How do I get a Criminal Justice Degree Online?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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For one thing, getting a criminal justice degree online can mean earning a degree in the field of criminal justice, so that you end up with a degree in that broad area. Because criminal justice involves the entire law enforcement system, prosecution, defense, the judiciary, and corrections, there are a number of more specialized fields of study that can also fit the description. Therefore, getting a criminal justice degree online can mean a number of different things.

Suppose you are interested in law enforcement. You might therefore seek a criminal justice degree online in the field of Police Sciences or Law Enforcement. If you are interested in prosecution, defense, or the judiciary, then you may be looking for a law degree, or—if you are interested in forensics—a degree in Investigative Forensics, Crime Scene Investigation, or Forensic Science. Court Reporting also has a specialized degree. For corrections, you may look for degrees in Correctional Administration and Management or a certificate in corrections.

In addition to the variety of fields, a number of different types of degrees are available. One may earn an associate degree, a bachelor of science degree, a bachelor of arts degree, a master of science degree, a master of business administration degree, a master of public administration degree, or a doctorate. Certificates are also offered, but the names of these are less standardized.


Once you have determined what field and degree you are interested in, you will need to seek online schools. You can do this at a website like WorldWideLearn or Google “criminal justice degree online,” substituting a more specific degree if you wish. Whichever online schools you consider, be sure to check the school’s accreditation and your state’s requirements, if any, for licensure. Accreditation both assures you of a quality education as well as helping you know that that education will suit you for employment in the field you wish to enter.

As you consider schools, also consider how they deliver their instruction, whether you will have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and other students, and how much time you have to devote to the program. You should also consider the length of time that it characteristically takes to complete the program, and see if you can find reviews by former or current students. Once you’ve taken these steps, you’re ready to begin work in your criminal justice degree online.



Discuss this Article

Post 5

Getting a criminal justice major makes a lot of sense these days and it's great there is an option to do it online. I did some research and most websites including the Bureau of Labor Statistics say the field is expected to grow faster than average over the next few years.

Post 4

@yumdelish - I don't think you will be at any disadvantage because of having an online criminal justice degree. While some online only colleges are very recognizable by name if you look a little harder you can find state schools that offer degrees completely online too. One example is University of Maryland, University College. It is a state college that offers a bachelors degree in criminal justice completely online.

Post 3

With so many choices available in the field I would suggest you look closely at what is offered by each school.

If you have to buy textbooks it can get mighty expensive. I got my degree in criminal justice through distance learning, and I chose the course largely because I got full access to a local university's library.

Some places will give you an account at an online journal resource, or allow you to access a virtual library. I couldn't have finished my degree without the free resources.

Post 2

@yumdelish - It's great to hear that you are interested in studying. The best online criminal justice degrees are those from a reputable learning institution. If you are careful to avoid the degree mills you should be fine.

It may be an incentive to learn that in the U.S. someone with a bachelors degree earns around $14,000 more a year than a person holding an associate degree. So a little time and money invested now will pay dividends down the road.

Post 1

I've been thinking about doing a criminal justice bachelors degree online for a while. I'm interested in the topic area and I have some time to study while my children are at school.

What I'm not sure about is how respected such qualifications are. If I am going to compete with people who graduated from a regular college, will I be disadvantaged?

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