The criminal justice system depends on dedicated professionals to handle everything from patrolling the streets in an effort to fight crime and protect the public to monitoring convicts and parolees after incarceration. Students who earn online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice will be ready to join the ranks of those serving in the criminal justice system.
Why You Should Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
Is a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice right for you? Federal, state, and corporate employers often require that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is ideal if you’re interested in:
- Seeking a job in law enforcement, corrections, social services or the courts
- Upgrading your associate degree or criminal justice certificate qualification
- Preparing for law school or graduate studies
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice: Requirements and Cost
Getting into an online bachelor’s degree program means you’ll need to share your academic records, including your high school diploma or GED. Schools will also want to consider any military experience, or previous coursework including an associate degree or criminal justice certificate, as you may be able to apply previously completed credits to your bachelor’s degree.
Tuition rates will vary depending on your bachelor’s degree program, but keep in mind that there may be special tuition rates for veterans and low income students. You may also be eligible for government aid, or employer tuition assistance. Contact your school’s financial aid office to learn about any financial aid options you may have available.
Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Courses
Like its traditional counterpart, an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can take up to four years to complete. That equates to about 120 credit hours of college courses.
Students pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice may complete a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in criminal justice, which offer different educational experiences and outcomes. For example, humanities-based B.A. programs often include a foreign language component, whereas B.S. programs may incorporate forensic science, math or technology credit hours into the curriculum.
In both cases, core courses for a major in criminal justice typically cover:
- Law, Policing and the Courts
- Corrections and Incarceration
- Juvenile Justice
Criminal justice bachelor’s degrees will also include upper-level courses, such as crime scene investigation, border security and family law, and may require you to complete a research project or thesis. General education, including arts, sciences, history and communications, along with elective credit hours, make up the remainder of the degree.
Career Options with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
An online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from an accredited institution can qualify you for a career working in:
- Police departments
- Sheriff’s offices
- Court administration
- Jails and prisons
- Probation and parole offices
- Private security
- Social service agencies
A bachelor’s degree may also mean better pay and more opportunities for career advancement to positions such as (Bureau of Labor Statistics average pay as of May 2020):
- Detectives and criminal investigator: $89,300
- Private detectives and investigator: $60,100
- Police chief/supervisor: $93,100
- Forensic science technician: $64,890
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for detectives and criminal investigators, private detectives and investigators, first-line supervisors of police and detectives, forensic science technicians. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
Enroll in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Program
Start your career in criminal justice with an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. View the criminal justice schools in our directory to find the program that’s right for you.