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Guide To Earning A Online Criminal Justice Degree

Imagine being able to pursue a career in the fascinating world of criminal justice while enjoying the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Sounds enticing, right? Well, it’s possible with an online criminal justice degree.

This blog post will guide you through everything you need to get your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online, including top programs, accreditation, core curriculum, career opportunities, and financial considerations.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and resources to confidently take the first step toward a rewarding career in the criminal justice field. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore online criminal justice degrees to find the best program for you.
  • Top programs include Southern New Hampshire University, Arizona State University Online, Penn State World Campus, and Purdue Global.
  • Consider tuition costs and financial aid options to ensure a successful degree completion with minimal financial burden.

Exploring Online Criminal Justice Degrees

online criminal justice degree

Online criminal justice degrees lay the groundwork for a stable, fulfilling career in the criminal justice system. With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be ready for roles in law enforcement, court administration, homeland security, and security management.

But how do you pick the right online program? Consider factors like accreditation, reputation, and curriculum quality to ensure you choose a successful program.

Continue reading to discover top online criminal justice programs and how to select the best one for you.

Top Online Criminal Justice Programs

Top online criminal justice programs include Southern New Hampshire University, Arizona State University Online, and Penn State World Campus. Also, Purdue Global offers a highly-regarded program, merging real-world insights with rigorous academic training. These universities provide esteemed programs that blend real-world perspectives with thorough academic training.

For example, SNHU’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program includes an embedded communication certificate, ensuring you graduate with the skills necessary to excel in the field. ASU Online’s program is 120 credit hours, which allows for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Moreover, ASU Online’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management program has been ranked as the top program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

With these top-tier programs, you can rest assured that you’re receiving a high-quality education that will prepare you for a successful career in criminal justice.

Accreditation and Reputation

While the quality of the curriculum is essential, you should also consider the accreditation and reputation of the institution offering the online criminal justice degree. Accreditation guarantees that the program meets specific quality standards, which can impact your career prospects and future educational opportunities.

Southern New Hampshire University holds the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) accreditation. Additionally, they are accredited by several other bodies. Choosing a reputable and accredited institution ensures that your degree will be recognized by employers and other institutions, increasing your chances of success in criminal justice.

Core Curriculum and Course Offerings

online degree

Once you’ve chosen the right online criminal justice program, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the core curriculum and course offerings. Knowing what to expect from your courses will help you plan your studies effectively and maximize your educational experience.

In online criminal justice degree programs, you’ll typically encounter a core curriculum that includes criminal law and procedure, criminology, behavioral sciences, and various specializations and electives. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

Criminal Law and Procedure

Criminal law and procedure form the backbone of the criminal justice field, outlining crimes, punishments, and law enforcement steps. These topics are crucial for grasping the criminal justice system’s function in enforcing laws and safeguarding citizens.

As a criminal justice student, you’ll delve into constitutional law, criminal offenses, police administration, and the functions of various criminal justice agencies. This knowledge becomes invaluable in careers like policing, corrections, or other roles within the criminal justice system.

Criminology and Behavioral Sciences

In addition to criminal law and procedure, criminology and behavioral sciences significantly contribute to understanding crime and criminal behavior. This multidisciplinary field uses theories and methods from diverse behavioral sciences to analyze crime and institutional responses to it.

Studying criminology and behavioral sciences will expose you to various topics, including child welfare, safety, city management, and human trafficking. The faculty at institutions like Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions focus on real-world solutions to such issues. They ensure your education remains practical and relevant.

Specializations and Electives

You can tailor your online criminal justice degree to your interests and career goals by choosing from various specializations and electives. These courses let you explore deeper into areas like computer science, forensics, public policy, administration, or human services.

ASU Online offers electives in areas like terrorism, sex crimes, drugs and crime, and police accountability. Each course provides an in-depth understanding of its topic. By selecting specializations and electives that match your career aspirations, you’ll prepare more effectively for success in your chosen field.

The Online Learning Experience

Choosing an online criminal justice degree offers unique advantages like flexibility, time management, and global interaction with instructors and peers. Online learning provides a convenient, accessible way to earn your degree while balancing work and personal commitments.

In this section, we explore online learning’s advantages, focusing on benefits like flexibility, instructor and peer interaction, and support services for online students.

Flexibility and Time Management

One of the key benefits of pursuing an online criminal justice degree is the flexibility it offers. Online programs allow you to access course materials and lectures anytime, from any location, and at a pace that suits your needs. This flexibility is precious for busy students balancing their studies with work and family commitments.

Effective time management and self-discipline are essential for success in any college program, including online criminal justice degrees. By managing your time effectively and staying organized, you can make the most of the flexibility offered by online learning and ensure your success in the program.

Interaction with Instructors and Peers

Online learning offers flexibility and ample opportunities for interaction with instructors and peers. Engaging in online criminal justice programs motivates and engages you, deepens your understanding, and builds peer relationships.

Online criminal justice programs offer various interaction methods, including live lectures, discussion boards, video conferencing, and email. By actively participating in discussions, asking questions, and respecting peers, you enhance your learning experience and maximize interaction opportunities.

Support Services for Online Students

In addition to flexibility and interaction, online criminal justice students have access to support services like tutoring, academic centers, technical support, and job assistance. These services help you succeed in your program and prepare well for your future career.

For instance, tutoring aids in understanding course material, developing effective study habits, and improving grades. By utilizing these support services, you maximize your success potential in your online criminal justice program.

Career Opportunities and Outcomes

With a criminal justice degree, you can explore various career opportunities. Graduates of criminal justice programs can find rewarding positions in law enforcement and policing, corrections, and rehabilitation, and private security and investigation.

This section delves into the different career paths available to criminal justice graduates and the potential outcomes you can expect.

Law Enforcement and Policing

A career in law enforcement and policing involves enforcing laws and maintaining public order, making it a critical component of the criminal justice system. A criminal justice degree can open up many doors in the public sector law enforcement field. Possible career choices include criminologists, police officers/detectives, parole and probation officers, court administration, and criminal psychologists.

Law enforcement positions are available at federal, state, and local levels, offering various opportunities for criminal justice professionals. In 2021, the median annual salary for police and detectives was $66,020, showcasing the potential for financial stability in this field.

Corrections and Rehabilitation

If you’re interested in the correctional system, a criminal justice degree can lead to careers in corrections and rehabilitation. This field includes enforcing rules, maintaining security, supervising inmates, conducting searches, inspecting facilities, providing care, and coordinating inmate programs.

Career opportunities in the correctional system are diverse, spanning probation and parole officers, corrections officers, to case managers. With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, probation officers earn a median annual salary of $60,250, offering financial stability in this sector.

Private Security and Investigation

Private security and investigation appeal to those interested in the criminal justice field outside the public sector. This field involves conducting private investigations, collecting evidence, surveillance, interrogating witnesses, and protecting people, property, and information.

To enter private security and investigation, you typically need a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and a private investigator license. A criminal justice degree opens doors to roles as a private investigator, security guard, or law enforcement officer.

Financial Considerations and Aid

Finances play a crucial role in pursuing an online criminal justice degree. It’s essential to consider the costs associated with tuition and fees and the availability of financial aid and scholarships. By understanding your financial options, you can make informed decisions about your education and minimize the financial burden of earning a degree.

This section discusses the financial considerations and aid options for online criminal justice degree programs.

Tuition and Fees

The cost of an online criminal justice degree depends on the school and program, with prices ranging from $6,000 to $36,000. Factors affecting these costs are the institution’s reputation, curriculum quality, and financial aid availability.

For instance, SNHU provides competitive online tuition rates and a 30% discount for U.S. service members and their spouses. By evaluating tuition and additional expenses like course materials or graduation fees, you can make an informed choice about pursuing an online criminal justice degree.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Various financial aid options and scholarships support online criminal justice degrees, beyond tuition and fees. Scholarships like the ACJS Student Scholarship Award, Pi Gamma Mu Scholarship, and Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship offer financial help to eligible students.

SNHU, among other institutions, offers financial aid for qualifying students and tuition discounts for U.S. service members and their spouses. By investigating financial aid and scholarship options, you can lessen the financial burden of earning a criminal justice degree.


Throughout this blog post, we’ve explored the world of online criminal justice degrees and their many benefits. From top programs and core curriculum to career opportunities and financial considerations, you now understand what it takes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online.

Embarking on the journey to earn your criminal justice degree is an investment in your future. By choosing the right program, staying focused and disciplined, and making the most of the opportunities presented, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding and successful career in the criminal justice field. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the first step toward making a difference in the world of criminal justice!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is criminal justice a pointless degree?

Despite common misconceptions, a degree in criminal justice is valuable and can open doors to many different career paths. With the right program, a criminal justice degree can benefit those wishing to pursue a career in criminal justice, law enforcement, or security management.

Ultimately, it depends on the goals and ambitions of the individual who holds the degree.

Is criminal justice an easy degree?

Overall, a criminal justice degree is not necessarily an easy degree. It requires dedication and a solid commitment to learning the nuances of the field.

Although individual courses may vary in difficulty, having a well-rounded education covering various topics is essential for those pursuing a career in this field.

What is the difference between criminal justice and criminology?

The distinction between criminal justice and criminology lies in the scope of their respective study areas. Criminal justice examines the practice of punishing criminals, while criminology studies the reasons why individuals commit crimes and how society should respond.

This helps to shed light on the underlying causes of crime, which can inform public policy decisions. Feb 21, 2023.

Is Penn State a good school for criminal justice?

Penn State is an excellent school for criminal justice, offering a top-notch Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice delivered through the Penn State World Campus. Its Criminology program has been ranked #11 in the nation, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a career in criminal justice.

Is a BA or BS better for criminal justice?

Given the different career paths and educational enrichments offered by a BA or BS in criminal justice, it depends on what a student hopes to achieve from their degree.