Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs [2024]

Criminology is a vast field that encompasses various aspects ranging from forensics to drug rehabilitation and incarceration policy. Law enforcement officers with expertise in criminal justice programs are readily available, and many top schools now offer a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that can be completed entirely online.

Renowned online criminal justice programs connect students with instructors who have professional experience in courts, law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, and private firms. Top-ranked institutions have successfully adapted the classroom environment to suit the virtual format, ensuring distance learners can access a premium education in this field.

Online criminal justice programs allow working adults to start a new career or enhance their credentials in their current profession. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice earned online can also prepare students for criminology graduate studies.

Graduates of criminal justice programs are entering a growing field with ample job opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 17% increase in hiring for paralegal positions, a 31% increase in counseling jobs for substance abuse and behavioral disorders, and a 12% increase in security and surveillance jobs until 2020. Jobs in law enforcement and other branches of criminal justice are also on the rise.

However, finding the right online criminal justice program can be overwhelming. Prospective students must evaluate hundreds of options from a diverse set of schools. Read on to see our list of the best online criminal justice programs in the country, and to learn more about each school’s academic specialties and online platforms.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

1. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo Saint Leo, a Catholic institution, provides a low-cost criminal justice degree online, and a majority of students qualify for some form of financial assistance. The program consists of 120 credits, with 39 credits specific to the major. Students should be able to specialize in homeland security or criminalistics. Specialized courses will include an introduction to homeland defence police administration and organization criminal justice, forensic science, and criminal procedure.

Saint Leo boasts a partnership with the FBI National Academy Associates, aiding students in securing government jobs after completing their degrees. It is the top destination for military veterans and current members. Saint Leo’s online programs offer an arrangement designed to accommodate working adults’ hectic schedules.

2. Concordia University – Saint Paul

CSP’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program is accelerated in its format. Courses are offered in seven-week intervals, meaning students can complete their studies in half the time in a traditional institution. To earn their certificate, students have to complete 44 credits with CSP. The remainder of the credits may be transferred from a different school or fulfilled with a prior bachelor’s degree earned from an accredited institution.

Alongside their fast-paced classes designed for current professionals in criminal justice, CSP also boasts remarkable job placement rates for those who graduated within a year of obtaining their degrees. Students who apply are either placed in one of the Minnesota POST licensure tracks or the non-POST licensure, based on their prior experience. It is vital to understand that this program is specifically designed for adult learners with criminal justice experience.

3. Northern Arizona University

The perfect option for students with an undergraduate degree or community college credits, NAU’s bachelor’s degree in justice studies 90-30 program allows students to take up 90 credits from another institution. Of the 120 credits that are required at a minimum, 30 credits are required to be completed at NAU for students to be able to graduate. Students must earn a minimum grade of C or better in these classes to be eligible for graduation. Contrary to similar programs, NAU’s program is designed to meet the needs of everyone, not only professionals looking to expand their careers.

The bachelor’s degree in justice studies has two main focus areas: intelligence studies and criminal justice administration. Although most students interested in criminal justice might choose the former, either study can help prepare students to work in the criminal justice field. A focus area is required to be able to graduate. While internships are not required, students can utilize the experience to earn credit towards their degree.

4. Champlain College

Since its inception, Champlain has provided working adults with a convenient online education to help them advance their careers. Champlain’s online bachelor’s degree in economic criminal investigation is no exception. The program is designed to give students a job in analyzing financial and accounting data about criminals. This field of study can result in high-paying jobs related to criminal justice.

The courses offered by Champlain are available online in seven or eight weeks, according to the type of course and the period of the year. There are six start dates to choose from throughout the year, and students can apply for any date to start working towards their degree. To help ease the burden for adult learners, Champlain accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited institutions.

Champlain’s admissions procedure is based on the analysis of the entire student’s history, including work and volunteer experiences and individual career goals.

5. University of South Dakota

The campus in Vermillion, USD, serves as the primary school in the state. It is home to more than 11,000 students and has a faculty-to-student ratio of 16 to 1. One of the many online degrees is the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

The criminal justice bachelor’s degree can be earned in a BA or a BS. The 120-credit course takes approximately four years to complete, but there is an option for those who have previously terminated their credits from their school to complete the degree. The courses include criminal law and information literacy within the discipline.

General requirements demand that first-time applicants be able to show at least a 2.6 GPA or a minimum SAT score of 1070, an ACT score of 21 or a minimum of 3 points in the English Language Arts and Mathematics Smarter Balanced Assessments or be among the top 50 per cent of their high school class.

6. Rowan University

Rowan University, also called Rowan Global Learning and Partnerships, created courses designed for adults working and looking to finish their education. The online bachelor of arts program is in justice and law studies.

The bachelor’s degree in criminal justice comprises 51 of the 120 credits students must complete. Thirty percent of the total credits must be earned at Rowan. Some courses worth taking include an intense writing workshop on the law and justice system, the criminal law internship, criminal justice research, and human rights and law. Other courses complement the degree and offer an interdisciplinarity approach, including the fundamentals of statistical literacy and psychology.

To be qualified for this program, online students must earn at least 24 credits from a college or associate degree and an average of 2.4 GPA in all credits transferred.

7. King University

King University, a Presbyterian school in Bristol, Tennessee, has taught students for over 150 years. Recently, King’s educational offerings have expanded into the digital world through the development of their online courses. King’s online bachelor’s program demonstrates the versatility of King’s online degree.

The bachelor’s degree in criminal justice degree is an online course that requires the completion of 45 previous credits to be considered eligible, which includes 30 courses in the prerequisites that must be taken before submitting an application. Once accepted and admitted to the program, students must complete 48 hours to complete their degree. Some courses relevant to majors include ethics, juvenile justice, justice, alternative methods to justice, restorative justice and American police work.

Since there are numerous starting date dates during the year, participants can start their online courses whenever it is convenient for them. Overall, the program will take about 16 months to complete.

8. University of Nebraska at Omaha

UNO offers various opportunities for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in criminology or criminal justice. These include the possibility of completing internships at local law institutes. However, they are required to be done in person. Students may travel abroad to London to understand the ins and outs of the justice system.

In addition to these options, students must complete 120 credits to get their degree. All of this can be completed on the Internet. Students who have previous experiences can also transfer their credits to the program. To complete their degree, students must take an assessment of their senior level to prove their understanding of the criminal justice system. Candidates must have at least a 2.0 GPA and 45 credits to be considered for the program.

9. University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB will permit students to pursue their studies online, in person or through a mix of both while working towards a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The program has 120 credits, and 48-51 are required to earn the degree. Students who have not taken any previous credit are expected to complete the program in just four years. Some of the course requirements worth considering include the judiciary process in America, An overview of corrections in America, and an overview of ethics in criminal justice.

Alongside their central, undergraduate students may apply some elective credits towards an additional minor relevant to their program. The courses required for either the little or significant must be completed with a GPA of 2.5 or more.

10. Southern New Hampshire University

Regarding the flexibility of the education system, SNHU is among the best in the country. Students pursuing their online BS Criminal in Justice can select from six different areas of study and courses offered in the program, which are taught in eight-week term terms that begin at various times throughout the year.

SNHU lets students transfer up to 90 credits, which can cut the duration and cost of the degree. Students with relevant law enforcement experience can earn up to 12 credits in exchange for their work-related experience. A total of 120 credits are required for graduation, regardless of the concentration that students select. Students who have not completed their schooling will have to enroll in the general education program at SNHU, which is designed to help students acquire the essential skills needed for any job.

Popular Criminal Justice Jobs

Popular Criminal Justice Jobs

JOB MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY (MAY 2021) JOB GROWTH RATE (2021-2031) MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIRED
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $83,640 -1% High school diploma
Transit and Railroad Police $64,930 3% High school diploma or bachelor’s
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers $64,610 3% High school diploma or bachelor’s
Forensic Science Technicians $61,930 11% Bachelor’s
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250 0% Bachelor’s
Private Detectives and Investigators $59,380 6% High school diploma
Bailiffs $48,320 -4% High school diploma
Correctional Officers and Jailers $47,920 -10% High school diploma

A bachelor’s degree online in criminal justice enables graduates to apply for jobs within law enforcement agencies at every administration level. Graduates often find employment in law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, private security companies, and probation offices. The average wage for jobs in criminal justice can be $43,980, which can increase significantly through promotions through graduate school or working over the clock.

Criminal justice is a broad field, and students must plan their future career paths in school. If you’re interested in working in forensics, say you’ll need prior experience in laboratory work and have an entirely different curriculum than if you plan to become a detective. Internships can also help improve your resume by offering the direct experience you need in your area of interest while expanding your circle of contacts and employment opportunities. Some schools will even allow courses as credit for internships, which makes them more beneficial.

Although it is possible to pursue a successful career with just an undergraduate degree, many of the highest-paying jobs are available only to applicants who have a Master’s degree in the field of criminal justice. It’s essential to think about master’s programs when you plan your future career: judges, police officers and directors of agencies generally require a master’s degree to be considered.

If you’re interested in learning and working in criminal justice, it is essential to determine the area that interests you as soon as possible. Select a college that offers classes or programs related to your interests. Also, consider opportunities early and frequently to improve your skills and prepare you for the job you’ve always dreamed of.

Criminal Justice Degrees

FAQs About Criminal Justice Degrees

Are criminal justice majors in demand?

Yes. Despite a lower-than-average expected growth rate for protection services jobs over the coming decade, criminal justice professionals are still needed. The BLS anticipates more than 420,000 openings per year to fill the void in positions in the protective services sector.

Detectives and police officers alone require nearly 70,000 new professionals each year to fill shortages.

Is a degree in criminal justice difficult?

Although some subjects or courses might be challenging, criminal justice degrees are usually more easily accessible.

The programs address various aspects of criminal law and the criminal justice system that may be difficult for some students to comprehend. Physical and practical elements may be challenging to grasp.

If you are committed and have the determination, however, with exemplary commitment and determination, you will be successful in the criminal justice degree program.

Is there any math in the criminal justice system?

A criminal justice degree could contain some math, but generally not much. You may need to take an algebra course or an introductory calculus class to fulfil your school’s general education requirements.

There is also the possibility of encountering mathematical statistics or applied math. However, these topics generally don’t appear until you’re studying at the graduate level.

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