Overview of Online Certificate Programs in Crime and Intelligence Analysis
Certificate programs in crime and intelligence analysis provide instruction in how data is used during criminal justice investigations. Students learn about sources of crime-related data and methods of data analysis along with approaches to communicating findings. These programs strive to prepare students to be able to conduct criminal justice investigations and to create effective tactical law enforcement plans.
Both graduate and undergraduate certificates are available, and many can be completed in about a year. Students take a series of fully online courses, and some schools allow students to attend part time. Intelligence analysis certificate programs are designed for students either currently working in law enforcement or those interested in entering the field. These certificates can prepare students to pursue positions as intelligence analysts or crime investigators, or to take on supervisory roles within law enforcement agencies.
Requirements for Online Crime Intelligence Analysis Certificates
To earn these certificates, students complete a series of core and elective courses usually totaling between 16 and 26 credit hours, and schools may require that students maintain a minimum GPA while enrolled. Students pursuing graduate certificates may be able to apply the credits they earn toward a related master's degree.
Introduction to Intelligence Analysis
Introductory courses in intelligence analysis provide an overview of the role analysts play in criminal justice investigations and the processes used in collecting intelligence. In addition to introducing typical methods of analyses, these classes may provide historical perspectives on the field and legal considerations analysts face. Students may gain practical experience with analysis through the use of case studies.
These online certificate programs give students practical experience with the quantitative methods used in intelligence analysis through statistics classes that introduce quantitative reasoning and cover topics like probability and inference. Students learn to conduct analyses involving correlational relationships and statistical regression, while also studying effective methods of communicating their results.
Geographical Information Systems
In classes on geographical information systems, students receive instruction in spatial analysis and crime mapping. Students gain practical experience using geographic information systems, including ESRI ArcGIS, and learn how they are used in understanding crime patterns. These classes may also cover topics like how spatial analysis is used in urban planning and how to use existing data sources relevant to criminal justice when conducting spatial analyses.
Advanced Research Methods in Crime Analysis
Online certificate programs in intelligence and crime analysis often give students a chance to apply what they have learned to a criminal justice problem of particular individual interest. Students design their research question and use a variety of research methods, like surveys and field observations, to collect and analyze data. These classes often require that students communicate their findings through a formal paper.
Career Information for Crime and Intelligence Analysis Certificate Holders
Upon completing their certificate programs, students may be interested in pursuing positions as crime or intelligence analysts. Crime analysts analyze evidence related to criminal investigations, and they may also study patterns of criminal activity. According to Payscale.com, crime analysts' median annual salary was $47,519 as of April 2020.
Intelligence analysts study data related to security threats, and they often are employed by government agencies or organizations affiliated with those agencies. In April 2020, Payscale.com reported the median annual salary for intelligence analysts was $69,737. Wages in the field tend to rise with experience, and analysts working in agencies near the nation's capital reported higher annual salaries.
Individuals interested in working in crime and intelligence analysis can earn an online undergraduate or graduate certificate in the field. These certificate programs require that students complete a series of fully online courses in areas related to crime mapping and methods of analysis used in criminal justice investigations.