Criminal Justice Degree

Are you interested in a career in the criminal justice field but not entirely sure about the available programs and career options you may have?

This criminal justice career guide can help you explore the different aspects of criminal justice programs and the different paths your professional life can take. 

Criminal Justice Programs

Depending on what area of the criminal justice career field you are planning on working in, you will be required to obtain a specific level of degree as a minimum requirement to apply and be hired. For many entry-level positions within the field, you will need to get a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice (BS) degree.

Meanwhile, other positions may require that you obtain a master's degree in order to work in that role. 

Given that hiring managers in this field will explicitly state education requirements in the job description, it is important to consider the specific job you want and go to school based on its educational prerequisites. Aside from that, you want to make sure that you attend an accredited school that will be recognized in the industry.

In terms of how to find the school and program that are right for you, this should be based on factors like the tuition cost, the ranking of the school overall, and how well the criminal justice program is reviewed.

Another major factor is if the school offers online criminal justice degrees where you get to learn from the experts in the field from the comfort of your home. Online courses make it more convenient than ever to get the degree you need to jumpstart your career. So be sure to check out online schools and take advantage of their lower tuition costs to break into the criminal justice field.

U.S. News and World Report features the top criminology schools for your consideration right here. These include the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Albany (SUNY) at the top.

Additionally, Affordable Colleges Online provides a list of top-ranked schools as well as various affordable criminal justice programs that are available online. These include Ashford University and Purdue University Global.

Criminal Justice Career Options

If you are generally interested in the criminal justice field but aren't 100 percent sure which career is best for you, it's good to note that you have plenty of great options to choose from. 

Careers options that you can pursue with a criminal justice degree include, but are not limited to: 
  • Police officer. 
  • Security guard.
  • Correctional/Probation officer. 
  • State trooper.
  • Forensic science tech.
  • Computer forensics investigator. 
  • Private investigator or homicide investigator. 
  • Wildlife warden for fish and game.
  • Crime scene investigator.
  • CIA, DEA or FBI agent.
  • Fraud investigator.
  • Immigration or customs enforcement agent.

There are plenty of perks in seeking a career in any number of criminal justice fields. For starters, you will be helping people and providing an invaluable service to society. This career also has reliable job security. Stability is one of the main draws to becoming a worker in criminal justice since you will see your stability and salary only grow within the position over time.