Bachelor of Science (BS): Criminal Justice Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program provides courses related to police, courts and corrections systems, as well as a background in humanities, science and mathematics. The curriculum meets the needs of both students looking to gain entry to the field and those already employed in criminal justice systems.

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program prepares individuals to become working professionals in the criminal justice field. Graduates may choose to continue their studies to become lawyers or criminal justice teachers. Some programs may offer professional internships where students can gain experience working in the field prior to program completion.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
  • Online Availability: Some schools offer distance learning
  • Program Specializations: Concentrations may be offered in corrections, crime and justice, legal process, loss prevention or juvenile justice

Bachelor Degrees in Criminal Justice

A criminal justice B.S. program is designed to give the student a thorough understanding of all aspects of the criminal justice system. Students may have the option of selecting an area of concentration such as corrections, juvenile justice or loss prevention. They may also be able to gain practical experience as part of their program through an internship. Coursework in the B.S. program may include:

  • Criminology
  • Security and police administration
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Correctional strategies/alternatives
  • Domestic terrorism
  • Gender in criminal justice

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals working in or pursuing employment in the field of criminal justice should have plenty of available opportunities, though the number of open jobs may be less than average compared to other career fields (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that between 2012 and 2022, employment of detectives and police was predicted to grow five percent, while probation officers and correctional treatment specialists could expect an employment decrease of one percent.

Continuing Education Information

Although candidates may find some criminal justice positions with only an associate's degree, others, such as probation officers and correctional specialists, require a bachelor's degree. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for instance, requires that applicants have a bachelor's degree and some work experience in criminal justice (www.fbijobs.gov). Candidates may also be required to complete formal training at an academy or law enforcement agency, as well as certification examinations. Graduates may also choose to advance their education by securing a master's degree or pursue careers as lawyers or criminal justice teachers.

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