Learn which criminal justice degree program is your best option.
Training for a career in criminal justice does not end when you graduate. In fact, many jobs in criminal justice require on-going training throughout your career to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and technologies.
If solving the crimes along on CSI is the highlight of your day, you may want to consider pursuing a criminal justice degree. In demand criminal justice careers are exciting, rewarding, and increasingly available in today’s unsteady job market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, many jobs in criminal justice are expected to grow faster than average between the years 2008 – 2018.
Which criminal justice degree you choose depends on your personal career goals. Each job in criminal justice has a minimum degree requirement, and it is important to be aware of them when deciding which program best suits your needs.
When applying for criminal justice jobs, employers often require that the applicant have an associates degree, a bachelors degree, a masters degree, or in rare cases, a doctoral degree. Choosing which criminal justice degree to pursue becomes easier once you narrow down your career goals.
Career Training Programs in Criminal Justice
This is the most popular track for those looking for a fast career in criminal justice. Each student graduates with a general knowledge of the U.S. court systems, law enforcement agencies and policies. With an associates degree, your options for jobs in criminal justice are limited to entry-level positions in the following fields:
- Law enforcement
- Security Services
Check out schools offering associate degrees in criminal justice for more information.
For ambitious people who want to further their criminal justice careers, experience is valuable and employers usually promote from within. If you are certain in your career choice, and are willing to work your way to the top, an associate degree is a great way to start.
Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice
If you graduate with a bachelors degree in criminal justice, your job pool instantly multiplies. Your choices expand from entry-level to mid-level jobs because you have already narrowed your focus to more specific fields within criminal justice, which gives you priority for higher paying jobs that require a deeper knowledge of the subject. Some specialized jobs that a criminal justice degree can get you are:
- Private investigations
- Juvenile corrections
- Social work
Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice
While an associate degree in criminal justice prepares you for an entry-level position, the master’s and doctorate program trains you for management-level position, providing you with expertise in your desired field. Most jobs in criminal justice do not require you to have your master’s degree. However, for some employers such as at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other management positions, it is strongly encouraged. Here are a few jobs where having a masters degree in criminal justice is required:
- Forensic science
- Fire services administration
- Criminal lawyer
- Case worker
Top 10 Criminal Justice Schools
- CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice
- Colorado Technical University
- Western Illinois University, Macomb
- Columbia College, Columbia, MO
- Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus
- Park University, NW River Park Dr.
- Michigan State University
- Webster University
- St. John’s University, Queens
- Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
Top 10 Criminal Justice Online Schools
- Colorado Technical University – Online School
- University of Phoenix – Online School
- Purdue University Global
- Ashworth College – Online School
- University of Arizona Global Campus
- DeVry University – Online School
- American InterContinental University – Online School
- South University’s Online programs
- Saint Leo University Online
- Capella University – Online School
Related Careers in Criminal Justice
Transit and Railroad Police
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers
- Training for a career in criminal justice does not end when you graduate. In fact, many jobs in criminal justice require on-going training throughout your career to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and technologies.
- As with many post-secondary programs today, you can obtain your degree in criminal justice online or on-campus.
- Those that are technically inclined have a leg up in the industry as computer technology plays a large role in many criminal justice jobs.