The Online Criminal Justice Degree and Your Career

Studies & Professions in Criminal Justice

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The Online Criminal Justice Degree and Your Career

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The Online Criminal justice degree like the one offered by PSU – Portland State University  has long been a popular degree for individuals taking a non-traditional academic career path. They are often shorter degree programs than fields of study found at four-year universities averaging in length of about two years. Some programs can be completed in as little as 18 months and some are followed by training at police academies. There are also misconceptions about what type of profession a person can pursue with this kind of degree. It turns out that there are a variety of career paths that an individual could follow using a certification or a criminal justice degree.

 Police agencies now require college degrees

It used to be that a person needed only a high school diploma or equivalent in order to become a police officer. Up until a couple of decades ago this was the case in much of the United States however many agencies now require applicants with college degrees in a related field of study such as criminology. Many police agencies recruit academy trainees directly from community colleges or vocational schools where they have earned a two-year associate’s degree in criminal justice. This is largely because of the comprehensive nature of police work. Yes, police officers are required to be physically fit and are trained in self-defense tactics however they are also now required to be skilled at non-physical activities. Increasingly agencies want officers who have strong interpersonal communication skills and officers that are able to communicate effectively in writing. They want individuals who have a solid knowledge of how the entire legal system works so that they can better do their jobs. For instance an officer who has shaky knowledge of legal procedures performed by prosecutors concerning chain of custody for evidence collection may end up causing offenders to go free because they made a mistake. These are skills taught in online criminal justice programs and desired by law enforcement agencies.

Other agencies are now requiring degrees

Individuals that graduate from these programs do not always go on to become police officers. There are varieties of professions that call for candidates that possess the skills learned in these courses. For instance, parole, corrections, and probation officers have generally earned an associate of arts degree in criminal justice. Some private security firms and many federal agencies such as the fbi, atf, cia, secret service and more  require a masters in criminal justice that is accredited like the one offered by the University of Cincinnati. Individuals who plan to transfer to four-year universities to pursue a law degree often start as criminal justice majors at smaller schools. Individuals can even earn an online criminal justice degree and go on to a four year university. Other professions that individuals pursue after graduating from a program like this include court reporting, court room administration positions, process servers, forensic positions and teaching degree programs.

 Criminal Justice Schools

Over the past decade Criminal Justice Schools have grown in popularity. Sometimes people considering enrolling in these programs may stop short because they feel that online programs are inferior to traditional courses. While it is true that the college experience is different when done virtually as opposed to in person it is no less effective for a person’s ultimate goal of gaining knowledge and becoming more marketable. Online degrees in criminal justice are no different from traditional degrees and there are very well known universities and community colleges that offer online courses in addition to traditional on-campus courses. The education that a person receives online is just as good as one that they could get by attending classes in person. Sometimes online courses can be even more demanding than traditional ones and no employer will know the difference. Online courses do however require much more discipline than an in person course, as well as a person that works well on their own. One of the drawbacks is the absence of personal interaction with peers that comes with traditional schools

Criminal justice degrees are a popular and increasingly necessary program for people interested in a career in a law enforcement related field. Police agencies are looking for candidates with these qualifications as the field becomes more sophisticated. Not all people earning these accolades are becoming cops. There are many other fields and private pursuits that it can be used for. Individuals also have the option of taking courses online instead of in person and these certifications are just as good as the ones that are earned in the traditional manner.


admin @ September 11, 2011

Studies & Professions in Criminal Justice

Posted in: Careers, Uncategorized | Comments (0)

As our economy rebounds, there is a variety of career opportunities that individuals are training for. One that has remained viable throughout economic fluctuations is a degree in criminal justice. National security has remained at the forefront of societal concern for many years now and as a result, online criminal justice degree are increasing in number and popularity. Positions in law enforcement, corrections, parole and probation as well as other administrative and management jobs can also be obtained. Many different degree programs exist as well as professions that can be pursued after graduation.

Criminal Justice Degree programs

Both bachelors in criminal justice degrees online as well as on-campus courses are traditionally associate degree programs. These programs are tailored for individuals that will later pursue a career in law enforcement as well as a related field that does not involve police work. A common title for many programs at this level is an associate of applied science in criminal justice. Ancillary degrees or certificates may include corrections certificates, which qualify people to work in correctional facilities, crime scene technician certificates, and credentials to become certified as a private investigator. Some states require that individuals go on to complete higher-level degree programs after finishing with certification courses. Many institutions also offer bachelor level degree programs such as Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration and management. Masters level degree programs are also available however many professions may not require this level of education for entry level or even mid level positions. Most text materials can also be downloaded from the web and used virtually instead of buying them in a store. They can also be purchased at a discount in this fashion.

Career paths in criminal justice

The different career paths that can be pursued after graduation from these programs are as diverse as the course offerings themselves. Many individuals go on to become police officers after training at a police academy however there are many other options as well. People can go into probation or parole officer work and they can also go into a number of different administrative positions in the legal system. Students may also go onto pursue other education in law or stenography with their criminal justice degree as a base of studies. Homeland security is also a very popular field with the heightened attention to national security that has been going on over the past decade. Border patrol agencies and other positions within the department of homeland security cannot be filled fast enough and there is overwhelming demand for qualified individuals. In the past a person could qualify for one of these jobs with just a high school diploma however now agencies are looking for higher caliber individuals who can communicate effectively and have a broader knowledge of the overall legal system.

Obtaining an online criminal justice degree

People who have not attended school in a while or who never have may have a jaded view of what it means to attend a university or other institution online. It is not uncommon for these individuals to downplay the credibility of an online degree or think that it is somehow easier to earn a degree in a virtual manner. In fact this could not be further from the truth as online courses are just as rigorous if not more so than traditional courses on campus. Further, very prestigious universities and community colleges offer online courses. Some degree programs have supplemental online courses where only a portion of the program is taken on a computer whereas others have the entire curriculum online. Employers also cannot tell the difference between a degree earned online and one earned from attending traditional classes. If you are inclined to believe that online courses are not as good as traditional ones you can put the myth to rest. Criminal justice degrees earned online are just as good as certifications earned in the classroom.

More and more opportunities are becoming available as the unemployment rate drops in our country and people start going back to work. Positions in criminal justice have remained relatively stable during the downturn and are also seeing growth as the economy turns around. Traditionally many people move into law enforcement roles after graduating from these programs however; there are many other career paths that can be followed. Associate degree programs that typically take about 24 months to complete are the norm for criminal justice degrees. However, individuals can earn Bachelors and Masters level degree certificates as well. Certificates that take less than 24 months to earn such as in corrections and other fields are also available online and in person.


admin @ September 10, 2011

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