Choosing an Online Criminal Justice Program
Finding the right online criminal justice program requires students to research many factors, including cost, resident tuition eligibility, and potential degree length.
Program length and structure, course delivery format, specializations, and accreditation status all weigh heavily into the choice of the criminal justice program that meets your personal and professional goals. You can find out more about each of these considerations at the links below.
How Much Does Online College Cost?
The cost of earning a degree online varies by institution, discipline, and program type. When exploring the best fit for an online bachelor's degree, students should research whether a school charges non-resident tuition for online learners. Many institutions offer the same tuition rates to all online students, regardless of location.
Students researching online degree costs should consider the savings that accompany online learning. Distance learning allows degree-seekers to avoid room and board costs, commuting expenses, and additional fees charged to on-campus learners.
Funding a Degree in Criminal Justice
Students have numerous options to fund their online criminal justice. Each online or on-campus learner can start their financial aid journey by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Submitting the FAFSA form provides applicants with student loan information and can lead to additional funding opportunities through scholarships and work-study options.
Members of specific communities may have additional financial aid options. Military service personnel and veterans can apply for additional aid, along with members of specific communities. Women, individuals in minority groups, and learners in certain disciplines can pursue private scholarships to help pay for college degrees.
The WIFLE Scholarship supports students majoring in criminal justice or other related fields. Each applicant must enroll full time, demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit an essay and letter of support for consideration. Scholarship recipients receive $1,500 annually.
NOBLE provides several scholarships. Through the NOBLE Awards program, students may qualify for nine scholarships. Candidates can pursue additional funding opportunities through the National Scholarship program and the Rafaela A. Valdez Memorial Scholarship. Awards vary among these scholarships.
Brian Terry Scholars receive funding based on their positive impact upon their communities, commitment to criminal justice, and prior academic success. Each candidate must provide two letters of recommendation, an essay, and transcripts for consideration. The Brian Terry Foundation delivers awards to learners in criminal justice and other related majors based on individual need.
My Alarm Center, a leader in home security and safety monitoring, provides annual funding to students entering degrees in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and other related fields. Applicants submit essays describing their community involvement, goals, and futures in the public safety profession.
Honoring the memory of its namesake, the Melissa Linville Criminal Justice Scholarship supports students pursuing careers in criminal justice. Each candidate must submit an essay, transcripts, and contact information to be considered for this $500 award
What to Expect From a Criminal Justice Major
Criminal justice programs vary among institutions and departments, but core coursework across the discipline includes fundamentals of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal investigations. Learners study law, psychology, and sociology while fostering critical thinking, analytical, and research skills. Additionally, some online criminal justice bachelor's degrees provide opportunities to take specialized coursework in subsets of the field.
Criminal Justice Concentrations
- Criminal Forensics: A concentration in criminal forensics emphasizes crime, criminal behavior, and forensics investigations. Forensics concentrations often incorporate coursework in chemistry, information technology, and biology. It is ideal for students who want to pursue careers as laboratory technicians, digital forensics investigators, and crime scene specialists.
- Juvenile Justice: Juvenile justice coursework focuses on prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation for youth and adolescent offenders. Enrollees explore laws and policies that apply to juveniles, along with the psychology and sociology of juvenile behavior. This concentration benefits individuals who want to work as social workers, juvenile corrections officers, or mentors.
- Homeland Security Concentration: A homeland security concentration emphasizes theories and practices of preventing, detecting, and managing possible threats to national security. Coursework includes border and transportation security, infrastructure protection, and emergency preparedness and response. Graduates can pursue career opportunities in federal and state law enforcement, along with the private security sector.
- Administration: Criminal justice administration coursework emphasizes function and leadership in the criminal justice field. Degree-seekers study interagency communication, court systems and processes, and politics and government to gain a holistic understanding of the criminal justice system.
Criminal Justice Careers
The versatility of a criminal justice degree opens many career opportunities. Individuals can pursue entry-level roles as police officers, corrections specialists, and criminal investigators. Some positions for criminal justice students may require additional certification, training, or licensure. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can also lead to continued study at the master's and doctoral levels.
How Much Can You Earn in Criminal Justice?
Salaries for individuals working in criminal justice vary by position, location, and experience. Common roles for criminal justice students include probation and police officers — which both received strong employment projections for 2020-2030. Emergency management directors, who must possess advanced degrees, rank among the top-paying positions for criminal justice professionals.
Criminal Justice Salary Info
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics
||Median Annual Wage (2020)
||Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)
|Emergency Management Directors
|Fish and Game Wardens
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators
|Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers
|Private Detectives and Investigators