Online Criminal Justice Degrees

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An online criminal justice degree opens doors to a number of rewarding careers serving the public through law enforcement, the legal system, and corrections. Those who typically excel in a criminal justice degree online are critical thinkers with strong verbal and written communication skills. An eye for small details and the ability to explain difficult concepts are also key for criminal justice professionals. Prospective online criminal justice students should not have any felony convictions, domestic abuse convictions or DUI convictions, and should not have used illegal drugs for three years prior to their job application.

Those who feel called to protect the public can expect greater flexibility in criminal justice online degree programs, which makes it easier to continue working full-time or manage a busy schedule. Though many online criminal justice degree programs can be completed fully online, some will require several visits to the campus.

It's beneficial to take on a relevant internship locally, as well, to gain experience before entering the job market. These may be found in community police departments, legal offices and elsewhere. It's also wise to check out relevant certifications, such as the Criminal Justice Awareness and Terminology Certification, as detailed further below.

Regardless of which program is right for you, an online criminal justice degree properly prepares graduates for a rewarding and meaningful career. To learn more about how you can pursue your degree online, be sure to check out our guide below.

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Mary Lou Chernik Criminal Justice

“Earning a master’s degree has enhanced my reputation as a medicolegal death investigator and has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher.”


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Online Criminal Justice Degree Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detective work will grow at a rate of 4% between 2014-2024. Graduates of online criminal justice degree programs will have an edge over the competition, making it far easier to secure a job. Employers in the criminal justice field value professionals who demand and deserve respect, and earning your degree will demonstrate your commitment to justice.
Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $12,837 15.78% 1+ years $30,600 $46,000 8.9%
Bachelor's $18,070 11.51% 4 years $36,900 $62,900 4.7%
Master's $16,476 10.39% 1+ years $43,100 $62,900 3.9%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

If you want to ensure public safety on the ground in your community, an associate degree will take you less time and money to earn while ensuring opportunities for advancement as a police officer. If you have more specific interests in criminal justice, a higher-level degree such as a bachelor's or master's may be a better fit. A bachelor's degree requires less financial investment when spread across four years and results in stronger employment opportunities. Though a bachelor's degree will, on average, cost approximately $5,000 more than an associate degree, the average difference in salary between the two degrees is $6,300, making a bachelor's degree a worthwhile financial investment. A master's or doctoral level program requires additional financial investment, but will likely yield higher salaries across the span of your career.

Online Criminal Justice Degrees

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Online Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Although there are good jobs in the criminal justice field that don't require more than a high school diploma or GED (like uniformed police officer), an online criminal justice associate degree can seriously strengthen a candidate's credentials to work as a police officer, detective, or legal investigator. At an average cost of $12,000 for one to two years of study, an online associate degree can help an applicant secure an average salary level approximately 2.5 times higher than the cost of tuition.
Criminal Justice
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For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Keiser University - Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale$$$$$1500 NW 49th St
Fort Lauderdale, FL
() -

Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Keiser University was founded in 1977 to deliver career-oriented education to adult learners. Today the private, nonprofit school has 18 locations spread across Florida, and a thriving online campus. The school offers degrees to more than 20,000 students from the associate to doctoral level. Many degrees are available through the Fort Lauderdale Online Division, including Keiser’s online criminal justice associate degree.

The associate of arts in criminal justice program follows a 60-credit curriculum, and explores the components and traditions of the American criminal justice system. Students receive an in-depth and hands-on education in legal systems, law enforcement organizations, juvenile issues, corrections, and patterns of criminal behavior. The degree is divided into 36 hours of general education credits and 24 credits in major courses. There are no prerequisites. Web-based students have access to Keiser’s Online Career Center, which offers job postings, resume counseling, interview coaching, career-development workshops, and more.

2Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty University is the largest private non-profit school in the United States. The Lynchburg, VA- based institution offers its 110,000 students a wealth of options and resources, including more than 545 different fields of study and more than 270 online degrees.

The Helms School of Government’s associate of arts in criminal justice program requires 60 credits to complete, and students may transfer as many as 45 into the program. Students learn the basics of law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and develop excellent written and oral communications skills to increase their career prospects. This criminal justice associate degree online can also be used as a pathway to a bachelor’s degree, which Liberty offers in its virtual classrooms. A 25% “emergency response discount” is available to all first responders. Web-based students have access to IT support, an online library, writing help, and tutoring. The school boasts a 91% employment rate for its online graduates.

3Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

Established in 1889, Saint Leo is a Catholic liberal arts institution in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL, metropolitan area. With more than 16,000 students, the university is one of the largest Catholic schools in the nation, and one of the top regional schools in the South. Saint Leo offers more than 40 academic programs in 40 learning centers across seven states, military bases, and online.

Saint Leo has 30 years of experience teaching law enforcement, and its online associate degree in criminal justice takes a liberal arts approach, which provides students a broad background in general studies and encourages critical thinking skills. The 60-credit curriculum examines all aspects of the criminal justice system, from crime scene investigation, to ethics and legal issues, to homeland security. The associate of arts criminal justice program lays the groundwork for students who want to earn their bachelor’s. Saint Leo Online has an array of programs and services to help students succeed in web-based education, including “Starting Point” orientation tutorials, access to the school bookstore and library, and 24/7 access to career services. Applicants can download a free e-book to learn more about Saint Leo’s online experience.

4West Kentucky Community and Technical CollegePaducah$$$$$4810 Alben Barkley Drive
Paducah, KY 42002-7380
(270) 554-92000

Located in Paducah, KY, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) is a public, two-year college focused on career education. Most of the school’s 8,500 students attend part-time, and more than half take at least one of their courses online. WKCTC has offered classes digitally for more than two decades and is a pioneer in online education. The school’s virtual classrooms host dozens of degree programs, including an online criminal justice associate degree.

The associate in applied science in criminal justice degree is a 60-credit program that students can pursue entirely online, and may specialize in one of four areas of concentration -- criminal justice, corrections, law enforcement, and security and loss prevention. The curriculum begins with general studies coursework, and proceeds to major classes like criminalistics, computer forensics, and police supervision. The program is designed as a pathway to entry-level positions in law enforcement or as a gateway to a more advanced degree and an administrative role. Online students pay in-state tuition, and the school has a nine-step orientation program on its website.

5Pamlico Community CollegeGrantsboro$$$$$5049 Hwy 306 South
Grantsboro, NC 28529
(252) 249-18513084

Founded in 1962 as an industrial arts school, Pamlico Community College (PCC) in Grantsboro, NC, has grown into a fully-accredited two-year institution. The school offers a variety of degree programs in the liberal arts, sciences, healthcare, business, and technology. PCC is home to 700 students and offers most of its degrees on campus and online.

The 67 credit criminal justice technology associate degree prepares students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, the legal system, security, and loss prevention. Students complete general studies courses, including classes in writing, mathematics, the humanities, and the sciences, and proceed to courses in their major. The online associate degree in criminal justice is a broad program that includes two certificates, a diploma, and a two-year degree. Students gain first-hand experience meeting with officers, investigating crime scenes, and attending court proceedings. Online learners have access to the college’s library, advising and counseling services, tutoring, career center, and the Virtual Student Success Center.

6Albany Technical CollegeAlbany$$$$$1704 South Slappey Boulevard
Albany, GA 31701
(229) 430-3500

A member of the Technical College System of Georgia, Albany Tech provides secondary education throughout seven counties in southwest Georgia. The school offers two-year degree programs, career-training, continuing education, and community enrichment to a student body of 3,000 full-time and 2,500 part-time students at learning centers across south Georgia. It also has a vibrant virtual campus with 30 online programs, including a criminal justice associate degree.

Albany Tech’s associate of applied science in law enforcement technology degree is a 60-credit program combining criminal justice theory and practice. Students can specialize in criminal justice or Homeland Security by adding technical certificates. Background checks are not required for admission, but they are necessary for placement in a lab, clinic, or internship setting. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and have passed the COMPASS exam with appropriate scores. The Blackboard platform is used to deliver course content.

7Bismark State CollegeBismarck$$$$$1603 Edwards Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58506-5587
(701) 224-5400

Located on a 220-acre campus overlooking the Missouri River in North Dakota, Bismarck State is a comprehensive public two-year college with a student body of more than 3,700. The school offers an array of associate degrees, certificates, professional programs, and a bachelor’s in energy management, both in on-campus and online. Almost two-thirds of students at BSC take at least one web-based course – more than 40 percent attend online only.

The associate of applied science in criminal justice degree is a 60-credit program that waives the entrance requirements for other associate-degree tracks at Bismarck State. Background checks are required, however. Taught by an experienced faculty and under the supervision of a board of advisers from the law enforcement community, the curriculum combines general and professional education courses. Students take liberal arts courses such as college composition, and fulfill major requirements with courses like criminology, juvenile delinquency, and police administration. All classes can be taken via the web, but a field internship is necessary to graduate. This online associate degree in criminal justice is not intended for transfer.

8Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester$$$$$2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
(603) 668-2211

Based in Manchester, NH, Southern New Hampshire (SNHU) is one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. A private nonprofit institution, SNHU is primarily a virtual campus, with about 3,000 students in its traditional, brick-and-mortar location and over 75,000 attending classes via the web. The university offers more than 200 career-oriented degree and certificate programs, from the associate to master’s level, including an online associate degree in criminal justice.

SNHU’s associate of science in criminal justice program is designed for working law enforcement professionals who wish to advance their careers, and students interested in entry-level positions in the field. Graduate gain an understanding of the American system of criminal justice and the issues facing modern law enforcement. Classes in this 60 credit program explore ethics, juvenile justice, and the legal system, and students can specialize in policing, corrections, and security through their selection of electives. SNHU online programming is available 24/7 and can be fast-tracked. The university claims some of the lowest tuition costs in the country, and a full slate of services is available to online students, including writing help, round-the-clock computer support, and tutoring.

9Northeast Community CollegeNorfolk$$$$$801 E Benjamin
Norfolk, NE 68702-0469
(402) 371-2020

Located in Norfolk, NE, Northeast Community College is a public, two-year school providing access to associate degrees, career-training, job certification, and cultural enrichment to more than 23,000 students. In addition to the 200-acre main campus, the school has satellites in 60 communities and a growing virtual campus. Northeast hosts an online associate degree in criminal justice with two available areas of concentration – corrections and law enforcement.

Northeast Online’s associate of arts criminal justice degree takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining a core curriculum with specialized classes in its two concentration areas. The corrections track includes visits to area jails and prisons, and sessions with a mobile crime lab and repelling wall. The law enforcement track involves guest speakers and courses in police and society and criminal investigation. Admission to all online criminal justice associate degree programs includes background checks, physiological and psychological exams, and a polygraph test. Students may also receive credit for completing the course at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center. Northeast has an active Criminal Justice Association, which offers great networking opportunities. Online students can receive advising help, order textbooks, visit the library, and explore career services from the Northeast Online site.

10Western Wyoming Community CollegeRock Springs$$$$$2500 College Dr
Rock Springs, WY 82902-0428
(307) 382-1600

Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC) opened its doors in 1959 to forty students. Today, the two-year school provides access to higher education to more than 2,700 students, 97 percent of whom are from western Wyoming. WWCC also has a robust distance-learning program that is a leader among schools in the Rocky Mountains.

WWCC hosts an online associate degree in criminal justice designed for students planning to transfer into a four-year program. The associate of arts in criminal justice curriculum emphasizes general education courses required for a baccalaureate degree, and includes a few classes in the major. An introduction to criminal justice gives participants a broad overview of the American criminal justice system; criminal law looks at legal issues; and criminology explores crime and its root causes. Each class follows a traditional semester schedule, and online learners must dedicate at least nine hours per week to each three-credit course. WWCC recommends its “Intro to Online Learning” class for new students.

11Northampton Community CollegeBethlehem$$$$$3835 Green Pond Rd
Bethlehem, PA 18020-7599
(610) 861-5300

Northampton Community College (NCC) in Bethlehem, PA, is one of the few community colleges with a residency program. It’s also home to a vibrant virtual campus. More than 34,000 students pursue degrees and certificates in over 100 areas of study at NCC, and its criminal justice program is one of its most popular majors. Despite its size, the school boasts a 21-1 student to faculty ratio. The campus is also one of the most diverse in Pennsylvania and received national recognition for its “tech savvy.”

Northampton’s online criminal justice associate degree is designed for three groups: students seeking entry-level work in law enforcement, corrections, and counseling; working criminal justice professionals looking to develop their careers; and transfer students intending to transfer to a baccalaureate degree in the field. The associate in applied science criminal justice curriculum is evenly split between general education classes, criminal justice core courses, and psychology and sociology classes that describe criminal behavior. NCC uses Blackboard to deliver its online coursework, while proctored exams are taken on campus or arrangements can be made for a local option. Online students have access to the same advising, tutoring, IT, and career services as on-campus students. NCC alumni include a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, an Oscar-winning documentary director, and many chief executives.

12Columbia College - MissouriColumbia$$$$$1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
(573) 875-8700

This private liberal arts institution in Columbia, MO was founded in 1851 as Christian women’s college. Today, over 29,000 students (women and men) are enrolled in its 36 nationwide educational centers and online campus. More than half of the student body registers for at least one online course each year.

Columbia College offers an online criminal justice associate degree which integrates sociology and psychology into a study of the American criminal justice system. The 60-credit associate in science in criminal justice administration program provides a comprehensive overview of modern law enforcement, from criminology to penology. Students take 24 general education credits and 24 credits in the major. Twelve additional electives allow specialization in areas like corrections or political science, while available internships and practicums provide valuable hands-on experience. Online classes are scheduled in eight-week sessions, six times a year, allowing students to fast-track their education.

13South Texas CollegeMcAllen$$$$$3201 W Pecan
McAllen, TX 78502-9701
(956) 872-8311

With more than 34,000 students, South Texas College (STC) is the largest university south of San Antonio. Based in the Rio Grande Valley city of McAllen, TX, STC is a comprehensive community college that offers professional certification, dozens of associate degrees, four bachelor’s degrees, job training, and cultural enrichment. Thirty degrees at South Texas can be earned entirely via the web, including an online associate degree in criminal justice.

The criminal justice associate degree program at STC prepares students for careers in policing, corrections, the court system, private investigation, protective custody, corporate security, and several federal agencies. The curriculum is liberal-arts based with the majority of classes in general education, and only a half dozen in the major. Online students can access many of the same services and amenities as on-campus students, including the library, advising, the bookstore, and tutoring; and STC has orientation courses for using Blackboard and finding student resources. STC is one of the most affordable schools in the nation and most students graduate debt-free.

14Central Texas CollegeKilleen$$$$$6200 West Central Texas Expressway
Killeen, TX 76549-4199
(254) 526-7161

Central Texas College (CTC), based in the city of Killeen, TX, is a public two-year college with more than 100 learning centers around the globe, a presence on dozens of military bases and naval ships, and an online campus with over 55,000 enrolled worldwide. CTC offers more than two dozen degrees that can be earned entirely online, including an online criminal justice associate degree.

The associate of applied science in criminal justice program follows a 60-credit curriculum divided into four semesters. The program is an intensive immersion in the basic precepts of criminal law in the U.S., and the curriculum is a blend of criminal justice core courses with general education courses. Students may also specialize with a concentration in corrections. CTC participates in the Servicemembers Opportunities College Degree Network, and is known for its close ties to the military. A full slate of online student resources, from advising to tech support, is available on the CTC Distance Education page.

15Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne$$$$$150 West University Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 674-8000

Located in Melbourne, FL, Florida Institute of Technology Online is the second-largest private university in the state and the only independent tech school in the Southeast. Founded in 1958, Florida Tech is now a comprehensive university with acclaimed offerings in communications, psychology, education, the humanities, and criminal justice. The school’s 6,600-member student body is a split of undergraduate and grad students.

The associate of arts in criminal science program combines a liberal arts core -- the writing, computation, and business classes of a general studies degree -- with a thorough overview of the modern American system of justice. Students take courses in criminology, juvenile delinquency, crime prevention, investigation, substance abuse, and the many psychological and sociological factors affecting contemporary law. Completion of 20 classes is required, each lasting eight weeks, and the entire curriculum can be done via the web. All students in Florida Tech’s online associate degree in criminal justice program must take the one-credit mastering e-learning class. Five start dates allow students flexibility in scheduling.

16Park UniversityParkville$$$$$8700 NW River Park Dr
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
(816) 741-2000

Based in Parkville, MO, Park U. has more 18,000 students across 40 campuses in 21 states. This private four-year nonprofit university offers 63 degrees from the associate to master’s level. Park is a leader in online education, earning national recognition for quality and affordability. The school offers more than three dozen programs on its virtual campus, including a criminal justice associate degree online.

The associate of science in criminal justice administration program follows a 60 credit curriculum with three available specializations: corrections, law enforcement, and security. Coursework is designed to be highly interactive and highly flexible. Students gain a theoretical and practical understanding of the American justice system, and graduate prepared for more more than 40 different career opportunities. Students may also pursue a bachelor’s degree, while certifications are available in homeland security and terrorism. The university’s programming earned the Quality Matters online seal of approval.

17Rio Salado CollegeTempe$$$$$2323 W 14th St
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 517-8000

Rio Salado is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges in the greater Phoenix area, and one of the fastest-growing public two-year schools in the nation. Based in Tempe, AZ, Rio specializes in online learning, with more than half of its 54,000 students studying via the web. Over 600 classes and dozens of degree programs are available via Rio Salado’s RioLearn virtual campus. The online criminal justice associate degree prepares students for careers in law enforcement, counseling, corrections, and many federal agencies.

The associate of applied science in administration of justice prepares students to face issues in the American justice system in the 21st century. Instructors hold a variety of criminal justice backgrounds as police officers, attorneys, parole officers, and paralegals. Rio’s unique schedule allows new students to begin courses every Monday, and students must maintain a C average to graduate. A RioLearn demo allows prospective students to try out the school’s online environment and sample a class.

18St Petersburg CollegeClearwater$$$$$6021 142nd Ave N
Clearwater, FL 33760-2822
(727) 341-4772

Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College (SPC) was the first two-year college established in Florida. The school now offers over 100 career-oriented degree and certificate programs, and awards more associate degrees than most community colleges in the nation. Part of that success is due to SPC’s virtual campus -- the largest online school in Florida -- as more than a third of the school’s 64,000 students participate online.

SPC’s College of Public Safety Administration offers several variations on the criminal justice associate degree online. The school has a traditional criminal justice technology associate of science program, which can be specialized with a homeland security certificate. The 64 credit curriculum prepares students for baccalaureate programs or entry-level positions in the courts, corrections, and law-enforcement agencies, but does not lead directly to certification as an officer. Other programs include an associate in digital forensics and computer investigations, and an associate in crime scene technology. All can be earned entirely via the web and coursework is asynchronous.

19Peirce CollegePhiladelphia$$$$$1420 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102-4699
(888) 467-3472

With its main campus in the Center City district of Philadelphia, PA, Peirce College has been providing educational opportunities to working adults for over a century. The private nonprofit college was established in 1865 to expand the options of Civil War vets, and it has maintained a mission of career-oriented, practical instruction ever since. Peirce has been offering accredited digital courses longer than most universities in the United States.

The 61 credit curriculum in Pierce’s associate of science in criminal justice studies includes emphases in law enforcement, corrections, criminal investigation, private security, and juvenile justice. Coursework provides students experience in criminal court systems, victimization, and homeland security, among others. The school’s professors have real world experience and serve as officers, judges, and attorneys. Ambitious students can join Alpha Phi Sigma and the criminal justice honor society, and accelerated tracks are available. All on-campus support services are accessible to online learners.

20Tyler Junior CollegeTyler$$$$$1400 East Fifth Street
Tyler, TX 75701
(903) 510-2200

One of the largest community colleges in Texas, Tyler Junior College (TJC) takes its name from the east Texas city in which it’s located. With professional training and certification programs, more than a 100 degree options, and a 137-acre campus, the school is a community hub. It’s one of the few two-year schools with residential options and is known for its award-winning athletics.

TJC’s online criminal justice associate degree prepares students to continue their bachelor's in the field. The 60 credit curriculum of the associate of art in criminal justice program explores contemporary issues in law and justice from theoretical and practical standpoints. Faculty include former federal law enforcement officers, crime scene investigators, and homicide detectives with more than 200 years of cumulative experience. Students complete 44 general education credits, in addition to 16 credits of major coursework. Tuition at TJC costs about one-third of a typical four-year college education, and the schools’ 16-hour, Tech Skills Boot Camp, is available to help students prepare for digital learning.

21Hodges UniversityNaples$$$$$2655 Northbrooke Dr
Naples, FL 34119
(800) 466-8017

Hodges University is a small private nonprofit institution in Naples, FL offering 34 career-oriented degree programs. With 78 percent of students over the age of 24 -- and an average of 32 -- Hodges is committed to educating working adults. Classes are scheduled for maximum flexibility, and the school takes a competency-based approach, which allows ambitious students to move forward on a fast-track. Hodges’ digital campus has become an important part of the university’s mission.

Hodges’ criminal justice associate degree online emphasizes coursework in the major -- of the 60 credits required to graduate, only 20 are general studies -- providing students a thorough understanding of the justice system. Classes in the criminal justice associate degree core curriculum take students from crime scenes to courtrooms, and explores all aspects of the American legal system. The Blackboard platform allows close interaction with faculty, peer to peer discussions with classmates, and easy assignment submission.

22Surry Community CollegeDobson$$$$$630 S. Main St.
Dobson, NC 27017-8432
(336) 386-81213264

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Surry Community College is a comprehensive two-year school with 4,000 students, and offers associate degrees, certification, and professional training. More than 60 percent of students hail from Surry County and attend the Dobson-based school part-time; 20 percent are enrolled in the college’s distance learning programs. The online criminal justice associate degree prepares students for careers as law enforcement and corrections officers, security personnel, and loss prevention specialists.

The associate of applied science in criminal justice technology emphasizes criminal justice systems and operations. The degree introduces judicial processes, security services, and law enforcement on the federal, state, and local levels. Courses in psychology and sociology are also part of the curriculum. Students with a background in law enforcement or who have completed a police academy program may be able to waive some classes. Online students are required to complete an orientation to the Moodle platform before the first class. Every web-delivered course shares the same outcomes as the on-campus equivalent.

23Somerset Community CollegeDobson$$$$$808 Monticello Street
Dobson, KY 42501-2973
(877) 629-9722

Established in Somerset, KY, in 1965, Somerset Community College (SCC) has evolved into one of the nation’s fastest-growing two-year schools. Serving a ten-county area, the college provides degrees, certificates, occupational training, and continuing education to a student population of 6,400. In addition to the main campus, SCC has facilities in five other Kentucky locations and a virtual campus.

Somerset’s online associate degree in criminal justice offers four areas of specialization – criminal justice, corrections, law enforcement, and security and loss prevention. The criminal justice associate in applied science consists of 61 credit hours, nine of which are completed in the concentration. Students can also elect to add certifications in computer forensics and advanced law enforcement. Background checks are not required (but may be for employment in the field later). SCC uses Blackboard to deliver course content and the college recommends students spend at least nine hours a week per course.

24Columbus State Community CollegeColumbus$$$$$550 E Spring St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 287-5353

Columbus State Community College (CSCC) sits on the edge of downtown in Columbus, OH. With almost 30,000 students, it’s one of the biggest schools in the Buckeye State, and offers associate degrees, career certification, technical education, and enrichment programming. Despite its size, CSCC keeps class sizes small with an average of 20 students per course. The main campus is augmented by a second campus in Delaware, OH, nine learning centers in the nearby suburbs, and an expanding virtual campus.

Columbus State’s criminal justice program is multifaceted, and students select from a variety of degree tracks. The online criminal justice associate degree prepares students for entry-level positions in law enforcement, with concentrations in crime scene investigations, homeland security, crime prevention, and victim advocacy. Students who attend a police academy can register for the law enforcement academy track, a two-year degree that prepares serving, sworn police officers to advance in their careers. The probation and supervision track is aimed at people interested in the legal services. CSCC helps students determine if they’re ready for digital learning via an online readiness assessment.

25Allen Community CollegeIola$$$$$1801 N Cottonwood
Iola, KS 66749
(620) 365-5116100

Allen Community College was established in 1923 on the third floor of Iola High School in Iola, KS. Today, 2,300 students can choose between two campuses, six outreach sites, and online curriculums. Run by the Kansas Board of Regents, Allen offers two-year degrees, vocational certification, adult education, and workforce training programs, including a criminal justice associate degree online.

The associate in science with an emphasis in criminal justice studies program is offered as an associate in science (AS) or an associate in applied science (AAS). The AS is a 65-credit curriculum for students planning to transfer to a four-year program or police academy. The AAS degree requires only 60 credits but includes more courses in the major, including a criminal justice practicum and 12 credits at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Online learners have access to the school’s library, writing center, and 24/7 tech support.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

A criminal justice online degree at the bachelor's level opens the doors to a number of careers in the criminal justice field. Some examples include the probation officer, detective, and computer forensic investigator careers described above. Although earning a bachelor's degree requires four years and an average investment of $18,070, the cost per year is much cheaper than earning an associate degree. Also, salary levels with this degree can be much higher than with an associate or high school diploma/GED.
  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Drugs and Society, Statistics in Criminal Justice, and Crime Prevention

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Criminal Justice, Computer Forensics, and Science in Criminal Justice

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Probation Officer, Computer Forensic Investigator, and Homicide Detective

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $58,630 per year, $28.19 per hour

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    4% growth rate per year

Criminal Justice
Get Seal
For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1University of Central FloridaOrlando$$$$$4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816
(407) 823-2000

UCF's online criminal justice degree prepares graduates for careers in justice agencies, private security organizations, and related positions. Both a BA and BS degree are available; students who apply for the BS program must have at least one year of college-level foreign language experience. Students may also participate in online internships. The curriculum covers white collar crime, community-based corrections, women and crime, risk management in criminal justice, private security, and much more.

UCF hosts a user-friendly online services interface, which offers students access to library services, a writing center, online consultations, software, and skills training through LyndaCampus, the UCF bookstore, and more. Non-resident students have access to a competitive tuition rate, and several campus-based fees are waived for all online students.

2Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Founded in 1971 as a nonprofit Christian university, Liberty offers a criminal justice degree online, and the program provides students with a foundation in the constitutional basics of law and justice. Students can pursue specializations in business administration and management, criminal psychology, crime scene investigation, homeland security, public administration, strategic intelligence, or juvenile justice. Students can access their courses through the Blackboard LMS; all courses are eight-weeks long. Qualifying students -- those who have volunteered or worked full-time in emergency response fields within the last five years -- are eligible for the Emergency Response Personnel discount. Distance learners with law enforcement or military experience may be able to receive credit for their professional training. Reduced per-credit tuition rates are available to full-time students.

3Arizona State University - SkysongScottsdale$$$$$1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 200
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
(480) 884-1860

ASU's online criminal justice bachelor's degree covers the science of criminology and the inner-workings of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. Graduates often pursue careers in either criminal justice or corporate security; many others continue their education in law, criminology, or criminal justice in graduate school. Courses cover real-world issues, and the curriculum features classes that review gangs, domestic violence, white collar crime, and much more. ASU's faculty includes Nobel Laureates, Fulbright Scholars, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Students have access to a variety of online resources, including Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Office, and iWork software. Online courses include interactive activities, customized video lectures, conferencing tools, and real-time assessment activities.

4University of Massachusetts - LowellLowell$$$$$1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854-5104
(978) 934-4000

UMass Lowell is one of five campuses in the UMass system. The school offers a criminal justice degree online, and the program successfully integrates programmatic material with a foundation in the liberal arts. Students can customize their degree with a variety of electives, many of which are available for the first time in 2017. These classes include hate crimes; criminal mind and behavior; gender, race, and crime; and child maltreatment. Criminal justice students can begin their master's in criminal justice during their undergraduate career by taking two graduate-level courses that count towards their core credit hours. Courses are delivered through Blackboard, and students can access digital library materials and several other online services.

5Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

FIU's online bachelor's of science in criminal justice provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to work in law enforcement, security, or corrections. Core course topics include global terrorism, measurement and analysis in criminal justice, and criminal justice and public policy. All online students are paired with a success coach upon admission to the university. Both residential and out-of-state students have access to competitive tuition rates, and qualifying distance learners may apply for several scholarships earmarked for undergraduates. Students can register online for a virtual degree-specific information session to find out more about the program. Courses are available through the Florida Virtual Campus' Blackboard LMS; here, students can also find information about virtual proctoring services.

6Pennsylvania State University - World CampusUniversity Park$$$$$128 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-5403

In 1998, Penn State became one of the first universities to provide online courses to distance learners. PSU's online criminal justice degree meets the needs of both professionals in the field and students who have limited experience with criminal justice. The degree is certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Science (ACJS), and all faculty who teach both on campus and online are trained to adapt coursework to the virtual environment. Asynchronous coursework is delivered through the Blackboard LMS and may include readings, group discussions, projects, and other activities. Faculty members work with instructional designers to create engaging learning experiences that are of the same caliber as classes found on campus. Active military members and their spouses are eligible for Grant-in-Aid benefits.

7Keiser University - Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale$$$$$1500 NW 49th St
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Students in Keiser's bachelor of arts in criminal justice program take courses on a variety of topics in the criminal justice system, including forensics, private security, and juvenile justice. Graduates are expected to know how the Constitution and Supreme Court interact to shape laws, and they develop strong research and analytical skills that can be applied in the field. Students can choose from several elective courses, including cyber crime and deviant behavior, to customize their degree. Courses are accessible through the Blackboard LMS, and online students are automatically enrolled in the school's Online Writing Lab (OWL). Students can chat with an admissions agent online at anytime.

8Indiana Wesleyan University-MarionMarion$$$$$4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Indiana Wesleyan has offered adult education programs since 1985. Its online criminal justice bachelor's degree prepares students for careers throughout the field, with a "Christ-centered" perspective woven into the curriculum. Courses include restorative justice, cybercrime, and youth and crime. Students complete a final capstone paper addressing a current issue within the criminal justice system. Typically, students enter with an associate degree and complete this accelerated program in 18 months. All students are assigned to a peer cohort upon admission. IWU is home to the Center for Learning and Innovation, which is dedicated to educating and working with faculty to design and implement engaging and high-quality online courses. Students can watch IWU's live online streaming of many sporting events, including men's and women's basketball. IWU is the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in the nation, and has the largest enrollment of any private university in the state.

9Florida State UniversityTallahassee$$$$$222 S. Copeland Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1037
(850) 644-2525

Founded in 1851, FSU is the oldest higher education institution in the state and serves over 41,000 students. Graduates from FSU's online bachelor's degree in criminology leave school prepared to pursue careers in law enforcement, social welfare, corporate security, and other related fields. The FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice also offers a comprehensive job search portal for graduates. FSU's criminology and criminal justice faculty are renowned for their research productivity: The FSU Criminology and Policy Research team recently presented a report on elder fraud issues, with recommendations on how community centers can help educate their residents and promote safe shopping programs.

10Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

All courses at Saint Leo are offered in a distance format, perfect for students who want to pursue a criminal justice degree online. Saint Leo's program features a criminalistics specialization with a strong focus on forensic science analysis and interpretation of evidence. The curriculum is rooted in the school's commitment to "steadfast moral consciousness" and to recognize the fundamental rights of people from all backgrounds. Students take core criminal justice courses, along with general electives that range from literature to social science. For incoming distance learners, Saint Leo provides "Starting Point," a series of self-paced tutorials about different aspects of online learning, available on its site 24/7.

11Western Carolina UniversityCullowhee$$$$$Highway 107
Cullowhee, NC 28723-9646
(828) 227-7100

Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU serves over 9,000 undergraduates. The school offers a bachelor's of science degree in criminal justice online, with a concentration in administration of justice. Popular courses include stress management in criminal justice, computer applications & criminal justice, and cyber crimes. Applicants interested in WCU must first apply to the university; after they are accepted, they can then apply to the criminal justice program. Courses are accessible through the Blackboard LMS and students have access to online library and tech support services. Students can further connect with the university through its multiple social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube. WCU offers both merit-based and need-based scholarships to qualifying students, along with military tuition assistance to active service members.

12Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Concordia offers an online bachelor of arts in criminal justice, a program designed for professionals in criminal justice who want to enhance their skill set while they work full-time. Students who complete this program leave school prepared to enter high-level positions as private investigators, CIA agents, fraud investigators, and related jobs. Students must complete a criminal justice e-folio as a culminating project that reflects their understanding of the field and highlights their career objectives. Popular courses include contemporary issues in criminal justice, inside the criminal mind, and troubled youth. CSP recently reduced its tuition by 33%, making it the second-lowest tuition in Minnesota and the Concordia University system.

13Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester$$$$$2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
(603) 668-2211

Southern New Hampshire University is a nonprofit, private school with over 60,000 online students. SNHU's online bachelor's degree in criminal justice offers leading instruction from experts in the field and simulated real-world scenarios. Students can pursue several specializations as part of the program, including a general track and concentrations in corrections, criminology, homeland security & counterterrorism, human services, legal studies & advocacy, or police administration & operations. The program requires students to complete a final capstone project that offers them the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they developed in school. Distance learners have access to several dedicated web services, including an online writing center, free Smarthinking tutoring services, one-on-one career counseling, and more. Students take courses at their own pace; classes are offered during six nine-week terms per year. SNHU offers one of the lowest per-credit tuition rates in the nation, and active-duty military and their spouses can receive further discounts.

14Florida Gulf Coast UniversityFort Myers$$$$$10501 Fgcu Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000

FGCU offers a BS in criminal justice in a hybrid format. Students with an associate degree or qualifying transfer credits can complete all upper division courses online; freshmen will need to take a few courses on-campus in Fort Myers. Students must also complete an internship at an approved law enforcement agency, law firm, local government entity, corrections facility, or a similar organization. On average, 80% of students complete courses both on-campus and online, while 20% take classes entirely online. Distance learners can tailor the curriculum to an extent by taking elective courses that align with their specific interests. FGCU works to keep costs down, and has maintain its tuition rate for the past three years. Matriculating freshmen have a 3.78 GPA and 1583 SAT score on average.

15Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne$$$$$150 West University Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 674-8000

Students enrolled in the Florida Institute of Technology's multidisciplinary online criminal justice program learn a broad range of criminal justice theories and practices, and develop a multicultural awareness of criminal behavior. Students can customize their degree focus by choosing from high-level electives like crisis and conflict resolution, introduction to crime analysis, and organized crime. Asynchronous online courses are offered in eight-week increments. Peer-to-peer and instructor interaction takes place through live conference software, chat rooms, and discussion forums. Students have access to resources like Turnitin software, which helps distance learners check for errors in citations or possible plagiarism, as well as free Smarthinking tutoring services.

16Rowan UniversityGlassboro$$$$$201 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, NJ 08028
(856) 256-4000

Rowan's bachelor of arts in law & justice prepares students for careers in law enforcement and security, court services, corrections, and social services. Many graduates also continue their education in a related grad program. Rowan's law & justice offering is a full-time program that can be completed over four or five semesters. Courses are structured in eight-week modules, and the curriculum covers legal theory and its applications while helping distance learners develop strong analytical and communication skills. Popular courses include sentencing and the rights of the convicted and law & human rights. Rowan's online programs are offered in conjunction with six other academic colleges, which helps students access a variety of quality content and to communicate and interact with a large network of students and professors.

17Excelsior CollegeAlbany$$$$$7 Columbia Cir
Albany, NY 12203-5159
(518) 464-8500

Excelsior College is an adult-centric higher education institution with online programs built for working professionals and other nontraditional students. About 75% of students work full-time and 10 percent work part-time while they're in school. Excelsior offers an online criminal justice bachelor's degree with an emphasis in investigative forensics. The program is designed for newcomers and experienced professionals in the field alike. Excelsior offers a flexible transfer policy, allowing students to transfer up to 117 existing college credits, and to receive credit for relevant military and professional experience. The faculty includes experienced professionals in the field who can facilitate student connections with potential employers in homeland security, law enforcement, forensics, and other domains. Students must complete a capstone research project to graduate. Distance learners have access to several online services, including free Smarthinking tutoring services, an Online Writing Lab, software skill tutorials, and more.

18Fort Hays State UniversityHays$$$$$600 Park St
Hays, KS 67601-4099
(785) 628-4000

Fort Hays State offers both an online bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in criminal justice. As an interdisciplinary program, the curriculum centers on the roots of criminal behavior and society's response. Most students are working professionals, and many already work in criminal justice. Students can pursue concentrations in law enforcement, corrections, law and courts, or create a customized focus through electives. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard LMS, and students can interact with professors over Skype, email, and the phone. Fort Hays offers one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. The school's Department of Criminal Justice also provides job placement assistance to graduating students.

19Park UniversityParkville$$$$$8700 NW River Park Dr
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
(816) 741-2000

Students in the criminal justice degree online at Park University can pursue concentrations in law enforcement, corrections, or security. The curriculum covers theory, philosophy, and real-world applications, preparing students for a range of careers in the field. Students on the cusp of graduation can complete the program by either completing an internship within their state of residence or finishing a senior writing project. Park generally doesn't require students to take exams with a proctor. The school's online classroom is powered by the Canvas LMS. Online students have access to a range of library services, including librarian live chat. Students can also contact the dedicated Online Operations Department with questions about their online experience.

20University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha$$$$$6001 Dodge St
Omaha, NE 68182-0225
(402) 554-2800

Among UNO's 15,000 students, about half are enrolled in online courses. Nebraska's online criminal justice degree curriculum includes both general and major-related core classes in criminal justice theory, research, and response to crime. In addition to taking online courses through UNO, students can apply to take intercampus online courses through UNL (Lincoln) or UNK (Kearney). Courses are accessible through the Blackboard LMS; students also have access to Google Apps for Education. UNO is home to the Nebraska Center for Justice Research and the Juvenile Justice Institute. The program's faculty members often present research at national conferences and to community agencies to help them formulate best practices and inform policy in the field. The university has received the Carnegie Classification of community engagement for excellent curricular engagement and outreach partnerships.

21University of MemphisMemphis$$$$$Southern Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

Memphis is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the seventh largest higher education system in the country. Students looking for a quality online criminal justice bachelor's degree can pursue a BA in criminology and criminal justice at UofM. The curriculum covers the root causes of criminal activity, prevention and intervention strategies, program analysis, and modern issues covering social justice. Online students work with an academic advisor to stay on track with program requirements through graduation. Courses are taught asynchronously and are available through eCourseware at UofM Online. Distance learners have access to many of the same resources as on-campus students, including library services, financial aid opportunities, career prep training, and more. Courses often include weekly discussions, and students can expect feedback from instructors within 48 hours. Courses are taught on the university's semester schedule, and all distance learners qualify for UofM's reduced eRate tuition.

22Westfield State UniversityWestfield$$$$$577 Western Ave
Westfield, MA 01086-1630
(413) 572-5300

Westfield State was founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, and the school is recognized as the first co-educational institution to open its doors to all students, regardless of racial of class background. WSU offers a criminal justice degree online, and the program is primarily designed for graduates from Massachusetts community colleges who plan to complete the final two years of their program online. Students who have not graduated from this system are still invited to apply, though some courses may require students to attend campus in-person. The curriculum covers the criminal justice system and the local and national legal system. Core courses review the American judicial system and theories of crime. Classes also cover how the law and criminal justice affects demographics differently, highlighting how the system treats people based on their gender, class, race, and cultural background. Students log in to the Plato LMS to access online courses and to Blackboard Collaborate for virtual meetings with peers and professors. WSU offers a very competitive annual tuition for all students, including free tuition for all students over 60.

23Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

CUW's bachelor's degree in management of criminal justice prepares students to operate in law enforcement at all levels of government. Instructors are active professionals in the field, and classes are delivered from a Christian perspective. The curriculum includes core business courses, such as public relations and managerial accounting, along with degree-specific offerings like juvenile theory and criminal investigation. All students are assigned an online student success advisor upon admission and have access to an online writing lab, free Smarthinking tutoring services, career services, and more. CUW is one of 10 universities in the U.S. operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Campuses are independent but share academic resources. Advanced transfer students, with an associate in criminal justice or 63 credits of relevant coursework, are encouraged to apply.

24Columbia CollegeColumbia$$$$$1301 Columbia College Dr
Columbia, SC 29203
(803) 786-3012

Originally founded as a women's college in 1851, Columbia changed its name when it became a four-year co-educational institution in 1970. Columbia's online criminal justice degree is a multidisciplinary program that features a focus in criminal justice administration. Students can pursue both a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science; the BA is recommended for students already employed in the field, while a BS is advised for graduating high-school students or people who want to change careers. The curriculum includes general education courses; ethics, foreign language, and multicultural course requirements; and core content. Core classes include police in a democratic society, management of criminal justice agencies, and advanced research writing and methods courses. Asynchronous coursework is offered through the Dream2Learn platform, which also provides access to library and tutoring services. Courses are structured in eight-week increments over five sessions annually.

25Siena Heights UniversityAdrian$$$$$1247 E. Siena Heights Dr.
Adrian, MI 49221
(517) 263-0731

Working professionals or students who already hold an associate degree can pursue an online applied science program through Siena Heights University. This is a career-focused degree for professionals from a variety of public service backgrounds, including law enforcement and criminal justice. The curriculum includes liberal arts course topics, management classes, and career-specific electives. Students can transfer up to 90 previously earned credits to complete the 120-credit degree requirement for their BAS. Students may also be able to obtain credit from their professional or military experience and training. Students can opt to apply for the online cohort program, which allows them to network and get to know their peers. Courses are taught asynchronously, and are accessible through eCollege and structured in eight-week terms. SHU has offered distance education programs since 2004; most distance learners graduate from the applied science program in two years or less.

Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Online master's in criminal justice programs combine interdisciplinary coursework in subjects such as law, sociology, forensics, and public policy. Students in criminal justice programs study research methodologies, technology and its relationship to crime, and the role of the justice system in society. Learners also explore economic, political, and cultural issues that impact the field.

An online master's degree in criminal justice can lead to career advancement opportunities in law enforcement, criminal investigation, forensics, and corrections. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of positions for probation officers, police officers, and security guards to continue increasing through 2026, providing continued employment opportunities in the field.

A master's degree in criminal justice also allows you to work for local, state, and federal agencies or as a postsecondary educator at some schools. The following ranking outlines the best online master's in criminal justice programs in the country.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Organizational Behavior, Victimology, and Policing Special Populations

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Homeland Security, Science in Terrorism and Counterterrorism, and Science in Criminal Justice

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Criminal Investigator, Youth Correctional Officer, and Victim's Advocate

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $44,570 per year or $21.43 per hour

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    5% growth per year

Criminal Justice
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For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Webster UniversitySaint Louis$$$$$470 E Lockwood Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63119-3194
(314) 961-2660

Webster offers academic programs online and from its main campus in Webster Grove, Missouri. Since its founding as a Catholic women’s college in 1915, Webster has remained dedicated to educational excellence and social progress.

Webster’s interdisciplinary criminal justice program prepares learners to apply theories of crime and criminal processes while collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Students gain insights into the interrelated nature of the criminal justice system and social, legal, and economic environments.

The online master of science in criminal justice at Webster includes 36 credits. Required courses in ethics and decision-making, theories of crime and justice, and criminal actions accompany electives and research coursework. Students choose electives from specialized areas, including administration of justice, fraud investigation, cybersecurity, and international and regional security. Learners also have the option to add certificates to their course of study. At the end of the program, students complete a culminating capstone course.

2Colorado State University GlobalGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

Established under the auspices of the CSU Board of Governors in 2007, CSU-Global offers undergraduate and graduate programs to roughly 18,000 students. CSU-Global maintains accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

CSU-Global’s online master of science degree in criminal justice and law enforcement administration includes 36 credits. Classes in criminological theory, criminal justice policy, and administration and management of criminal justice organizations accompany courses in research and writing and analytical methods. Students explore advanced research for criminal justice professionals to prepare for a capstone course and internship.

CSU-Global’s criminal justice curriculum features 14 specializations, allowing students to customize their degree to match their interests. Options include fraud management, information technology, business intelligence, and organizational learning and performance.

3Johnson & Wales UniversityProvidence$$$$$8 Abbott Park Pl
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 598-1000

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, JWU hosts more than 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students. JWU is an innovator in experiential education, blending industry-focused education with community-based leadership opportunities.

Learners can complete JWU’s 30-credit online master’s degree in criminal justice in less than two years. Coursework combines criminological theory with organizational and leadership skills. Students complete core classes in advanced administration of criminal justice, contemporary criminology and crime prevention, and criminal justice ethics and diversity.

The program allows students to personalize their degree by taking elective classes covering topics such as juvenile justice, global criminal justice, and technology in the criminal justice system. Required classes in research methods prepare learners for a capstone project. During their final semester, students analyze a criminal justice problem and develop a solution by applying the knowledge and skills they acquired throughout the program.

4Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Founded as a conservative Christian school in 1971, Liberty offers more than 600 academic programs to over 100,000 learners. Liberty also oversees more than 400 online programs, including a master of science degree in criminal justice.

Liberty’s master’s in criminal justice online program includes 36 credits that students can complete in 18 months. The program allows learners to specialize in forensic psychology, homeland security, public administration, or general criminal justice.

The forensic psychology track emphasizes psychological principles and practices through coursework in rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders, crisis intervention, and psychology and the legal system. The homeland security concentration focuses on homeland security processes and administration, while the public administration specialization explores public policies as they relate to criminal justice. The curriculum of the general online master’s in criminal justice covers leadership, ethics, and administration of justice in organizational and legal settings.

5Arizona State UniversityTempe$$$$$University Drive and Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85287
(480) 965-9011

Established in 1885, ASU offers academic programs from five campuses in Phoenix, at four regional centers, and online. The online master of arts in criminal justice at ASU includes 33 credits that students can complete in 18 months.

The curriculum emphasizes theories and impacts of crime while exploring practices of policing and justice. Learners complete required classes in criminology, criminal justice planning and program evaluation, and applied data analysis. Electives in policing, courts and sentences, the nature of crime, and punishment and society allow students to tailor the curriculum to their interests and goals.

Students can also complete a criminal justice internship. At the end of the program, students participate in a required capstone class to apply acquired knowledge and skills to improve criminal justice policy. Learners produce a comprehensive research paper as part of this course.

6Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale$$$$$3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

Established in 1964, NSU educates undergraduate and graduate students at its main campus in Fort Lauderdale, at regional centers throughout the state, and online. The online master of science in criminal justice represents one of more than 60 master’s degrees offered by the institution.

NSU’s online criminal justice master’s degree includes 15 core credits, 12 specialization credits, and three elective credits. Core courses explore social administration, legal issues, and investigative processes in criminal justice. Learners choose from 12 specializations, including legal perspectives in criminal justice, behavioral science, emergency preparedness, and information systems.

Elective options include a practicum, during which students gain hands-on experience working with a criminal justice professional in an approved department or agency. Learners can also work with a member of NSU’s faculty on a research-based thesis.

7University of Central FloridaOrlando$$$$$4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816
(407) 823-2000

Founded in 1963, UCF serves more than 68,000 students through 13 academic colleges. UCF offers over 220 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online master of science in criminal justice.

Learners can finish UCF’s online master’s in criminal justice degree in two years. The program emphasizes managerial, administrative, and theoretical aspects of criminal justice while preparing learners to transition from the classroom into a practical criminal justice setting. The 36-credit program includes core classes on the nature of crime, administration of justice, research methods, and policy and data analysis. Learners also complete a required capstone seminar.

Students can choose from 15 elective classes, six credits of which fall under restricted options. Restricted courses include foundations of corrections, juvenile justice, law and social control, and American criminal courts. Students may also complete a thesis as part of the curriculum.

8Florida State UniversityTallahassee$$$$$222 S. Copeland Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1037
(850) 644-2525

Founded in 1851, FSU offers almost 42,000 students over 300 academic programs, including an online master of science in criminal justice studies.

The university's online master’s in criminal justice studies degree includes 36 credits that learners can complete in two years. Core classes emphasize criminological theories, computer applications, and research methods. Learners complete 21 credits of elective courses, 12 of which must come from the school's college of criminology and criminal justice. Electives cover topics such as penology, victimology, prevention and treatment of crime and delinquency, and police and society.

With opportunities to take up to nine credits from other disciplines, FSU’s program allows students to increase the interdisciplinary nature of their coursework and build a wider breadth of knowledge.

9Boston UniversityBoston$$$$$
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 353-2000

BU offers more than 34,000 students undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs through 17 schools and colleges. Once affiliated with the United Methodist Church, BU now serves as a nonsectarian, private research university. The school is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

BU offers an online master of criminal justice degree that learners often complete in 20-24 months. The 40-credit program allows students to specialize in cybercrime and cybersecurity or strategic management. Both degree tracks explore principles of leadership in organizational settings, theories of social control, and perspectives of law enforcement and criminal justice.

The cybercrime and cybersecurity specialization includes advanced classes in practical digital investigation, cybersecurity risk assessment, and policies and legal practices related to cybercrime. BU’s strategic management online criminal justice degree enhances students' abilities to analyze criminal justice problems and develop sustainable solutions and policies.

10Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

Located in central Florida, Saint Leo is one of the oldest Catholic institutions of higher learning in the state. The school hosts more than 15,000 learners in over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Saint Leo’s 36-credit online criminal justice program includes six specializations: behavioral studies, corrections, criminal investigations, critical incident management, forensic science, and legal studies. Learners can also complete a general criminal justice master’s degree.

All students take core classes in ethical and legal issues in criminal justice administration, public policy, and leadership applications. Learners also participate in an applied project, applying degree knowledge and skills to a topical criminal justice issue.

11University of South DakotaVermillion$$$$$414 E Clark St
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390
(605) 677-5301

Established in 1862, USD is the oldest university in South Dakota. Based in Vermillion, USD provides academic programs to more than 10,000 students through nine colleges and schools.

USD offers an online master of science in administration with a specialization in criminal justice studies. This 36-credit program includes 24 credits of required coursework alongside 12 elective credits. Core classes cover topics such as administrative law and government, research in administrative practice, and managerial communications. Students gain the critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills needed to manage and lead organizations.

Criminal justice elective options include police administration, courts and judicial politics, criminal law and procedure, and national security policy. Learners must also complete a capstone project.

12Columbus State UniversityColumbus$$$$$4225 University Ave
Columbus, GA 31907-5645
(706) 507-8800

Columbus State serves more than 8,000 learners each year. Established in 1958, the school is a member of the University System of Georgia and offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs through seven colleges and schools.

Columbus State’s online master of public administration program includes a specialized degree track in criminal justice. This degree prepares students to work in justice administration, law enforcement, and government policy.

Columbus State’s program includes 36 credits of core and concentration coursework that precede a comprehensive examination. Core classes in public personnel administration, policy analysis, and legal and ethical environments of administration accompany research and capstone courses. Criminal justice coursework includes criminal justice, race, and class; distributive justice; courts and judicial administration; and correctional practices and problems. Students can also complete a criminal justice internship.

13University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg$$$$$6191 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769
(606) 549-2200

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, Cumberlands was formed by a merger between Highland College and the Williamsburg Institute in 2005.

The online master’s in criminal justice administration at Cumberlands includes 30 credits. Students complete 18 credits of core courses in foundations, criminological theories, and ethical issues in justice administration. Additional required courses in research and design and statistical applications in justice administration accompany 12 credits of specialization classes.

Students can pursue one of eight concentrations to tailor their degrees to match their interests and career goals. Options include law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, and juvenile justice. All students complete a capstone course in justice administration, during which they conduct research and present their findings.

14Saint Joseph's UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
(610) 660-1000

Established by the Society of Jesus in 1851, SJU’s main campus occupies 114 acres in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. SJU offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate programs that combine academic excellence with Jesuit values.

SJU offers an online criminal justice master’s degree that includes 30-36 credits. The criminal justice program features several career-focused degree options. Students pursuing the general, behavioral management, federal law enforcement, homeland security, or intelligence and crime analysis tracks must complete 30 credits. Alternatively, the behavior analysis concentration includes 36 credits.

All students complete four core courses in research methods and analysis, criminological theory, ethics and criminal justice, and professional writing for law enforcement. Concentrations, with the exception of the behavioral analysis option, include four specialized classes. The behavioral analysis track incorporates seven classes that align with requirements put forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

15University of San DiegoSan Diego$$$$$5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
(619) 260-4600

USD offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 9,000 students. Established as a Catholic institution in 1949, USD remains true to its roots, emphasizing academic excellence and Catholic traditions.

The online master of science in law enforcement and public safety leadership includes 31 credits that learners can complete in 20 months. This synchronous program incorporates classes in communication, organizational leadership, conflict resolution, and law to build an interdisciplinary foundation for future law enforcement, public safety, and crime prevention professionals. Students study budgets, finance, and community engagement to enhance their managerial and practical skills in law enforcement settings.

The program also includes an integrated capstone that learners complete during their final semester. Students produce a portfolio demonstrating degree competencies through projects, papers, presentations, and exercises.

16Lewis UniversityRomeoville$$$$$One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

Founded as a Catholic university in 1932, Lewis provides more than 130 undergraduate and graduate programs from its main campus in Romeoville, Illinois; locations in Oak Brook and Tinley Park; a campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and online. Lewis also offers almost 20 online degrees, including a master of science in criminal justice.

The online master’s in criminal justice at Lewis includes 36 credits. Students complete 24 credits of core coursework and 12 credits of electives. Core courses include criminal justice administration and management, fiscal management of criminal justice agencies, fair practices for labor relations in the public sector, and criminal procedures. Learners also complete two classes in applied research methods and courses in criminal law and criminology.

Lewis offers elective classes on topics such as family violence, white collar crime, and ethics and integrity. Students can also complete elective coursework in homeland security and defense, issues in juvenile crime, and correctional counseling and rehabilitation. All learners must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of the program.

17Mississippi CollegeClinton$$$$$200 South Capitol Street
Clinton, MS 39058
(601) 925-3000

Affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, MC traces its origins to 1826. As the oldest institution of higher education in the state, MC offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate programs.

MC’s online master of social science in homeland security explores the administration of justice, crime, and law in America. Students also learn about various police problems and practices.

The homeland security degree introduces students to terrorism prevention through classes on intelligence operations, security concerns, and ethics of homeland security. Participants also investigate public policies at local, state, and national levels and determine how to work with corporate, government, and nonprofit entities to help keep the nation safe.

18Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Opened in 1972, FIU currently offers academic programs to almost 57,000 students. The school is one of 12 campuses within the State University System of Florida.

FIU offers an online master of science in criminal justice that includes 36 credits. Students complete core classes in criminological theory, research methods, and data analysis. Additional core coursework in criminal justice policy analysis and transnational crime and national security builds an understanding of domestic criminal justice theories and practices.

Students take 12 credits of criminal justice electives and nine credits of open electives from any discipline. Learners interested in teaching college can complete a teaching practicum, while students interested in doctoral study can enroll in supervised research coursework.

19The University of West FloridaPensacola$$$$$11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
(850) 474-2000

Established in 1963, UWF offers undergraduate and graduate programs to almost 13,000 students. UWF functions within the State University System of Florida and maintains regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The school's online master’s in criminal justice includes 33 credits. Students complete core classes in criminal justice and criminological theory, research methodology, and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Criminal justice electives include criminal justice administration, policing and society, courts and society, and penology.

The program includes two tracks: one with an internship and one with a research paper completed under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can also earn certifications in social work, public administration, homeland security, or education by completing nine elective credits in those areas.

20Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville$$$$$1806 Ave J
Huntsville, TX 77340
(936) 294-1111

Located in Huntsville, Texas, SHSU offers more than 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs. Established in 1879, SHSU is a member of the Texas State University System.

SHSU’s online master of science in criminal justice includes 36 credits. Students complete required coursework in critical analysis of justice administration, research methods, communication theory, and computer and technical applications for criminal justice. Additional core classes include organizational administration and program evaluation.

Learners choose 15 credits of criminal justice electives before taking a class in emergent issues in criminal justice leadership. The emergent issues course functions as a capstone requirement, during which students examine technology, organizational theory, principles of public administration, and community expectations of criminal justice leaders.

21Wilmington UniversityNew Castle$$$$$320 Dupont Hwy
New Castle, DE 19720
(877) 967-5464

Established with an initial class of less than 200 students, WilmU now offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 18,000 learners.

The online master of science in administration of justice leadership at WilmU includes 36 credits. Students complete core courses in criminological theory, criminal justice ethics, managing diversity, and technology for modern policing. The program includes three concentrations: criminal behavior, homeland security, and leadership and administration.

The criminal behavior degree track focuses on violent crime, mental health and the law, and therapeutic strategies for violent offenders, while homeland security coursework explores terrorism, legal aspects of homeland security, and risk assessment and management. The leadership and administration emphasis builds competencies in crisis management, workplace law and liability, supervision and management, and police executive leadership.

22Lamar UniversityBeaumont$$$$$4400 MLK Blvd
Beaumont, TX 77705
(409) 880-7011

LU hosts more than 15,000 students online and from its main campus in Beaumont, Texas. The school became a member of the Texas State University System in 1995 and maintains regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

LU’s online master of science in criminal justice includes 30 credits that learners can complete in one year. The program includes required classes in theoretical foundations of crime control, quantitative methods in criminology, and a criminal justice capstone.

Students can tailor their degrees by taking 15 credits from a series of special studies options. Special studies classes cover topics such as ethics, police law, cybercrime, and comparative juvenile justice. Additional options include serial murder, homeland security, and constitutional law.

23University of Colorado - DenverDenver$$$$$1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400
Denver, CO 80217-3364
(303) 556-5600

Part of the University of Colorado System, CU Denver is the largest research institution in the state. The school provides academic programs to more than 18,000 students and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

CU Denver’s 36-credit online master of criminal justice program is offered through its Anschutz Medical Campus. Students take five core classes and concentration coursework before completing a thesis or applied research capstone project. Learners without criminal justice experience also participate in an internship with a local, state, or federal criminal justice organization.

Core classes emphasize criminal justice theory, practice, and research. Students choose from specializations in criminal analysis, emergency management and homeland security, gender-based violence, and nonprofit organizations.

24Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Founded in 1893 by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, CSP is one of nine schools in the Concordia University System. CSP offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to roughly 5,000 students.

The online master of arts in criminal justice degree at CSP includes 36 credits. Students complete required classes in accessing criminal justice resources, research methods in criminal justice, and administration of criminal justice. Learners also study legal and legislative issues, correctional design, and ethics in criminal justice leadership. Students synthesize degree content by completing a criminal justice capstone project.

Students pursuing this master’s in criminal justice online prepare for careers as forensic psychologists, criminal profilers, and police and detective supervisors. Participants also develop the knowledge and skills needed to work as criminal sociologists and private detectives and investigators.

25Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

BU was established as Bellevue College in 1965 and adopted its current name in 1994. Based in eastern Nebraska, BU offers academic programs from campuses throughout the state; at locations in Iowa, Idaho, and Washington; and online. BU serves more than 10,000 students and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The school's online master of science in justice administration and crime management includes 36 credits. The cohort-based curriculum incorporates coursework in criminal law, forensics, and criminal behavior analysis. Students also study planning, budgeting, and resource management alongside classes in communication and leadership.

Coursework in writing for criminal justice professionals, technology and trends, and ethics and decision-making prepares learners to assume leadership roles in the field. Students also improve their research, statistical, and analytical competencies. Graduates can pursue work as criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, corrections specialists, and police and detective supervisors.

Online Doctorate Degree in Criminal Justice

A doctorate in criminal justice will help those people who are seeking high-level careers in academia, private or governmental research agencies, or criminal justice leadership. An online doctorate in criminal justice will allow you to pursue a variety of specializations while continuing to work.
  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Contemporary Public Safety Leadership, Race and Ethnicity in Crime and Criminal Justice, and Management and Leadership Theory

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Criminology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Criminal Justice

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    FBI Agent, FBI Investigator, and First-Line Supervisor of Police Officers

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $68,400 to $115,720 per year

Online Criminal Justice Choose Your Career

Average Criminal Justice Salaries

$55,360
$44,570
$75,720
$49,060
$58,630

Computer Forensic Investigator

Salary: $55,360
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
27% 14,400 Bachelor's None

Computer forensic investigators examine computer systems and data in order to present information for legal cases. They can also help determine when and how a hacker gained access to a system, as well as discover hidden digital information. A bachelor's degree in computer forensics will provide the necessary background for a successful career in this area. In addition, analytical and problem solving skills are key, as well as effective verbal and written communications abilities, and an interest in the latest technological advances.

Legal Investigator

Salary: $44,570
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 34,900 Associates Licensed Private Investigator / Certified Legal Investigator recommended, not required

A legal investigator, more commonly known as a private investigator (PI), is a for-hire detective. They may search for clues by studying crime scenes, conduct surveillance and background investigations, report information to the authorities, and testify in court. PIs often work undercover. In addition to their help in the criminal justice field, PIs may also be hired to escort valuable property from place to place or to guard high-profile individuals. There are no formal educational requirements to be a PI, but most states require PIs to obtain a license. To be successful in this field, PIs must be assertive, unafraid of confrontation, possess effective communication skills (including the ability to question or interrogate individuals), and be extremely detail-oriented. They must also be at least 18 years old and have no criminal record.

Detective

Salary: $75,720
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 108,720 High School Diploma or Equivalent On-Job Training

Detectives investigate crimes. They gather evidence, interview witnesses, conduct background checks on victims and suspects, identify responsible parties, prepare for court, and assist in the prosecution of offenders. The scope of the work varies by location, and the work itself can be stressful and dangerous, so a detective must have mental and physical endurance. The minimum education requirements for a detective are a high school diploma, law enforcement certification, and experience as a sworn law enforcement officer. However, many agencies require a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice, forensic science, or a related field. Additionally, detectives should possess strong communication skills, the ability to remain objective, and the patience and empathy necessary to work through the long investigation process.

Probation Officer

Salary: $49,060
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 91,700 Bachelor's State Specific Licensing Requirements

Probation officers, also known as parole officers, help criminal offenders re-enter society after serving their sentences. Based on their supervision of and interaction with the offender, parole officers attend hearings and make suggestions to the parole board. Parole officers may encounter dangerous situations and heavy workloads of 70 to 130 cases at a time. Most state and federal parole agencies require applicants for this position to hold a bachelor's degree, typically in either criminal justice, psychology, social work, correction, sociology, counseling, or business administration. Most parole officers must be at least 20 years of age, have a valid driver's license, and must attend required training and certification courses. They must also have a license to carry a firearm, undergo background investigation and drug screening, and pass a psychological examination.

Uniformed Police Officer

Salary: $58,630
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 806,400 High School Diploma or Equivalent Police Academy Training

Uniformed police officers protect the public by enforcing local, state, and federal laws within their jurisdiction. Police officers have a number of specific responsibilities, including preventing and investigating criminal activity; apprehending criminals; conducting routine safety patrols; enforcing traffic laws; conducting safety inspections on roads and highways; and participating in public safety community programs. Education requirements to become an officer vary by state or city. Some police departments require a candidate to have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, though several years of college coursework, such as an online associate degree in criminal justice, is often needed. Higher degree levels typically equate to higher pay and more opportunities for promotion and advancement. Candidates must be US citizens, 21 years of age, and must meet rigorous physical criteria include tests of stamina, agility, vision, hearing, and physical and mental strength. Military police experience is highly advantageous.

Online Criminal Justice Degree in Action

Mary Lou Chernik Criminal Justice

Mary Lou Chernik is an Air Force vet with more than 27 years of investigative experience that has earned a master of science in management for criminal justice, and a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Colorado Technical University (CTU), online. She also earned two associate of applied science degrees by going to on-ground campuses part-time while in the Air Force.

As a board certified fellow with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, she has worked in private, federal, and state agencies. She has 24 years of experience as the administrator of a woodworking company and ran her own private investigations business for 16 years. In addition to teaching criminal justice courses online, she works part-time as a field deputy medical investigator.

Why did you pursue your criminal justice degree online?

I live in a rural community with limited access to higher education. I had three choices—do nothing, move to a city where I would have access to an on-ground campus, or complete my degree online. I really liked CTU's accelerated program. I was just going to finish my bachelor's degree for my own satisfaction, but found I really liked online learning. Earning a master's degree has enhanced my reputation as a medicolegal death investigator and has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher.

What were the biggest advantages for you as you studied online?

The biggest advantages for me were the flexibility of online learning and not having to waste time by driving to a campus. I continued to work, while going to school full time.

What were the challenges or obstacles you faced as an online student?

Time management was a challenge throughout my degree programs, along with self-discipline. The same flexibility that was an advantage was also a challenge because it was up to me to decide when to study or when to participate, rather than going to weekly class meetings. Balancing work, family, and school required both self-discipline and time management skills.

How did the online format help prepare you for your career?

I now teach criminal justice online degree courses for an online college. My experience as an online student helped me become familiar with online classrooms, submitting assignments, working with others through discussion boards, and the like. I know many of the challenges my students face. I know I would not be teaching online college courses if I had not been an online student first.

Online Criminal Justice Professional Requirements

State law prescribes whether or not you need to pursue a professional certification to work in criminal justice. Generally, uniformed police officers are required to be certified with the Peace Officer Skills Training Certification before they can work in the field. A Certified Criminal Justice Professional Certification will likely enhance a probation officer's credentials. Take a look below for more information.

The Criminal Justice Awareness and Terminology Certification

Whether or not you hold a college-level degree, this short, ultra low-cost, and highly recognized multiple choice certification is a great way to demonstrate your professional prowess and boost your résumé.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

35 minutes

Certified Criminal Justice Professional

Parole or probation officers who work with recovering drug users may pursue this clinical certification. Specific requirements vary by state, but a bachelor's degree is usually required. Additional hours of work-experience and specialized education may also be required depending on your jurisdiction.

Is it required?

Varies by state

How long will it take?

At least 4 years to earn a bachelor's degree

Peace Officer Skills Training Certification

This certification is required in order to work as a uniformed police officer. In some jurisdictions, correctional officers are also required to have this certification. Only candidates who have successfully completed 500 hours in an approved peace/police officer academy and have at least a high school diploma or GED are eligible for this certification.

Is it required?

Varies by state

How long will it take?

500 hours