Online Criminal Justice Degree and Certificate Programs
Criminal justice degrees and criminal justice certificate programs can prepare you to work in a variety of law enforcement fields. Areas of concentration include corrections, homeland security, customs, forensics, police work and public safety. In addition to general education classes, coursework in a criminal justice program focuses on criminology, ethics, investigation and the law. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice are popular criminal justice degrees.
You can choose to earn either an on-campus or online criminal justice degree. Click on the "request info" button next to an accredited school listed below to receive information on specific on-campus and online criminal justice degree programs.
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Criminal Justice Degree Programs and Careers – Job Outlook
Earning your on-campus or online criminal justice degree can qualify you for jobs in the area you specialize in. A forensics degree may lead to employment as a crime scene investigator, while a homeland security degree could help you start a career as a federal air marshal. A law enforcement degree is appropriate if you want to be a police officer or detective, while a public safety degree can prepare you to enter the emergency services field.
- Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice – This 2-year degree prepares you for entry-level jobs in law enforcement. Some states require additional training – such as academy attendance – to become a police or corrections officer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for police officers was $55,270 in May 2012.
- Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – Having this degree increases your ability to acquire higher-level law enforcement jobs; advancing to detective, sheriff, or warden is much easier for bachelor’s degree holders. BLS data indicates that detectives had a median annual salary of $74,300 in May 2012.
- Master’s degree in Criminal Justice – Requiring about two years of postgraduate study, your criminal justice master’s degree prepares you to fill advanced roles in law enforcement, such as inspector or chief of police. According to the BLS, top-earning criminal investigators were making $122,990 or more in May 2012.
- PhD in Criminal Justice – Representing the pinnacle of academic achievement in the field, earning a PhD in Criminal Justice takes three or more years of postgraduate work. This degree prepares you for top policy-making positions and university professorships. BLS data indicates criminal justice professors had a median annual salary of $58,040 in May 2012.
- Criminal Justice Certificates – Certificates in criminal justice are generally designed to teach you a specific skill set. Such skills often complement your existing professional knowledge to open up new paths of advancement. For example, if you are a police officer who wants to become a detective, earning a Certificate in Crime Analysis may help you qualify for that promotion.