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.

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%

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.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Lamar University

Location Beaumont, TX Tuition Tuition $14,688 % Receiving Financial Aid 54% Student Population 14,965 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 Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 66% Student Population 80,494 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 Tuition $22,572 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 61,285 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 Tuition $21,564 % Receiving Financial Aid 55% Student Population 1,059 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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If you’ve decided that an MBA in Criminal Justice is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy having the ability to visit campus if they want to. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When looked at side-by-side, this information can give you an easy glimpse of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs will require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your MBA in criminal justice is to find a job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. Attending a school that is well connected with local businesses can be an advantage. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Criminal Justice program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Search Programs by Concentration

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.

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.