminology, Data analysis in criminal justice, and transnational crime and national security.

Tuition: est. $455.56 per credit hour
Program length: 18-24 months
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9

Walden University

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Graduation Rate: 26%

The Walden University online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree offers students the opportunity to transition into leadership roles in the profession and to gain a competitive edge as students take the next step along their career path.

The school offers a unique path to completion of the degree requirements and allows students to choose the path that best meets their needs. Choose the traditional course-based path, which is an instructor-led approach and learning opportunities on a predetermined schedule. Students that want a more flexible learning approach have the opportunity to choose the Tempo Learning competency-based format. Learn at your own pace with no set weekly deadlines.

The school offers an impressive list of 10 specializations in its master’s in criminal justice program, including emergency management, cybercrimes, law and public policy, terrorism, mediation and peace, and public management and leadership.

Tuition: $505 per credit hour
Program length: 15 months
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10

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 75%

The University of Central Florida offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program that meets the needs of students preparing for an advanced career position in criminal justice. The program features a rigorous curriculum with focus on courses that prepare graduates for positions in the changing world of criminal justice at home and abroad. Some courses include Research Methods in Criminal Justice, Administration of Justice, American Criminal Courts, and The Nature of Crime.

Tuition: $369.65 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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11

University of Cincinnati

  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 66%

The University of Cincinnati online master’s degree in criminal justice prepares criminal justice leaders of tomorrow and guides current professionals to administrative or leadership positions in criminal justice. The program demonstrates how conceptual and theoretical frameworks apply to real-world situations across a variety of criminal justice pathways. The program also focuses on trends in criminal justice. Select the Analysis of Criminal Behavior Concentration, the Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention concentration or the Corrections and Offender Rehabilitation concentration.

Tuition: $662 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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12

Southeast Missouri State University

  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

Southeast Missouri State University offers an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program in either a hybrid format, which means that there is a combination of online and face-to-face course requirements, or the 100 percent online format. Students that select the online format have no on-campus requirements. Complete the degree requirements in your preferred delivery format and receive the same high-quality instruction provided to other students.

All students work closely with faculty members to ensure completion of degree requirements. Some program courses include Law and Social Control, Restorative Justice, Death Penalty in America, and Crime, Media, and Pop Culture.

Tuition: $374 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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13

Tiffin University

  • Tiffin, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 4%

Tiffin University offers an affordable master’s degree in criminal justice in a 100 percent online format. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program is designed for professionals in the field that want to advance their career opportunities. The school offers an impressive selection of concentrations, including crime science, crime analysis, homeland security, criminal behavior, justice administration, and forensic psychology. Choose your desired concentration to move along the career path in criminal justice that most aligns with your interests and career goals.

Active duty military personnel and veterans receive a generous tuition discount.

Tuition: $700 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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14

Tarleton State University

  • Stephenville, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

Tarleton State University offers prospective students the opportunity to gain the insight, skills and knowledge to become more effective criminal justice professionals and to advance their career opportunities. The school offers the program in the student’s choice of the traditional on-campus format or online format.

Students take courses that may include Statistical Methods for Criminal Justice, Victimology, Management of Criminal Justice Personnel, Introduction to Digital Forensics, Executive Leadership, and Advanced Criminal Justice.

Tuition: $500.62 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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15

Sam Houston State University

  • Huntsville, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Sam Houston State University provides the opportunity for busy professionals to earn their degree without taking time away from their job or family. The program is ideal for students that want to seek career advancement or that want to take a different path in their current criminal justice career.

The school indicates that graduates have secured positions as judges, police administrators, federal law enforcement agency employees, and chief probation officers.

Tuition: $502.75 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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16

Arizona State University

  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Arizona State University prepares students to successfully apply their newly gained knowledge and skills in positions of criminal justice leadership and administration after graduating from the program. Learn the causes of crime and its impact on society. Students also study policing, criminology and the courts, along with advanced program planning and management.

Tuition: $720 per credit hour
Program length: est. 18 months
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17

Curry College

  • Milton, Massachusetts
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

Curry College offers an affordable Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program that challenges prospective students to ‘go beyond street smarts.’ The school recognizes the hard work, dedication and focus of current criminal justice professionals, and the desire for many professionals in the field to advance their career to new levels, including leadership and administration.

Examples of courses in the program include Leadership in the 21st Century, Theory and Application, Criminal Justice Organization Management Change and Resource Allocation, and Contemporary Issues.

There are no extra fees required for students enrolled in this program.

Tuition: $742 per credit hour
Program length: 21 months
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18

Colorado State University

  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

Colorado State University offers an online Master of Science degree program that features the opportunity to complete course requirements anywhere and on their own time. The school has not raised tuition in seven years, and charges the same tuition rate for both resident and non-resident students.

The curriculum focuses on topics that includes criminological theory, applied research as it relates to criminal justice, policy development and analysis, administration and management of criminal justice organizations, and ethics in criminal justice.

Tuition: $584.40 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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19

Saint Leo University

  • St. Leo, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

Saint Leo University invites future Master of Science in Criminal Justice program students to ‘become an agent of change’ upon graduation from the program. Students focus on topics such as policymaking, organizational leadership in criminal justice agencies, and specialized criminal justice topics such as terrorism, forensic science, and criminal advocacy.

Tuition: $610 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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20

University of New Haven

  • West Haven, Connecticut
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

The master’s in criminal justice program at the University of New Haven is offered in a 100 percent online format. Current law enforcement professionals, experts in national security, corrections or victim advocacy benefit from a Master of Science in Criminal Justice program with no GRE or GMAT requirement.

Focus areas include Police Behavioral Studies, Crime Analysis, or Leadership and Management.

First responders and other active duty safety personnel receive a 50 percent tuition discount.

Tuition: $965 per credit hour (without discount)
Program length: 24 months
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Methodology

Finding an affordable Master’s in Criminal Justice program is potentially a difficult, time-consuming task for criminal justice professionals that want to enhance their career opportunities and increase their earnings. We took away the hard work for you by researching and ranking these master’s degree programs in criminal justice.

We ranked these schools based on affordable tuition and the program length, assigning a unique score to each school based on these factors.

Remember that tuition rates do not include the costs associated with any required fees, course materials or supplies.

We carefully research schools included in our lists and obtain information directly from the school. No school is permitted to pay us for a higher ranking. Any school wishing to be sponsored is listed separately and labeled as a sponsored or featured school. Please contact us if you would like to include your school in our rankings or if you would like to update the information for your school.

Everything You Need to Know About Master’s in Criminal Justice

If you have a passion for public justice and protection, a degree in criminal justice is an excellent entry point in a career related to this. While an undergraduate degree is enough for an entry-level job in this position, furthering your education through a graduate program can do you more.

Notably, enrolling in a master’s in criminal justice program is a significant step if you want to advance your career in this field or wish to pursue a law enforcement career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% increase in career opportunities in criminology, especially for police detectives who will increase between 2019 and 2029.

So, apart from the outright availability of vast job opportunities for a criminal justice master’s degree, is it worth it? The truth of the matter is that a master’s degree in any field will expose you to vast and flexible career opportunities. And this can never be any different in MCJ, which in essence offers you many areas to work in the future.

A master’s degree in this field puts you into higher ranks as a professional who keeps the public safe from criminals. Alongside the hefty tasks and your boss expecting results from you, it is only sensible to say you will earn more. Of course, salary increment is one reason you may want to further your studies, if not a matter of personal and career fulfillment.

Moreover, a criminal justice master’s degree means more classes and additional practical coursework. With this, the chances of gaining and building new skills are high. In no time, you will be more of a problem solver, more knowledgeable in law, and can respond intelligently to people’s concerns, and carry these skills to your next career level and beyond.

Benefits of Getting A Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminology is a lucrative career path you can choose to follow if you are passionate about solving crimes. However, with the increasing number of graduates in the job market, you might be required to advance your studies to secure a job. Advanced levels of study in criminal justice include a master’s degree and Ph.D. Getting a graduate degree has many benefits. These benefits impact both your career and personal life. If you plan to enroll in an in-person or online criminal justice degree program, here are some of the benefits you should expect.

Studying for a master’s degree means you specialize in certain fields of criminal justice. These fields include forensics, criminal psychology, criminal profiling, as well as criminal rehabilitation. Benefits of these skills include:

  • A Deeper Understanding of Certain Topics: Being passionate about something means you seek as much knowledge as possible. To solve crimes and understand justice systems, you need vast knowledge in criminal profiling and forensics. With forensics, you will analyze crime scenes and come up with conclusive information that could lead to arrests and prosecution. Criminal profiling skills allow you to tell potential suspects from regular people. If you venture into this field as a major in your master’s degree, you become perfect in conducting investigations.
  • Career Development: Having a master’s degree with enough job experience is a guarantee for career development. With these qualifications, you could be easily promoted to senior levels if you work in criminal and justice institutions. Additionally, you could be regarded as a resource person for schools and other institutions that provide knowledge and information related to criminology. Institutions such as the CIA and FBI require higher education levels and skills for you to get significant positions.
  • Better Salary and Wages: Education is an investment that you make in yourself. A master’s degree in is very expensive. After spending such huge amounts of money on tuition fees and other expenses, you have to get a return on the investment. With a master’s degree, you get high-level jobs, which means you get a higher salary than those with lower education levels. Additionally, being a resource person to an institution acts as an alternative source of income: most detectives and other professionals in the field of criminal justice act as part-time tutors.

Career Opportunities for A Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Having a master’s degree in criminal justice places you at the center of many job opportunities. These jobs range from education to justice and law enforcement. Some of the most popular careers include:

  • Law Enforcement: There is a wide range of law enforcement officers. They include police officers, parole officers, prison guards, and others. If you have a passion for law, enrolling for a master’s degree for criminal justice professionals allows you to switch from your initial career to the one you like most.
  • Detective: Criminal investigation skills you acquire in your master’s degree program are very important. With these crime analysis skills, you can be a private detective or work for a crime investigating agency as a detective applying criminological theory. Private detectives work for private citizens to unveil information about various important matters. Crime investigative firms require detectives to give leads on causes of reported crimes.
  • Tutors of Crime and Law-Related Subjects: One of the main advantages of having a master’s is the vast knowledge that comes with it. You can become a tutor or faculty member and share the knowledge acquired both in class and at work. Being a resource person in academic institutions attracts a lot of benefits in terms of money and networks.
  • Law: A master’s degree gives you a proper understanding of the law and how it is implemented in cases of criminal law and prosecution. With this knowledge, you can pursue a law degree and venture into practicing law as a professional, which involves defending people in law courts and prosecuting offenders according to the laws of the criminal justice system. Most renowned criminal lawyers have a lot of knowledge and experience in criminal procedure and criminal behavior. Therefore, to make a successful prosecution before a law court, you need proper mastery of the criminal justice system.

There are many other careers that you can venture into with a master’s degree in criminal justice. However, this is not a guarantee that you will get a direct job after graduation. In most cases, you need to put in extra effort in studies and networking to secure a place in the job market. If you have difficulties financing your studies, you can apply for scholarships.

Average Cost of a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

According to several people, education could be costly. The problem is the majority of people who claim so don’t tell how expensive it is. Very few people achieve higher levels of education, such as a master’s degree and Ph.D. Other than satisfaction and commitments to other responsibilities, the cost of attaining these levels of education is relatively high. If you are interested in pursuing a master’s in a criminology program, the expense is one of the most crucial factors to consider. This section contains details about costs that you might incur while pursuing your master’s degree in criminal justice.

Expenses You Might Encounter While Pursuing A Master’s Degree

Being a student comes with many financial constraints. The main reason for this being part of the time you could have spent earning is used up by academic work. While at school, here are some of the expenses you are likely to incur.

  • Tuition Fees: This is the most crucial expenditure for anyone pursuing a master’s degree. Tuition fees vary depending on the institution you choose as well as the mode of study involved. Most well-developed institutions charge a higher tuition fee. The fee is to cater for tutors’ salaries as well as maintaining facilities such as libraries. While some require full payment, other institutions allow payment of tuition fees in installments. Institutions that take tuition fees in installments allow students to work and study comfortably as they are not financially strained.
  • Accommodation Expenses: Accommodation expenses refer to the finances used to facilitate the housing of a student. There are many options for accommodation that you can choose from. As a student, you can either rent an apartment outside of school or pay room and board to live on campus. To cut down these expenses, online classes are the best option you can take.
  • Stationery and Reading Material Costs: Criminal justice two- year master’s degree classes require a lot of reading and writing. Therefore, you need to have enough books, pens, and anything else that you might need to take notes in class. The cost of textbooks is very high. Although some of these textbooks are available in some libraries, other institutions require you to buy your own copies.
  • Utility Bills: Being a student doesn’t spare you from other expenses a normal person would incur. Such expenses include gas, food, electricity, and internet connection bills. Although they seem small, these bills could be hard to clear if you pile them for a long time. As a student, the internet is one of the essential things you should have; most of your communication and research depends on it.

There are many other expenses you might incur while at school. Most law enforcement professionals are required to purchase items related to their field of study while undertaking a master’s degree in criminal justice. These items are an additional expense that you should be prepared to incur when venturing into such a field of study. However, in most institutions, the average cost you might incur ranges between $6,000 and $9,000.

Managing Finances While Pursuing A Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Financial discipline is key in maintaining financial stability while at school. There are several things you need to observe to avoid being financially strained. These include:

  • Avoid Unnecessary Expenses: Maintaining a manageable lifestyle is one of the main steps into financial freedom. You need to take care of many expenses with limited financial resources when you are a graduate student. Therefore, prioritizing important ones will lead to a comfortable life. In cases where you could cost-share, especially when purchasing textbooks, you should do it as it saves you money
  • Apply for Financial Assistance Where Necessary: There are many forms of financial aid you can get as a master’s student. This aid comes in the form of scholarships and grants. If you qualify for any of them, you should take the chance and apply. Scholarships could help clear the whole or part of your tuition fees, accommodation, and other expenses. In some cases, scholarship programs offer stipends that could help foot some of your bills.
  • Make Good Use of Your Time: Studying for a master’s degree will take up a lot of your time. However, you should engage in constructive activities during your free time. You can work part-time to generate additional income for your needs, such as travel expenses.

How to Save Money While Getting Your Master’s in Criminal Justice

The decision to undertake a master’s degree program could be a turning point in your career. As a law enforcement officer and a bachelor’s degree holder, a master’s in criminal justice will most likely advance you to your organization’s leadership position, transition you to a new career, or increase your current salary. However, despite the master’s degree being pivotal in your career, the education program might pose various challenges. One of such challenges is the financial hurdles you are likely to face while advancing your criminal justice degree. 

To successfully avoid the financial hurdles, try to save as much as you can. For most people, saving money while studying is but a dream, owing to the numerous daily expenses they incur, including rent, upkeep, food, loans, health insurance, car insurance, among other costs. Saving money for future use while undertaking your master’s degree isn’t impossible as most people think. All you need is a workable savings plan and commitment to the plan. 

Here are a few tips on how to save money as you study for your master’s degree in criminal justice: 

  • Apply for Scholarships: Criminal justice programs are quite expensive compared to other programs. Hence, the most effective way to save money while undertaking your master’s degree is to cut on college fees. The most effective way is to apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are numerous scholarship programs, including federal student aid that you can take advantage of. 
  • Apply for School Financial Aids: Since university tuition fees run into thousands of dollars annually, most universities prefer to offer their students financial aid to ease the tuition burden. The financial aid helps reduce the overall tuition fees by some percentage.
  • Live with Your Parents: We all know that one of the most effective saving strategies during your graduate education is living with your parents. If you are attending a school close to home, you should consider staying with your parents rather than putting up in rented houses. This will help cut off rent expenses. Remember, the strategy will also help you cut on food expenses. 
  • Plan for the Future: With the current economic uncertainties, you must have a clear plan. Also, consider being realistic with your expectations once you step out of college. Most master’s degree students expect to land new jobs immediately after completing criminal justice programs. This might not be the case in some instances. So have a clear savings plan for the future just if you fail to land a job immediately. 

What Financial Aid Is Available to Criminal Justice Students?

Are you considering joining a criminal justice school, don’t let the tuition fees scare you. There are several financial aids available to students to help ease the financial burden. Here are some of the financial aids that will ensure you graduate with a debt-free degree

  • Student Loans: Through various education programs, the federal government provides federal student aid to cater to students’ fees and upkeep. Student loans attract lower interest rates compared to other loans. The loans are ordinarily payable a few months after the students graduate.  Some of the typical student loans include
    – Subsidized loans
    – Private loans 
    – PLUS loans 
  • University Scholarships: Despite being competitive, scholarships are the best financial aid to criminal justice students. The scholarships are known to attract a large number of applications. Fortunately for criminal justice students, professional justice associations are always at the forefront of issuing student scholarships.
  • College Grants: Grants enable criminal students to finance their education through various federal grant programs. The benefit of grants is that students don’t need to pay them back at the end of their education. Securing grants could help you save thousands of dollars. 

What Else Can You Do to Save Money While Getting Your Master’s in Criminal Justice? 

Just like any other person, students also need an effective savings plan. The savings plan would be beneficial both during the master’s education and after graduating from college. Besides the savings plans such as applying for college scholarships and financial aids, living with parents, and having a workable plan, other saving tips could be helpful while getting your master’s. Some of these tips include: 

  • Limit acquiring non-essential things such as new cars. 
  • Limit going out unless it is essential to do so.
  • Work part-time while studying. 

As a working student, you save because you can’t predict the future owing to the current economic uncertainties. Saving while getting your graduate certificate is beneficial since it helps you become financially secure. Besides, it helps provide safety just in case of emergencies. To help you save and ensure a debt-free degree education, one needs to apply for financial aids, including scholarships, student loans, and anything that the university offers. 

Most Affordable Programs for A Master’s in Criminal Justice

Obtaining a degree, especially a master’s degree, is a tall order. Master’s degree programs require commitment and clear financial strategies. Advancing in your education to higher levels typically requires financial resources. In most cases, master’s degree programs are expensive to obtain without financial aid. This article compiles a list of some of the career opportunities available to holders of master’s in criminal justice, a degree in criminology, and the most affordable programs for an online master’s in criminal justice. 

What Careers Can You Get with A Master’s in Criminal Justice? 

 A master’s in criminal justice degree places you in a prime position to advance in your current career or enable you to enter new jobs. in the criminal justice field. The master’s degree will also help hone your skills, including communication, research, and analysis skills. Criminal justice is a diverse field with various roles and careers. Here is a preview of some of the professions: 

  • Criminal Profiler: As a criminal profiler, your central task would be to design and create criminal profiles to solve crimes. A criminal profiler achieves this by researching the crimes previously committed by an individual, after which he develops a personality profile of the criminal. The personality profiles are typically used to track down the criminal. 
  • Forensic Psychologist: Another common career path for master’s in criminal justice graduates is forensic psychologists. As a field of criminal justice, forensic psychology mainly focuses on studying individual behaviors to solve problems. As a forensic psychologist, you will likely spend most of your time with criminals doing crime analysis to help solve cases. Besides, you will provide therapy for crime victims, evaluate custody cases involving children, among others. 
  • Criminologist: Criminologists spend most of their careers trying to figure out what leads people to commit crimes. Based on their research and findings, the criminologist offers advice to law enforcement agencies on the strategies that help prevent crime. They work for government agencies, private law enforcement agencies, among other organizations. 
  • Security Management: Although most criminal justice careers are mainly in public organizations, individuals might fill positions in the private sector after completing an MCJ program. One common position is being a security manager in private security firms. However, security management’s leading role would be to put in place measures to prevent criminal activities. 

What Graduate Opportunities Are Available for People with Degrees in Criminology?

Various investigative TV shows have inspired several high school graduates to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminology. A criminology degree has allowed the students to pursue careers in different fields. Some of the top jobs in this field include: 

  • Loss Prevention Officer: Loss prevention officers are tasked with the prevention of theft. Mostly, they are contracted by private businesses to help provide security by identifying and apprehending shoplifters. Understanding criminology would be beneficial to the officers as it places them in leadership positions in their workplaces. 
  • Correctional Officer: As a correctional officer, you spend most of your time enforcing rules within prison facilities. Besides, you will interact with prisoners to maintain law and order within the prison walls. Hence, you must have an understanding of criminology to help understand the behaviors of criminals. 
  • Police Detective: A degree in criminology will undoubtedly land you a police detective job. Police detective’s primary responsibility is to solve a crime and apprehend criminals. Therefore, they must understand the behaviors of criminals and how they think to help prevent criminal activities. As much as you don’t need to complete a criminology program to become a police detective, the degree will quickly advance your career as you will have a better understanding of criminal procedure, criminal behavior, crime analysis, and the justice system. 

Other careers include: 

  • Probation officers 
  • Scene of crime officer 
  • Social work 
  • Homeland Security
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Criminal Justice Administration or Justice Administration
  • Forensic Scientist 

Students who have a passion for protection and justice usually pursue careers in criminal justice and criminology. Obtaining a master’s degree in criminal justice has several benefits. It not only helps you advance in your career but also opens up new career opportunities. Some of the jobs you might pursue with the master’s degree include criminologist, criminal profiler, and forensic psychologist. You can find criminal justice programs at the universities mentioned above and many other colleges. 

In Summary

Honestly, a master’s degree or any graduate certificate program is a costly investment that will call for a lot regarding the when and why. For instance, if it is a requirement in your career advancement future, it only makes sense to get a master’s in criminal justice. Not only that can be the ideal case, but it is also right to go for this program whenever you wish to earn more and meet some other needs.

Law enforcement is highly competitive when it comes to job opportunities. Therefore, a master’s degree in criminal justice will give you a competitive advantage over other candidates with lower academic levels. You’ll have a better understanding of criminological theory after completing a criminal justice degree program which makes you more marketable.

Since earning a master’s degree in criminal justice is costly, the chances are that you will want to reduce the costs of becoming a criminal justice professional as much as possible. One of the surest ways of doing this is to opt for an online program, which is cheaper and flexible. If you also pursued an online bachelor degree as a criminal justice major, you’ll save even more money. Plus, going for the myriad of available financial aid opportunities like scholarships and so forth will come a long way to make a big difference.   

The graduate opportunities available for people with a degree in criminal justice are vast. Some of the common ones are police and detective supervisors, correctional officer supervisors, forensic psychologists, criminal profiler, district attorney, or attorney general investigator. The choices are merely endless.

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