Perhaps no career is more rewarding than criminal justice. Helping to protect and serve one’s fellow citizens while putting the bad guys behind bars leads to a job with excitement and ever-changing situations. Whether a person wishes to be a police officer patrolling neighborhoods, an FBI agent catching one of the ten most wanted or a technician in a crime lab analyzing evidence distance learning criminal justice degrees can be the answer. Prospective students can choose from Associate, Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degree programs depending upon their educational and career goals. Many schools offer online criminal justice degrees that provide both convenience and solid career skills.
Criminal Justice Associate Degree
An Associate degree in Criminal Justice lays the foundation for an entry-level position or further study. These degrees offer such courses as:
- History of Criminal Justice
- Psychology and Law
- Community Police Practices
- Introduction to Forensic Science
An Associate degree in this field can have many names. Some are Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice, Associate in Applied Science in Police Science and Associate in Applied Science in Forensic Science. These prepare students for entry-level positions in criminal justice. Some careers graduates can attain are:
- Police Officer
- Communications Officer
- Police Records Clerk
- Crime Lab Technician
These programs can be completed in two years and all requirements completed online. Internet access is required for research and presentations of projects. Sometimes students can arrange internships with local agencies for additional academic credit and job experience.
Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that prepares students for many exciting careers. Coursework can be very demanding and includes such subjects as:
- Criminal Procedure
- Abnormal Psychology
- Research Methods in Criminal Justice
- Cyber Crime Investigation
- Crisis Negotiation
Bachelor’s degrees involve a large dose of psychology, sociology, science and law to teach students about an increasingly sophisticated and always dangerous world of criminal activity. In addition to general education subjects students can pick an area of specialization. Some areas are:
- Forensic Science
- Juvenile Justice
Assignments can be completed online and students are required to complete a research project of their choosing. Chat sessions with other students and professors are frequently used in these programs.
Criminal Justice Master’s Degree
Students enrolled in these programs are often working professionals seeking career advancement. The emphasis in these two-year programs is advanced research and crime analysis and qualifies graduates for upper-level management positions. A thesis is usually completed after which a Master of Science in Administration of Justice or Master of Criminal Justice degree is bestowed.
Criminal Justice Doctorate Degree
Those students wishing to receive a PhD in Criminal Justice use a Doctorate degree to concentrate on an area of law enforcement. Subjects studied are:
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Statistical Analysis
- Criminology Theory
A minimum 3.0 GPA is needed for a Doctorate program. Students learn to apply theory and practice in numerous local, state and federal agencies.
Careers in Criminal Justice
Jobs are plentiful and salaries are very competitive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Probation Officers average $47,000 yearly, Police Officers $53,000 and Detectives almost $70,000. There will be a great need for those skilled in cyber-crime investigation and foreign languages for terrorism cases.
If a fast-paced career filled with intrigue and danger is to your liking then a career in Criminal Justice is for you.