Online Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice: Program Info

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice are widely available online. Programs, however, may include a capstone course that incorporates hands-on experience through internship or volunteer components. Individuals will study the United States criminal justice system, criminal law, investigation techniques and types of criminal offenses. Students may be able to concentrate in specific fields, such as crime scene investigation, homeland security, law enforcement and corrections. Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Adobe Flash Player will be needed.

The program can ready graduates for jobs in probation, juvenile justice and law enforcement. However, additional training is usually required with the agency that individuals wish to join.

Bachelor's Degrees in Criminal Justice

Online baccalaureate programs in criminal justice, such as a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, provide a comprehensive overview of the criminal justice system, including criminal procedure, criminology theory, courtroom processes, criminal investigation and criminal justice administration. The curriculum covers the history, science and practice of criminal justice. An online criminal justice program prepares individuals for careers in private companies or with agencies at all levels of government.

Program Requirements and Information

Credit hours vary by school, but criminal justice programs are comprised of general education coursework accompanied by a core group of criminal justice courses. Additional elective courses allow students to customize their learning to increase their understanding of certain aspects of the criminal justice system. Online criminal justice programs include both theoretical and practical instruction.

In addition to having access to an Internet-connected computer, students need software to download and view online course materials. Possible requirements include Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player and Adobe Flash Player.

Common Criminal Justice Courses

Core topics include the courts, police and corrections. Individuals communicate with their instructors and classmates via e-mail, chat and discussion forums.


Online criminology courses examine the nature and extent of crime in today's society. Students study various types of crime, criminal characteristics and societal reactions to crime.

Criminal Law

Students learn about the modern criminal justice system and the history of criminal law in the United States. Topics covered include processing and correcting offenders, judicial code, sentencing laws and evidence rules.

Juvenile Justice System

This online course focuses on the various system components of the juvenile system and how they interact. Processing procedures, methods for handling youth and system history are also discussed.

Career Information

Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in criminal justice go on to pursue careers in prosecution or defense, law enforcement, probation, corporate security or crime analysis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job opportunities in the areas of probation and corrections will experience 3% growth between 2018 and 2028. Job openings for public police and detectives were expected to grow about as fast as the average rate.

Salaries and wages vary depending on criminal justice specialty and employer. For example, the BLS reported that as of May 2018, police and patrol officers earned a median annual salary of $61,380, while detectives and criminal investigators made a median of $81,920.

Continuing Education Information

Some careers within the criminal justice field call for additional educational experience. For example, police officers commonly have to complete a training academy program before beginning work. Individuals interested in becoming lawyers must apply to law school upon completion of a bachelor's program. A master's degree in criminal justice may be helpful for those wishing to advance their careers and assume positions as police chiefs, supervisors or federal agents.

Online bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice often include specialization options and internships with core courses examining the system, types of crime, current laws and court procedure.

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