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Masters in Criminal Justice

If you want a career in the public sector and increase your chances of being put in a position of leadership, obtaining a Masters in Criminal Justice may be perfect for you. Your program will probably include an internship with a member of the justice system to complete your degree. It takes a variety of skills to be a leader in the complex, politicized working environment of the criminal justice industry. You will need to take modern decision-making classes, sociology, business, psychology and statistics to help you build these skills. Particular courses of study will include criminology, labor relations, research methods, the probation and patrol system, deviant behavior and crime prevention.

You will have the option of taking anywhere from two to five years to complete the program you choose to become involved with. If you want to earn your degree at a lower expense and a far greater level of convenience, you should look into online Criminal Justice Master's Programs. While some coursework may need to be completed in a real life setting, much of your credits can come from the convenient online classroom. This is perfect for students who are too busy during the day to schedule traditional classes.

Students who complete graduate degrees end up filling the positions of administrators and professors as well as on-the-job police force members. Other career options include becoming an ATF agent, private security member, criminologist, CIA or FBI agent, coast guard, court clerk, US Marshall, or a paralegal.

Additional Criminal Justice Grad Resources

University of Cincinnati has criminal justice program ranked in the top five in the nation. There is also an online version of the Master in Criminal Justice available through UC that is completely accredited and an excellent option for working professionals in criminal justice or law enforcement who need a master's degree in order to work towards a senior management position. (this could be an internal link)

Florida State University has the seventh ranked School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the country. The FSU Masters in Criminal Justice is available on campus in Tallahassee, and as an online degree program. The program is a thirty six credit hour requirement, of which fifteen credits are required core courses. The balance is allotted to electives, which can be drawn from an extensive list of criminal justice classes and in addition three classes chosen from other departments.

Rutgers University/Newark offers a thirty three credit hour Master of Criminal Justice degree that consists of eighteen hours of core courses, twelve hours of electives, and a three credit field work project. Students who are already working in the criminal justice field may substitute another class for the field work. The program must be completed within a three year period.

Michigan State University has the oldest degree granting criminal justice program in the nation, established in 1935. The graduate program began in 1956. The Master of Criminal Justice degree is available on the East Lansing campus or online. There are also Masters' degrees in Law Enforcement Intelligence & Analysis, and in Forensic Science.

Arizona State University has one of the top fifteen criminal justice programs in the country according to the US News & World Report annual survey of American universities. The Master of Criminal Justice degree can be completed in eighteen months of full time study, and is available as a part time program as well. This degree can be completed at the Tempe campus or online.

Criminal Justice Professional Associations

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National Criminal Justice Association is a research and policy organization that tracks the development of federal criminal justice policy very closely and is active in helping state and local jurisdictions in implementing funded programs. There are education and professional development programs for members, who are professionals involved in criminal justice program administration in various government jurisdictions.

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences is an international organization devoted to scholarly activities and research in the criminology and criminal justice fields. There are several sections in the organization focused on specific areas. These include Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Law & Public Policy, Minorities & Women, Security & Crime Protection, Victimology, and Police.

International Association of Chiefs of Police has 20,000 members in over 100 nations. The organization was founded in 1893 and since then has contributed to advancements in law enforcement techniques and technology. The IACP played key roles in the development of the Uniform Crime Records system and in the FBI development of its Identification Division.

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association was founded in 1977 to represent the 25,000 - plus members of the sixty five agencies that do law enforcement work within the federal structure. Originally designed to provide organizational support for individual officers, today the Association is active in legislative advocacy, providing testimony on proposed legislation and funding changes.

American Society of Criminology is an organization that is oriented to academic pursuits in the field, including research, education and professional development. The Society has developed into an international organization with the exchange of professional knowledge flowing among academics, practitioners, and students in criminology around the globe.

Criminal Justice Accreditation and Credentials

U.S. Department of Education does not recognize any organization for accreditation of criminal justice academic programs. What criminal justice students should determine, however, is whether or not the university itself is accredited by one of the six regional commissions that are recognized for overall accreditation of higher education institutions.

American Corrections Association has a professional certification program that includes educational programs and exams for these credentials: Certified Corrections Executive, Certified Corrections Manager, and Certified Corrections Supervisor for Adult, Juvenile, and Security Threat categories.

Southern Criminal Justice Association is a regional organization of criminal justice educators, professionals, students, and researchers that has on online directory of members which includes an excellent roster of accredited programs in the area.

International Compliance Association offers courses and certification in financial crime investigation and financial compliance inspection. The programs are for certification in the UK, Singapore, Russia, and International.

Justice Research & Statistics Association is an excellent resource for accredited research in the criminal justice field as well as a possible career opportunity for criminal justice graduates who are interested in research work.

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