Earning Your Criminal Justice Degree Online

The criminal justice field is broad and includes many different types of careers employing millions of people in the U.S. This industry includes many different jobs within corrections, the judiciary, and law enforcement. While some people who work in criminal justice fields have jobs that do not require degrees, having a criminal justice degree is often a preferred qualification for applicants. Depending on what your career goals might be, some positions do require their candidates to have degrees in criminal justice. Criminal justice degrees are available at all educational levels, ranging from certificate programs up to post-graduate degrees. In many cases, these degrees can be completed online.

Getting an Online Criminal Justice Degree

With the widespread availability of the internet and broadband internet connections, online college classes have increased in popularity. Today, most universities and colleges offer criminal justice degrees that can be completed entirely by taking online criminal justice degree classes. Many of the available criminal justice degree courses have been developed creatively and allow students the opportunity to engage in community service projects and internships. Most courses have asynchronous classrooms, allowing the students to log in for lectures and coursework whenever it fits into their schedules. Criminal justice degrees are available online at all educational levels. Each degree that you earn in criminal justice through online criminal justice degree classes can be used as a stepping stone to attain a more advanced degree until you secure your doctoral degree. 

Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice

When you complete an associate's degree online, you will learn the theories, practices, and core concepts involved in criminal justice. An associate's degree can open the doors to entry-level jobs in law enforcement and corrections. You can also continue your education and complete a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice while working in a position with your associate degree. Associate's degree programs generally provide you with a degree in criminal justice. However, some programs offer specialized associate's degrees in criminology, paralegal studies, cybersecurity, and other related fields.

Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice

Many positions in corrections and law enforcement require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Taking criminal justice degree courses online to secure your bachelor's degree can also provide you with opportunities to work within the court system. However, if your goal is to become an attorney, you will need to attend law school after you complete your online criminal justice degree.

When you graduate with your bachelor's degree, you will have a well-rounded education in criminal justice. Many programs also allow students to focus on the areas of criminal justice in which they are most interested. For example, you might find a program that allows you to pursue a concentration in forensics, counterintelligence, corrections, law enforcement, or homeland security.

Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Many criminal justice professionals who have bachelor's degrees decide that they want to complete post-graduate education. A master's degree in criminal justice might help you to secure a leadership position or to advance in your current career. There are many different master's degree programs available online, including cybersecurity, law enforcement administration, public safety, and others.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice

Completing a Ph.D. in criminal justice is the highest type of credential that you can earn. There are online doctoral degree programs in criminal justice fields. Some require you to have completed your master's degree while others are open to students who have completed their bachelors' degrees. If you pursue your doctoral degree in criminal justice online, you will complete intensive coursework and hands-on training through internships or practicums. This means that you will receive some education and training in person. Doctoral programs commonly require students to complete research projects and write dissertations to secure doctoral degrees. Graduating with your Ph.D. in the criminal justice field can allow you to teach at universities and colleges or secure high-level positions in government.

Obtaining a Certification

Online criminal justice certificate programs are not degree programs. instead, they provide students with training in specific criminal justice areas. Certificate programs can give you credentials to improve your marketability and are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Pursuing an online criminal justice degree can allow you to fulfill your educational and career goals. These programs are great for people who are already working full time and need the flexibility that online education can provide. The main difference between completing your degree online versus on-campus is how the courses are delivered. When you pursue your degree online, you can access the program's online management system to watch lectures, interact with your classmates and instructors, take tests, submit assignments, and receive updates. The broad availability of online criminal justice programs from accredited colleges and universities across the U.S. can help you to turn your visions for your future into reality.