Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs and Schools

Graduate and undergraduate degree programs are available online in criminal justice, forensic science, law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, law, justice administration and more.

Criminal justice careers

The purpose of the criminal justice system is to keep society safe through enforcement of established laws as well as administration and application of the legal system. Because criminal justice embodies every level of law enforcement, there are many career paths to follow. These include:

  • Bailiff
  • Border patrol agent
  • CIA agent
  • Corrections officer
  • Court reporter
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Customs agent
  • Detective
  • Drug enforcement agent
  • FBI agent
  • Industrial security specialist
  • Law librarian
  • Legal secretary
  • Paralegal
  • Police officer
  • Postal service investigator
  • Private investigator
  • Probation & parole officer
  • Secret service agent
  • Sheriff
  • U.S. Marshall
  • Warden

Prospective students interested in public safety have a wide variety of potential career and educational options available to them.

Criminal justice career training

Criminal Justice Degrees and ProgramsDepending on your career goals, career training in criminal justice may include earning a certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or master's degree. Certificate programs include crime scene technician, terrorism and national security management, and criminal justice. Earning a certificate in criminal justice usually requires one year of study.

Associate degree level

Individuals who pursue an associate's degree can study for law enforcement, corrections, private security, court reporting, or paralegal careers. Associate's degrees can usually be completed within two years.

Bachelor degree level

A bachelor's degree program will allow you to receive further training and education in any of the programs offered at the associate's level. In addition, with a bachelor's degree in a criminal justice-related field, you may qualify for jobs as a social worker, probation officer, and correctional treatment specialist. A bachelor's degree can usually be completed in four years.

Master's degree level

Earning a master's degree in criminal justice or related field might increase chances to find advanced positions in law enforcement, including FBI agent, police chief and college instructor. The completion of a master's degree usually requires two years of study after completion of a bachelor's degree.

Most criminal justice schools will allow you transfer credits from one degree program into a higher degree program. For instance, an associate's degree can often be applied toward a bachelor's degree program, and possibly reduce length of study by up to half. Online degree programs are available at all levels of study, allowing students to potentially maintain their current work schedule while taking classes.

To take a career in court reporting as an example, court reporters receive their training through one of the 130 postsecondary vocational and technical schools and colleges that offer programs, or through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). The amount of training required depends on which type of reporting an individual chooses. It is possible to train to be a beginner voice writer within a year, but advancing to be a proficient real-time voice writer generally takes at least two years. According to the BLS, the average time it takes to become a real-time stenotypist is approximately thirty-three months.

Court reporters can move on to administrative, management, consulting, or teaching positions after adequate experience. A court reporting program might include the following courses:

  • Reporting Procedures
  • Medical Terminology
  • Touch Shorthand Theory
  • Punctuation of the Spoken Word
  • Court Reporting Computer Applications

Other careers in criminal justice may have different requirements. When considering which program is right, it's important to take into account one's interests, as well as the amount of school a prospective student can afford and the job outlook and compensation for their desired career path. By thinking about these issues before starting a program, a student can make a decision that aligns with their finances and goals.

What can I do with a degree in criminal justice?

Generally speaking, opportunities in criminal justice will depend on the area of work and possibly one's level of education. Here's a breakdown of annual salaries and projected job growth for a few potential avenues:

Discipline2013 Median Annual Salary*2012-2022 Projected Job Growth
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers $56,130 The BLS forecasts growth of 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. However, demand is expected to vary widely by location.
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $74,300 5 percent
Correctional Officers $39,550 The BLS predicts 5 percent growth from 2012 to 2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations.
Court Reporters $49,560 Employment of court reporters is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Online degrees in criminal justice

Online degree programs in law and criminal justice from accredited universities and colleges:

Court Reporting

Court Reporting, Realtime Reporting, Captioning Programs

Law and Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Administration

Justice Administration

Administration of Justice

Law Degree

Juris Doctor, LL.B, LL.M, Health Law

Paralegal and Legal Services

Legal Studies, Court Process

Online degrees in law enforcement

Online degree programs in policing and investigation from accredited universities and colleges:

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement Skills, Police Science, Police Leadership

Crime Scene and Forensics

Crime Scene Technology, Crime Scene Technician

Forensic Accounting

Fraud Management, Economic Crime Management, Forensic Accounting

Forensics Science

Forensic Nursing, Digital Forensics, Forensic Science

Online degrees in security and corrections

Online degree programs in homeland security, corrections and loss prevention from accredited universities and colleges:

Corrections

Corrections Management, Corrections majors, Correctional Administration, and more

Public Safety

Homeland Security, Terrorism, Public Safety Management

Security & Loss Prevention

Private Security, Security Management, Business Security

* All median salary figures are according to 2013 numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sources

"33-9032 Security Guards," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339032.htm

"33-1011 First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331011.htm

"33-3012 Correctional Officers and Jailers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm

"Correctional Officers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm#tab-1

"33-3051 Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm

"23-2091 Court Reporters," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232091.htm

"Court Reporters," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/court-reporters.htm#tab-1

"21-1092 Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211092.htm

Pursue your Criminal Justice major today…

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • According to a Walden-sponsored study, 88.2% of graduates are very satisfied or satisfied with their education and more than 85% of students are likely or very likely to recommend the school to others.
  • In that same study, 88% of graduates said their education helped them enhance their professional performance.
  • Students can save 15% on tuition over the lifetime of their program if they are active-duty military, a veteran, or an employee of the Veteran’s Administration.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Features 43 degree programs and more than 142 specializations.
  • Offers several ways to save on tuition, including multiple grant and scholarship opportunities, low-cost credits, accelerated programs, and more.
  • Reduced tuition, transfer credits, and other benefits are available for all military service members and veterans.
  • Allows students to preview a free, one-week mini course to give an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine. 
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities. 
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content. 
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • More than 90% of new graduates land jobs in their fields of study within six months of graduation
  • Campus locations feature admissions, financial aid and career services offices, libraries, study areas, computer and electronics labs, cafeterias and common areas, tutoring facilities, and more.
  • Centers are smaller, and are located throughout major metropolitan areas.
  • More than 85% of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
  • Degree programs are designed and updated regularly with input from industry leaders.
  • Offers support for financial aid and job placement
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found

• With 100,000+ students, it's the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation.
• Since 1971, its mission has been to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.
• Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
• The student-faculty ratio is 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
• The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 76.5%.

Show more [+]
  • Online Courses