Criminal Justice Degree, Requirements, Tuition Cost, Jobs and Salary

About Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Degree

What is Criminal Justice?

The present stage of criminal justice has been formed from many evolutionary stages. Americans have mechanisms that implement rules and punish offenders. The rules and norms have been formed by the Americans by considering the religion and sin as the means of shaping society. A criminal justice system is an excelling group, it’s unique and different. There are many sub-fields in criminal justice to study and each leads to a different career option.

 The criminal justice system is conceded in three parts, they are:

  • Law Enforcement – it is considered as the first step of criminal justice. Whenever a crime scene occurs, the police are directly in contact with this situation. The police have to complete some tasks like investigating the crime place, people, collecting evidence, and arresting the offenders.

  • The Courts  – this can be taken as the second part of criminal justice, here the guilt or the innocence of the suspect is assured at the trial periods. The primary purpose of this is to ensure a fair trial for the suspect.

  • Corrections– if the accused in the court of law is convicted and charged jail merit time, they will be sent to the corrections system for punishment. The right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment is the primary constraint on abuses in the correctional system.

Online Education in Criminal Justice

In today's world, many students choose online criminal justice programs to earn degrees. The web-based format is typically more flexible than classroom-based education, enabling students to hold down a job and financially support themselves while they pursue a degree.

The best online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs have rigorous coursework. Online programs allow students to gain supervised training at police stations, law offices and other workplaces where criminal justice majors tend to find employment

Why study Criminal Justice?

Steven Brancazio, the faculty chair for Capella University’s Criminal Justice Undergraduate Studies, and Dr. Micheal Kemp, faculty chair in the School of Public Service Leadership, there are huge and important reasons to obtain a degree.

  • A Changing field: 'Today, officers are given more authority and are more involved in the community' says Brancazio. They need better critical thinking skills. More decision-making responsibility at lower levels means a law enforcement officer needs to know what’s involved.

  • Increased safety: teaches ethics, conflict resolution, and critical thinking. That’s what a degree brings. When you come in with more knowledge up front, you’re less likely to make mistakes.

  • Successful public interaction: Crime prevention and community relations are a major part of a police officer’s portfolio.

  • Good career options: Many entry-level criminal justice positions don’t require a degree, a candidate who has an edge over the competition, and is likely to earn more as well—up to 22 %.

What is a Criminal Justice degree?

Criminal justice sounds fascinating, doesn't it? Who doesn't want to fight against the bad guys and emerge as a superhero? In addition to all the detective and heroic stuff, there are many other careers as well which you can take up once you have obtained a degree in criminal justice.

Criminal Justice involves learning about the functioning of the courts, law enforcement agencies, and more. It covers everything from research to statistics in order to harness skills which will be required to be successful in the field.


What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

There are mainly two reasons why Criminal Justice Careers are so popular. The primary reason is that it serves as a launching pad for a  variety of job options. Secondly, more and more law enforcement agencies are looking for students having a degree in criminal justice as candidates for various positions.

Depending on what level of education you have obtained in this field, there are many possible career options. There are four types of Criminal Justice degree levels and each of them opens the door to a number of varying opportunities.

Specializations in Criminal Justice

  • Law Enforcement – Under this domain, you get to work as crime patrol officers, investigators, security officers.

  • Juvenile justice - Involved in court reporting, legal assistance, legal administration etc. After attending the law school they will become an attorney.

  • Social services - Graduates function as victim advocates, as well as serve in organizations that provide assistance to victims and facilitate programs that seek to prevent and reduce crime

  • Corrections - You can be a juvenile or an adult prohibition officer, correctional officer, correctional caseworkers.

  • Cyber-crime - These graduates can become a computer cyber-crime investigator. 

Where can you work?

  • Law enforcement - It is an organization which behaves in a way to enforce law and norms.

  • Criminology - It is a study of crimes and criminology.

  • Social service - Provide social service as an attorney or lawyer with the help of many organizations.

  • Rehabilitation - You can work in rehabilitation centers.

  • Corrections - Corrections in the law and criminal justice.

  • Paralegal - Law office, work in government law agencies.

  • Research methods - You can do research in various high profiled cases and different law and norms.

  • Psychology - Work in the psychology-related domain. 

  • Information technology - Work as a legal consultant in IT companies. 

Criminal Justice Degree Careers

Once you have acquired a degree in criminal justice, there are a number of career options that you can opt for.

Serving your fellow citizens does give you benefits in return. These options give you a sense of job security and after all, justice always needs to be served.

Here is a list of top 10 exciting jobs that you can take up to build a successful career in this field.  

  • Probation Officer - As a probation officer you are supposed to monitor parolees and make sure that they follow the laws and are not creating disturbance in the society. They are assigned to help parolees improve their life by helping them to lead a  law-abiding life in the society. 

  • Forensic Technician - If you possess acumen for forensic science then this job will excite you. A profession in real life is similar to what they show on Crime Thrillers, but a lot of perfection and accuracy is required as your actions determine a case's outcome. 

  • Crime Scene Investigator - As the name sounds, the job is to understand the scenario and the place of crime by using the evidence present and then analyze it to bring some important facts into the picture which can help to solve the crime. 

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent - Immigration Agents are responsible to prevent any illegal entry of either Goods or People to the country. They keep checking for all international personnel coming to the nation make sure they have a permit. They stay updated on the latest policies and take necessary actions in case of illegal immigration.  

  • Drug Enforcement agent - As a DEA agent, you have to keep checking for any drug abuse going in your vicinity or in your knowledge. You have to keep track of drug traffickers and their working groups, and arrest anyone found in possession of illegal drugs, working undercover or as field agents. 

  • US Marshal - They keep the prisoners safe and help in transporting them. They help to administer the Department of justice, keep witness and prosecutors of potentially dangerous cases safe and provide the judges additional safety for the duration of court cases.

  • Private Detective - As a private detective, you will be working with the police departments and other government bodies to help them uncover and track certain accused personnel and potential criminals and keep them updated about any new evidence on the case. 

  • State Trooper - They work on highways and freeways to make sure that the federal and state laws are followed by the citizens on the road. From slightest to major, every traffic law is important and they make sure proper enforcement is done. 

  • Correctional Officer - They work in prisons to administer the convicted prisoners to ensure that these people are not creating a nuisance or provoking fights inside the prison. They work on different levels like local, Federal and their jobs require a lot of discipline and persistence as they are dealing with unsocial elements of the state. 

  • Security Guard - Their job is to patrol the assigned compound and report to higher authority in case of any suspicious events going around. They stay on toes as any minor ignorance can cause major problems for the organization.

Criminal Justice Degree Salaries

It’s time for your heroism to pay off! The average wage earned is $61,231 growing at a rate of 3.18 %. Currently, there is one million workforce in this sector with a growth rate of  5.42%.

As per the data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following table lists some of the jobs and average salaries associated with them.

Criminal Justice Jobs and Salaries
Job Position Average Salary
Forensic Psychologist $72,580
FBI Agent $63,323
Crime Scene Investigator $56,320
Emergency Management Coordinator $53,311
Corrections Manager $42,439


By now I am sure you would have gained some confidence that criminal justice can be an option for your career. There are lots and lots of domains that you can choose, but don’t just follow someone. If you really like this and poses the qualities to study criminal justice go for it.

Types of Criminal Justice

Forensic Science

Forensic science a practice of systematic information and procedure required for criminal inquiries and legal complications

Forensic science is used to solve disputes related to public well-being, impose criminal laws and protocols and to resolve civil clashes.

Disciples studying Forensic science focus on assembling, preserve, and investigative physical evidence collected during the progression of an investigation

Students perusing forensic science posses key skills such as

  • Knowledge of various fields of science

  • Technical Skills

  • Intelligent

  • Strong Analytical Skills

  • Keen Observation

Specializations in forensic science includes the following

  • Forensic Biology

  • Forensic Serology

  • Forensic Chemistry

  • Forensic Toxicology

  • Forensic Ballistics

  • Forensic Entomology

  • Forensic Botany

Know More about Forensic Science

Top University Offering Forensic Science

University of Rhode Island (URI)

Green Hall, 35 Campus Avenue, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881

West Virginia University (WVU)

PO Box 6201, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506

Fayetteville Technical Community College

2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236

Mesa Community College

1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, Arizona 85202

University of Montana (UM)

32 Campus Dr, Missoula, MT 59812

Stevenson University

1525 Greenspring Valley Rd, Stevenson, Maryland 21153-0641

Hopkinsville Community College

720 North Dr., Hopkinsville, Kentucky 42240

Trine University

1 University Ave, Angola, Indiana 46703-1764

Degrees offered in Forensic Science

Criminal Psychology

Criminal psychology is also termed as forensic psychology

Criminal psychology plays a vital role in justice system

Criminal psychology is a study of psychology as well as criminal justice that deals with law, crime and legal systems

Criminal psychology also focuses on areas such as sociology, biology, and human behavior

Strategies, key points, knowledge from the above fields are merged to understand the criminal mind and prevent later solve the criminal issue

Study of criminal psychology include

  • Forensic Psychology

  • Psychopathology

  • Psychology and the Law

  • Psychology of Violence

  • Criminal Psychological Assessment

  • Intellectual and Cognitive Assessment

  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior

  • Methods of Psychotherapy

  • Advanced Abnormal Psychology

Top University Offering Criminal Psychology

Indiana State University (ISU)

200 North Seventh Street Terre Haute, Indiana, USA 47809-1902

University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO)

6001 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68182

Regis University

3333 Regis Boulevard Denver, Colorado 80221-1099

Indiana University Of Pennsylvania (IUP)

1011 South Drive, Indiana, PA 15705, USA

Lee University

1120 N Ocoee St, Cleveland, TN 37311, USA

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)

Rusteberg 108 | Education (EDUC) 2.202

University of South Florida (USF)

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB)

4901 E. University, Odessa, Texas 79762

Degrees offered in Criminal Psychology

Crime Scene Investigation

Crime scene investigation concentrates on the investigation on misconducts by judiciously gathering and analyzing physical evidence.

Crime scene investigation is the consultation point of science, logic, and law.

A crime scene investigator is a person who is answerable for recognizing, gathering, conserving, and wrapping physical evidence gathered during investigation

Study of crime focuses on

  • Alternate Light Source Training

  • Footwear and Tire Tread

  • Forensic Odontology

  • Forensic Anthropology

  • Clandestine Lab Training

  • Arson Investigations

  • Courtroom Testimony

  • Blood Pattern Analysis

  • Latent Print Detection/Comparison

  • Crime Scene Investigations

  • Crime Scene Documentation

  • Death Investigations

  • Evidence Photograph

 A study of crime scene investigation fetch job in following fields

  • Crime scene leader

  • Crime scene technician

  • Forensic photographer

  • Forensic sketch artist

  • Ballistics expert

  • Fingerprint expert

  • DNA expert

Top University Offering Crime Scene Investigation

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

900 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92521

Fayetteville Technical Community College

2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236

St. Petersburg College (SPC)

6021 142nd Ave N, Clearwater, Florida 33760-2822

Trident Technical College

7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29423-8067

South College

3904 Lonas Road, Knoxville, Tennessee 37909-0000

Purdue University Global

9000 Keystone Crossing, Ste 800 Indianapolis, IN 46240 United States

Columbia College

1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, Missouri 65216

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

524 West 59th. Street New York, NY, 10019

Degrees offered in Crime Scene Investigation


Leadership is referred as a method that works for honor of a distinction in order to become a well-organized leader, keeping companies goals as key aspect

Leadership is the capability of an individual to form and direct human effort favoring the accomplishment of objectives

Leadership has numerous aids and tasks contributing to the success of an association

  • Strategic leadership

  • Organizational analysis

  • Conflict management

  • Workplace culture

  • Overall vision

A student perusing leadership should possess following qualities

  • Courage

  • Personal Honesty

  • Intelligence

  • Human Understanding

  • Ability to Communicate

Know More about Leadership

Top University Offering Leadership

American Public University System

111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

Mercer University

1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, Georgia 31207

Portland State University (PSU)

P.O. Box 751, Portland, Oregon,

Sam Houston State University

1905 University Avenue Huntsville, TX 77340

Walden University

100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

Rasmussen College

4400 West 78th Street, 6th Floor, Bloomington, Minnesota 55435-5444

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU)

521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, Kentucky 40475-3102

Concordia University Saint Paul

1282 Concordia Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104-5494

Degrees offered in Leadership

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity is a method of defending information, system, processors, agendas from attack, manipulation, damage or unauthorized access

With a rise in cost and capacity of data, cybersecurity is developing from being considered by business head as a technical issue to a wider business threat

A study of cybersecurity gives knowledge about

  • Cybersecurity policy

  • disaster recovery plans creation

  • risk governance

  • approach, concepts, methods, and techniques for incident handling.

Efficient cybersecurity reduces the risk of cyber-attack, and preserve administrations and individual accounts from unauthorized usage of systems, network, and technologies

Cyber-attacks can be reduced by using few security essentials such as

  • Asset Security

  • Communication and network security

  • Identification and access management

  • Security assessment and Testing

  • Security operations

Know More about Cyber Security

Top University Offering Cyber Security

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - 15233-1895

University of West Florida (UWF)

11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida 32514-5750

Southwestern College (SCKANS)

100 College Street, Winfield, Kansas - 67156-6224

Colorado Technical University (CTU)

4435 N Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80907-3812

Norwich University

158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, Vermont 05663-1035

Central Michigan University (CMU)

802 Industrial Drive Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

City University of Seattle

521 Wall Street Suite 100 Seattle, WA 98121

Indiana State University (ISU)

200 North Seventh Street Terre Haute, Indiana, USA 47809-1902

Degrees offered in Cyber Security

Security Management

Top University Offering Security Management

Fayetteville Technical Community College

2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236

University of Phoenix

1625 West Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, Arizona 85282

University of Massachusetts (UMass)

374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003

Michigan State University (MSU)

220 Trowbridge Rd, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1046

Craven Community College

800 College Ct, New Bern, North Carolina 28562-4900

Community College Of Denver

1111 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado 80204-2026

George Washington University

2121 I Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052

Seton Hall University

400 South Orange Ave South Orange, NJ 07079

Degrees offered in Security Management

Average Tuition and Cost for Criminal Justice Degrees

Degree type Total Tuition Tuition Per Credit
Bachelors $ 46888 $ 422
Associate $ 15440 $ 242
Masters $ 22340 $ 623
Doctorate $ 59925 $ 703

Degrees offered in Criminal Justice Degrees


Eligibility See best colleges
Required Average Credits: 65


Eligibility See best colleges
Required Average Credits: 116


Eligibility See best colleges
Required Average Credits: 36

Accreditation for Criminal Justice

Colleges Offering Criminal Justice Programs and Degrees

Colorado State University - Global Campus

Colorado State University - Global Campus

7800 East Orchard Road, Suite 200 Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Fayetteville Technical Community College

2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236

Azusa Pacific University (APU)

Azusa Pacific University (APU)

901 E Alosta, Azusa, California 91702

Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC)

Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC)

1825 N. Bluemound Drive. P.O. Box 2277 Appleton, WI 54912-2277 United States

Columbia Southern University (CSU)

Columbia Southern University (CSU)

21982 University Lane, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561-9000

Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC)

Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC)

6220 East Texas Street, Bossier City, LA 71111 United States

American Public University System

American Public University System

111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University

33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574-6665