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Quick Facts: Criminal Justice Industry

Median Pay:   $53,130 per year | $26 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Bachelor's degree

Criminal Justice Occupations:

  • Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists$49,060
  • Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, postsecondary$57,200

Online Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degrees

Thanks in large part to the ubiquitous crime and legal shows on television, criminal justice is one of the most popular degree programs in recent years. In order to secure a job in the field after graduation, earning a full four-year bachelor's degree is often the best course of action.

If you are ready to embark on the path to a career in criminal justice, this guide can help you know the process of picking a college, applying, meeting the prerequisites and knowing what to expect while enrolled as well as after graduation.

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Picking the Right School For Your Degree

The first step will be determining which college is the right place for you to earn your degree. Obviously, it should be a college that offers a bachelor's in criminal justice, which not all schools do.

If you are a busy student, a parent or someone who plans to work and study at the same time, you might also want to find a degree program that is offered by an accredited online college so that you can fit education into your busy schedule. Factors like competitiveness and ranking may also be calculated into your decision-making process.

Meeting College Prerequisites

Before applying, you need to be sure that you can meet the prerequisites for the college of your choosing. Typically, colleges will expect applicants to their bachelor's programs to have a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, be able to submit transcripts from their high school education and have taken either the ACT or the SAT with satisfactory scores.

Applying for Admission

If you meet the prerequisites, then you can follow through with your formal application to the degree program. For most online programs, applications are also submitted online.

The application might include personal information about yourself, previous educational accomplishments, references from teachers or employers in your life or even a written essay or portfolio revealing why you are interested in a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Earning Your Online Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice

Once you've applied and been accepted to an online bachelor's degree in criminal justice, you will spend roughly four years completing the core and elective courses that make up the degree.

While the specifics vary from school to school, the main subjects you can expect to study will include criminology, constitutional law, corrections, public administration and the legal system.

After Graduation: What to Expect

With your diploma in hand, there are a variety of career opportunities that are open to graduates. Some of the most popular positions taken by criminal justice graduates include probation officer, correctional officer, criminal investigator, police officer or corrections case manager.

If you want to dive into the exciting world of criminal justice, you might want to first complete all of these steps to earn your online bachelor's degree.