Online degrees were growing in popularity even before COVID hit the scene and forced everyone to learn from home. With tuition costs for on-campus learning climbing year after year, not to mention the growing time constraints of twenty-first century life, online degrees are now the best option for furthering your education.
A criminal justice online degree is the perfect option for college-age students looking to kickstart their criminal justice career or professionals looking to add a specialization such as law enforcement or forensic science.
On this page we break down the reasons to get an online degree in criminal justice, the different skills you can obtain with criminal justice online degree programs, and how to compare the best online schools for criminal justice degrees.
Online criminal justice degree programs are more convenient and affordable than on-campus criminal justice degree programs. With that said, remote learning requires discipline, commitment, and patience. If you’re short on these qualities, even the best criminal justice online degree programs may not be suitable for you.
Here are the main things to look out for when comparing online colleges for criminal justice degrees.
While online schools for criminal justice degrees have similar study hours to on-campus colleges, getting your degree in criminal justice online can save you lots of time overall. The most obvious reason for this is the convenience of online classes. Instead of having to travel to a physical campus or relocate to another state, you can just take your Bachelor of Criminal Justice or Master in Criminal Justice from the comfort of your home.
The best online colleges for criminal justice degrees provide plenty of support for distance learning, including flexible hours, mentoring from professionals, and access to digital libraries. Some schools even offer the added convenience of rolling admissions. This type of flexibility makes an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or online master’s degree in criminal justice the perfect option for anyone who doesn’t have the time to attend classes in person.
Another benefit of studying for an online degree in criminal justice is you aren’t just limited to the colleges around you. Type “criminal justice degrees near me” into Google and you’re likely to get only a few results. But expand your search nationwide and you’ll find many great options you wouldn’t have had access to if you’d restricted your search to on-campus learning. You can study for are online criminal justice degree in Texas, California, New York, Florida or any other state – without ever having to leave your state of residence.
Finally, it’s all about the money. The annual tuition for a traditional bachelor’s in criminal justice can reach tens of thousands of dollars per year. Compare that to a BA in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Master in Criminal Justice, or Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and you are talking about a fraction of the price. Pro tip: Always shop around to find the cheapest criminal justice degree online.
- Access to all MSU libraries and resources
- Range of financial assistance programs
- Collaborative environment
Most American public universities are operated by their state government and favor in-state residents. But some now offer online degrees to out-of-state international students. Michigan State University is a leader in online learning, with more than 80 high-quality online degrees and certificates in important disciplines like criminal justice.
- Helpful advisors and student resources
- Affordable tuition & financial aid packages/scholarships
- Easy to transfer credits
- Can be difficult to follow tech-focused programs online
- Not a lot of break time between sessions
Online degrees are not for everyone, but it does provide you with a more flexible, more convenient, and more affordable option than traditional universities. So if a digital degree sounds like a good idea to you, SNHU is one of your best bets. With the advantage and experience of an on-campus college, SNHU’s online programs deliver a high quality of education with all the benefits previously mentioned. The tuition is lower than most schools out there, and the university excels at helping its students through every step of their educational journey.
- Faith-based community and focused learning
- 100%-online programs
- Rated #3 in Best Value for Southern Universities by U.S. News and World Report
- SAT or ACT required
- Online program still follows regular trimester schedule, which some may find inflexible
William Carey University is a community of learners that seeks to blend faith and learning with living. Embracing its Baptist heritage and namesake, William Carey University provides quality educational programs within a caring Christian academic community. Preparing students to fulfill diverse callings while challenging them to excel in scholarship, leadership, and service in a global society.
Criminal justice online degree programs usually fall under the umbrella of the department of science or a specialized department of criminal justice.
Therefore when searching for bachelor’s programs in criminal justice, make sure to include these terms: Bachelor of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and BA in Criminal Justice.
When searching for a graduate school for criminal justice, make sure to include these terms: Masters of Criminal Justice, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, or MA in Criminal Justice.
The best colleges with criminal justice degrees (including the best online criminal justice master’s programs) offer a range of specialization tracks such as:
- Law Enforcement
- Forensic Science
- Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- Legal Studies
- Constitutional Criminal Law
- Government and Policy
Finding a cheap online criminal justice degree with high-quality lecturers should be a top priority. Here are some other factors to consider when researching colleges with criminal justice degrees.
The best online schools for criminal justice degrees offer you accreditation for your hard work. An accredited online criminal justice degree shows the world that you put in the effort, paid your dues, and went to a serious online college. A criminal justice degree online that is accredited also shows off your specialization, e.g. forensic science, constitutional criminal law.
One of the main reasons to consider criminal justice master’s degree programs or bachelor’s degree programs is the convenience. Before enrolling, compare how and when the classes run, how tight the deadlines are, and when final exams are scheduled. Can you get all the course material upfront or is it delivered in time increments? Are you tied to a class’s timeframe and schedule or can you hand assignments in at your own pace? Generally, there will be a minimum that you need to complete per semester. The best criminal justice masters’ programs and bachelors’ programs give you plenty of flexibility.
Another important element to consider when searching for the best online criminal justice degree is which programs are actually available. If you wish to specialize in forensic science, then you’ll need to look for a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice or Master of Science in Criminal Justice. If it’s public policy and administration you’re interested in, then you’ll need a Bachelor of Criminal Justice or Master in Criminal Justice.
Online degrees in criminal justice typically require you to submit an online application along with transcripts from other institutions you have graduated from. If you’re applying for a criminal justice bachelor degree online, then you may only need to provide high school transcripts. But if you’re applying to criminal justice masters’ programs online, you’ll have to provide transcripts from your undergraduate degree. No matter which school you apply to, make sure you are capable of meeting the admissions requirements before going to the trouble of applying.
Virtually all the best online schools for criminal justice degrees provide assistance with applying for FAFSA (federal student aid). Other forms of financial assistance may include grants, scholarships, and work/study incentives.
Whatever your focus - whether it’s a bachelor degree in criminal justice online or a criminal justice graduate program – there is no better time than today. The internet is overflowing with top criminal justice degree programs. Carpe diem! Sign yourself up for an online degree in criminal justice to land your dream job in the criminal justice sector.