Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice program prepares students for entry-level positions in law enforcement, corrections, private security and juvenile detention programs.

Essential Information

In BS programs in criminal justice, students learn about sentencing, police investigation rules and evidence collection. Programs may offer concentrations in areas such as technology and crime, criminal justice administration and forensic behavior. Internships are available, which allow students to gain hands-on experience working in the field. Criminal justice coursework is available in a classroom setting or online. Programs typically require a high school diploma or GED for admittance.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Undergraduates explore topics in sociology, psychology, security and police administration, as well as aspects of juvenile justice systems. Philosophy, abnormal psychology and anthropology are courses students can explore to supplement their criminal justice education. In addition to courses, students have the opportunity to complete seminars and take advantage of study-abroad opportunities. Criminal justice courses include:

  • Corrections
  • Police administration
  • Criminology
  • Policing
  • Criminal procedure

Popular Career Options

Graduates have the policing knowledge and administration skills to qualify for careers in corrections, law enforcement or crime prevention. Work is available in police departments, social service agencies, youth counseling agencies and private security corporations. Career titles may include:

  • Probation officer
  • Parole officer
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Pretrial service officer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are projected to see a 3% increase in employment opportunities from 2018-2028. The mean annual wages for these workers were $58,790 in May 2018.

Continuing Education Information

For students interested in becoming lawyers, an undergraduate criminal justice degree may be used as a foundation for entering law school. For those seeking leadership roles in law enforcement, federal government, social services or the military, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice is available. Corrections philosophy and law enforcement theory are examples of topics the program can explore. Seminars can be taken in areas such as criminology, white-collar crime, community corrections and juvenile justice.

By earning a BS in Criminal Justice, students get the legal education they need for careers in law enforcement or to enroll in graduate or law school in related fields.

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