Are you interested in becoming a police officer, or a private detective or a private investigator? Or perhaps working for the United States government in security? If you are interested in working in the field of law enforcement or a related area, then a criminal justice degree program may be the right one for you. Since CSI and similar television programs have become so popular, there has been an increase in interest in criminal justice online programs.
Criminal justice is the law enforcement system that deals with the apprehension, prosecution, defense, sentencing and incarceration of those suspected or charged with committing a crime. The criminal justice system consists of three main agencies: (1) law enforcement (police); (2) adjudication (courts); and (3) corrections (jails, prisons, probation and parole). So studying criminal justice programs can offer a range of jobs in any of these agencies, e.g., as a drug enforcement officer, police officer, sheriff, probation officer, substance abuse counselor, and even in forensic accounting.
Criminal justice can be studied online at all levels, certificate to PhD. This page describes these programs, and outlines the criminal justice careers options and prospects.
What do you study in criminal justice online programs?
Online criminal justice courses that you may be required to take in a criminal justice degree program might include: criminal justice systems; criminology; computer crime (cyber crime); corporate and white collar crime; correctional facilities; domestic violence; drug trade and trafficking; ethics; forensic psychology; jurisprudence and juvenile corrections; legal rights of offenders; mediation, dispute management, and negotiation training; police department organization; public and private safety; technology in criminal justice; terrorism and counter-terrorism.
What are the career prospects for graduates?
The demand for qualified and efficient personnel in the field of criminal justice is on the rise. Depending on the level of their experience, graduates of criminal justice programs will be eligible for a jobs in:
- state and local government agencies as local law enforcement officers, state troopers, SBI agents, arson specialists and fingerprinting specialists;
- military and defense agencies as military police officers and investigators;
- federal agencies like the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), CIA, FBI, the Secret Service, Customs, and the Border Patrol;
- the corrections department as wardens, corrections, parole, and probation officers;
- criminology as criminologists, crime scene investigators, and forensic scientists;
- white-collar crime detection and prevention (including cyber crime);
- the private sector as detectives, investigators and security specialists;
- the legal profession as legal assistants and secretaries, paralegals, court administrators. Criminal justice degrees can also be good to lead into the law degree that is necessary to work as lawyers, judges, and magistrates;
- colleges and universities as lecturers and professors – a criminal justice online masters degree or even an online criminal justice PhD is necessary for a lecturing job in a university or college.
Criminal justice careers salaries vary widely according to the agency and job, e.g., from a probation officer with a median salary of $41,000, through a police patrol officer with a salary of $48,000, to an FBI agent with a median salary in excess of $70,000.
List of schools and programs