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What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Criminal Justice?

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There are many reasons one may choose to get a terminal degree in criminal justice. In many cases, a professional in the field has already achieved a masters and is interested in pursuing the last leg of education. This will make them  eligible for some of the more advanced leadership roles in the field of criminal justice. Maybe you want to get a terminal degree with the intention of sculpting the future of the discipline? A Phd holder in criminal justice can educate the next generations of professionals in this complex field. Criminal justice phd jobs come in all shapes and sizes. A popular reason people decide to achieve a phd in criminal justice is so they can teach within institutions of higher learning. They can also study the necessary blend of behavioral science skills and forensics to get to the bottom of the motive of someone who has committed a crime. They might decide instead to work at the front lines of policy and incite change at the federal or local levels. These are just a few examples of the places you can go with a doctorate in criminal justice.  Meanwhile, these days it is easier than ever to find a flexible program that will enable students to continue to work in the field while completing their doctorate degrees. Many doctorate degree pathways allow you to use your current employment to conduct relevant research and treat the job you already have as field work.

Is a Phd in Criminal Justice Worth it?

As the world changes, it has been made clear that advanced professional jobs in criminal justice are not going anywhere. In fact, the bureau of labor statistics projects upward trends by at least 32 percent through 2028. One nice thing about flexible online programs is that you often do not have to stop working while achieving your advanced degree. This is significant, in the sense that you will not be taking such a huge income loss while accomplishing your advanced education. There are many financial aid opportunities, as well, for a variety of these programs, and in many cases scholarships. Doctorate programs in criminal justice vary in length, but they range anywhere from 2-4 years with or without dissertation and/ or capstone project/ experience. 

According to payscale, the average salary for phd in criminal justice jobs is $77,500. Jobs with a phd in criminal justice vary quite a bit, however, in salary. While an FBI agent who has the same degree as a university professor might make $56,000, an associate professor of criminal justice might make $89,000. While the salaries range quite a bit, so do the phd in criminal justice jobs. Let’s take a look at some of the options out there.

Forensic Scientist 

This is a career that can be heavily studied for in many doctorate in criminal justice programs. This is a science heavy profession that looks deeply at physical evidence from the scenes of crimes including blood and other body fluids. They also make reports based on their findings, which include witness testimonies. While a doctorate in criminal justice can support this career, an extensive previous background in biology, chemistry, and forensic science are also necessary components. 

Police Chief

Police chiefs have a big responsibility as they are the ones responsible for setting the tone of the police force for which they oversee. They are the ones that must ground their team and have a finger on the pulse of the needs of their particular community. They make complex decisions based on the information at hand and have extensive leadership experience to tackle some of the most complex emergency situations. A doctorate in criminal justice can make it possible to achieve this career path, however, extensive field experience is also necessary. 

FBI Agents

This career path is expressly for high level professionals in the field of criminal justice that are responsible for conducting investigations as they relate to federal crime. Some responsibilities of this career pathway include interviewing people of interest as well as witnesses of crimes. They also must be experts in crime analysis as well as apprehending suspects prior to their trials. 

Professors of Criminal Justice

Many graduates of doctoral programs in this field have gone all the way academically expressly to teach in higher education. These positions often come with a heavy research arm that ensures that as educators they will continue to conduct research in the field. They are often responsible for publishing work throughout their tenure as well as offer mentorship to the next generation of criminal justice professionals. 


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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?