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Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

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In this Criminal Justice Degrees Guide, you will learn that Criminal justice is a system put in place so that crimes and criminals can be investigated. The investigation may include identifying, apprehending, judging in court, and handing a punishment that can include incarceration, probation, and fines among other things.

Law enforcement is usually seen as the main part of the criminal justice system, but the courts are also a very important part since they decide if someone is guilty or innocent of a suspected crime. Another part of our criminal justice system is our corrections and rehabilitation system, which is made up of jails and prisons that can and should include programs to assist inmates in resolving issues they have so that they can be a productive part of society if they are released from jail or prison in the future.

All three of these parts of the criminal justice system work together. For example, if a crime has been committed, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to investigate the crime and to hopefully identify a suspect or suspects that they can then apprehend. Once a suspect has been identified, former charges can be filed by the prosecutor in the area in which the crime was committed so they can then be brought before a judge or jury to determine their guilt or innocence. If the suspect is found guilty, here she will then be turned over to the corrections and rehabilitation system as part of their punishment if they are sentenced to incarceration. If not, a parole or probation officer will be assigned to the person and there will be specific things they must do to stay out of jail or prison.

Online Certificate In Criminal Justice

What Is a Certificate in Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice encompasses both the upholding of the law as well as administering justice to criminals who violate the law. Students who are pursuing a career in criminal justice can obtain a criminal justice degree, including an associate’s degree in criminal justice or a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in criminal justice, but can also earn various certificates in the field of criminal justice. There are many certificate programs within the realm of law enforcement, the judicial system, or the corrections and rehabilitation system.

Criminology is basically the study of the causes that crimes are committed as well as the cost of crime and the consequences that happen due to crime. While criminal justice and criminology work very closely together, people who study criminal justice work on the processing side of crimes and criminals, while those who study criminology focus more on the anatomy and the cause of the crime itself.

A criminal justice certification is a very professional credential that can help graduates advance in their careers to be able to be hired to a higher-level career or promoted within their current career. Many students can complete a certificate program within a few months since most certificate programs are now fully online and they can work at their own pace to earn their certificate from a college, university, or even government agency much faster than traditional students.

Criminal justice certifications are very important since they help students who are interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice since they can learn more about their role and even improve their chances of securing a job in a certain area of criminal justice in which they strive to work in. Certificate programs can help students become more knowledgeable in certain areas and to learn the skills that are needed for that particular area of study.

What are some good certifications to have in Criminal Justice?

There are many different criminal justice certifications that students can choose from and each one will set them up to be hired in a certain area of the criminal justice system. Some certifications will only require students to have a high school diploma or GED while others will require students to have already graduated with a college degree in criminal justice or a related field.

A general criminal justice certification will offer students an opportunity to learn an array of different skills that will allow them to find jobs in many areas within the criminal justice field. Basic, as well as graduate certifications, will have graduates become more qualified as professionals and will allow them to perform more advanced duties. Some of those more general criminal justice certifications include certified criminal justice professionals and a graduate certificate in criminal justice or in strategic management.

Students can also embark on a forensic science certification program that will focus on forensics as well as provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need to work in a crime lab or at crime scenes. Some of those certificates include a graduate certificate in crime analysis, crime scene technician certification, or forensic science technician. Legal certifications are great for students who want to work on the legal side of the criminal justice system as an attorney, paralegal, or legal assistant. They can even work as some type of administrative professional after obtaining a certificate in criminal law, certified business office manager, or certified paralegal.

Students can also obtain certifications in the security part of the criminal justice system, which would allow them to garner jobs as a bailiff or for security in courtrooms or in county jails. There are also several law enforcement certification graduates with a degree in criminal justice who are police officers or strive to be part of the Police Department can earn.

How Do You Get a Certificate in Criminal Justice?

Certificates in criminal justice can help graduates secure an entry-level position in the field of criminal justice, such as a correction officer position, bailiff, or jailer. Students can earn many different types of certificates in criminal justice without having to have a degree first, but there are also certificate programs for students who already hold some type of degree in criminal justice or who already work in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are plenty of careers for graduates with criminal justice degrees or certificates in the field is expected to see a job growth rate of about 14 percent through 2028.

Online Associates In Criminal Justice

What is an AA in Criminal Justice?

An associate of arts degree in criminal justice is designed to help prepare students for careers in a variety of different fields under the umbrella of criminal justice, such as law enforcement, the United States court system, and the corrections and rehabilitation system. There are a variety of associate degree criminal justice programs and even certificate programs in which students can specialize in paralegal studies or even Homeland Security.

The program normally takes about two years to complete, but that timeline can be condensed with a fully online program since students can complete it at their own pace. An associate degree in criminal justice is a great option for students who want to learn information and enhance their skills with courses, such as psychology, criminal investigation, criminal law, and communications. Students will graduate with problem-solving skills for the field of criminal justice as well as ethical thinking and complete knowledge of how the United States court system works as well as the entire criminal justice system. Many associate degree programs will require students to complete internships that will allow them to get hands-on experience and try out the new skills they learned before graduating and entering into the workforce. Students can get hired in a variety of positions with an associate degree in criminal justice or use it as a stepping stone to be able to earn their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and even go further with their education to earn a master’s degree or doctorate degree in criminal justice.

What are the benefits of earning an associate’s in Criminal Justice online?

An online associate’s degree in criminal justice will prepare students for a variety of different career opportunities, such as probation officer, police officer, or paralegal, which is just to name a few. This means that an associate degree in criminal justice definitely has a lot of benefits. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a three percent job growth rate over the next decade in the field of criminal justice, which definitely makes it a worthwhile endeavor for students who are interested in law enforcement and other jobs within our criminal justice system.

By completing a criminal justice program online, students can work at their own pace, which means it may not take them the full two years to earn their degree. Students can also continue to work full or part-time jobs while attending college or even raise a family while they are earning their degree, since they can work at any time they so choose, day or night, towards their degree as their coursework can be done completely online. Some colleges and universities may require an internship for students to complete so that they will get the hands-on experience they need in their chosen area of the criminal justice system, but besides that, many programs are fully online or part of a hybrid program in which students participate in some in-person classes while also completing coursework online.

What Jobs You Can Get With an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice?

There are a variety of jobs that graduates with an associate degree in criminal justice can obtain, including various roles within police departments, sheriff’s offices, juvenile detention facilities, court systems, corporate security jobs, government jobs, private investigation, at jails or prisons, and at other law enforcement offices. Graduates will be well-versed when it comes to critical thinking, active listening, speaking to others during interrogations in other interviews, monitoring the movements of people, and social perceptiveness.

Students who obtain their associate degree in criminal justice can garner jobs as security specialists at a variety of different facilities and earn about $60,000 per year on the low end. Graduates can also work in a variety of retail establishments as lost prevention managers and make between $40,000 and $80,000 annually. Graduates can also secure jobs as detectives and criminal investigators in which they can make around $50,000 a year or embark on a career as a police patrol officer or a patrol officer for a Sheriff’s Department making around $60,000 per year.

Is an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice worth it?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected three percent job growth rate when it comes to protective service occupations over the next decade, so yes, an associate’s degree in criminal justice is definitely worth it for people who are interested in this growing career field. There are many common careers within this field, including police officer, corrections officer, paralegal, probation officer, or security officer. Students with an associate degree in criminal justice can have many doors opened in the job market or a promotion in their current job position. An associate’s degree in criminal justice can also be used as a stepping stone for a student to continue their education to obtain their bachelor’s degree and even beyond that.

Yes, an associate’s degree in criminal justice is worth it for many professionals.  

Online Bachelors In Criminal Justice

How Do I get a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will help graduates in the job market since their resume and application will stand out from others who only hold a certificate in criminal justice or an associate’s degree in criminal justice. A bachelor’s degree will teach students more in-depth skills and knowledge when it comes to the fields of sociology and psychology and will help them prepare for a career not only in law enforcement and the justice system but in other areas also.

A bachelor’s degree will allow graduates to secure a higher and more competitive salary than those with only an associate degree. Some of the jobs that are available for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice include probation officer, private investigator, and a police detective.

While it takes most full-time students about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, since there are 120 credit hours required, that length of time can be shortened down to about 18 months for students who embark on the program fully online, since they can work at their own pace. Students who complete their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online can be finished in as little as 18 months with their degree in hand.

Is a Bachelor of Criminal Justice hard?

The need for more people to work in the field of public law enforcement is growing. As a matter of fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a five percent growth in the field over the next few years, which is faster than the average for many other occupations.

Many people wonder if earning their criminal justice degree will be difficult. Criminal justice is a very demanding field and is very challenging, which is the reason that most people who enter the field love and enjoy it enough to outweigh the hard parts. Graduates who enter into the field of criminal justice will get to work with a variety of different people on a daily basis and deal with very unique situations while they are protecting, and sometimes actually saving, people’s lives.

During a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program, students will learn the basic structure as well as the functions of the criminal justice system in the United States and will be able to discuss the development of the current correction system. Students will also be able to identify the function and structure of both federal and state court systems and will have a very good knowledge of the development of criminal procedures in criminal law. Students will learn how to deal with difficult people and be able to enhance their communication skills.

What can I do with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

For graduates who hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, there is an array of different job positions they will be qualified for, including police officers. Graduates can also work as sheriff’s deputies or state troopers if they enjoy that part of the criminal justice system. Some graduates may opt to work in the area of security, including security managers or corrections officers. They can also garner a job as a criminal court officer or as a court bailiff.

For those who are entering the field to help others, graduates can work as juvenile counselors to assist troubled young people in both school settings and correctional facilities in getting their lives back on track. Graduates can also work as detention facility coordinators, legal assistants, paralegals, and even crime scene technicians.

Some graduates may also opt to continue with their education by obtaining their master’s degree in criminal justice and then their doctorate degree in the field. Each degree level offers more job opportunities at higher rates of pay as well as more career advancement.

No matter which job position graduates decide to obtain, criminal justice is a challenging and difficult career field to pursue, yet it can be extremely rewarding. For students who are interested in this growing field, a bachelor’s degree may very well be the best place to start since it offers many more job opportunities, and the higher pay that comes along with them, than an associate’s degree in criminal justice, does. With the rise in the number of fully online programs, students can obtain their bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and start enjoying a career in this field.

Online Masters In Criminal Justice

Is a master’s in criminal justice hard?

While a master’s in criminal justice is it pretty straightforward degree, it is not the easiest topic to major in but it does provide a very rewarding educational experience that will lead to an even more rewarding career.

Most students who enter into a master’s degree in criminal justice program have already been working in the field for a number of years which means they have already earned an associate degree and probably a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice previously. This means that students will already have a working knowledge of criminal justice in many of the skills needed to succeed in this growing field. A master’s degree will provide graduates with a much broader range of job positions and advanced levels and can even provide graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to advance in their current positions in law enforcement or other parts of the criminal justice system.

While the degree program can be very challenging, the growing number of online programs for master’s degrees in criminal justice can help students to lessen the load since they can work at their own pace and work around family schedules and work obligations to obtain their degree at their own pace.

Do I need GRE for a master’s in Criminal Justice?

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that is administered through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are many universities and colleges that use the GRE as a requirement for admission into higher-level degree programs, including master’s degree programs as well as doctorate degree programs. The test was created in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and it is used to measure a student’s ability to succeed in a certain degree program.

Many colleges and universities only use the GRE if a student’s grade point average is not higher than 3.0 when they have completed their undergraduate coursework before enrolling in a master’s degree program. Many other colleges and universities will require students to undergo the GRE unless they have at least five years of work experience in the criminal justice field and at least nine hours of graduate coursework in which they were able to obtain a 3.0-grade point average or higher at an accredited college or university.

How do I prepare for a master’s in Criminal Justice?

For students who are considering embarking on a master’s degree in criminal justice program, they need to buckle up for a very challenging college experience but one that will be a very rewarding academic journey. A master’s degree in criminal justice will enhance the student’s skills within the field and help them to advance their earning potential and afford them opportunities for career changes or to advance in their current careers. A master’s degree will show that the graduate can demonstrate their expertise in the field of criminal justice as well as their commitment to their field and the credibility that they’ve gained through their academic experience as well as their work experience.

To succeed in a master’s degree program, students must be passionate about criminal justice since it is going to be a large time commitment and can be a large financial investment. Online students can complete a master’s degree in criminal justice program in as little as 18 months, but for traditional students, it may take two years or longer.

What field of Criminal Justice pays the most?

When it comes to the field of criminal justice, it is safe to say that lawyers make the most money since their salaries are very lucrative, no matter what field of law they enter into. They have the choice of working in small courtrooms or large ones and working as public defenders, criminal law attorneys, civil law attorneys, or even corporate lawyers. For graduates entering into the field of law, they can expect to make at least $126,000 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Graduates with a master’s degree in criminal justice can also work as secret service agents and make around $94,000 per year. It is one of the most dangerous jobs within the criminal justice field which is why it does pay very well. graduates with a master’s degree in criminal justice can even work as an Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator making around $100,000 per year or a fingerprint specialist or crime scene investigator in which they make around $60,000 per year. some graduates may opt to become a judge and depending on the location and many other factors, judges can make well over $150,000 per year.

Online Doctorate In Criminal Justice

What is a Doctorate in Criminal Justice?

A doctorate degree in criminal justice was finally made available in 2017 and there are only three accredited degree programs that are regional within the United States. Since this is a new type of doctorate program, there are specific requirements that may vary from university to university, such as the length of time that it will take to complete a doctorate in criminal justice degree. For example, the California University of Pennsylvania doctorate of criminal justice program will take two years of coursework to complete, which equals out to 42 credit hours of instruction and also includes a written professional dissertation that includes defense as well as a comprehensive exam while Saint Leo university’s doctorate of criminal justice program takes three and a half years to complete and also includes a written dissertation.

A doctorate in criminal justice will allow graduates to advance to the highest levels of the criminal justice system while helping more people in ways they would not be able to with lower-level degrees.

Does a Doctorate in Criminal Justice require a dissertation?

Yes, most doctorates in criminal justice degree programs do require a written dissertation that includes defense as well as a comprehensive exam. Criminal justice doctorate degree programs are offered online and will require students to research and write a dissertation to be able to graduate from the program because of the seriousness of the focus of the degree. Students will have to write a proposal about their intended topic for their dissertation and wait for approval from their instructors before moving forward with their topic. After they receive approval, students can begin to collect data and conduct the necessary research to support the thesis that they have come up with. Once they have enough material for their dissertation, they can begin to write it but we’ll need to stay in contact with their supervisor and give them extensive details about their dissertation so they can receive quality feedback and make the necessary edits to their dissertation before presenting it. Each student will be required to defend their thesis by answering a variety of questions and then making changes based on the final review by their instructors. Once the dissertation receives publication approval, the student is eligible to graduate with a doctorate degree in criminal justice.

Is it worth getting a doctorate in Criminal Justice?

For students who bark on a doctorate in criminal justice degree, have been working in the field of criminal justice for many years and already know that they enjoy it and want to advance even further within their careers. Graduates with a doctorate in criminal justice can counsel others, become high-ranking judges and attorneys, and can assume a variety of other leadership roles while increasing their earning potential in advancing their careers. Graduates can work in criminal justice policy, academia, Homeland Security, and even juvenile justice.

Since many students now have the opportunity to embark on an online doctorate in criminal justice program, they are afforded much more flexibility, which allows them to meet both their professional and personal obligations while completing their coursework through the use of pre-recorded lectures, online message boards, e-mail services, and other tools to be able to complete their coursework at their own pace. Students can complete their criminal justice doctorate degree while raising a family or while working full-time or part-time in their careers while attending school since they can work at whatever time of day or night that works best for them.

Graduates will obtain a variety of knowledge, skills, and credentials that are needed if they want to work in academia or within public government agencies or private corporations, and other sectors. Students in the doctorate program will learn how to conduct research that is very heavy in data within the behavioral psychology and sociology fields while learning more about public policy as well as organizational leadership.

What can you do with a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice?

Students who graduate with a doctorate degree in criminal justice can teach at the college and university levels or focus more on research, writing, and theory within the field. They can work for government agencies or in the private sector while pursuing advanced levels within their careers.

Graduates will be able to advance in their careers and law enforcement, academia, as a researcher, a judge, and in a variety of other career fields depending on which one they choose to pursue.

Related:

10 Top Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Programs

What are Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Career Options?

What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Master’s?

Top 10 Online Criminal Justice Master’s Programs

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