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Online Masters Degree in Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is never dull: In Montana, a man instigated a car chase with cops, just because he had always wanted to try it. After being 21 for only 90 minutes, an Oregon man was arrested for crashing into a rehab center. An Arizona man was charged with trespassing for refusing to leave jail. In Wisconsin, a man walked into a Denny's, pretended to be the new boss and cooked his own cheeseburger. He was charged with fraud and possession of weapons.

Many of the dedicated individuals in law enforcement hope for greater professional challenges than just making arrests like these. Earning master's degrees in law enforcement can help you move into positions where you tackle more complex matters of criminal justice.

Exploring master's degrees in law enforcement

There are many types of master's degrees in law enforcement. Choose one based on your strengths, interests and career goals. Master's degrees in law enforcement can be specialized, like these:

  1. Crime scene investigation
  2. Forensic science or forensic psychology
  3. Global or organizational law enforcement
  4. Homeland security
  5. Intelligence and analysis
  6. Police psychology
  7. Public security

You can also earn a master's degree in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. According to the U.S. Department of Education, criminology focuses on the psychological and sociological aspects of the legal system, while criminal justice investigates the problems involved with mismanaging that system. Whichever degree you choose, courses should include theory, research and statistics.

Law enforcement career outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall job growth for various careers in law enforcement. The BLS reports that supervisors of police and detectives earned a median wage of $77,890 in 2011. Here are the projected 2010-2020 growth rates and 2011 median salaries for related occupations:

  1. Police and detectives: 7 percent; $54,230
  2. Private investigators: 21 percent; $43,710
  3. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists: 18 percent; $47,840
  4. Social workers: 25 percent; $53,900

Some of these careers may require special training or experience. Law enforcement occupations include management roles as well as state police officers -- also called state troopers or highway patrol officers; fish and game wardens; transit police; and sheriffs along with their deputies and patrol officers.

Whichever path you choose, online education makes it simpler to return to school. Flexible schedules are available for law enforcement programs, allowing you to honor your current obligations while you expand your horizons.

Featured Online Law Enforcement Degree Programs

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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers both foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.

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