Why should I earn a PhD in criminal justice?
Criminal justice is a field with growing popularity. More and more degree and certificate programs are becoming available, both online and on-campus. Even PhD programs are now offered online. If you’re ready to embark on an educational journey towards academic excellence, obtaining your PhD is a smart and secure investment. You’ll become a leader in your field while adding to your resume and network.
In order to earn a PhD in criminal justice, you’ll likely need a master’s degree in criminal justice as well as a bachelor’s degree in a similar discipline. Each school has its own requirements for admission. It’s important to verify online or meet with an admissions counselor to assess your background and experiences. You might need to take a few additional classes or fulfill other perquisites before you can apply.
What are the different types of PhD programs in criminal justice?
There are many degree options to consider when it comes to a PhD in this field. Criminal justice is a multidisciplinary subject that prepares students for careers in research, academia, and policy development.
Keep in mind doctoral degrees in criminal justice come in several varieties. Popular options include:
- Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Forensic Psychology: A PhD in clinical forensic psychology focuses on intensive academic and clinical experience. Forensic psychology focuses on the mind, its behaviors, and mental processes. This degree often takes four to five years to complete and covers such topics as mental health and the law, psychological profiling, multicultural psychology, just to name a few.
- Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Forensic Psychology: A Psy.D in Clinical Forensic Psychology can take four to five years to complete and qualifies graduates to work within academia, research, counseling, or corrections. Course topics include psychopathology, forensic interviewing, forensic psychology of children and families, and many other related subjects.
- Doctor of Business Administration in Criminal Justice: This degree focuses on the fundamentals of business administration and management with an emphasis on criminal justice and governance. These programs typically offer a well-rounded business curriculum in addition to advanced courses in criminal justice studies.
What degree you pursue depends on the type of employment are you seeking. Make sure the program provides the necessary training and education you’ll need to secure the right job after graduation. PhD programs are both time-consuming and expensive. Enrolling in the right program could mean your success or failure so choose wisely!
What can I expect as a PhD student in criminal justice?
PhD programs take significantly longer to complete than a master’s degree program. This is due to the extensive coursework and clinical training involved. PhD students also have to complete a dissertation which involves prolonged and concentrated study on a specific topic approved by a faculty member.
Some schools now offer online PhD programs. This allows students maximum flexibility when it comes to scheduling classes and completing assignments. Another alternative is to enroll in a hybrid program. Hybrid programs combine both online and classroom instruction into one unique program. You’ll benefit from both types of instruction while completing your degree.
Before you even enroll in your first PhD class, you’ll likely complete a series of steps in addition to your application. Some schools require students to come in for an interview. An interview serves to exchange information between student and faculty. Faculty members want to ensure that all accepted students are of the highest caliber and are prepared to enter a doctoral program. This exchange allows prospective students to feel the “vibe” of the school and whether or not it’s a good fit.
What are my career options in criminal justice?
Careers in criminal justice are exciting and challenging. You can work in number of different industries and sectors. Basically, your career path should reflect your talents and interests, and once you’ve earned your PhD, you’ll be even more in-tune with where your career is headed. Below are just some of the careers available to criminal justice majors:
- Correctional Officer
- Crime Scene Examiner
- Fish and Game Warden
- Forensic Psychologist
- Police Officer
- Private Investigator
- Probation Officer
The above careers are often eligible to applicants with only a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, PhD holders can earn progressively higher salaries and assume leadership and managerial positions at police departments, the FBI, and many other law enforcement agencies. Detectives and private investigators can also work in the private sector.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of detectives and criminal investigators was $80,540 in May 2014. Keep in mind however, that salaries tend to increase significantly for those with advanced degrees. The median annual wage of psychologists was $74,030 in May 2014, slightly higher than those working at police departments, slightly higher than those working at police departments.
How do I know if a PhD program in criminal justice is right for me?
If you’ve decided that you’re ready to pursue your PhD, chances are you’ve given this an enormous about of thought and consideration. And that’s a good thing! However, before you begin researching schools and meeting with advisors, make sure you know what exactly you’re signing up for. The PhD path is a rewarding one that offers job security and a sense of accomplishment. But do you have what it takes to complete a PhD?
- Do you have four to six years to dedicate to your PhD studies?
- Are you aware of what doctoral studies entails?
- Have you investigated programs thoroughly?
- Do you have the financial resources to support your studies?
- Do you have the necessary experience to apply to a program?
These are also questions you should ask an admissions advisor. It’s imperative that you know your subject and why you want to attend a doctoral program before meeting with advisors and counselors. Our list of schools below will help you find a variety of PhD programs to get you started on your PhD journey today!