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.