Criminal Justice PhD: Is it Worth the Money?
One of the most important questions prospective students ask themselves before enrolling in any educational program is whether it is worth the money. Since an online PhD in criminal justice takes several years to complete and is certainly not free, careful consideration must be undertaken before enrolling. The two most important factors in determining whether the doctoral degree is worth it is the financial cost of the degree and what type of salary a graduate can expect after graduation.
What does an online criminal justice doctoral degree cost?
Tuition is the single most important number when calculating the cost of an online PhD in criminal justice. Most schools charge by the credit hour but have various financial aid and scholarship options available. Some even have discounts if certain conditions are met. For example, Nova Southeastern University will offer a 20 percent discount on tuition if the student’s employer signs a “Memorandum of Understanding,” in which the employer agrees to assist in the marketing efforts of Nova Southeastern University at the employer’s place of business, as well as notify the university of any new employment opportunities within the organization.
To give an idea of tuition costs, Northcentral University’s estimated tuition costs total $61,560 and Walden University’s estimated tuition costs total $43,890. Obviously there is a wide discrepancy between what one school charges versus another that students should take into account when applying. Besides tuition, there are other costs such as books, technology fees, service fees and travel costs (due to certain in-person academic requirements that some programs require).
What can a graduate of an online criminal justice PhD program expect to earn?
There are numerous positions a criminal justice graduate can enter after graduation. The below chart is a brief summary of specific professions and their respective salaries:
|Postsecondary Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Teachers
|Correction Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
|Private Detectives and Investigators
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Source: United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics
To put all of these income numbers in perspective, the job search site simplyhired.com states that the average salary for criminal justice PhD jobs was $51,000.
In addition to the salary potential of having a PhD in criminal justice, the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that between 2012 and 2022, there will be a need for 19 percent more postsecondary teachers, including those in law and criminal justice, while the national average growth rate for all occupations during that time period is only 11 percent. Also, according to the employment website Indeed.com, the total job postings relating to a PhD in criminal justice has increased over 200 percent from 2008 to 2013.