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What is Criminal Justice? – Criminal justice represents the combined law enforcement, judicial, and corrections systems and professions involved in administering the law and managing criminal punishments. The criminal justice process typically begins with an arrest by police or other law enforcement officer, and moves on to the courts and eventually the prison and probationary systems, and includes all professions involved, from LEOs to COs to POs.

Welcome! Criminal justice is a dynamic field, encompassing over 50 different career paths and specialties. At Criminal Justice Programs, our mission is to connect you with the schools and programs that will help you meet your career goals.

We’ve researched over 1,800 criminal justice schools across the US to bring you the most complete directory on the web. You can find a full range of criminal justice degrees and certificate programs, from undergraduate criminal justice programs to PhD criminology programs, with over 6,800 total to search from.

How This Works

There are a number of ways you can interact with our site to get the information you’re looking for about criminal justice degrees, careers, and schools. Below, we outline how to access the pages that are most relevant to you.
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  • 1Determine Your Career Goals
    If you know you want to work in the criminal justice field but aren’t sure which career path is right for you, you can start by browsing our career specialty pages.
  • 2Research Criminal Justice Degrees
    Explore general criminal justice degrees, by browsing degree level pages. We offer information on associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, as well as certificates in criminal justice. Narrow down your criminal justice college choices by selecting your style of learning – online degrees or traditional (on-campus) degrees.
  • 3Search Your State
    If you want to find out about criminal justice degrees and schools specific to your state, select your state below. Each state page contains information on criminal justice careers and colleges. You’ll find details about salary and job growth for careers in your state, as well as a full list of criminal justice colleges available.
  • 4Check Out Our Resources
    Access our articles, interviews, and links to criminal justice organizations. You’ll learn more about the best criminal justice colleges, criminal justice education options and information, and interviews with criminal justice professionals in different CJ fields, peruse our resources!

What Kind of Criminal Justice Degree Should I get Online?

Perhaps the most popular degree choice within the criminal justice industry, the associate degree takes only 18 – 24 months to complete. Police Officer, Forensic Science Technician, and Corrections Officer are common entry-level positions students can enter immediately upon graduating with this degree.
Although an associate degree can open the door to an exciting career in criminal justice, a bachelor’s degree is required for various rewarding jobs in this field. Crime Scene Investigator, Homeland Security Officer, and Information Security Analyst are common careers that require a bachelor-level degree. The additional time required to earn a bachelor’s degree can often be justified by a salary range that averages $111,600 (depending on specialty and experience).
Whether you immediately transition from a bachelor’s to master’s program or return to school later in life to further your education and advance your career, this level of education will advance your skill set. Private Investigator, FBI Agent, and Intelligence Research Specialist are among the professional careers for which a master’s degree is common or required by many employers.
Earning a doctorate means reaching the academic pinnacle of the criminal justice profession. This respected credential qualifies you for many leadership and advisory roles that propel the field forward. Common careers for a PhD graduate include: Professor, DEA Agent, and a Cybersecurity Analyst.
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