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Degrees in Criminal Justice Administration and Management

Criminal justice administration programs prepare students for careers in law enforcement, management and supervision within private, nonprofit and government agencies. Degrees in this field are most commonly available at associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer degree programs in criminal justice administration and management at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels. Associate and bachelor's programs require completion of general education courses in topics such as science, history and mathematics as well as a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students learn about the fundamentals of the criminal justice system through courses in police procedures, the court system and the corrections system.

Bachelor's degree programs may include additional studies in criminal justice administration, giving students the leadership skills they may need to advance to a higher position. Many programs require a final research project.

Courses in a master's degree program look at constitutional law, ethics and liability. Students may be allowed to specialize in areas including homeland security, forensic science administration or organizational analysis. Graduate students develop their research skills, and most master's programs call for completion of a final research project, position paper or thesis. For admission, a bachelor's degree, and sometimes work experience, may be required.


Associate Degree Programs in Criminal Justice Administration

An associate degree program typically focuses on the characteristics and motivations of crimes, courts, corrections and law enforcement systems. Students study theoretical topics, such as the legal system's role within society as well as the efficacy of different types of punishments and treatments for criminals. Interdisciplinary courses cover topics in political science, psychology and sociology. Programs are commonly designed for students who are either seeking entry-level positions or interested in eventually attaining a bachelor's degree.

Most criminal justice administration programs incorporate general education requirements in mathematics and English composition. Additional studies in rhetoric, public speaking and writing may also be core requirements. Common topics in criminal justice administration include:

  • Correctional systems
  • Court systems
  • Criminal evidence and investigation
  • Juvenile crime
  • Patrol administration
  • Police and community relations

Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration

Bachelor's degree programs generally focus on practical and theoretical topics in criminal justice, such as ethics, criminology, financial aspects of administering justice, operations management, policing strategies and personnel development. Many criminal justice administration majors require the completion of a capstone project, which allow students to apply their knowledge of criminal justice technologies, finances and procedures to the resolution of a practical law enforcement scenario.

In bachelor's degree programs, coursework might encompass studies in security and emergency management, psychology, policing and corrections. General education requirements usually cover statistics and computer applications. Common topics include:

  • Criminal justice and society
  • Criminology
  • Ethics in criminal justice
  • Fiscal planning
  • Operations management
  • Personnel development

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Corrections Admin
  • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
  • Criminal Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Juvenile Corrections
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Police Science and Law Enforcement
  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration

Master's degree programs can provide current law enforcement professionals with additional training and research opportunities in public and private-sector law enforcement. Coursework typically focuses on specific theoretical topics in the ethical, constitutional and professional administration of justice. Course topics may include:

  • Capital punishment
  • Constitutional law
  • Ethics and liability
  • Organizational theory and crime
  • Race and gender in criminal justice
  • White-collar and corporate crime

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an associate degree program can qualify for entry-level law enforcement positions. Some jobs could require additional skills training after earning a degree. Possible professional opportunities could include:

  • Security personnel
  • Corrections officer
  • Police officer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that police and sheriff's patrol officers earned a median annual salary of $58,320 while detectives and criminal investigators made $77,210 (www.bls.gov). Job growth is expected to rise about 4% from 2014-2024 for law enforcement officers across the board, with the highest increases expected for police and sheriff's patrol officers.

At the same time, correctional officers and jailers, along with probation officer roles, were also projected to see a fairly consistent 4% job growth. In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of correctional officers and jailers was $40,530. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned a median wage of $49,360.

Master's degree programs generally prepare law enforcement professionals to advance into leadership positions. According to the BLS, supervisors employed in correctional facilities earned a median salary of $59,720 in 2015, and those who managed police and detectives made $82,090.

Studies in the administration and management of criminal justice are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. After graduating, students often go on to popular careers such as a police officer or corrections officer.

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