What is an MBA in Criminal Justice?

An MBA in criminal justice can open up a variety of career paths or provide career advancement. As the field of criminal justice adapts to new technological and social trends, it requires trained professionals to ensure that the justice system works efficiently. You can earn a criminal justice MBA online and begin a new career in two years.

Pursuing an online MBA in criminal justice can improve your earning power in a number of ways. It can make you more appealing to new employers and can provide access to positions that might require advanced degrees.

Why Should you get an Online MBA in Criminal Justice?

Pursuing an online MBA in criminal justice can improve your earning power in a number of ways. It can make you more appealing to new employers and can provide access to positions that might require advanced degrees. The table below illustrates the increased earning power that comes with getting your MBA in criminal justice online.

Comparison of Criminal Justice Master's Degrees

There are a variety of paths a student can take within the criminal justice field, this includes different specializations and programs. Below, you'll find three different graduate programs related to criminal justice so you can see how getting your MBA in criminal justice online compares.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Juris Doctor (JD / Law) Degree This is the most common legal degree awarded by law schools and is a requirement to practice law within the U.S. This is the minimum degree level required to attempt the bar. People with a JD can find work in a variety of fields. $61,158 3-5 Years
Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration A master's degree in criminal justice administration can open up leadership positions in law enforcement. Officials making decisions about policing and other matters at local, state, and federal levels generally have at least this level of education. $48,000 1-2 Years
Master's of Business Administration (MBA) in Criminal Justice An MBA in criminal justice can lead to careers in law enforcement, government work, nonprofits, and the private sector. Companies and organizations that work with law enforcement have need for people who are familiar with the justice system, but also have management and administration skills. $55,000 1-2 Years

Online MBA in Criminal Justice Curriculum

An online MBA in criminal justice will help you develop a wide variety of skills, with some variance between programs. You should expect to find different courses offered at different schools. There are commonalities between programs though, such as the three subjects presented below.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Forensic Interviewing Develop skills needed to speak with suspects and determine whether or not they are truthfully answering questions about possible criminal activity. TITLE: Fraud Investigator
SALARY: growth of 22%
Legal Compliance Determine whether or not individuals, businesses, or other organizations are following applicable laws and how they can comply with those laws. TITLE: Contracts Manager
SALARY: growth of 4%
Document Management Prepare, complete, and keep track of legal documents, evidence, contracts, and other physical or digital paperwork which might be relevant to a specific case. TITLE: Paralegal
SALARY: growth of 2%

What can you do With an Online MBA in Criminal Justice?

Getting a criminal justice MBA online can help to prepare you for a number of different careers, three of which are summarized below. Some positions may require such a degree, for others, it can lead to career advancement.

Detective/Criminal Investigator Median Salary: $56,898
  • Local police
  • Federal agencies
Detectives investigate crimes after they have happened, making use of whatever evidence can be found in order to determine who is at fault so it can be proven in court.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Median Salary: $79,688
  • Private law firm
  • Local government
Defense lawyers are hired by defendants or appointed by the government to prove that their client is not guilty of the crime with which they are charged.
Deputy Chief, Police Department Median Salary: $81,183
  • Local/state police
A deputy chief of police answers to the police chief of a particular municipality and helps manage the day-to-day operations of officers in that city.

Schools Offering an Online MBA in Criminal Justice

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Lamar University
Location Beaumont , TX Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 54 Student Population 14,965 Tuition $14,688 School Type Public

Lamar University's master of science degree in criminal justice online provides students a path for advancement into management and administrative positions in the criminal justice field. Students earning an MBA in criminal justice online complete 30 total semester hours with a capstone project required after 18 semester hours. The program does not require a thesis. This degree remains hands-on, with an emphasis on pairing theory with real-world skills. Courses include studies in applied criminology; planning and evaluation; and criminal justice leadership. Lamar offers several program start dates throughout the year.

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Liberty University
Location Lynchburg , VA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 66 Student Population 80,494 Tuition $20,340 School Type Private

The MBA in criminal justice administration from Liberty University combines business leadership and criminal justice courses, preparing students to influence criminal justice policy and manage criminal justice organizations. The program requires 45 credit hours, and most students take an average of two years to complete all coursework. The curriculum integrates business operations and administrative issues with an understanding of the criminal justice system from an administrative level. Courses offered include legal issues in business; administration of justice organizations; and criminal justice topics and trends. Liberty accepts transfer of up to 50% of a degrees required credits.

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Southern New Hampshire University
Location Manchester , NH Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 61,285 Tuition $22,572 School Type Private

Southern New Hampshire University's online MBA in criminal justice offers a curriculum that students can complete in a little over one year. This MBA in criminal justice online combines essential leadership and business skills, such as budget management and data analysis, with a deep knowledge of the criminal justice system on a local and global scale. The 36-credit curriculum includes courses such as global terrorism; and courts and the judicial process. Students complete nine MBA courses and choose three criminal justice courses tailored to their specific interests. Student outcomes include excellent leadership skills in a diverse environment and an entrepreneurial mindset in applying innovative practices within a criminal justice organization.

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University of the Southwest
Location Hobbs , NM Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 55 Student Population 1,059 Tuition $21,564 School Type Private

Students enrolled in the online MBA law enforcement and corrections program at University of the Southwest learn the skills necessary to advance into a variety of leadership positions. The school reviews past professional and military experience for transfer credits toward degree requirements. The curriculum includes seven core business courses, including information technology for managers; and statistics in criminal justice, as well as specialized courses covering topics such as crime mapping and administration of criminal justice organizations. The university offers online courses through the Blackboard platform, where students can access eLearning resources and tutorials.

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How to choose an online MBA in Criminal Justice Program

Choosing the right master's in business administration (MBA) in criminal justice online program takes research. Every student possesses specific programmatic needs, and this guide can help them narrow their lists.

  • Search for Schools in Your Area

    When researching MBA in criminal justice online programs, students should pay close attention to the institution's location. Even though many programs do not require regular visits to campus, living within a 100-mile radius can involve perks. Aside from attending a school with brand recognition among local employers, learners can take advantage of networking events, recruiting fairs, and alumni meet-ups if they attend a school within driving distance.

  • Ensure the School's Admission Requirements Meet Your Expectations

    Academic support service PrepScholar found that, in 2017, the average GMAT score was 552. Within MBA programs, this number can vary widely. Those in the top often score in the 700s, while other students may score in the upper 400s. With this in mind, degree seekers should find programs that meet their academic abilities while still providing a challenging curriculum. They should also review previous education and work experience requirements.

  • Compare Student Outcomes Data

    When considering an online MBA criminal justice degree, students should review how the program prepares graduates for the real world. Many departments post data concerning graduation and employment rates, average starting salaries, and how students who graduate use their new knowledge after leaving the institution. Individuals who cannot find this information on the program website should contact the admissions department and ask for the most recent data available.

  • Estimate the Expected Costs of Your Program

    Online MBA in criminal justice programs often cost more than other postgraduate degrees due to the fact that graduates typically earn much higher salaries than the national average — even within one year of graduating. When calculating expected costs, distance learners must look at more than just advertised tuition and course fees. They must also factor in additional expenses such as textbooks and course materials.

  • Check That Classes Will Fit in With Your Schedule

    Because many students continue working while completing an MBA in criminal justice online, they should find programs with flexible scheduling. Outside of class projects and potential internships, many institutions offer coursework asynchronously so that learners can watch lectures and submit assignments at their convenience. Synchronous learning, conversely, requires them to login at specific times and participate in real time.

  • Look for Partnerships With Local Law Enforcement

    In order to provide a well-rounded education, numerous online MBA in criminal justice programs require learners to work with a local organization to complete a project. When seeking a location, research local law enforcement agencies. In addition to building practical skills and knowledge during the project, students can also leverage these new relationships into networking opportunities — and perhaps a job offer after graduation.

  • Make Sure the Program Is Accredited

    In addition to ensuring the institution you attend holds regional accreditation, programmatic accreditation also plays an important role in being selected for future jobs. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business serves as the gold standard in programmatic accreditation for MBA programs. For criminal justice specifically, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences certifies programs internationally if they meet the academy's high standards.

  • Talk to Current Students And/Or Recent Alumni

    Students should try to speak with current students or recent alumni about their experiences and how the program prepared them for employment before accepting an enrollment offer. In addition to searching LinkedIn for recent graduates, reach out to the school for a list of students who may speak frankly about the pros and cons of the program.

What Certifications and Licenses are Needed for a Career in Criminal Justice?

An online MBA in criminal justice can help you get a number of jobs, but some may require you to get additional certification. Certifications prove your understanding of the criminal justice system and prepare you for more specialized work. Several such certifications are listed below.

Liscense Description
Private Investigator License In order to work as a private investigator you need to be licensed. The requirements vary by state.
Certified Forensic Nurse Nurses often work with the victims of various crimes. Forensic nurses are certified to obtain physical evidence from patients to help with police investigations.
Forensic Psychology Certification Forensic psychology is helpful to law enforcement officials, lawyers, and others who work with criminals, suspects, and victims.

Resources for MBA in Criminal Justice Students

Scholarships for Criminal Justice MBA Programs

Getting a criminal justice master's degree online can be expensive, but there are a number of ways to help offset that cost. In addition to student loans, there are a wide variety of scholarships available to students of criminal justice, as well as grants. Below, you will find four examples of scholarships that can help fund your education.

Other Online MBA Programs That May Interest You

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