Criminal Justice Degree: All you need to know


If you’re looking to get a degree in criminal justice, the first step is finding the right program. Whether you want to work as a police officer or judge or become an attorney or social worker, there are plenty of options for online criminal justice degrees. But how do you know which one is best for your future goals? We’ve put together this guide so that you can make an informed decision about getting started on this exciting path!

What is criminal justice?

Criminal justice studies the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of criminal conduct. It includes all aspects of law enforcement, from traffic stops to grand juries.

Criminal justice is a broad field with many specialties. You can pursue careers as police officers and detectives; prosecutors; judges; attorneys (both public defenders and private lawyers); corrections officers; correctional treatment specialists; parole officers; bailiffs/constables/sergeants at large; correctional health care providers such as nurses or social workers who assist inmates during incarceration.

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What can I do with a criminal justice degree?

Your criminal justice degree can help you get a job in:

  • Law enforcement
  • The judicial system, including judges and prosecutors
  • Prisons, jails, and other corrections facilities. If you want to work in juvenile detention centers or parole offices, this is also an option for people with criminal justice degrees.
  • Probation departments and courts (including magistrate’s offices). These are often run by public defenders who oversee defendants’ cases before they go to trial.

Online criminal justice programs

It’s no secret that online criminal justice programs are the way to go. Whether you’re looking for a degree or certificate, there are many choices. You can choose from any number of institutions and make your educational journey as flexible or restrictive as you like.

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Online criminal justice students also have plenty of options when completing their coursework—they can work at their own pace and complete assignments whenever they have time, which means that even those who work full-time won’t be too pressed for time management skills before beginning their studies. As long as you’re willing to commit yourself fully and spend quality time researching each topic, taking an in-person class may not be necessary!

Criminal justice careers

A criminal justice degree can open doors to a wide range of careers. Criminal justice is one of the most popular fields for college graduates, with law enforcement and public safety being among the highest paying jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment in this field will grow faster than average through 2022—by 4% compared to 2%.

What are some career options?

Criminal justice professionals include:

  • Police officers – patrol officers, detectives, intelligence analysts, and more;
  • Corrections officials – correctional officers, parole officers, and probation officers;
  • Forensic scientists – crime scene investigators/investigators; forensic pathologists/pathologist assistants; forensic anthropologists/anthropologist assistants

Choosing the right degree and program is important to your future

Choosing the best program for you is essential, but it cannot be easy because there are so many options. Here are some tips on how to choose wisely:

  • Choose a degree program based on your interests and career goals. If studying criminal justice seems to interest you, then look into certain fields or areas of study within this field (e.g., criminology). This will help narrow down which schools might be right for you!
  • Consider cost when choosing between online vs. traditional universities/colleges—the more expensive tuition costs tend to mean better quality education overall (and less debt).
There are many different degrees, and they all vary in how long it takes to complete. Some degrees take a few years, while others can be completed in a year or less. The quickest degree to obtain is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, which can be completed in 3 years. This degree requires a strong science, math, and English background.


Criminal justice is a major that you could potentially go into if you want to be a detective, a lawyer, or a correctional officer.

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However, many people choose criminal justice because they enjoy the subject matter and the general public interest in the field. Criminal justice majors are often interested in law enforcement, law, and corrections.

While it can be hard to know where to start, we hope that our guide has helped you narrow down your options.

About Fishon Amos

Fishon Amos is a freelance writer with over 3 years of experience. He has to his credit over 100 articles published online across diverse platforms and niches.

View all posts by Fishon Amos
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