Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in 2023

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If you are interested in pursuing a career in the field of criminal justice, you might be wondering what the best online criminal justice degree programs are available in 2023.

Criminal justice is a broad and interdisciplinary field that covers topics such as law enforcement, corrections, courts, criminology, forensics, and homeland security.

Online criminal justice degree programs can offer you the flexibility and convenience of studying from anywhere, at your own pace, and according to your schedule. Online programs can also be more affordable and accessible than traditional campus-based programs, especially for working professionals or those with family responsibilities.

However, not all online criminal justice degree programs are created equal. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best online criminal justice program for you, such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty, tuition, admission requirements, and career outcomes. In this article, we will review some of the best online criminal justice degree programs in 2023, based on the rankings from reputable sources such as TheBestSchools.org1, Forbes2, and U.S. News & World Report3. We will also compare and contrast the features, benefits, and drawbacks of these programs, and provide you with some tips on how to apply and enroll in them.

What are the Benefits of Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs?

Online criminal justice degree programs can offer you many benefits, such as:

  • Flexibility and Convenience: Online programs allow you to study from anywhere, at any time, and at your own pace. You can access the course materials, lectures, assignments, and exams through an online platform, and interact with your instructors and classmates through email, chat, or video conferencing. You can also choose from different formats, such as asynchronous (self-paced), synchronous (live), or hybrid (a combination of both).
  • Affordability and Accessibility: Online programs can be more affordable and accessible than traditional campus-based programs, as you can save on costs such as transportation, housing, and textbooks. You can also take advantage of financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, loans, and employer tuition reimbursement. Online programs can also be more accessible for students who live in remote areas, have disabilities, or face other barriers to attending a campus-based program.
  • Quality and Diversity: Online programs can offer you the same quality and rigor as campus-based programs, as they are often accredited by the same agencies and taught by the same faculty. Online programs can also offer you more diversity and variety in terms of the courses, concentrations, and electives you can choose from, as well as the perspectives and experiences you can learn from your instructors and classmates from different backgrounds, locations, and fields.

What are the Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in 2023?

According to the rankings from TheBestSchools.org1, Forbes2, and U.S. News & World Report3, some of the best online criminal justice degree programs in 2023 are:

Program School Degree Level Tuition Admission Requirements
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Florida International University Bachelor’s $229/credit (in state) High school diploma or GED; minimum 2.0 GPA; SAT or ACT scores
Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice University of California, Irvine Master’s $4,267/quarter Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; GRE scores; statement of purpose; resume; three letters of recommendation
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice University of Central Florida Bachelor’s $179/credit (in state) High school diploma or GED; minimum 2.0 GPA; SAT or ACT scores; completion of general education requirements
Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice University of Massachusetts, Lowell Master’s $575/credit Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; resume; three letters of recommendation
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Western Carolina University Bachelor’s $66/credit (in state) High school diploma or GED; minimum 2.5 GPA; SAT or ACT scores; completion of general education requirements
Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice Arizona State University Master’s $543/credit Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; resume; two letters of recommendation

How to Choose the Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Program for You?

To choose the best online criminal justice degree program for you, you should consider the following factors:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation is a process of quality assurance that evaluates the academic standards and outcomes of a program or institution. Accreditation can be regional or national, and it can be specific to the field of criminal justice. You should look for programs that are accredited by reputable agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), or the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Accreditation can affect your eligibility for financial aid, transfer credits, licensure, and employment opportunities.
  • Curriculum: Curriculum refers to the courses, topics, and learning objectives of a program. You should look for programs that offer a comprehensive and relevant curriculum that covers the core areas of criminal justice, such as law enforcement, corrections, courts, criminology, forensics, and homeland security. You should also look for programs that offer concentrations or electives that match your interests and career goals, such as cybercrime, juvenile justice, victimology, or public administration. You should also check the curriculum for the program format, length, and delivery method, such as asynchronous, synchronous, or hybrid.
  • Faculty: Faculty refers to the instructors, professors, and mentors who teach and guide you in a program. You should look for programs that have qualified and experienced faculty who have academic credentials, professional backgrounds, and research expertise in the field of criminal justice. You should also look for programs that have accessible and supportive faculty who can provide you with feedback, guidance, and resources throughout your program. You can check the faculty profiles, ratings, and reviews on the program website or other platforms, such as Rate My Professors.
  • Tuition: Tuition refers to the cost of attending a program, which can vary depending on the school, degree level, credit hours, and residency status. You should look for programs that offer affordable and transparent tuition rates, and that provide you with financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, loans, and employer tuition reimbursement. You should also consider the additional costs of attending a program, such as fees, books, supplies, and technology. You can use the tuition calculator or estimator on the program website or other platforms, such as College Scorecard, to estimate your total cost of attendance.
  • Admission Requirements: Admission requirements refer to the criteria and documents that you need to meet and submit to apply and enroll in a program. You should look for programs that have clear and reasonable admission requirements, and that provide you with guidance and support throughout the application and enrollment process. You should also prepare and submit your application materials in advance, and follow the deadlines and instructions of the program. Some of the common admission requirements for online criminal justice degree programs are:
    • High school diploma or GED (for bachelor’s programs) or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (for master’s programs)
    • Minimum GPA (usually 2.0-3.0)
    • Standardized test scores, such as SAT, ACT, or GRE
    • Transcripts from previous schools
    • Statement of purpose or personal essay
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Application fee

How to Apply and Enroll in the Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Program for You?

To apply and enroll in the best online criminal justice degree program for you, you should follow these steps:

  • Research: Research the best online criminal justice degree programs that match your interests, goals, and qualifications. You can use the rankings, reviews, and information from reputable sources, such as TheBestSchools.org1, Forbes2, and U.S. News & World Report3, as well as the program websites and other platforms, such as College Navigator, to compare and contrast the features, benefits, and drawbacks of different programs. You can also contact the program representatives or alumni to ask questions and get more information.
  • Choose: Choose the best online criminal justice degree program for you, based on your research and evaluation of the factors, such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty, tuition, and admission requirements. You can narrow down your options by creating a shortlist of your top choices, and ranking them according to your preferences and priorities. You can also apply to more than one program to increase your chances of acceptance and to have backup options.
  • Apply: You should prepare and submit your application materials in advance and follow the deadlines and instructions of the program. Some of the common admission requirements for online criminal justice degree programs are:
    • High school diploma or GED (for bachelor’s programs) or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (for master’s programs)
    • Minimum GPA (usually 2.0-3.0)
    • Standardized test scores, such as SAT, ACT, or GRE
    • Transcripts from previous schools
    • Statement of purpose or personal essay
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Application fee
  • Enroll: Enroll in the best online criminal justice degree program for you, by completing the enrollment process of the program. You can find the enrollment process on the program website or by contacting the program representatives. You may need to pay a deposit, confirm your enrollment, register for courses, and attend an orientation session. You should also prepare for your online learning experience, by setting up your online account, accessing the online platform, and familiarizing yourself with the course materials, policies, and expectations.

    What are the Career Outcomes of Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs?

    Online criminal justice degree programs can prepare you for a variety of careers in the field of criminal justice, such as:

    • Law Enforcement Officer: Law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing laws, maintaining public order, and protecting people and property. They may work at the local, state, or federal level, and specialize in areas such as patrol, investigation, traffic, or SWAT. Law enforcement officers typically need a high school diploma or GED, and may need a bachelor’s degree or higher for some positions. They also need to complete a training academy and pass physical, mental, and background tests. The median annual salary for law enforcement officers was $67,290 in 2020.
    • Correctional Officer: Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing and managing inmates in jails, prisons, or other correctional facilities. They may work at the local, state, or federal level, and perform duties such as supervising, searching, transporting, and counseling inmates. Correctional officers typically need a high school diploma or GED, and may need a bachelor’s degree or higher for some positions. They also need to complete a training academy and pass physical, mental, and background tests. The median annual salary for correctional officers was $47,440 in 2020.
    • Probation Officer: Probation officers are responsible for monitoring and assisting offenders who are on probation or parole. They may work at the local, state, or federal level, and perform duties such as conducting interviews, administering drug tests, writing reports, and enforcing conditions. Probation officers typically need a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, or a related field. They also need to complete a training program and pass written, oral, and psychological tests. The median annual salary for probation officers was $55,690 in 2020.
    • Forensic Science Technician: Forensic science technicians are responsible for collecting and analyzing physical evidence from crime scenes or laboratories. They may work for law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories, or private firms, and specialize in areas such as DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, or toxicology. Forensic science technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, chemistry, biology, or a related field. They also need to complete on-the-job training and pass certification exams. The median annual salary for forensic science technicians was $60,590 in 2020.
    • Homeland Security Agent: Homeland security agents are responsible for protecting the nation from threats such as terrorism, cyberattacks, natural disasters, or illegal immigration. They may work for the Department of Homeland Security or its agencies, such as the Customs and Border Protection, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the Secret Service. Homeland security agents typically need a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, homeland security, or a related field. They also need to complete a training academy and pass physical, mental, and background tests. The median annual salary for homeland security agents was $86,440 in 2020.

      Conclusion

      Online criminal justice degree programs can offer you many benefits, such as flexibility, convenience, affordability, accessibility, quality, and diversity. They can also prepare you for a variety of careers in the field of criminal justice, such as law enforcement, corrections, probation, forensics, or homeland security.

      However, not all online criminal justice degree programs are created equal. You should consider the factors such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty, tuition, and admission requirements when choosing the best online criminal justice degree program for you. You should also follow the steps of researching, choosing, applying, and enrolling in the best online criminal justice degree program for you. We hope this article has helped you learn more about the best online criminal justice degree programs in 2023, and how to pursue them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading, and good luck with your online criminal justice degree program!

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