Graduate Degrees in Criminal Justice

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What Goes Into a Graduate Criminal Justice Degree Program?

Criminal justice students all have a strong desire to protect civil rights as well as keep the community safe in general. While a bachelor's degree is all that is typically required from those who wish to work in law enforcement positions, such as police officers and corrections officers, a graduate degree is required for those who wish to work in more technical positions. Due to the complexity of these more technical and advanced criminal justice jobs, students must earn a graduate degree in order to become educated and experienced enough to successfully tackle those job responsibilities. Graduate criminal justice programs can take anywhere from two to five years to earn in addition to the four years it takes to earn an undergraduate bachelor's degree. Students will take courses in law, ethics, historic court cases, and other fundamentals of criminal justice. While these topics are taught in undergraduate programs as well, graduate degree programs will instruct students on these subjects in far greater detail. Depending on the student's specific field of study, they will take additional classes related to that field. Popular graduate degrees include forensic science, law, and general criminal justice. Most schools also require that students complete supervised field work for degree credits, ensuring that once they graduate, they will have professional experience and knowledge.

What Jobs Can Graduate Criminal Justice Degree Holders Get?

Those graduating with a master's or doctoral degree in criminal justice have numerous job options available to them. Popular job choices include working as judges, magistrates, and policy makers. Many criminal justice graduates also work in social services and in political offices as they have enough legal expertise to deal with those fields. Employment opportunities for administrative law judges, arbitrators, and other judicial workers are expected to increase 4% during the 2008-18 decade, adding approximately 1,800 jobs into the market, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, job opportunities for state and local government political figures are expected to be favorable. Specific job opportunities will vary from state to state, but positions on the police force, courts, jailhouses, and city council should all have ample space for new graduates looking to break into the field. As the population rapidly increases, there will be more demand for criminal justice positions due to the unfortunate reality that overcrowded cities will see an increase in crime rates. It is up to criminal justice degree holders to ensure the safety of the people and property within the community.

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