Jobs You Can Get With a Masters in Criminal Justice

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Updated: February 22, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

As an education counselor, we often get asked about the career path trajectory after a Master’s in Criminal Justice. After completing post-graduate studies, students are often at a crossroads regarding their future. 

This is the reason career counseling is instrumental in choosing a rewarding career. In this article, we will discuss the jobs you can get with a master’s in criminal justice.

Jobs You Can Get With a Masters in Criminal Justice

Earning our Master’s degree in criminal justice opened doors to a wide range of professional opportunities beyond what we initially thought were just roles in law enforcement and the legal field. This degree provides students with specific knowledge and abilities, preparing them for significant roles in various areas.

The grand Supreme Court building in Washington, DC

Here are some roles you can assume with a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Victim Advocate 

Victim advocacy is in high demand. These professionals represent and assist victims in navigating the criminal court system. A professional advocate must be knowledgeable about the criminal justice system and be able to articulate the next course of action in various circumstances.

Victims rely on their advocates for emotional support and to feel heard and comprehended. They are also responsible for keeping the victim informed about the progress of their case and what to expect.

Correction Officer Supervisor 

Correctional institutions require more than just correctional officials. Correctional officer supervisors ensure the organizational and administrative operations are up to standards. They are responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures to enhance the facility’s safety and stability.

Correctional supervisors have various responsibilities, including training, assigning tasks, assessing performance, developing staff, and setting goals. In emergencies, such as prisoner disagreements, escape attempts, or riots, the supervisor should have a pre-established response plan and lead the response effectively.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 3% growth in the employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists from 2022 to 2032. The demand for higher-level positions, such as correctional officer supervisors and probation managers, is also increasing proportionally to the number of available jobs.

Forensic Psychologist 

Criminal profilers analyze criminal behavior to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes. On the other hand, forensic psychologists assess individuals involved in legal proceedings and focus on promoting mental health by providing therapy services to suspected or convicted offenders. 

They evaluate insanity allegations, determine if a case is fit for trial, and make recommendations based on risk analyses. Forensic psychologists also testify in court as examining psychologists or expert witnesses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of psychologists will increase by an average of 3% from 2022 to 2032. This increase is attributed to the growing awareness of the impact of mental health on public health.

An empty court room with bare walls and chairs

FBI Agent

The FBI is responsible for investigating national-level crimes, focusing on terrorism, drug trafficking, extortion, organized crime, white-collar crime, and foreign counterintelligence. They carry out their duties by interrogating witnesses and suspects and gathering evidence while strictly adhering to departmental rules and procedures.

Individuals who aspire to work with the FBI may benefit from having military experience and bilingual abilities. It is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of laws, rights, and due process and a strong commitment to national security. 

DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agent

DEA is a law enforcement branch that aims to combat illegal drug trafficking. The United States Department of Justice supervises the department, and its officers are called DEA officers. The responsibilities of DEA officers include foreign travel and keeping up with technical improvements.

Individuals with a master’s in Criminal Justice can become DEA agents. These agents are responsible for conducting sophisticated criminal investigations, using innovative technologies to disrupt traffickers, and collecting their financial assets.

However, working undercover as a DEA agent comes with its own set of risks and dangers. In addition to writing reports based on their observations of drug activity, agents may need to testify in court, make arrests, assist with anti-drug campaigns, and provide training.

Transportation Security Officer (TSA)

Transportation security officers work at airports. However, their role extends beyond this sector. Regardless of where they work, their primary responsibility is to ensure the security and safety of passengers. They are involved in various tasks like event security or VIP protection. This responsibility is not limited to transportation and always prioritizes security and safety. 

A statue of Lady Justice holding a sword and scale

Criminal Profiler

Criminal profilers are a good career choice for Criminal justice graduates. They are forensic scientists who analyze data to create a personality profile of a potential criminal. They believe that one’s behavior can provide insights into one’s personality. 

Profilers use scientific methods, logic, and reasoning to hypothesize information about the criminal, including their age, education, appearance, and likelihood of reoffending. This helps detectives focus on potential suspects and develop strategies for their arrest. 

Criminal profilers assist with post-crime reconstruction and identifying tampered crime scenes. They provide valuable information about potential motives before a suspect has been identified.

Security Management 

Although governmental organizations have most criminal justice roles, individuals with post-graduate degrees can explore opportunities in the private sector, particularly in private security management companies. 

A security manager’s primary objective is to prevent illegal activities. Professionals in this field may work for a company directly or as consultants. Their responsibilities may range from protecting people and property to investigating complex criminal activities.

Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analysts search through databases to uncover clues and make projections about criminal activities in a particular area. These personnel are often employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to analyze and study data collected to fill in any existing knowledge gaps.

Organizations include private security firms, law enforcement agencies, the military, and intelligence analysts. They play a crucial role in national defense and international relations.

Aspiring intelligence analysts typically require a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, criminal justice, or Russian studies. When applying for higher-paying positions, having a master’s degree is usually seen as a plus.

A gun and a judge's gavel on an American flag


Criminologists focus on the causes and dynamics of criminal behavior. Based on their research of crime rates, they provide legislative and law enforcement recommendations. These individuals draw upon knowledge and research from various disciplines, including sociology and psychology, to address crime comprehensively. 

To better grasp the topic at hand, they gather data via interviews and fieldwork, often known as conventional research. With this data, they devise plans to combat criminal activity. Criminologists can find employment in various settings, including academic institutions and law enforcement agencies.

Forensic Examiner

Forensic experts can have a broad range of expertise or specialize in specific areas such as media, anatomy, or DNA data. Their main responsibility is to examine evidence collected from crime scenes to assist law enforcement in reconstructing the events.

Criminal investigators generally handle investigations, however, some may work as courtroom consultants or as laboratory technicians. They also work with the police and are crucial witnesses in court proceedings. Due to their extensive training and expertise, these professionals are increasingly employed in the private sector, especially in insurance and civil litigation.

Security Management 

Although public organizations employ many criminal justice professionals, individuals with advanced degrees may also be interested in exploring opportunities in the private sector. Private security management companies hire these individuals in various sectors, including security personnel in nuclear power plants, public utilities, buildings, and vital information assets.

These professionals also partner with public safety agencies to better protect public gatherings and exchange relevant data. Security management focuses on preventing crimes rather than responding to them. Experts in this field operate as employees or independent contractors for various companies, protecting people and property and delving into complex criminal cases.

Hands restrained in handcuffs against a white background

What Is the Top Paying Career in Criminal Justice?

The highest-paying career in criminal justice depends on expertise, experience, and location. However, areas such as advocacy, judiciary, and national security offer high-paying positions.

Where Should We Obtain a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice From?

The University of Maryland, Florida State University, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice are a few well-known universities offering criminal justice degree programs.

Do Those With Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice Make More Money?

Yes, those who have master’s degrees in criminal justice have a better chance of securing high-paying positions than those with a bachelor’s degree. This is because a master’s degree is more specific, advanced, and practice/research-oriented.  


Today, the criminal justice field is no longer limited to law enforcement officers, advocacy, and judiciary. The growing population and, as a result, the crime rate is creating more opportunities to address and manage these issues. 

This changing landscape emphasizes the need for various professionals committed to preventing and controlling crime in our ever-evolving society. 

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.