Criminal Justice Online Degrees & Programs

Legal and crime scene investigation programs through distance learning

Criminal justice online degrees programs allow learners to make their your own schedule and study at their own pace, through distance education to enhance skills or begin one of the many rewarding but challenging careers in law enforcement and related justice fields.

An added benefit for learners who are new to using computers and online technologies to accomplish their criminal justice study through distance learning is that most accredited schools offer technical support to help students become familiar with the educational systems/learning management system, course layout and the online format of study.

The faculty for online programs has solid academic credentials and expertise in criminal justice topics, such as forensics, white-collar crime and corrections. Traditional colleges that have online degree offerings use the same professors for campus programs as they do for online programs. So no matter where you are learning, whether it is at home or stationed on a military base, you will have access to some of the best educational training and resources.

What should you expect from a criminal justice online program?

  • Earning a criminal justice degree through distance learning will not exempt you from background checks. Criminal justice jobs generally require you to undergo a comprehensive background check. Felony convictions, and in some US states domestic violence convictions, can prohibit you from certain jobs, such as police officer.
  • Even though an online degree in criminal justice provides flexibility and convenience, students should still expect to spend 10-20 hours a week studying for each 8 to 12 credits earned.
  • Some criminal justice and legal online programs provide you with hands-on experience with real cases.
  • In addition to course-related material, schools may provide virtual access to online library resources, such as textbooks, journals and databases for study and research work.
  • You may require more training at a police academy if your goal is to work in law enforcement

Online Criminal Justice Degrees - Levels and Concentrations

While associate's and certificate degree programs can be finished in two years or less, a bachelor's degree is required for many positions, including the Secret Service and managerial positions in local and state law enforcement agencies. A master's degree in criminal justice is required to become an FBI agent or police chief. In additional to degree choices, students can specialize in one or more areas of criminal justice, including law enforcement, forensics/crime scene investigation, corrections, homeland security issues and the courts.

Featured Criminal Justice Degree Online Colleges

University of Phoenix

  • A.A. in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice Administration - Human Services
  • BS in Criminal Justice Administration - Institutional Healthcare
  • BS in Criminal Justice Administration - Management
  • M.S. in Administration of Justice and Security

Career opportunities with a degree in criminal justice

Criminal justice has recently become a popular career opportunity due to the high demand for additional police and security professionals. The career, however, is not for everyone. Criminal justice professionals face a number of dangerous situations on the job, as well as a great amount of responsibility, but the field is lucrative for those who have a passion for solving crimes and preventing them. Individuals who already have police or military police training have the best job opportunities with a criminal justice degree.

The career possibilities with a criminal justice degree vary with your specialization and any other law enforcement training that you already have. Jobs are available at the local, state and federal levels, including police officer, crime scene investigator, corporate security professional and corrections officers. Related justice positions include probation officer, correctional officers, victim advocates and community service officers.

The number of jobs for police and detectives will be about average, with most growth due to population increases and replacement of retiring professionals. The competition for jobs at the Federal and State levels is high, with individuals with a bachelor’s degree, several years experience and knowledge of more than one language having the best opportunities.

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