Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?
Search schools to find the program that's right for you.
A bachelor’s in criminal justice can lead to careers in law enforcement, social work, or legal studies. This degree exceeds the minimum education requirement for some protective services positions and qualifies graduates for advanced positions in federal law enforcement and corrections. Many students build experience to become private detectives or criminal investigators.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% growth rate from 2019-2029 for police and detectives. The field is competitive, but candidates can increase job prospects with education and field experience. The top criminal justice degree programs prepare enrollees for job training programs through policy and ethics coursework.
This guide explores some of the nation’s best online criminal justice programs.
Top 10 Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online 2021
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
What Is Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice uses a multifaceted approach of processing criminals and delivering justice. American criminal justice comprises multiple agencies and institutions under the federal government, including local and state levels. Responsibilities of the U.S. criminal justice system include crime prevention, effective incarceration, and offender rehabilitation.
Critical elements of the criminal justice system include law enforcement, lawyers, courts, and incarceration facilities. These institutions require qualified criminal justice professionals with field-specific communication skills, empathy, and sound judgment.
The best online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice explore the correctional system, criminology, and victimology.
Students can tailor the bachelor’s in criminal justice to their career goals. Many schools offer generalist criminal justice degrees or concentrations geared specifically toward aspiring law enforcement officers, criminal investigators, or correctional specialists. Aspiring paralegals and social workers can also pursue bachelor’s in criminal justice degrees toward niche professions of their choice.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online enables enrollees to complete internships or continue working while satisfying core requirements. Especially in fields like federal law enforcement and private investigation, which value extensive experience, distance programs can provide an affordable, accelerated path to graduation.
Why Get an Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s?
The best bachelor’s in criminal justice programs provide a pathway to careers in law enforcement, social work, or legal studies. A bachelor’s in criminal justice can provide substantial benefits, including:
A bachelor’s in criminal justice meets the minimum education requirement for jobs in areas of law enforcement, including probation officer, private detective, or federal agent. Other options span the fields of law and social work, including occupations like paralegal or arbitrator, respectively.
Healthcare and Retirement
Criminal justice jobs offer annual salaries exceeding $40,000 and generous health insurance and retirement benefits. Many law enforcement positions guarantee a pension after just 20 years of full-time service in the field.
The Top 15 Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs 2021
To identify the best online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs for 2021, we considered affordability, accessibility, graduation and retention rates, and several other factors. Visit the link below to learn more about our ranking methodology.
What the Best Online Criminal Justice Programs Have in Common
Every college is different regarding curricula, resources, culture, and on-campus and online offerings. Keeping all of these variations in mind, the top college institutions feature several notable similarities:
They are accredited. Accredited institutions have been recognized by a third-party agency for achieving a certain standard of education. All schools on our list are regionally accredited institutions. The relevant accrediting agencies include:
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
The New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
They offer strong academic programs. Strong programs correlate with quality education. High retention and graduation rates are staples of an excellent academic program. Accomplished, experienced faculty tend to teach at top schools such as Roger Williams University, where all criminal justice faculty actively work in fields related to criminal justice.
They are reputable. Reputable institutions select candidates who are likely to succeed in their programs and gain positive post-graduation outcomes. Lower acceptance rates determine how selective an institution is in building its student body. Successful schools admit students who will achieve positive post-graduation outcomes; for example, at Louisiana State University at Monroe, 88% of criminal justice graduates gain employment within six months of completing their degrees.
They are affordable. Students may qualify for federal, state, or institutional financial aid. Minot State University, for example, is one of the most affordable universities in the Upper Midwest, offering in-state tuition for all.
With a student population of about 54,000, Florida International University is one of the top ten largest universities in the United States. As a public research university, FIU is known for its innovation and research opportunities. Located in Miami, Florida, and only a short drive to the beach, FIU operates the only underwater ocean laboratory in the world.
The criminal justice program falls under the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). SIPA requires students to study a foreign language while seeking their undergraduate degree. Notable faculty from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice within SIPA include Rosa Chang, whose research focuses on immigration policies impacting the criminal justice system and the criminalization of immigrants.
At FIU, online undergraduate students may pair with success coaches to help manage their time and stay on track to graduate.
Applying to FIU
FIU offers spring, summer, and fall terms. For first-year students, FIU requires applicants to submit an online application with a $30 application fee, plus SAT/ACT scores and official high school transcripts. Transfer applicants must submit an application with a $30 fee, plus all college transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public
Tuition: $229/credit (in state); $346/credit (out of state)
One of four Christian and Missionary Alliance colleges in the United States, Crown College offers a biblically based approach to education. Founded in Bonificious, Minnesota, Crown decided to pay homage to its chilly home with the unveiling of a new mascot in 2020: Storm the polar bear.
Crown students explore criminal justice through a Christian lense. Example courses for criminal justice students include juvenile justice, criminal justice ethics, victimology, and sociology.
Students are encouraged to pursue a minor in addition to their criminal justice major. Learners are welcome to choose any minor offered at Crown, but criminal justice majors typically pair their degrees with minors in alcohol and drug counseling, international relations, pre-law, or social sciences.
Applying to Crown
Crown College uses a fairly straightforward application process. Prospective students must fill out an online application and provide official high school or college transcripts.
Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is known for its innovation and research. Drexel offers a co-op educational program, which allows students to explore their careers through three- and six-month stints of full-time employment in a position related to their course of study. With 24,205 students, 4,687 of whom are fully online, Drexel offers a multitude of professional development and educational opportunities.
Criminal and justice studies learners may choose from three concentrations: criminology and justice policy, justice informatics, and criminal justice. Addressing topics including the war on drugs, national incarceration rates, and terrorism impacts on crime policy, Drexel's criminal and justice studies program provides an array of thought-provoking analysis and assessment of relevant ideas in the field.
Drexel requires criminology and justice studies students to take at least one class in international justice systems. The program uses a large community-based curriculum, aiming to acknowledge the community impact of criminal justice.
Applying to Drexel
First-year students must have earned their high school diploma or GED credential within the last two years and have corresponding transcripts. First-year students must also submit SAT/ACT scores from within the last five years. The complete Drexel application process is available online.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private
Required Credits: 183-185 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
Located in Bristol, Rhode Island, Roger Williams University was built on 80 acres of waterfront land. Roger Williams University boasts a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Approximately 98% of RWU students receive RWU scholarships or need-based federal aid.
Incoming students' prior training and/or experience in public safety may count as credits toward their degree. Learners can also earn certificates through their coursework, such as in community policing, public safety, corrections agency administration, homeland security, and police agency administration.
All RWU faculty in the criminal justice department actively work in the field. This provides students with insight into the lives, experiences, and moral dilemmas of law enforcement and legal system professionals.
Applying to RWU
With no application fee, no admissions essay, no entrance exams, no GPA requirements, and SAT or ACT score required, applying to RWU is simple. The school only requires official high school transcripts and a passion for criminal justice.
Founded in 1888, NMSU is the oldest public institution of higher education in New Mexico. Its main campus is located in La Cruces, New Mexico; the school also maintains online programs and several satellite and community college campuses.
Take classes addressing ethics, policy, and social justice The criminal justice department at NMSU is one of the oldest in the nation, founded in 1962. A staple of the NMSU criminal justice department is faculty-led research and experiential learning opportunities. Learners conduct their research in tandem with local, state, and federal criminal justice departments and agencies.
Recent graduates from NMSU's criminal justice department join a community of NMSU alumni holding various levels of positions in the criminal justice field. This creates plenty of networking opportunities for graduates just starting their careers.
Applying to NMSU
Prospective online students must hold one of the following qualifications to gain admission to NMSU: a 2.75 cumulative high school GPA, an ACT composite score of 21, an SAT score of 1060, or a top-20% ranking in their graduating class.
University of Mary is a Benedictine University in Bismarck, North Dakota. It maintains two study-abroad locations in Rome, Italy, and Arequipa, Peru, plus several satellite campuses across the midwest. With a student population of approximately 3,779 students as of 2019, the institution's student-to-faculty ratio is 14-to-1.
Mary's BS in criminal justice prepares students for careers across multiple facets of law enforcement, the legal system, and community engagement. Curriculum topics include drugs and addiction, juvenile justice, criminology, serial killers, and forensic psychology, allowing learners to explore a variety of topics regarding criminal justice policy, history, and practices.
Criminal justice students at Mary gain humanitarian, ethical, practical, and professional skills to apply toward their criminal justice careers. Graduates may pursue careers as victim advocates, law enforcement officers, crime prevention specialists, crime investigators, federal officials, or forensics investigators.
Applying to Mary
Mary offers rolling admissions. All applicants must pay a $30 application fee. Transfer students need to submit transcripts from all previous colleges attended demonstrating a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA; first-time students may submit high school transcripts. Prospective learners under 21 must take the ACT or SAT.
Trine University, a liberal arts university located in Angola, Indiana, is a Christ-centered institution that embraces innovation in creating and exploring Christian higher education. Approximately 95% of Trine's students receive some form of financial aid, with awards averaging $35,000. Trine's student-to-faculty ratio is 17-to-1, with an average class size of 20 students.
Trine offers three concentrations in the criminal justice program: criminal justice professional, psychology, and Indiana law enforcement. All faculty in the criminal justice program are current professionals in the field.
Trine's online curriculum runs on an eight-week cycle, allowing students to focus on one or two classes at a time to get the most out of each class. Criminal justice majors can also earn credit toward an MS in criminal science; learners in the combined degree program can earn both degrees in four years total.
Applying to Trine
Prospective Trine students must submit a completed online application, official high school transcripts, and a valid government ID.
Originally founded in 1935 in New Brockton, Alabama, Southeastern University is now in sunny Lakeland, Florida. SEU's mascot is a ball of fire that goes by the name Scorch. SEU's Fire Athletics joined the NAIA Sun Conference in 2009.
SEU's criminal justice program focuses on three major branches of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. This well-rounded program prepares students to enter the criminal justice field with a wealth of knowledge to apply toward their careers.
Online course requirements include spiritual formation, Christian responsibility, intellectual and practical skills, engaging human culture and the world, and general electives. Distance learners must also complete the criminal justice major core and electives. The program totals 36 credits of major core, 55 credits of general education, and 33 credits of electives.
Applying to SEU
Required materials for the online undergraduate application for SEU include: high school transcripts or GED scores, a Christian character reference form, and an application essay. SEU waives ACT/SAT score requirements for online applicants.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private
Tuition: $1,140/credit hour (fewer than 12 credit hours); $13,660/semester (12-17 credit hours); $14,800/semester (18 or more credit hours)
Required Credits: 124 credit hours
Program Length: 4 years
Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
The University of North Alabama, located in Florence, Alabama, has had nine names since its founding in 1830. UNA is also the only college campus in the country to have two live lion mascots residing on campus. The mascots' names are Leo III and Una.
Taught by UNA's Department of Politics, Justice, Law, and Philosophy, UNA's online bachelor's in criminal justice prepares learners for careers in law enforcement, social services, or corrections. Criminal justice majors must pursue an additional minor, second major, or second degree.
With faculty including experienced law enforcement officials, judges, and district attorneys, students make real-life connections with industry professionals. The same faculty teach both online and in-person courses, so students do not miss out on the quality of education by earning their degree online.
Applying to UNA
UNA is test-optional for 2021. All the school requires from prospective students is the UNA application and corresponding $35 application fee, plus official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public
Tuition: $300/credit hour (1-11 credit hours); $4,500/term (12-18 credit hours); $4,500/term plus $300/credit hour (19 or more credit hours)
Required Credits: 45 credit hours (plus additional minor, second major, or second degree)
Program Length: 4 years
Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid
Minot State University educates approximately 3,350 students, making it a smaller school. MSU offers in-state tuition for all students, making it one of the most affordable universities in the upper midwest. The "Automatic 4-Year Award" for first-year students gives freshmen a renewable financial aid opportunity.
Criminal justice majors address local, national, and international justice bodies. Students often pair this major with minors in police management and investigations; law and legal studies; offenders, risk management, and corrections; and/or a concentration in criminal justice research and policy evaluation.
MSU also provides a North Dakota peace officer training program for all criminal justice students. The program runs for 16 weeks during the spring semester and provides an opportunity to graduate with a peace operations specialized training certification.
Applying to MSU
Prospective MSU students should fill out the online undergraduate application and pay the $35 application fee. Official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores are required to complete the application process.
Founded in 1798 and educating just eight learners, UofL's student population has since grown from to 22,684. 1,532 of these students are enrolled in online programs. University of Louisville also reports a retention rate of 80% and a six-year graduation rate of 59%.
Criminal justice department faculty have received over $4.5 million in research grants. Research projects such as the Kentucky Sexual Assault Foresic Examination Kit Backlog Research Project and Understanding the Adoption, Function, and Consequences of SRO Use in Understudied Settings are just two examples of ongoing research projects within the criminal justice department.
Required credits divide into three categories for the criminal justice degree: At least 31 credit hours must be general education or "cardinal core" classes, 13-15 credit hours must be in the arts and sciences, and 54 credit hours make up the criminal justice core classes. Students with law enforcement or military training may earn transfer credits toward the criminal justice bachelor's degree.
Applying to UofL
Applicants must complete the undergraduate application and pay the $25 application fee; they should also submit official high school transcripts and transcripts from any other colleges attended. Transfer students may transfer up to 60 credit hours from a community college and up to 90 credit hours from an accredited four-year institution.
Founded in 1873, this Baptist university was originally named the Cherokee Baptist Female College. Located in Rome, Georgia, at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, the campus is built on what students and campus members refer to as "the hill."
The criminal justice program is housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The curriculum focuses on police, courts, and correction.
Faculty are what Shorter calls "scholar-practitioners," which means all faculty members approach their teaching from both an academic and a realistic world perspective. Faculty use their real-world experiences in the field of criminal justice to inform their teaching practices. For example, Dr. Gary Killam, a distinguished criminal justice faculty member, holds extensive experience both academically and professionally as an officer of the law.
Applying to SU
First-year students applying to Shorter University within five years of graduating high school must submit a minimum ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 450 in each section, plus an official high school transcript. Students applying more than five years after graduating high school do not have to submit test scores. Candidates may apply online.
Located in Monroe, Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Monroe water skiing team has won the national championships 21 times. Looking at affordability, 66% of incoming freshmen receive some form of institutional financial aid.
The criminal justice program at University of Louisiana began in 1970 and has grown substantially since then. Focusing on three central sectors of the criminal justice system -- policing, courts, and corrections -- ULM prepares criminal justice graduates for jobs in forensics, law enforcement, security practices, and safety organizations.
Of the bachelor's program, 60% of graduates go into law enforcement, 30% go into corrections, and 10% pursue careers in legal practices or graduate school.
Applying to ULM
ULM undergraduate applications incur a $20 application fee. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts. The need for placement testing is determined by each applicant's previous academic history.
Pennsylvania State University has over 125 years of distance-learning experience. Penn State's world campus launched in 1998 as the school's fully online learning community. The second-largest campus in Pennsylvania's state university system, Penn State World Campus has built an extensive global alumni network.
Penn State's criminal justice program prepares students for careers in protective services, law enforcement, corrections, and crime prevention and support. Course topics include alternatives to incarceration, security and police administration, ethics in criminal justice, and aspects of the juvenile justice system.
Courses are taught by accomplished, on-campus faculty with experience in online learning. Upon completion of degree requirements, all online graduates receive a degree identical to that of a graduate who earned their degree on campus; there is no noted distinction that a student earned their degree online.
Applying to Penn State
Prospective Penn State students must fill out an online application with and submit the application fee, along with high school transcripts or a GED transcript.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public
Tuition: $576/credit (11 or fewer credits) $6,994/semester (12 or more credits)
Ashland University was founded in Ashland, Ohio, in 1878. The university has grown to a population of over 6,600 students, but AU has always emphasized the importance of each person with its motto: "accent on the individual." Of AU's graduates, 93% are in graduate school or employed.
This criminal justice program offers two tracks: law enforcement administration and correctional administration. Courses in the program run seven weeks and are created by experts who collaborate with active law enforcement officials to bring the most relevant information to their current students.
Topics addressed in criminal justice classes include juvenile delinquency, crime analysis, policy and planning, and legal studies. Students may also participate in an optional field experience within the criminal justice program.
Applying to AU
Applicants must fill out an online application and submit official high school transcripts. Transfer students must complete an online application and submit official college transcripts. Transfer students can apply up to 90 credits toward their online bachelor's degree.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private
Tuition: $350/semester hour
Required Credits: 120 semester hours
Program Length: 4 years
Delivery Format: 100% Online (asynchronous)
What To Expect From a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Program
The requirements of a bachelor’s in criminal justice vary by school and type. Schools most commonly offer a bachelor of science (BS), or more specifically, a BS in criminal justice (BSCJ). Though rare, some institutions feature bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of applied arts (BAA), and bachelor of applied sciences (BAS) options.
Most online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice require 120 semester credits. Many programs include optional practicums or internships. Common concentrations include:
While most bachelor’s-level programs take four years to complete, many online bachelor’s in criminal justice degrees offer accelerated paths to graduation. Applicants commonly possess work or military experience, which may satisfy transfer requirements.
Distance degrees may deliver courses synchronously, with appointed class times, or asynchronously, through pre-recorded material. Some programs combine online and in-person learning through hybrid coursework.
While admission requirements vary, most bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice share some common criteria. For example, most bachelor’s in criminal justice require applicants to submit official academic transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Schools may require applicants with some college experience from associate degrees or undergraduate certificates.
Schools also routinely include a FAFSA requirement for undergraduate admission. Some programs require personal statements, resumes, and letters of recommendation. Most criminal justice programs do not require a criminal background check for admission, though aspiring law enforcement officers should expect to undergo this process to begin their careers.
Most schools now prefer online applications to traditional mail. Students increasingly use Common App to apply online. This service allows schools to manage large volumes of student applications, while candidates can conveniently enter application information for multiple schools at once.
Comparing Degree Types
Schools most commonly offer BSCJ degrees, though some feature BA, BAA, and BAS formats. The BSCJ outlines a broad core and elective curriculum, while the BA, BAA, and BAS emphasize practical career skills for entry-level employment. The bachelor’s in criminal justice meets the preferred education requirement for many advanced law enforcement positions, especially through the federal government.
The top criminal justice degree programs offer diverse concentrations. Popular options include police management, criminology, and corrections. Learners can choose from broad specializations, like law, or more acute areas, such as juvenile justice or domestic violence. Regardless of concentration, core coursework explores victimology, criminology, and the courts and correctional systems in the United States.
Employers place a premium on job experience, especially within federal agencies like the FBI. Aspiring police officers typically must complete police academy training programs in addition to their degrees. All bachelor’s in criminal justice prepare students for specialized job training after graduation.
Popular Criminal Justice Courses
A bachelor’s in criminal justice typically requires core, concentration, and elective coursework. Many offer optional practicums or internship experiences. At the bachelor’s level, the curriculum explores criminal justice theory, practice, and policy. Students also develop field-specific communication, critical thinking, and cultural awareness skills. Common courses include:
This comprehensive course introduces degree-seekers to the multifaceted field of criminal justice. Topics emphasize the overlapping of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and correctional systems. Enrollees also explore the differences between sworn and civilian occupations.
This course examines the broad and acute functions of the national correctional system in the U.S., including incarceration, punishment, and sentencing protocols. Many programs emphasize public policy and allied professions. Learners often take this class concurrently with a course in the U.S. judicial system.
Commonly included among the core courses in a bachelor’s in criminal justice, this class explores the criminal justice system from a victim’s perspective to develop stronger empathy skills. Topics include risk factors, victim statistics, and crime prevention techniques.
This course approaches the criminal justice system from the criminal mind. Topics include psychology, sociology, and criminal behavior. Many programs require core coursework in criminology, while others offer criminology as an in-depth concentration of criminal justice.
Many bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice offer optional internships as elective courses. Learners can pursue internship placement within local police departments, law firms, or social services providers. At the bachelor’s level, internships involve more technical, less practical experience than in a master’s degree.
How Much Will a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Cost?
The overall cost of a bachelor’s in criminal justice depends on several key components. For example, many schools set their tuition rates based on whether in-state or out-of-state residency. Additionally, a school’s location and public vs. private status may affect its rates. Distance education programs often charge in-state rates, regardless of location.
Even with set or in-state tuition rates, most college students need financial aid to earn their degrees. Most schools require undergraduate applicants to complete FAFSA forms to determine their financial aid eligibility. Candidates may qualify for federal or institutional scholarships and grants, employer reimbursement programs, and loans to supplement the cost of bachelor’s in criminal justice degrees.
Applicants should pursue scholarship and grant awards first, which do not require repayment. After exhausting these options, they can apply for loans, which they must repay.
Jobs for Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Graduates
The BLS projects a 3% increase in employment for protective service occupations from 2019-2029. Beyond protective service occupations like police and detectives, the criminal justice field includes jobs like probation officer, correctional treatment specialist, and paralegal.
While many criminal justice positions require on-the-job training instead of a college degree, a bachelor’s in criminal justice may give candidates an edge over their competition.
Common roles that require or prefer candidates to possess bachelor’s degrees include:
Police or Detective
Police officers and detectives protect people and property from illegal and criminal activity. Types of police and detectives include criminal investigators, fish and game wardens, and sheriff patrol officers. Generally, a police officer must be at least 21 years of age with a clean criminal record and complete a police academy training program. A detective may need to possess a bachelor’s degree, especially for federal positions.
Required Education: High school diploma or bachelor’s degree
Probation, parole, and pretrial services officers help law offenders transition from custody to supervised probate or parole programs. Probation officers must be at least 21 and typically must possess bachelor’s degrees in fields like criminal justice. Each candidate must also pass a criminal background check and a drug test. Federal and state agencies require students to complete training programs and pass a competency exam.
Correctional treatment specialists may work alongside probation or parole officers to develop release plans for law offenders. Also commonly referred to as case managers or correctional counselors, these professionals use psychological testing and questionnaires to evaluate offenders for potential release. They typically must possess bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, social work, or behavioral science.
Most private detectives and investigators build experience in law enforcement, federal intelligence, or the military before entering this specialized field. Candidates with extensive experience may only need to possess high school diplomas, though most employers prefer that they hold associate or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice. Most positions require candidates to complete extensive on-the-job training.
Required Education: High school diploma or criminal justice degree
Paralegals and legal assistants support lawyers by organizing client files, performing legal research, and drafting legal documents. Some paralegals hold an associate degree in legal studies, though candidates commonly hold bachelor’s degrees in other majors, like criminal justice, along with a paralegal certificate. Legal assistants and paralegals may specialize in corporate- or litigation-based legal assistance.
Our rankings offer a sensible starting point in the search for the best bachelor of science in criminal justice. However, other criteria can affect the quality of a bachelor’s in criminal justice, especially accreditation. Schools may achieve national or regional accreditation through an agency approved by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Since even the top criminal justice degree programs do not include separate programmatic accreditation, students may prefer schools with regional institutional accreditation, which requires a more rigorous process.
Aspiring criminal justice majors should consider:
Aspiring criminal justice professionals often consider the location of a school and its potential to support local job opportunities after graduation.
Learners may prefer traditional BS programs in criminal justice or seek career-oriented BAA or BAS criminal justice degrees.
Some candidates choose online bachelor’s in criminal justice degrees for their set or in-state tuition rates for online learning.
Many applicants possess academic or military experience and can transfer the maximum credits allowed toward a bachelor’s in criminal justice.
Candidates should explore each prospective program’s concentration options to ensure that they align with their career goals.
The best online criminal justice programs prepare students for on-the-job training, including police academy programs and federal special agencies.
Why You Should Get Your Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Online
Bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice translate well to the online education experience. While many schools still offer in-person programs, distance degrees continue to grow in popularity. The best online criminal justice programs offer optional internships and benefits, including accelerated schedules, flexible enrollment, and in-state tuition rates. Online enrollees can continue to maintain employment while pursuing their degrees, also avoiding additional housing, commuting, and campus facilities costs.
Online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice develop soft skills in communication, perceptiveness, time management, and sound judgment. Additionally, online programs familiarize students with the latest criminal justice technology, especially in law enforcement and private investigation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a BA or BS better for criminal justice?
Schools commonly offer both BAs and BS degrees in criminal justice. While the degrees share many of the same core course requirements, the BA includes more liberal arts electives than the technically oriented BS degree.
How many years is a bachelor's degree in criminal justice?
Most bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice take four years to complete. However, many dual programs and online criminal justice degrees offer accelerated paths to graduation. Conversely, part-time students may take longer to complete the degree.
What jobs can you get with a bachelor of science in criminal justice?
A bachelor’s in criminal justice can lead to occupations in law enforcement, social work, and law. Graduates commonly pursue employment as police officers, private investigators, probation officers, or paralegals.
What is the highest-paying job with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice?
Police and detectives earn a median annual salary of more than $65,000 as of 2019. Within this professional group, detectives and criminal investigators earned more than $83,000 in 2019.