A criminal justice bachelor’s degree gives you an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice field and has a strong liberal arts component in order to develop your communication, critical analysis, abstract thinking, and problem-solving skills. Bachelor’s programs generally consist of 120 credit hours and take about four years to complete. Many state, federal, and corporate employment opportunities in criminal justice require at least a bachelor’s degree. Earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the exciting, ever-changing field.
Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s programs in criminal justice. Online criminal justice bachelor’s degree programs are available to students who require flexible scheduling options. Criminal justice schools accommodate both students who want to complete all four years of their college education at a particular institution and students transferring into the institution with an associate’s degree. Therefore, the admissions requirements for criminal justice programs are either a GED or high school diploma or an associate’s degree in criminal justice or its equivalent.
In addition to providing a broad liberal arts education, criminal justice programs at the bachelor’s level give students a strong foundation in the three main areas of criminal justice: corrections, courts, and law enforcement. The curriculum at criminal justice schools typically blends theory, research, and practical application.
Concentrations that you may be able to pursue include computer security and forensics, homeland security technology, criminal justice administration, corrections, law enforcement, and juvenile justice. Below are some courses you might take in a criminal justice bachelor’s degree program:
- Domestic terrorism
- Security and police administration
- Crime investigation
- Legal research
- Correctional alternatives
- Research methods
- Statistical analysis
- Crime control
Career Options for Criminal Justice Degree Holders
A bachelor’s in criminal justice can help you start or advance your career in a variety of fields, including protective services, crime-related prevention and support, and law and corrections. Needless to say, there are a wide range of career options available to criminal justice graduates. Specific jobs for which a criminal justice graduate may qualify include the following:
- Police officer
- Correctional officer
- Security officer
- Probation officer
- Loss prevention manager
- Case manager
- Substance abuse counselor
Within the field of criminal justice, positions at the state and federal level tend to be the most competitive, as salaries are generally higher for these roles. Bilingual candidates with a bachelor’s degree or relevant military experience should have the best chance for employment. In 2012, the median annual salaries for the following criminal justice positions were:
- Security guards– $23,970
- Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators– $29,610
- Correctional officers and jailers– $39,040
- Private detectives and investigators– $45,740
- Fish and game wardens– $48,070
- Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists– $48,190
- Police and sheriff’s patrol officers– $55,270
- Detectives and criminal investigators– $74,300
- First-line supervisors of police and detectives– $78,270
Want to play an active role in upholding the law and making your community a safer place? Whether you would like to advance your current career in criminal justice or are seeking entry-level employment in the field, a bachelor’s in criminal justice can help you achieve your goals. Start working towards your bachelor’s degree today in order to enhance your overall job prospects.