Master of Arts in Criminal Justice: Career Outlook

Match your career with your passion for justice.

Earning an online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree from Michigan State University (MSU) can put you a step ahead of other criminal justice professionals and open doors that take you beyond the rank and file.

  • Average annual salary of $88,923 for police supervisors, special agents, detectives and security managers1,2,3,4

  • Strong MSU partnerships with leading criminal justice agencies in the U.S.

  • An extensive network of alumni who are employed by the Michigan State Police, security service organizations, the U.S. Secret Service and more

In a field as diverse as criminal justice, earning your master’s degree can put you on the path to becoming an instructor, policymaker, security manager, crime analyst or consultant.

Through our alumni network, career fairs, internships and other events, we connect our students with employers like the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, the U.S. Secret Service and more.

Completing your graduate degree at MSU will help you gain access to this growing network of unique opportunities.

Police Supervisor


Police supervisors oversee the daily work of police officers and detectives. In this role, you would be responsible for ensuring the ethical and effective investigation of criminal behavior as well as supervision of internal department procedures.

Special Agent


Engage in investigations pertaining to the violation of federal laws. Question witnesses, gather evidence and collect and analyze data to assist prosecutors and keep communities safe.

Detective or Criminal Investigator


Detectives and criminal investigators are responsible for gathering evidence, conducting interviews and investigating criminal behavior. In this position, you may be involved in preventing and solving a wide range of crimes to help protect your community.

Security Manager


Create a safe environment for employees of an organization through security guard management and policy development. Design and implement procedures in case of an emergency such as a building fire or an active shooter crisis.

Additional roles with a master’s in criminal justice degree include:

  • Correctional Officer Supervisor
  • Criminologist
  • Director of Emergency Management
  • Fraud Investigator
  • Private Investigator
  • Probation Officer
  • Security Consultant

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Further Your Criminal Justice Career with New Skills

When you complete this program, you will be able to:

  • Apply analytical skills to better understand crime and criminal justice issues

  • Understand the management and operation of criminal justice organizations to accomplish goals

  • Evaluate the quality of research methods and how such influences confidence in research findings

  • Identify a crime or justice problem and a policy to address it

  • Communicate effectively through writing

Build Your Career Network

MSU offers many options for students to find and prepare for future careers in criminal justice:

Alumni Connections

Connect with a vast network of alumni to get a glimpse of the different careers available after earning your degree.


Work as an intern at an approved criminal justice agency and receive academic credit.

Criminal Justice Career Fair

Join your criminal justice classmates and 70–80 criminal justice agencies at MSU’s annual career fair.

Career Advising

Leverage career advice from experts before you graduate so that you’re prepared to take that next step.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022: 33-1012 First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives." Apr. 25, 2023. Retrieved Jan. 24, 2024 from
  2. PayScale. “Average Special Agent (Federal) Salary.” Retrieved Jan. 24, 2024 from
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Police and Detectives.” Sept. 6, 2023. Retrieved Jan. 24, 2024 from
  4. PayScale. “Average Security Manager Salary.” Retrieved Jan. 24, 2024 from