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Online Criminal Justice Degrees

If you're interested in earning an online degree in criminal justice, you've come to the right place! Here we'll review the cost of programs, program curriculum, and the cost of degrees for both an undergraduate and graduate degree. If you're ready to take the next step and connect with schools, simply click on any of our featured programs, below, or use the quick search box to find a school near you!

Undergraduate Degrees in Criminal Justice

If you're interested in receiving an undergraduate degree in criminal justice but aren't sure whether an associate or a bachelor's degree is right for you, you're in luck! We've outlined the major differences between associate and bachelor level degrees below, covering all the topics that will help you decide which degree is right for you. We cover the most common jobs for each degree level, the average salary you can earn with each degree, and the costs and length of each program. After you've decided which degree is right for you, head on over to the associate in criminal justice or bachelor's in criminal justice page for more information on the degree you select to find a school that's perfect for you!

Associate vs. Bachelor's Degrees in Criminal Justice

Graduate Degrees in Criminal Justice

If you already have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field and are ready to take your career to the next level, consider earning a graduate degree in criminal justice! With a master's or doctoral degree, new career options may become available to you. To help you decide whether a master's in criminal justice or a doctorate in criminal justice is the best fit for you, review the information below. Once you've made your decision, visit the corresponding degree page for more information on the careers you'd be eligible for and schools that fit your preferences!

Master's vs. Doctorate Degrees in Criminal Justice

You might be wondering why the average salary for a bachelor's degree holder is more than the average salary for those with a criminal justice graduate degree. There are a few things that account for this unexpected trend:

  • The salary figures we are seeing now are partially a result of the 2008 recession. Because the job market wasn't great for several years following the recession, there weren't many entry level criminal justice jobs available so competition for the available jobs was fierce. In order to stand out from the crowd, some chose to earn a graduate degree in order to get an entry-level job that typically only required a bachelor's degree. As a result, there are some criminal justice professionals with graduate degrees holding jobs that only require a bachelor's.
  • As the economy and job market are better now, the number of entry level jobs for bachelor's degree holders have significantly increased and so have the salaries associated with those positions.
  • The job market for criminal justice jobs that require advanced degrees can still be competitive, so some of those who earn an advanced degree end up finding jobs where they don't need a graduate degree.

This is all good news if the job you're shooting for only requires a bachelor's, but don't be too deterred if you want to enter the field or advance your career with a graduate degree. Just make sure you select a degree program that aligns with your career interests and speak with school advisors for the schools you're interested in about how many of their graduates go on to find careers in their desired field.

How to Choose Online Colleges for Criminal Justice

As a rule, you should try to contact multiple schools when you're looking for programs. Like many other things, the way to find the best online criminal justice degree program is to spend some time shopping around. There are very meaningful differences between the programs in terms of cost, admissions requirements, and other characteristics.

Criminal justice courses can also vary, depending on the degree level and focus of your studies. When you compare bachelor's and graduate degree options, you will see how many areas of specialty there are. Whether you want to focus on law enforcement, work as an attorney, be a forensic scientist or detective, there are programs that match your interest. There are many ways to begin your criminology career path!

What do Online Criminal Justice Programs Consist of?

All online degree programs are not created equal. When you speak to schools, make sure to get information on how many times you will have to come to campus each month/semester/etc. Most criminal justice programs described as "online" require you to come to campus at a few points during the year. Some programs do offer 100% online classes, and you can earn your degree without ever showing up in person. Make sure to check the policy for the colleges you are interested in.

Typically, the practical piece of your criminology education will take place in your home community. This may involve contacting your local law enforcement office to set up an internship. You could also contact local lawyers to shadow depending on where you want your career to go.

When you compare online degrees, ask how you can transition to a career after your program is over. Many online schools understand the need to have career resources that compete with local colleges to attract students. Graduate students tend to need less help than bachelor's or associate degree students. That's because they already have a job in the field, and know exactly how they want to advance.

When you're ready to find a program, just click on any of the school links or use the quick search to find criminal justice programs near you!

Featured Online Programs:

Online programs may not be available in all states

Traditional On Campus Programs:

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