Law enforcement professionals work at the federal, state, and local levels to enforce laws and protect citizens with public safety. An online degree in law enforcement will teach you about important procedures, issues, and principles in law enforcement and community relations.
Online Law Enforcement Degrees
Students have a variety of online law enforcement degree options, with programs ranging from certificates to master’s degrees. Law enforcement degrees are generally earned as part of a criminal justice degree program, and may also be listed as police studies degrees or law enforcement administration degrees. This degree program prepares students to apply forensic and other evidence to law enforcement, to understand the ethical issues in law enforcement, and to gain perspective on policing and community relations.
Law Enforcement Careers
The career path for graduates with a law enforcement degree is clear: most will pursue careers in law enforcement at the local, state, or federal level. Opportunities are available with city and county police forces, state law enforcement agencies, and federal organizations including the FBI, DEA, and ICE. Job titles in law enforcement include:
- Police officer
- Drug enforcement officer
- Customs agent
- FBI agent
- Sheriff’s deputy
Jobs in this field remains plentiful, and earning potential remains strong. Expect to earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enjoy a variety of professional opportunities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff’s patrol officers earned an average salary of $70,000 and detectives and criminal investigators earned an average salary of $89,300 as of May 2020.
In the federal government sector, Customs and Border Patrol agents earn a starting salary of between GL-7 – GL-9 (LEO salary schedule) which, as of 2021, was between $42,698 and $61,443, while FBI special agents begin their careers at the GL-10 level which, as of 2021, included a salary of between $52,440 and $67,668.
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for police and sheriff’s patrol officers and detectives and criminal investigators. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
Law Enforcement Degree Curriculum
The curriculum for an online law enforcement degree is designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed to effectively enforce laws while protecting and serving the public. Courses in an online law enforcement degree may include:
- Criminology: The principles and theories of criminal behavior and the causes of crime are the focus here. The coursework also deals with the impact of the crime on the victim and society.
- Ethics, Justice and Social Control: This course deals with the theory and application of ethics to the criminal justice field in areas such as law enforcement, corrections and the courts.
- Criminal Behavior, Profiling Violent Offenders: Here, students examine the motivations behind crimes such as stalking, arson, murder and sexual assault. Students also analyze behavioral patterns and psychological profiles.
- Statistics in Criminal Justice: In this session, students learn how to interpret research data about criminal justice issues using statistical analysis and other tools of the trade.
- Criminal Investigations: Students in this course examine the various techniques and methods used to conduct effective criminal investigations.
Start Your Career in Law Enforcement
Get started as a law enforcement officer with an online law enforcement degree. In our program directory, you’ll learn about online law enforcement degree programs available from top accredited online schools.