A variety of online institutions grant associate, bachelor’s, and masters degrees in the field of criminal justice. These programs are designed to impart a fundamental understanding of the criminal justice system. Basic courses typically cover criminal law, legal procedures, evidence handling and criminology. The versatility of the resulting degree opens up a range of job potential at the local, state, and federal level as well as in the private sector.
Potential job opportunities at the local level might include positions with park and county police forces as well as in juvenile justice centers and with local sheriff’s departments. On the state level, degree holders can investigate openings in crime labs, with state crime commissions, narcotics and liquor control boards, and the state police as well as those within the court system and the attorney general’s office.
On a national level, a number of agencies find a criminal justice degree either desirable or set it as a requirement for their applicants. Federal agencies to consider in a job search include the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Veteran’s Affairs, Customs, Immigration and Naturalization, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of the Inspector General.
For degree holders preferring to remain in the private sector, consider working in investigations and security. Insurance companies routinely employ claims investigators either as full-time employees or as contract work private detectives. All manner of corporate and business entities use safety officers and security patrol officers and there are exclusive companies that provide personal protection or bodyguard services to prominent individuals and celebrities.
Masters level studies in criminal justice prepare an individual to move into a “command” level position or to establish their own business in some aspect of the security field. A firm grasp of administrative principles are required for both endeavors with stress on fostering cooperative interaction among officers or personnel. Courses in such an advanced degree might include organizational administration and behavior, ethics in justice and security, critical incident management, public policy issues, advanced forensic science, psychological profiling, and cyber crime.
Some law enforcement agencies will pay for their officers to either seek a degree or to take classes as continuing education. If you are already working in law enforcement and interested in furthering your education, it would be appropriate to approach your commanding officer about such potential assistance.
Additional links provided on this page will assist with your research into the potential of a criminal justice degree and the manner in which the credential may be obtained online. The criminal justice field is particularly well-suited to online presentation with high-quality degree programs and plentiful career opportunities.