When you think of Massachusetts the first city that typically comes to mind is Boston. It is not a surprise that their most well known city is also the largest in the group of New England states by nearly 500,000 in population size (source). Off of those same statistics, Boston is followed by Springfield (153k roughly), Lowell (106k roughly), and Cambridge (105k roughly) when looking at the populations of the larger Massachusetts cities.
According to the Massachusetts state police page, their division is split into two main sections with the first (called the Standards section) including Internal Affairs, Certification Unit, Harassment Investigation, and Staff Inspections. The second section (called the Training section) is comprised of the State Police academy located in New Braintree, MA. While the academy offers a variety of training programs, you will want to learn more about the different schools offering criminal justice degrees at a variety of different levels.
Here is a greater understanding of what the state of Massachusetts looks like from a demographics perspective based on census data:
- 2013 population estimate: 6.69 million
- Persons under the age of 18 years old: 20.8 percent
- Persons with high school graduate level or higher: 89.1 percent
- Persons with a bachelor has degree level or higher: 39 percent
Massachusetts has over 350 law enforcement agencies that employ over 18,000 sworn police officers which is a sizable number of officers per person in the population. source
What to Expect in A Criminal Justice Degree
US News World Report does annual rankings where they look at the top criminology programs and utilize a variety of different factors to look at these rankings. Massachusetts only had one school in the top 25 of this list with Northeastern University coming in at #12. Just like any other degree, criminal justice students will need to decide whether they take classes online or at a brick and mortar location, or at a non-profit institution versus a for-profit school.
One of the main things that most criminal justice degrees look at are statistics behind criminal activity and the nature behind it. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, their criminal justice program actually requires an internship that will allow students to apply those theories to real life situations. A lot of the programs you will find should have detailed curriculum behind them along with requirements so do the due diligence when selecting a program.
Massachusetts Criminal Justice Organizations
We mentioned a few of the larger cities located in Massachusetts but it was only a drop in the bucket for all of the cities located there. With all of these cities come a ton of different city police and criminal justice organizations that you should become familiar with. They can be informational and helpful while also giving you potential to work or intern there as well. Here are a few of the Massachusetts criminology organizations that we found:
- Criminal Justice Policy Coalition
- Municipal Police Training Committee
- Massachusetts State Website
- Massachusetts Court System
Selecting a criminal justice program is an important decision and each state has it’s own unique requirements. We encourage you to reach out to the members of these groups to gain further insights that can’t always be conveyed through text. You might also gain a potential future job contact that could be utilized in helping you gain employment after attaining that criminal justice degree. When you’re trying to network and make a decision that could effect the rest of your life, don’t be hesitant to be bold in reaching out to people in organizations like these.
Massachusetts Criminal Justice Careers
Trying to define a criminal justice career by the state the career resides in is a challenge. Large metropolitan cities can offer careers ranging from bike patrol to TSA agencies at the different state airports. Massachusetts has this variety in their landscapes along with constantly changing laws. As an example, Massachusetts made key changes to their gun laws which are key for police officers and law enforcement to stay informed on. While a police officer is a career most immedately think about, be sure to look into some of the lesser known careers in law enforcement like homeland security and hazard mitigation.
Criminal Justice Jobs in Massachusetts
We try to always supply a complete picture of what the criminal justice industry looks like in each of the states we review and that includes the number of agencies in the state. Massachusetts sees a large number of agencies (many residing in Boston) which include:
- 5 State Agencies
- 14 County Agencies
- 35 City Agencies
- 140+ Town Agencies
- 25 College and University Agencies
- 15 Other Agencies (includes agencies like City Hall Security, Massachusetts Port Authority, Boston Park Rangers)
These numbers come from Wikipedia. While most of the agencies are similar to the other states in the US, it is the other agencies that have some diversity outside of the traditional career paths. It can range from the hospital police to Prevention of Animal Cruelty Police.
Criminal Justice Career Outlook in Massachusetts
As you are doing research into either taking the next step in your criminal justice career or are considering just starting, you will want to know the career outlook in your respective state. We have looked at the statistics provided by ONET that tells us more of the long term outlook for the criminal justice career in Massachusetts. We selected Sheriff Patrol Officers as the ONET career profile for Massachusetts and it showed that they have a median average salary of $59,200 compared to the US median average at $56,100. While being slightly above the national average in salary, Massachusetts is expected to see a 7 percent growth from 2012 to 2022 (16,550 to 17,630) while the US expects a 6 percent growth. If you were considering a position within the criminal justice industry within Massachusetts, ONET numbers are definitely encouraging for future growth. It will be important that you take into account the cost of living as certain cities will be significantly higher than others.
List of Criminal Justice Schools in Massachusetts
- Lamar University offers a Bachelors in Criminal Justice online and a Masters in Criminal Justice online. The BS in Criminal Justice is designed to help law enforcement professionals complete their degrees quickly by offering accelerated courses and providing opportunities to transfer work experience and training as academic credit. The MS in Criminal Justice is designed for professionals who want to progress to careers in the FBI, CIA or other federal security agencies.
Click here for more information on the BS or MS in Criminal Justice program information.
- The BA in Criminology at Arkansas State University is a 100% online program with affordable tuition that focuses its curriculum on developing an in-depth understanding of the big picture of crime and its social contexts. The 100% online B.A. degree program helps prepare you for a career in public service or criminal justice fields, including law enforcement.
Click here for more program information.