Online Criminal Justice Schools
Law Enforcement Education: Do you find yourself enjoying TV shows like 48 hours, CSI, Forensic Files, or COPS? Do you enjoy studying issues in society? Do you find yourself wanting to help enforce the laws in place to help protect others? Or do you care about making a difference by bringing more justice into the world? If so, a Criminal Justice Degree may be able to help you to work in a field you are passionate about. It is even possible to take courses online from the comfort of your own home. This is a great option for parents who need to be at home with their children or for people who enjoy a flexible schedule.
When you get a criminal justice degree, you can work in careers like police officer, detective, administrator, corrections officer, forensics specialist, and more. The employment in this field is growing and salaries are above average compared to other careers. Depending on where you work and what type of career you have, you have a lot of potential for your career future. If you are looking for positions in administration or management, having an advanced degree is definitely recommended.
School of Justice Programs Available
- Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate: 1 year to complete
- Associate Degree: 2 years to complete
- Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete
- Master's Degree: 1-2 years to complete
- Doctoral Degree: 3-5 years to complete
Students at the undergraduate level will take basic courses that introduce them to the world of criminal justice in its three areas: the correctional system, law enforcement, and the courts. Certificate and associate degree students will be educated on police procedures, evidence collection, human behavior, criminology, and related courses, depending on the area of study that is chosen. Students who enroll in an online bachelor's degree program will generally have many more general education courses like English, math, communication, and others.
Those who are studying at the master's level will find a much more specialized area of study that they can focus on. Their studies will be strictly based on the degree that they are getting in their field, no matter what that might be. Some of the areas of focus include administration, corrections, and law enforcement. The programs are designed to help current professionals advance their career or to help those who have higher career goals achieve them. There are some criminal justice careers that cannot be had without at least a master's degree, after all. Most programs will require some type of capstone project or thesis in the area of focus where the students are studying.
Doctoral degrees that are obtained online focus on research in most cases. Criminal justice degrees will require an in-depth research project and a dissertation in order to get a degree. Students take a variety of classes in qualitative and quantitative analysis, research methods, criminal justice, and other areas of focus. The programs are very intense and designed for people who are looking to teach, work in research, or work in Federal agencies or other high-level positions within the criminal justice field.
Students at the undergraduate level will typically have to provide letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and a minimum GPA from their high school to gain admission. Graduate programs have much stricter requirements, including an existing bachelor's degree. Typically, a degree in a related field is preferred. Some programs will require GRE or other standardized testing scores. Some doctorate degrees will allow admission with just a bachelor's degree while others might require a master's degree to enroll.
Distance Learning Vs. Traditional Criminal Justice Degree
Online criminal justice degrees are going to give you the same education and skills that you would gain from a traditional college degree program. Depending on the degree that you choose, some on-campus work might be required, but most of the careers in this field can be earned by studying in the classroom. If you choose a hands-on career like police officer, you will have to attend appropriate training programs on-site, of course. However, most online programs are capable of setting you up with the training that you need so that you're not compromising on anything and getting the education that you deserve. Graduate students have a much better chance of being able to complete a degree program online, but again that varies depending on the degree that they are getting.
Tuition and Accreditation
Depending on the school that you choose for your criminal justice degree, tuition will vary. It is going to depend on a lot of factors, but programs typically range between $5,000 and $40,000 or more per year. Online graduate programs range between $5,000 and $30,000 annually, depending on which type of school you choose and other factors. There are financial assistance options for students who need help paying for their education when they are pursuing criminal justice degrees online.
Accreditation is a must for any criminal justice degree program. You should choose a program that is accredited by national or regional agencies. That way, you can have the peace of mind that you are getting a reputable degree. Of course, financial aid and job opportunities after college might also be affected by accreditation, which is why it is so important.
How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice Degree
Depending on the education and experience you already have, you will have a wide selection of criminal justice degrees to choose from. It will be up to you to determine what career you want and then find the degree that will prepare you for that career. Every state tends to have different requirements, so you should check with your state about your chosen career before you enroll to make sure that you are getting the right education. You should also make sure that the degree you pursue is relevant to your career and going to give you all of the necessary education and hands-on training so that you can put your skills to work once you have completed your degree program. It's all about finding the degree that works for you and online programs make that easy for everyone. Listed below are hand picked schools offering accredited degree programs that you can request information from.