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Online Criminal Justice Degrees

For better or for worse, demand for criminal justice professionals is on the rise. Increased crime prevention, stricter sentencing, and domestic security concerns are driving the need for trained criminal investigators, law enforcement officers, legal personnel, and corrections officers. This is good news for anyone interested in a career promoting justice and public safety. However, competition for higher positions can be keen, and it's important to have the right training.

An associate or bachelor degree in criminal justice provides an essential foundation for careers in law enforcement, the judicial system, or corrections. Criminal justice students study crime control and prevention in an interdisciplinary context, combining legal studies, sociology, public administration, forensic science, and psychology. The program offers training in crime scene investigation, crime prevention, legal prosecution, and criminal rehabilitation.

Graduates of criminal justice degree programs go on to careers as police officers, detectives, security personnel, criminal investigators, probation officers, legal prosecutors, bailiffs, FBI agents, and more. Many criminal justice professionals work in the public sector, at the local, state, or federal level.

Salaries vary widely across the criminal justice field. Police and patrol officers earned a median salary of $45,210 in 2004, with supervisors averaging $64,430. Detectives and criminal investigators earned a median of $53,990. Correctional officers make about $33,699, and the average probation officer takes home $39,600. On the legal side, paralegals average just under $40,000; lawyers and judges make significantly more.

Opportunities are strong across the criminal justice field--an associate or bachelor degree in criminal justice will position you to take advantage of them.

Criminal Justice Schools

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

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  • Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
  • Approved by all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Tuition Assistance (TA), and for benefits payments by the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits (VA).
  • Reviews applicants’ military and professional training for possible transfer credits, and honors credit earned through successful completion of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses.
  • Participates in GoArmyEd, Marine Corps Academic Explorer, The Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (CCAF), and many other virtual gateways.
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Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.


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