What Criminal Justice Jobs Require a Master’s Degree?

Criminal Justice JobsAttending graduate school could help unlock advancement opportunities into certain criminal justice jobs that require a master’s degree. Having an undergraduate degree would be sufficient for entering a rewarding career as a detective or corrections officer. However, master’s programs in criminal justice can provide a pathway to leadership that would otherwise remain closed. Chief administrative positions in law enforcement and academic teaching roles in criminal justice will usually require a master’s degree. There are several exciting specializations offered at the master’s level as well. The following are some of the most popular jobs in criminal justice where graduate education is expected.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists have specialized master’s training to apply their scientific knowledge of the human mind in the criminal justice system. Forensic psychology lies at the intersection of law and psychology, according to the American Psychological Association. Forensic psychologists are called into courts to testify about the defendant’s mental health and motive. Most will specialize their careers working on certain case types, such as child abuse, domestic violence, homicide, or personal injury. Some forensic psychologists also visit crime scenes to create criminal profiles, offer direction on suspect interrogations, and perform critical assessments on convicts.

Criminal Profiler

Criminal profilers typically have need a master’s degree to provide key insights into the possible motivations of a crime for catching the suspects. Criminal profilers use research-based scientific methods to create a profile of the person’s personality using crime evidence. They’re able to hypothesize age, education level, appearance, and mental state. Criminal profilers use this valuable information to determine the best method for apprehending the offender. Like shown on popular shows like “Criminal Minds,” profiling is essential for law enforcement to predict criminals’ next moves.


Criminologists are highly trained researchers with at least a master’s degree who study criminal acts to make vital suggestions to law enforcement agencies and public policymakers. As part of the social sciences, criminology delves into uncovering truths about the causes, effects, and social impacts of crime. Criminologists work hard to analyze crime data and find innovative ways to prevent illegal behavior from recurring, according to the Princeton Review. Most will consider criminal acts from sociological and psychological viewpoints to assess motive. Criminologists can work in academia, government, research, or law enforcement.

Forensic Examiner

A bachelor’s degree may be satisfactory for entry-level technician jobs, but forensic examiners often are educated at the master’s level. Examiners use their in-depth knowledge of forensic science to collect physical evidence from crime scenes and analyze it in a laboratory. Some may specialize in studying DNA, ballistics, fingerprints, or other clues. Forensic examiners play an important part in helping investigators resolve their criminal cases and reprimand the rightful offenders. Forensic examiners use complex equipment to carefully inspect scene evidence and confirm or rule out suspects’ involvement in major crimes.

Related Resource: Research Analyst

Investing time and money in a master’s degree can be costly, but it can also pay off in widening employment opportunities within the growing criminal justice field. Professionals already working in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, or a related branch could receive an online master’s degree in criminal justice, according to the US News and World Report. In addition to these criminal justice jobs that require a master’s degree, attending graduate school could help you become a police supervisor, attorney general investigator, emergency management director, security manager, or correctional supervisor.