Below is a list of all of the Online Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice Programs we could find, from over 1,800 schools across the US.
Many people already have ideas about the criminal justice system based on their favorite legal dramas or even reality TV shows. Still, the actual criminal justice system is often far different from how it is portrayed on these shows. Earning a bachelor's degree in the field is the first step to understanding true criminal justice careers and opportunities. Once available primarily on college campuses, the criminal justice bachelor's degree is now available online.
Here, we speak with Matthew Petz, Dean of the School of Justice Studies, at Rasmussen College, about the Online Bachelor Degree program.
Attend a top school at your convenience
Traditional campus-based schools, like Penn State, that are home to highly ranked criminal justice degree programs, now offer bachelor's degrees in criminal justice online. Because many of these programs are associated with physical campuses, and are in many cases taught by the same professors who teach these courses offline, the degree programs tend to mirror the structure and the pace of the traditional college experience. Courses are on semester, or quarter systems, depending on the individual school's structure. Classes use a mix of video lectures and online educational platforms like Blackboard and Moodle that are designed to foster discussion via bulletin boards and chats. The asynchronous or not in real-time structure of the programs allow for flexibility - students can log in just as easily at 3 am as at 3 pm to complete coursework, making it easier to schedule studying around other commitments. Even so, these online classes are not any easier than offline courses - they require as much work and if students aren't as good at self-teaching, they may find the programs tough. Ideal candidates for an online criminal justice program are students who are extremely disciplined.
Decide on a bachelor's program
Bachelor's programs in criminal justice can result in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. The Bachelor of Arts is based more in liberal arts and social sciences. The Bachelor of Science has a stronger emphasis on science practice. No matter which you choose, the program will likely take four years of full-time study to complete. The degree will train you in both the theory and practice of criminal justice, with a goal of giving you a thorough theoretical grounding in the field along with an introduction to research methods.
The admissions process for an online criminal justice bachelor's degree program mirrors that of an offline program. Generally, a high school diploma or a GED is required as are scores from the ACT or SAT. Some criminal justice programs have a one or two week campus seminar requirement, while others are exclusively online.
Learn about sub-fields of criminal justice
A solid criminal justice curriculum gives students a broad overview of the field, covering aspects of criminology, the legal field, policing, incarceration and administration. Further, your degree program will discuss alternatives to the prison system, for example rehabilitation or community service programs. After this broad overview, you will likely choose a specialization. Specializations within criminal justice could include:
- Corrections, prepares students for roles within the prison system such as corrections or parole officers.
- Legal processes, prepares students for careers in legal research and administration.
- Loss Prevention, prepares students for work in private security.
As the above suggests, there are a wide variety of jobs related to crime protection, prevention, and the law that you can pursue with an online bachelor's. Not only can students go into policing jobs on both the local and state level, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice opens up opportunities within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshal's Office, and the Department of Homeland Security. Outside of policing fields, criminal justice graduates might also work providing support for abused women and children, in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and in halfway houses. Some graduates also go on to further study in master's programs, doctoral programs or even law schools.
Find out more about the field
If you have decided to pursue your bachelor's in criminal justice online, you may want to consult some of the following resources. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) website (http://www.justice.gov/careers/student-opportunities.html) provides a comprehensive overview of careers in criminal justice. The National Museum of Crime and Punishment's CSI and Forensic blog (http://www.crimemuseum.org/blog/) is an interesting read for an aspiring criminal justice professional. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) (http://www.acjs.org/pubs/167_664_2906.cfm) focuses on the promotion of professionalism and scholarly research within the field of criminal justice.
Please feel free to contact the schools using the links below. You should try to contact multiple schools to get a good range of programs to compare, since they often differ widely in terms of tuition, admissions requirements, and even how truly "online" they are. We tried to restrict this list to the programs that appeared to be all, or nearly all, online, but it’s still best to confirm the details directly with the schools.