April 21, 2016
Criminal justice is an incredibly important field. From the police officers who protect and serve communities every day to the analysts who crunch numbers to identify criminal trends that need to be addressed, it's a broad and all-encompassing area of employment that has a tangible impact on the daily lives of every person in the U.S. Criminal justice is also a field that has high professional standards and operates under significant public oversight. Because of these factors, having a quality education can make a big difference in the success of your career.
At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the online MS in Criminal Justice program has been designed by subject matter experts to ensure that students are equipped with the skills and knowledge that they need to thrive in this industry. With courses built around real-life assignments and practical lessons, you'll be amazed at how many answers there are to the question, "What can you do with a master's in criminal justice?"
When you consider what to do with a criminal justice degree, you first need to think about how a master's degree in general can benefit your career. Earning a graduate degree in this field doesn't lock you into a specific path of employment. Rather, it broadens your options, opening doors for promotions and other new opportunities that might not otherwise have been available.
Whether you're working as a corrections officer, a forensic investigator or a court system case manager, completing an advanced degree shows employers and supervisors that not only are you equipped with the skills and knowledge to take on greater responsibility in the workplace, but you also have the drive and dedication to pursue an education that goes above and beyond your basic job description.
After decades of serving as an officer with the Manchester Police Department in New Hampshire, Dr. Jeff Czarnec, is now the associate dean of faculty of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences for SNHU's College of Online and Continuing Education. With years of experience in the field, Czarnec is a major component in ensuring that the university's online criminal justice program is steeped in the skills and knowledge that students need to be successful after graduation. He earned a master's degree himself while simultaneously working as a police officer and has seen the benefits both in his own life and in the lives of the students who enroll in SNHU's online programs.
"Having a graduate-level degree allows one to be more nimble in response," Czarnec said. "When you talk about preparation in the form of education, what we want to do is create better thinkers; more open-minded thinkers in these specific areas."
In addition to being equipped with knowledge of the most up-to-date best practices and theories in the field, putting in the time and effort to pursue a master's gives you an edge over the competition when you're applying for a new job or promotion. While an undergraduate degree may have previously set someone apart in this area of employment, a master's degree is the new standard that's needed to show that you're a cut above the rest and willing to go the extra mile.
If you're wondering what can you do with a master's in criminal justice, there's no better way to explore that than through SNHU. When you decide to pursue an SNHU online criminal justice degree, you'll be part of a program that was designed with great care by active and retired members of the field. Each course was created to be practical, with special consideration as to what to do with a criminal justice degree after graduation. You'll learn about critical issues that the field is currently facing, be trained in ethical leadership, gain a better understanding of how to make data-driven decisions in the workplace and more.
As a student in this program, you'll be taught by instructors who have real-life experience and personally know what you can do with a master's in criminal justice. They'll not only instruct you in your courses, but be able to give you valuable career advice from their own time working in the field.
According to Czarnec, SNHU criminal justice instructors come from a variety of agencies, including local and state law enforcement, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. military. Past jobs of faculty members range from police administrators to corrections officers to corporate investigators.
"Our faculty are practitioners at the top of their game," Czarnec said. "We have a wide range of extremely experienced professionals, who also know how to teach and relate to their students. They know what they're looking for and know how to help them. They know how to take content and demonstrate relevance. We're very fortunate to have a very dynamic faculty. It's an amazing group that really supports the students."
When you enroll in the master's in criminal justice online degree program through SNHU, you don't just graduate with a degree. You also gain the connections and specialized knowledge of your field that will make you successful in your career after graduation.
So once you've earned it, what can you do with a master's in criminal justice?
After earning a master's degree in criminal justice, you aren't limited to a single career path. There are many fields that benefit from this form of higher education. The program will give you deep insight into criminal justice and the tools to address and respond to challenges specific to the field, preparing you for advancement in most any role within this area of employment.
If you are employed in or would like to work in one of the following facets of criminal justice, an SNHU online master's degree in the subject will be particularly helpful for taking your career to the next level:
While these specific areas are great fits for this degree, they are by no means the only options when you consider what can you do with a master's in criminal justice. Most any facet of the criminal justice field can benefit from the critical thinking, decision-making and leadership skills that you'll gain in pursuit of your degree, not to mention the knowledge of current theories and best practices laid forth by industry leaders.
Terrorism is a constant challenge in the current age of public safety and criminal justice. A threat that takes many forms, it's a hot topic in election cycles and job openings at most any level in the field. If you want to set yourself apart when applying for a promotion or new position in criminal justice, having a background in the best practices of counterterrorism and homeland security is a great career move.
Enrolling in the MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Advanced Counterterrorism through SNHU can prepare you for a variety of positions in criminal justice. The courses in this emphasis will prepare you to evaluate the ever-evolving threat posed to the country by acts of terror and those who perpetrate them, and will equip you to respond appropriately.
"The program looks at topics such as how terrorism changes, how planning changes," Czarnec said. "So many things change constantly that it is important to prepare students for the changes that occur on a daily basis. What we deal with today is different than two years ago, and that's different from five years ago. It's about preparing them to think creatively and act nimbly and prepare for the changes."
No matter whether you're in local law enforcement or aiming for a job with a federal agency, the SNHU online concentration in counterterrorism and homeland security will give you the information and training that you need to assess and respond to threats of terror. The degree will prepare you to conduct the thorough threat analysis, make the appropriate decisions and guide the correct actions that can help to save lives, dampen hysteria and ensure public safety.
If you want a career in a supervisory or administrative role, you need to have a firm grasp on the behind-the-scenes workings of criminal justice, including the important realm of public policy. In the SNHU MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Safety Administration degree program, you'll learn how policy is implemented at local, state and federal levels, and be prepared to face the administrative challenges that criminal justice organizations must tackle on a daily basis.
"The public safety administration concentration expands on students' administrative skills, so the courses are in topics such as leadership and business, and then they come back and take one that's specifically in public safety administration," said Michelle Alvarez, SNHU associate dean of programs, social sciences. "The themes are brought together in public safety administration where they talk about some of the fiscal issues, such as budget cuts, and how they might provide leadership to address those."
A major advantage to any SNHU online program is the emphasis that is placed on preparing students to enter the workforce after graduation. While programs accomplish this in many unique ways, part of how the public safety administration concentration achieves this goal is through having students put together an online collection of their work over the course of the program. This e-portfolio will be an invaluable tool upon completing your degree.
"Students begin to put together the e-portfolio when they start the degree and continue to add to it," Alvarez said. "They develop the e-portfolio to help them apply for whatever position comes next in their career. They work closely with career services and instructors to develop that. They may put their projects and assessments in, or they could put in something that they've done exceptionally well. Because the assignments are field authentic - such as memos or reports - they showcase the students' skills."
By filling your e-portfolio with completed assignments that mirror real-world tasks that you'd face in the field, you'll have concrete examples to show potential employers during job interviews, which will set you apart from other applicants. Through this kind of practical, hands-on learning, completing a concentration in public safety administration can give you even more options when it comes to answering the question of what can you do with a master's in criminal justice.
Whichever program you choose to pursue, the SNHU criminal justice master's degree prepares you to take the next step in your career. Whether you're interested in the general program or one of the two concentrations, what to do with a criminal justice degree is ultimately up to you. You can use the degree to climb the ladder at your current workplace, or leverage it to explore a new and exciting career.
However, the benefits of your degree aren't limited to the effect that it can have on your professional growth and development.
"One of the best benefits of higher education is a great sense of self-achievement, confidence and personal satisfaction. It's something that no matter where you are, they can't take it away from you," Czarnec said. "Completing a master's degree gives working professionals a great sense of satisfaction, that they're continually adding to their own improvement themselves. Are there professional benefits? Sure. But there are also personal benefits to a graduate education as well."
So what can you do with a master's in criminal justice? You can advance your career, better yourself on a personal and professional level, positively impact your community and more. Contact the SNHU admissions team to learn more about how a master's degree in criminal justice could be the next step in a fulfilling educational, professional and personal journey.
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.
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