Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Stable Careers in an Unstable Economy

Over the last few years a variety of industries have had to drastically downsize their workforce to stay competitive in the recession, giving recent graduates one of the worst employment outlooks in decades.  With this downturn in the economy, college-age students are increasingly looking toward finding the ‘right’ degree to major in that will lead them to steady employment after graduation.  For many of these students the answer is a degree in criminal justice.  

Criminal justice degrees can prepare you for a wide variety of employment options serving the largely recession-resistant American criminal justice system.  There will likely never be outsourcing of Police Officers or Customs Agents, no matter how bad the economy gets.  Degree options range from a two-year Associates degree all the way to multi-year Doctorate programs.  The Associates degree is usually a minimum requirement for most law enforcement agencies, and is ideal for those looking for the fastest route to employment.  Many options exist to obtain a degree online, enabling many to work while completing their studies.  

If you’d like to continue your studies further, Associate degree credits are often transferable towards a Bachelor degree, further expanding your employment options and promotional eligibility.  Supervisory roles in law enforcement and many governmental agencies usually require a Bachelor degree at the minimum and is a good option to those seeking leadership positions or those wanting a greater variety of employment opportunity should.  

Finally graduate level degrees such a Masters or Doctorate in criminal justice can prepare you for the highest levels of employment in law enforcement and governmental agencies such as Police Captain or FBI agent.  Most Masters Programs require a Bachelor’s degree before admittance and can be completed in about two years.  So for those wanting to advance to the highest levels of criminal justice administration, obtaining a Master’s degree would be a good option.  Doctorate degree programs are typical research-based and usually require a Master’s degree before admittance.  These can typically be completed in another two-years after obtaining a Masters.  Along with preparing you for the highest-level criminal justice administrative positions, a Doctorate degree can also be a ‘stepping stone’ to many Professor positions in colleges and universities. So for those who enjoy teaching along with a passion for criminal justice, completing a Doctorate degree would be a wise decision.

Regardless of the time period in which you want to earn your criminal justice degree (whether it be this year or in the next few years), you can rest assured that a career will be waiting for you.  It would be a surprise if these careers ever became scarce, even in the least populated areas.  


CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEGREE FINDER is an advertising-supported site. Clicking in this box will show you programs related to your search from schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.