Careers in criminal justice are exciting, rewarding and offer substantial career advancement opportunity–and with an evolving legal landscape, a heightened U.S. security level, and new breakthroughs in forensic technology occurring regularly, you’re pretty much guaranteed that your career will anything but boring. If you’re interests lie in working in forensic analysis in a lab, apprehending and prosecuting white collar criminals, securing our nation’s borders, or working as an international law enforcement agent, criminal justice provides a never ending list of career opportunities and possibilities.
When people think about a career in criminal justice, it’s not uncommon for them to envision an officer in a blue uniform or an FBI agent dressed in a suite and tie. However, today the criminal justice industry is composed of a very diverse group of professionals from just about educational, professional, cultural, and ethnic background you can imagine. In fact, in criminal justice, diversity is the name of the game. It takes a diverse and talented group of criminal justice professionals to investigate, pursue, apprehend and prosecute an ever evolving and savvy criminal element. Local, state and federal law enforcment agencies are actively recruiting individuals with professional and educational backgrounds not only in criminal justice and criminology, but also in psychology, finance, accounting, social work, political science, international relations, engineering, computer science, as well as a large variety of science, engineering and liberal arts disciplines. And if you’re biligual or willing to learn a second language, you’ll find it that much easier to land the perfect job.
Whatever direction you choose, getting a good education is critical. In fact, earning a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, from an accredited college or university, is a prerequisite for applying to many state and federal law enforcement jobs–and some positions now require a graduate degree.
There are a large variety of good criminal justice programs offered at the certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree level at both campus-based and online colleges and universities across the United States. An associate’s degree in criminal justice or a related field will prepare you for entry-level positions in a number of fields including corrections, court reporting and legal transcription, private security, and paralegal. A bachelor’s degree will qualify you for even more job positions, and earning a master’s degree or Ph.D. will greatly improve your ability to find advanced positions in law enforcement, including CIA agent, FBI agent, forensic technician, police chief, and instructor.
Most regionally accredited criminal justice schools and programs will allow you to transfer credits from one degree program to a higher degree program. For example, if you were to earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice from a regionally accredited community college, upon graduation you could enter the work force or you could transfer your credits to a four-year college or university and apply them toward a bachelor’s degree–whereby reducing the amount of time required to earn your bachelor’s degree.
With the advent of the Internet and development of advanced communication and education technologies, many aspiring criminal justice professionals are now turning to online and distance learning education to earn a degree. Online degree programs are available at all levels of study and are a great option for aspiring professionals who need to earn an advanced degree while maintaining a full-time career.
Below you’ll find a current list of the top online, distance education and campus-based criminal justice programs in the United States. To learn more about any of the programs listed below simply click on the “Request Info” button to the right of the program listing.
Criminal Justice Certificate and Degree Programs
|Southern New Hampshire University You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >|
|Grand Canyon University (GCU) With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments. Learn More >|
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. Learn More >|
|Colorado Technical University (CTU) CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, faculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology. Learn More >|