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Criminal Justice Bachelors Degree

A bachelor in criminal justice prepares students with a broad knowledge of the criminal justice system. Students will learn about the role of technology in forensics and criminal justice, how the corrections system works, how the courts work with law enforcement, as well as criminal justice theory. Many online criminal justice programs allow the student to focus on an area of interest, such as paralegal studies or forensic science. A bachelor in criminal justice degree also provides the education needed to become a police officer. Whether you’re looking to land an entry-level position or advance your career, a criminal justice bachelor’s degree will give you the education you need to increase your experience and earning power. In fact, the US Census Bureau reports that a worker’s earnings increase with education level, and those with bachelor’s degrees can earn 35 to 45 percent more than the competition.

Did you know? One trend in the criminal justice field is a greater demand for higher education with law enforcement increasingly being viewed as a profession. A US Department of Justice study found that 37 percent of large police agencies required applicants to have some college as of 2000, up from 19 percent in 1990.1

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will help prepare you for some of the most highly sought after jobs in the criminal justice field, such as a detective or criminal investigator position. This occupation in particular is projected to grow faster than average through 2018. In 2008, people in this field earned a median wage of $29.29 an hour, or $60,910 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a job that requires integrity, self control and attention to detail. If you possess those traits, a bachelor’s degree will give you the additional education required for an investigative position, such as knowledge of laws and legal codes, human behavior and psychological research methods.

CJDS Fact: Individuals with a higher education are less likely to be unemployed and on average those with a bachelor’s degree earn 75% more than those with only a high school education.1

Examples of courses in a criminal justice bachelor’s degree curriculum include:

  • Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice
  • Drugs and Society
  • Deviance and Social Control
  • Crime in America
  • Constitutional Law
  • Principles of Investigation
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Crime Prevention
  • Critical Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Internship

Profiles of Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs

University of Colorado Denver awards a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice through its School of Public Affairs. The interdisciplinary curriculum prepares students to understand and apply criminal justice knowledge and theory in a professional and ethical manner. Students study the criminal justice system and institutions, ethical concerns, and social and behavioral influences on crime and delinquency. Typical major courses include Criminal Justice Research Methods, Statistics for Criminal Justice, Police in Contemporary Society, and White-Collar Crime. An internship in the criminal justice field is a graduation requirement, though students with at least one year of professional criminal justice experience may request a waiver. An online completion option for the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is offered as an alternative to traditional on-campus study. Students considering post-graduate study in criminal justice may also be interested in the school’s Master of Criminal Justice program or Dual Bachelor/Master of Criminal Justice.

Florida Gulf Coast University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that aims to endow students with a balanced perspective in criminal justice and an extensive understanding of the criminal justice system in its components and as a whole. Through a focused choice of electives students can also build career track specializations in such areas as corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, legal studies, international justice, or management/administration. Required courses for the major include Theories of Criminal Behavior, Ethics in the Criminal Justice System, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, and Substantive Criminal Law. Courses are offered during the day, evenings, and weekends, as well as online. All faculty at the Department of Justice Studies, through which this degree is offered, have practical experience in the justice field. The practical experience aspect of the department’s internship program, which places students in roles involving criminal justice employee-oriented tasks, is of additional benefit to program graduates.

Bay State College offers a Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice program that is flexible by design, with courses offered days, evenings, weekends, and online. Sample courses for the major include Criminal Investigation and Procedure, Forensics, Function of Police in Modern Society, and Criminological Theories. A minimum 120 clock hour criminal justice internship, which takes place in a law office or criminal justice agency setting, is a requirement for graduation. Students may optionally complete a second internship during the final semester of study for elective credit. A degree concentration in Domestic and International Security is offered to on-campus and online students. On-campus students may complete the degree through either the Back Bay (Boston) or Taunton campuses. Though options for part-time study are available, the program is designed to be pursued full-time; the majority of students successfully complete the program within a four-year time frame.

Bachelors Degrees from Accredited Online Criminal Justice Schools

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What Jobs Can You Get With a Criminal Justice Bachelors Degree?

A criminal justice bachelor’s degree may be a good launching point for a wide range of careers in the criminal justice field. Some examples include:

You can also view current job openings in your state and research job requirements at our criminal justice job board.

1. Harr, J. Scott. Careers in Criminal Justice and Related Fields. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2010.