An online criminal justice certificate can be your first step toward a career in criminal justice, or an opportunity for professionals to specialize in a particular field, such as cyber crime or domestic violence. Though on its own, a certificate may not meet educational requirements for many careers in criminal justice, it can add an extra layer to your criminal justice education.
Why You Should Earn an Online Certificate in Criminal Justice
A criminal justice certificate is ideal for professionals in certain situations, like those already pursuing a degree, or working professionals who want to add a specialization. You should consider a certificate in criminal justice if you are:
- Planning to pursue a higher degree in criminal justice in the future
- Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field
- Already working in the criminal justice arena (e.g. the courts, security, law enforcement or corrections) and seeking a career boost
- Employed in another field, such as education or social services, and looking for an added qualification
Online Criminal Justice Certificates: Requirements and Fees
Admissions requirements for criminal justice certificates are generally very lenient. Most universities simply ask that you have a high school degree or GED diploma. Accredited institutions should also allow you to apply your course credits to a higher degree from the same institution later on.
The average cost for an online criminal justice certificate is lower than for a bachelor’s degree, but it is still a sizable investment. Government agencies, your employer or both may be able to offset part of the expense, but be sure to check the fine print. Financial aid may only be available for programs with accredited institutions. If you are in any doubt about regional or national accreditation, the U.S. Department of Education can advise you on an institution’s standing.
Online Criminal Justice Certificate Curriculum
Criminal justice certificates both online and offline are usually designed to accommodate busy professionals who may be working or studying in other programs. Most take a year or less to complete, offer open or rolling admissions, and are often structured to fit a part-time schedule between 12 to 30 credit hours of college-level coursework.
In your certificate program, you can expect to take core criminal justice courses including:
- Criminal Justice System
- Criminal Law
You may then be able to choose a concentration (e.g. computer forensics, juvenile justice, etc.) to complete your requirements. Concentrations in terrorism, homeland security and law enforcement have become popular in recent years.
Online Criminal Justice Certificate Career Options
A criminal justice certificate is usually a stepping stone to a higher degree or better pay. Certificate holders may serve as police, probation or parole officers, special agents, and paralegals. Qualified professionals are also employed in state and federal-level agencies, the court system, and in forensics and security organizations.
Choose Your Criminal Justice Certificate Program
Are you ready to improve your career with a certificate in criminal justice? Choose from our directory of accredited online certificates in criminal justice.