Online Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree
What do crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, probation officers, and legal analysts have in common? All of them work in the criminal justice field. Offering a mix of sociology, psychology, science, and law, online criminal justice programs prepare students for careers focused on keeping neighborhoods and nations safe.
|Research methods in criminal justice|
|Investigating cyber crime|
Core courses for an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice often include criminology, which analyzes criminal behaviors and theories about what drives those behaviors, and corrections, which looks at rehab versus punishment (jail or prison) and issues impacting the correctional system. Other online courses may examine family violence, drug use, or terrorism, and many programs allow students to specialize in areas such as forensics, homeland security, or computer crime.
|Police or sheriff patrol officer||$53,500|
|Detective or criminal investigator||$68,800|
*per the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook
While statistics show the rates of violent crimes (murder, rape, and assault) and property crimes (burglary and car theft) are declining, cyber crime is on the rise, according to “The State of Criminal Justice 2012,” a report by the American Bar Association.
This means students with prior academic or on-the-job experience in computer science or information technology can position themselves for coveted roles within the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Homeland Security by supplementing their experience with a criminal justice degree. But to work at the federal level, students must have a clean criminal record—no felony or drug convictions. Defaulting on a federal student loan can also disqualify students from working for a government agency.
Employment prospects and earning potential for criminal justice majors vary by occupation and whether students work at the federal, state, county, or local level. Additional career options for students with an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice include private detective, crime scene investigator, and probation or parole officer. Median salaries range from $39,000 for jailers to nearly $43,000 for private investigators and close to $70,000 for detectives and criminal investigators, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.