If you’re planning on pursuing a career in criminal justice, salary is indeed an important point to consider. However, for you to know if you qualify for a certain income level, there are certain degree requirements that you have to know.

As it is, criminal justice degrees are a popular choice for anyone planning to work in law enforcement roles. Pursuing a career in police work, homeland security, forensics or corrections as a law enforcer or security person, entail that you have at least an associate’s degree.

Criminal Justice Salary Range Depending on Degree

Continuing to the master’s level, of course, opens plenty of other opportunities in diverse fields for you. Many of the positions that have good pay will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Typical salary range with a bachelor’s degree is anywhere from $35,000 to $78,000 depending on the type of criminal justice job you’re aiming for.

The highest paying criminal justice careers that require masters degrees or higher usually pay anywhere from $57,000 to $89,000 annually. This depends on the job you’re eyeing.

Having an associate’s degree also opens up many other doors of opportunities. This is especially true in private security or various junior law enforcement roles.

For advanced administrative work in the criminal justice service, you’ll also need to obtain a master’s degree. You don’t need to attend a “brick and mortar” college in order to obtain your criminal justice degree. So long as the school or the program is accredited by reputable accrediting organizations, you can take up criminal justice degrees online. This type of degrees gives you a great deal of convenience and flexibility.

Advantages of Criminal Justice Online Degrees

Online degree programs, like their campus equivalent, come with various advantages and disadvantages. Pick a program if you feel it will suit your situation and circumstances. The most obvious advantage of the criminal justice online degrees is that they provide a great deal of flexibility for the students. They are suitable for professionals who would like to further their studies along with non-traditional students.

Students taking the criminal justice online degrees are generally able to undertake courses at their own convenience.  Wherever there is good internet access, they can have on-demand access to professors, other students, and the course material.

This is one of the reasons why the criminal justice online degrees are preferred by those who are already working in the field. Online degree takers are hoping to increase their knowledge in order to take up more demanding and more rewarding positions.

A lot of people doing police and corrections work generally begin with an entry level positions. These positions may only require an associate’s degree and other forms of low-level qualifications such as a high school diploma. In some instances, a police academy training is required  as well. However, in order to rise up in positions such as administration, a bachelor’s degree is generally required. This is where the criminal justice online degrees come in handy. Some advanced positions may even require a master’s degree in a criminal justice field.

There is also the cost advantage. The online criminal justice programs tend to cost much less than the on-campus programs. Also, the fact that you do not have to travel to the campus or live in the college dormitory also results in significant cost savings.


The online programs require that you master utmost self-discipline. Dedication is also key since you are basically studying without much supervision. Many students who are taking online courses face this dedication challenge which isn’t an issue in a traditional college or university.

Studying alone from the comfort of your laptop also means there is less time for networking which is always an integral part of the college experience. Going to a campus allows you to make connections with people who are going on to leading positions in your professions. It is these kinds of connections that you can also leverage later on in order to advance your career. Some online colleges provide online networking platforms but still, these cannot beat the power of face-to-face networking in colleges and university campuses.

No two criminal justice schools are the same. It is, thus, important to take a good look at the various options available. Make sure you consider each one’s merits and whether it’s a good option for you.

How to Choose a Suitable Criminal Justice Online Degree Option

Look at the specialization and electives of the online course program:

Look at the course catalog offered by the institution: The size of it is always an important consideration for some students. Additionally, determine whether they offer the right specializations that you need to undertake. For instance, schools such as Harvard only offer criminal law practice. There, students can become lawyers in different areas of the law system.

Look at the type of faculty: The type of faculty is also an important consideration. What is the experience of the professors? Do they have real-life experience in the criminal justice world? There are certain colleges whose staff includes pure academics who may not have any professional experience and who have built a body of experience based on research and consulting on criminal policies.

It is advisable to opt for a faculty that has a real-world experience. They can be more practical-oriented and also keep the curriculum current with the needs of today’s criminal justice practice. A faculty that has a professional and practical approach in all fields of criminal justice can guarantee you a very qualitative experience.

The cost of tuition: Of course with online justice programs, you do not have to grapple with the residency costs. But the cost of tuition can still be high in some of the more reputable schools offering these online degrees. Look at the cost per credit which can range from $200 per credit to up to $800 per credit. Additionally, there are some schools which charge low rates for in-state students but very exorbitant rates for the out-of-state students. This is why you also need to factor that if you’re considering pursuing your degree in a school which is based out-of-state.

Where you want to work

Where you wish to work will also dictate your online criminal justice degree choices. Every school has various strengths as pertains to the employment prospects that they could open for you. It is always best to attend an online criminal justice program offered by a school that is situated in the place where you’re likely to work. Some of these campuses will leverage their reputation with the in-state and local employers. So if you are a resident in these places, you are likely to have more opportunities coming your way after you have completed your course program.

For example, some reputable schools can assist their students in procuring internships with the relevant employers. This could include the State Probation and Parole, local attorneys or even the Public Defender’s Office. Students can also get placement outside the traditional law enforcement fields in jobs such as counselors in jails, and case managers. Also included are human services fields like correctional officers, fraud investigators, social services, court administrators, and private investigators among many others.

Other Criminal Justice Studies Info

There are a number of things that you need to know when considering to pursue criminal justice studies. It’s important for you to have relevant details because it will help you in deciding if it fits your expectations or requirements.

The first thing that you should consider is whether it is an accredited institution and then if they have the specific criminal justice degree you’re eyeing. Not all institutions who offer a criminal justice degree are the same. Some specialize in different fields that may be different from what you want.

Once you’ve gone through different options available to you, settle on the specific criminal justice studies you prefer and go for it. Below are more details on these.

Types of Criminal Justice Studies

The second thing that you need to know when you are choosing a school is the types of degree programs and coursework they offer under the criminal justice. Even if the school you want to apply to is very good it will not be the right one if it does not have the specific program you want to pursue.

Check out whether your preferred university has the criminal justice degree of your choice. You can do this by visiting their website for any relevant details about the courses that they are offering.

Additionally, when you’re reading information on your chosen criminal justice degree, you should be sure to look at their credit requirements of the school. You should also look at the statistics about the rate of student completion of various degree programs. This will allow you to gauge the difficulty of their program and see if it’s something that you can accomplish.

Deciding on Prospective Careers

When you are looking at a school’s degree programs, try and research to see if the course will be viable for your prospective career. Some of the schools may be providing a curriculum that is more general, and others will be more specific in the degree programs that they offer.

You can also compare the curriculum that is being offered in the different schools. This is so you can see what will be the best for your post-school career goals.

Considering Location

Knowing whether the location of the school is right for you is very important. It will greatly be a convenience for you if you feel that your environment is conducive to your goals and growth as a person.

If you want to attend a school that’s a little more distant to your original location, make a point to be familiar with its surroundings. Also take into account any opportunities available in the area. During internship or job application, you will benefit a lot from knowing what the surrounding departments in the area have for you.

Costs and Fees

The cost of attending that school per semester or an academic year is very important to know. This way, you’ll know if you’re capable of managing the costs of living and studying at your potential school.

If you think you need financial aid for you to be able to pursue a degree in criminal justice, look at a few options from either your school or government aid. By looking at the cost you will know which school falls under your capabilities to foot your degree program in criminal justice.

Admission Criteria

Admission criteria are also crucial for applicants to know when choosing a school. It is the admission criteria that will determine the prerequisites for joining that particular school. This usually comes in the form of GPA cutoff, written essays, or interview attendance that is set by the school. From the prerequisites, you will be able to measure your chances of joining that school.

When choosing a school you should also know about their typical schedules and the minimum or maximum allowable course load per term. If you want to study part-time in criminal justice while working then having the right schedule is important in juggling each competently. After you’ve made your assessment, you can then pick the options that will best favor your desired schedule.

In Conclusion

The bottom-line is that a reputable school is likely to put you on a fast-track to success in the criminal justice field.

When looking for a suitable criminal justice online degree, start by compiling list of all the colleges in your state. Furthermore, look at the surrounding states which offer the program that you’re looking for. Eliminate the worst or poorly ranked programs from the list in order to narrow down to the most reputable course programs. Have a finalized list of reputable colleges along with what it would cost you to attend each of those programs.

Once you have found a reputable institution that you can comfortably afford, explore what each of these offers by contacting their respective criminal justice departments.  You can call them or even email them in order to inquire about the specifics so that you can determine if they will be a good fit for you.