Masters in Loss Prevention: Degree Program Overview

Loss prevention is a security term that describes studies aimed at limiting theft-related issues, such as shoplifting and employee fraud. Students can pursue graduate-level training in the field through a security administration program.

Essential Information

While specific master's degree programs in loss prevention do not exist, interested students can pursue a master's degree in security administration with a specialization in asset protection or organizational security. These programs provide advanced training in criminal justice, ethics and law. Prior to graduation, students must complete a thesis or a comprehensive research project. Many programs offer flexible scheduling for students who have full-time jobs.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit letters of recommendation. They may also have to meet minimum standardized test score requirements.

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Master of Science in Security Administration

Master's degrees in security administration cover a wide array of subjects, such as crime prevention, security systems and comparative security. Students learn to manage security organizations, analyze crime statistics and protect computer information. Other courses cover topics in organizational behavior, psychology and computer science. In total, students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework before they can graduate. Common course titles include:

  • Occupational safety
  • Security programming
  • Environmental design and crime prevention
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Security system evaluation

Popular Career Options

Organizations that may hire graduates of these programs include law enforcement agencies, private security companies, and retail businesses. Possible job titles include:

  • Loss prevention manager or director
  • Police officer
  • Private investigator
  • Security guard
  • Retail security
  • Security consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects 5% employment growth for security guards from 2014-2024 ( Growth for private detectives and investigators, which includes loss prevention agents employed in stores, is expected to be 5% during the same decade. The BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual wage was $24,630 for security guards and $45,610 for private detectives and investigators.

Continuing Education Information

Individuals with graduate degrees in security administration can continue their education to earn a doctoral degree in criminal justice. Doctoral degrees can lead to careers in research or academia. Another degree option is a Master's of Business Administration (MBA), which can lead to executive positions within corporations and private security firms.

Even though students can't earn a master's degree specifically in loss prevention, an MS in security administration provides comparable training and prepares students for careers in the field. Graduates also have the option of continuing their education to gain the training needed to work in academic settings and more advanced positions.

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