There are many students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science or Art in Criminal Justice who are unsure how to proceed. For some, going directly to work in the field of his or her choice is the best option. Others choose to continue studying, obtaining a Master of Science in the hope of maximizing future career options. Trying to choose which option to follow is not necessary a simple one.
There are several benefits for choosing to obtain a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. For one, the majority of candidates for a job will have only a Bachelor’s degree. Possessing more education gives a candidate an edge over the others in a job selection process.
An additional benefit to taking graduate courses is that the degree is also beneficial to students who go on to work in a career outside of basic law enforcement. This is where a bit of career planning can go a long way. Pursuing a graduate degree is much more beneficial to graduates who intend to study administration, whereas those who intend to perform field work are likely to succeed without the additional coursework.
Of course, there are also many reasons not to pursue an additional degree in Criminal Justice. Some students simply do not find a graduate degree to provide a solid return on investment. It may not be worth the money and two years of time for each student, especially as some end up in careers that would only require a bachelor’s degree.
Some advise that instead of obtaining a graduate degree in the same field, students should add some diversity to their educational background. Law enforcement is a career field in which it is possible for employees to become injured on the job. As a result, studying a field that involves indoor work, such as accounting or education, would be beneficial.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when making this difficult and important decision. Some careers require an advanced degree to even be qualified for a starting position, such as a forensic psychologist, criminal profiler or professor. Having an overall goal in mind is a good way to determine the best course of action.
Proponents of graduate school will say that there is no such thing as having too much education. In one way, they may be right. Obtaining a master’s degree does pay off for a large number of students. On the other hand, others say that it is simply a waste of money. Whether or not this particular Criminal Justice degree is useful will depend on several factors, including how much commitment the student is willing to put forth. A four-year student who studies hard and strives in interviews may do much better than one with a graduate degree who fails to make a strong impression.