Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration: Online Degree

Dec 04, 2019

Learn about online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration programs. Get information on requirements, courses, career prospects and salary figures to make an informed decision about your education.

Essential Information

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice Administration programs may be found entirely online. Some schools, however, require that a minimum number of credits be earned on campus. Programs may be aimed at current criminal justice professionals or those just starting in the field.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

Online B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration programs can meet the needs of law enforcement individuals who are interested in career advancement. Programs also can prepare students with no experience in the field for jobs in the justice system by providing instruction on the history of the judicial process and its modern day practices. Criminal justice administration bachelor's degree programs typically include a variety of history, social science, law enforcement and communications courses.

Program Information and Requirements

An online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration program can usually be completed in five years, depending on how many credits the student earns each year. Some schools may require that a certain number of credit hours be taken on campus; however, fully online programs are also available. In addition to e-mail messaging and discussion boards, some schools have programs that allow students to interact with instructors and peers through Skype and Eluminate Live.

Students typically must purchase a personal computer and might need a printer and a broadband Internet connection. In addition to Microsoft Office and QuickTime software, some programs may require students to download Adobe Reader and Flash Player plug-ins. A sound card and speakers may also be required.

Course Topics

An online B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration program typically includes general education requirements in English, math, history and writing. Core criminal justice classes explore topics in law enforcement, crime prevention and contemporary issues facing criminal justice professionals. Related elective options might be available in criminal psychology, legal studies and human resources management.

Constitutional Law

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution, emphasizing search and seizure rules, civil rights and due process laws. Students also analyze significant case studies and functions of the judicial system in protecting citizens' rights.


The course examines the basics of terrorism and its global impact. Classes highlight terrorism methodology, investigation, emergency response plans and intervention strategies.

Judicial Process

Students analyze the fundamentals of the judicial process, including state and federal criminal justice systems. The course focuses on the court structure, judge selection, litigation, free press and new technologies.

Career Information

Graduates of B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration programs may work at local, state and federal government agencies, as well as correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies and private investigation companies. According to the BLS, the average yearly salary for detectives and criminal investigators was $85,020 as of May 2018. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned an average annual wage of $58,790, while correctional officers and jailers earned an average salary of $49,300 per year.

The BLS predicted that police and detective positions would grow 5% between 2018 and 2028, which was about as fast as the average. The BLS also projected probation officer and correctional treatment specialist positions to increase by 3% between 2018 and 2028, and correctional officer and jailer positions were only expected to decline 7% during the same period.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates who earn their B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration prior to applying for law enforcement positions must also complete police academy training and civil service regulations, which include rigorous physical qualifications. Candidates interested in employment as a probation officer may be required to undergo a state- or federally-sponsored training program and a certification test. Federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of formal on-the-job training within their first year of employment, as well as 120 hours of specialized training at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons training center.

Both police and correctional officers must also fulfill annual continuing education training requirements to keep their skills current. Students interested in advanced education can apply to online Master of Science in Criminal Justice or Forensic Science programs.

Online B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration can introduce aspiring law enforcement officers to the fundamental concepts and practices of the justice system. Because of the scheduling flexibility offered in distance learning programs, they are also suitable for experienced officers who want to boost their prospects for career advancement by earning a bachelor's degree.

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