Are you interested in pursuing a career in Criminal Justice? You will be pleased to know that you can enroll in a criminal degree program online.

Yes! As you know, an online program offers convenience, flexibility, and affordability. Also, you could learn at your own pace from the comfort of your home. Isn’t that amazing?

But, why do we need to study criminal justice when I could just opt for police training and join the team? You might be wondering. And that’s right, but only partially. For a degree, would open multiple doors for you, which any training will never. Hope you got it. 

Moving ahead, we will discuss the need to study criminal justice, the importance of a degree in criminal justice, how to choose the best degree or schools for you, and so much more. 

Stay tuned.

Online Criminal Justice Degree

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is the system of systems through which criminals are – charged, detained, convicted, and punished or freed. This system comprises of three components – law enforcement, courts, and corrections. 

Know More -> What is Criminal Justice?

For Example –

If you commit a crime, law enforcement becomes active and if they find you as accused in their investigation, they will charge you under the laws and even take you in custody.

Now considering you as arrested, you have a right to a fair trial. The court comes to the scene, where the proceedings decide if you are guilty or not.

If the judge finds you innocent, he will free you. If found guilty you will be punished with a jail term, or with a fine, or are sent for rehab.

Now, the corrections come to play. As soon as you are transferred to a correctional facility the officials ensure your rehabilitation and reintegration back into society.

That’s how the criminal justice system works.

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Why do we need criminal justice studies?

Studying criminal justice can contribute to the promotion of justice, crime prevention, rehabilitation, and the well-being of our people. Our learnings and understanding can improve, and reform the criminal justice system. 

Here are some compelling reasons for Criminal justice studies:

  • We can develop a comprehensive understanding of the laws, policies, and procedures that govern the criminal justice system. Also, we learn about the roles, and responsibilities of each component of the system.
  • The criminal justice system is impartial and fair. Studying criminal justice equips us with the knowledge and skills to ensure the protection of the rights of both victims and offenders.
  • By studying criminal justice, we can figure out the causes of crime, the patterns, and criminal behavior. We can come up with effective strategies for crime prevention and control.
  • Kill the sin, not the sinner. Criminal justice is just about that, to support the inmates in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration back into society.
  • Finally, the reward part – the many varied career opportunities where you can work towards building a safer and more just society.

Why do you need a degree in criminal justice? 

What can you Do with a Criminal Justice Degree Besides being a Cop

Criminal justice is a field of knowledgeable and respected professionals with an incredible impact on the betterment of society. This makes the field fascinating and appealing. With appeal comes confusion, should I get a degree or not?

The confusion is true because not all positions in criminal justice require a degree. But it is an undeniable fact that a degree can work wonders for you, whether you are just starting out or looking for career advancements.

It is a degree that looks good on your resume and you never know when it comes in handy. Also, many employers these days prefer candidates with criminal justice degrees. So, like any other degree in their respective fields, a degree in criminal justice would help you the most, be it in the field of law enforcement, courts, or corrections.

Read -> Criminal Justice Degree

Here are some more reasons to consider before you decide:

Edge over competition

Whether an entry-level position or an advanced one, a degree can give you an edge over others. The job market is competitive and you need to have something extra to leap above others. With a degree, you learn many skills, research and investigative techniques, tools to use, and more, which non-degree holders would lack.  

Higher and leadership positions

A degree guarantees advanced skillsets assuring career growth. With a degree, you are eligible to get hired in Higher, and Leadership positions. If not hired, a degree ensures you remain a contender for those roles even if you have started out in an entry-level position.

Eligible for federal agencies

The federal agencies; such as the FBI, DEA, and CIA, don’t hire with police training alone. They seek out candidates with a college degree having all the necessary knowledge and skills. Get a degree and be eligible.

Better knowledge, and quality of work  

A person with a degree is equipped with in-depth knowledge and versatile skills that directly reflect on his work. Better knowledge assures a better quality of work, and employers know that.

Higher pay potential

A degree makes you eligible for higher-paying jobs that a high-school diploma can’t. You become eligible for jobs with an average annual salary of upwards of $50,000. If you get a master’s degree, and become an instructor, you have the potential to earn more than $70,000 per year. 

Remember, a degree could unlock all these potentials. We hope we could let you understand all the factors before deciding t opt or not for a degree. Now, it’s up to you to decide. Choose wisely, because your career depends upon it. 

What can I learn in an online criminal justice degree?

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If you enroll in an online criminal justice program you gain theoretical competency in three main areas of criminal justice:

  • Causes of crime
  • Consequences of crime
  • Role of criminal justice agencies

Besides that, you’ll learn skills like – methods to conduct research, develop theories, crime scene investigation procedures, and prepare reports.

As you know, there are different degree options so here are the resources to know more about the curricula of respective degree options:

-> Criminal Justice Associate Degree

-> Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree

-> Criminal Justice Master’s Degree

How to choose the best Criminal Justice Degree and Online School?

You are convinced to take up a criminal justice degree online but are wondering how to choose the best online degree school for you. Don’t worry, we are here to help. We have compiled a set of 5 questions, answer these, and, abracadabra you have sorted out your degree and online school.

Q 1 – What do you want?

Do you want a career where you can quickly join the workforce? Or, do you want to pursue the degree due to the immense curiosity that you possess toward the subject? Or, are you the one with a secret mission to achieve your dream future career in the criminal justice system? 

You should first decide what it is. For example – to achieve a quick job you only need an associate degree, for some designated positions it might require a bachelor’s, but for advanced knowledge and higher-level positions, you should aim for the master’s.

Decide now to avoid making your learning a mess.  

Q 2 – What are your Goals?

Your degree option should align with your career. What career do you want to pursue? There are associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree options and your dream career will decide what your degree is.

The kind of situation you don’t want to be in is finding after your Master’s that an associate could have served the purpose. So, self-assess your goals and research what degree options are perfectly fit for that role. 

Once you have decided, research the best online schools that are the best for the degree that you have finalized to pursue.

Q 3 – Do you have the Time?

You should self-assess if you have the time required to pursue the degree option that you’ve zeroed in. Post-enrolment if you struggle to commit the time required what good will it serve?

Are you a working professional looking to switch to criminal justice? Great thinking. But, can you allot the time required for learning?

Finally, check how long the course stretch post your time allotment. Suppose you allot 2 hours a week and the course requires 120 hours. Can you stretch the program for 60 weeks? 

There are accelerated programs as well, but it’s you that should do the hard work. So, consider the time factor before choosing a degree option and the online school.  

Q 4 – Is the online degree from an Accredited university?

Probably the most important point to check. If you get an online degree and the certificate is not from an accredited university, it is a total waste.

Enrolling in an unaccredited school might have serious repercussions like employers might not recognize your degree. So, it is important to check with the school if they provide an accredited degree certificate, or not. If they don’t move ahead with the other one.

Q 5 – How much does it Cost?

Is it affordable? Online learning is meant for affordable education. If the online school charges the same as the full-time ones, what better is it for you?

So, put your detective hat on and research for the online schools that provides all the top 4 points mentioned and is affordable, not to be mistaken with the cheapest. If you find one, that’s the best online school for you.

Related Resources: 

-> How long is Criminal Justice Degree? 

-> What Jobs Can You Get With a Criminal Justice Degree?

-> What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Degree Besides Being a Cop? 

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.