What is Criminal Justice Degrees?

Criminal Justice is the study and application of law enforcement and the legal system. The professionals involved in criminal justice deal with safeguarding social control, preventing crime, and penalizing the violators of law. There is a variety of degree fields available to those who wish to pursue a career in criminal justice. Criminal justice degrees are offered through on-campus and online programs. Online education provides a flexible learning environment for students with busy schedules. Also, they may be less expensive than traditional campus-based programs. Students may pursue one of the following degrees in criminal justice:

Certificate programs in Criminal Justice This is not a degree, but this certificate provides information in criminal justice and develops skills in various specialties. Students may be able to apply the credit hours earned in this program to a degree program they are thinking of entering. Associate's Degree Programs

These programs provide foundation in theories and techniques used in law enforcement and corrections. An associate's degree in criminal justice prepares candidates for entry level careers in the criminal justice field.

Bachelor's Degree Programs
The bachelor's degree program gives an in-depth knowledge of criminal justice field, and usually has a well-rounded liberal arts component to develop communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills in candidates. Many federal, state, and corporate jobs in criminal justice require at least a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degree Program
This program prepares candidates for professional level career, or enables them to advance in their current criminal justice careers.

Doctorate Program
A doctorate program develops advanced competencies needed to pursue leadership positions in criminal justice or related fields. It is also required for careers in teaching and research.

Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice Program
This program covers contemporary theory on the nature, and the cause and extent of crime with knowledge of national and international criminal justice practices. Also, the program may provide students the opportunity to apply theories to current issues in areas such as civic engagement, data collection and analysis, and team work and communication.

The curriculum may constitute a variety of concentrations to help meet personal and professional goals of students enrolled in the program. These may include the following:

  • Crime and Criminals
  • Criminal Justice Management and Administration
  • Homeland Security
  • Human Services for Criminal Justice

The above mentioned curriculum  is an example of what students could expect, but each program will have their curriculum and different course titles. Consult with your admission counselor for exact details about the program you at wish to enroll.

Criminal Justice: Program Overview

Students have a diverse range of programs to choose from. If you are a novice in this field, it is better to start off with a two years associate's degree. On the other hand, if you are looking for comprehensive education and training in justice system, you may choose to pursue a four year bachelor's degree. Those who want to continue with advanced education may decide to enroll in a master's degree program. This could be completed in about one to two years, and students may choose a concentration area.

Popular specializations among students are:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Security Management
  • Forensic Science
  • Judicial Administration

Research oriented doctoral and PhD programs are also pursued by many students. Program cost varies with schools. It also depends upon credits taken and financial aid awarded. Traditional on-campus classes generally cost more than online ones.

  • Police laboratory techniques
  • Administration of police units
  • Collection of evidence
  • The role of law enforcement in American society
  • The role of police in forming community opinion
  • Criminal justice theory
  • Criminal justice processes and problems
  • Crime control policy
  • Cause and prevention of juvenile delinquency
  • Probation and parole

Students will have the opportunity to gain practical experience during internships, which are incorporated into most programs. These can be taken at numerous agencies such as police departments, legal aid organizations, law firms, and victim assistance organizations. They are an ideal way to learn about contemporary techniques and polices that may help significantly lower the crime rate.

What Jobs can You get with a Criminal Justice Degree?

Depending on the level of their qualification and experience, graduates may pursue the following careers:

  • Detective
  • Police Officer
  • Federal Special Agent
  • Judge
  • Attorney
  • Lawyer
  • Judge
  • Court Reporter

The median annual wage of police officers was $56,980 in May 2012, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also, the employment of police officers is expected to grow by 5% from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.


Q:What can i do with a criminal justice degree?

A:A degree in criminal justice can open the doors to a wide range of job opportunities in the public and private sector. You can choose from a variety of careers in the police department, forensics department, probations and corrections division, local and federal courts, and more. Most of the job positions will fall in the public sector and the exact job position you may qualify for will depend on the level of degree.

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