2022 Guide: Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about how the justice system in the United States works. You’ll study what crime is, how it is handled and punished, as well as how the US corrections system functions. People who study criminal justice can ultimately work in law enforcement. However, they may want to pursue a career in another realm of criminal justice, including law, corrections, education/rehabilitation, journalism, counseling, and more.

What Is an Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

When you study for your online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you’ll take a wide range of classes that explain the history of criminal justice in America, as well as the ins and outs of our justice system. You’ll understand the process of how an accused criminal is adjudicated. You’ll also study what happens to a criminal post-conviction, including the corrections, rehabilitation, and reporting process.

Criminal Justice is an essential part of how the United States maintains the sense of law and order we have today. An ever-present and ever-important field, criminal justice demands new professionals regularly, and an online degree program allows students, freelancers, or anyone who is passionate about criminal justice to pursue a new academic or career path, without having to leave home to live and study on campus. Society becomes much more dangerous without those who are well-versed in criminal justice, and many who earn an online bachelor’s in criminal justice will go on to make a difference in their community, as well as in the lives of people who need their help or guidance.

Students of criminal justice will have a wide range of fields to pursue post-degree. However, getting the broad range of knowledge afforded by a bachelor’s degree program gives them a good starting point—with a comprehensive understanding of the many parts of a multifaceted system.

To get started today with the next step in your educational process, read on. You will learn more about what it will cost you to go to school virtually, how long it will take to earn your degree, what kind of jobs you can expect to hold post-graduation, what kind of salary you might earn down the road, and other important facts about earning your bachelor’s degree online.

US District Court courthouse and customs house in Mobile, Alabama

How Much Does an Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Cost? 

The annual tuition amount varies greatly from school to school. However, students who pursue their bachelor’s in criminal justice online can expect to pay between $100 per credit hour to $500 per credit hour. Some schools charge students tuition that is around $8,000 per year, while others charge upwards of $35,000 annually. This range includes both state universities and higher-priced private learning institutions.

When you begin your path through school, you’ll have additional associated expenses, including a computer, a good Internet connection, school and office supplies, and any books o materials needed to help you complete your studies.

Average Salary for an Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

With a bachelor’s in criminal justice, you can expect to find jobs in a range of fields. The average salary for someone with the degree really depends on what kind of job you end up doing related to criminal justice. However, many professionals who orbit around the criminal justice system earn a relatively high salary. 

One of the most sought-after jobs for graduates with a bachelor’s in criminal justice is a lawyer. The average annual salary for a lawyer in the United States is $122,000.

Depending on your course concentration and skills, however, you might consider holding a position like federal police agent, detective, or sheriff. The average annual salary for these positions is between $65,000 to $86,940 per year.

You might also consider a more lab-based investigative job in the field. Many people who study criminal justice end up doing forensics work, like forensic accounting or forensic psychologist. They use their specialized knowledge to help solve crimes from unique angles. Forensic professionals earn around $60,590 per year, on average. Technicians in forensic labs also help solve crimes, and they earn just a little less per year on average, at $59,500 annually. 

What you’ll earn with a bachelor’s in criminal justice depends on several considerations. When you begin your job hunt, consider what work is most meaningful and exciting to you. Decide what aspect of criminal justice you really excel at, and consider which job will afford you the quality of life you want. Once it’s time for hiring, the type of job you hone in on, as well as your experience, transcript, location, recommendations, and many more things will end up determining what you make at work…

What Is the Job Outlook for Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Holders?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who work in criminal justice—particularly policing and detective work—can expect the job outlook to grow by 5% in the next 8 years. This growth rate is a bit faster than average.

People who work in criminal justice can expect the job outlook to grow by 5% in the next 8 years

Courses for an Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

An online bachelor’s in criminal justice requires a variety of courses related to history, politics, the inner workings of the justice system, ethics, and more. You should also expect to fulfill requirements for classes that prepare you for higher-level courses as you advance from your first year through the program. And as with any four-year degree, your school of choice will require core curriculum courses that prepare you to be a well-rounded, deep thinker in the real world (these courses include basic math, humanities, and more).

Some of the most common courses that people studying criminal justice take include:

Introduction to Criminal Justice
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Psychology
Ethics in Criminal Justice
Introduction to Public Policy
Business Statistics
Organizational Behavior
Administration of Justice
Public Speaking
Victimology
Criminal Procedures
Communication Skills for Criminal Justice
Corrections
Policing and Society
Criminology
Forensic Science
Basics of Writing
Introduction to Statistics
Human Relations
Introduction to Courts
Criminal Justice in Film
Juveniles and Justice
Politics of Criminal Justice
Violence in America
Criminal Investigation
Cybercrime
Gangs
Correctional Rehabilitation
Race, Class, and Crime
Crime in Popular Culture
Community Corrections
Violence in Families
Policing and Society
Corrections
Women and Crime

FAQs on Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Core Takeaways for an Online Bachelors in Criminal Justice

  • An online criminal justice program allows you to earn a high-level degree where and when it is convenient. You can do a program completely remotely or do a hybrid program that is partially in person. 
  • Many people can finish an accelerated criminal justice program within a year and a half. A typical course of study takes most students around 4 years to finish. 
  • There are standard criminal justice programs and specialized criminal justice concentrations. Students may take a standard course, or, if they know what area they are passionate about or what profession they want to work in, they may choose a concentration that suits their goals.
  • The field of criminal justice is growing so the job outlook is good.
  • The salaries for jobs in the criminal justice field can vary greatly, but the positions that require more expert knowledge pay very well, often over $100,000 per year.
  • Criminal Justice graduates can do work that makes an impact on the community and helps people better their lives, which is meaningful and fulfilling.
  • The cost of a criminal justice bachelor’s degree program varies based on the institution and the number of credits it requires
  • Accelerated programs that prepare students for certain jobs in criminal justice, like working in corrections, can be very affordable (in fact, some cost as little as $9,000 per year).
  • Expenses besides tuition include a computer, the internet, school supplies, and books and study materials.
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