Online Colleges for Law & Criminal Justice

In his book American Law and the Legal System, Thomas Van Dervort describes the "mass of rules and regulations" created by the U.S. federal and state governments. Lawyers (also called attorneys) are knowledgeable about this complex "mass" and so act as guides, advising individuals about their legal rights and obligations and acting on our behalf during trials and other legal proceedings. But attorneys are not the only professionals who are called on every day to apply their understanding of the law. Legal assistants (or paralegals) and clerks who staff law offices and courthouses have studied law. And in order to enforce the law by identifying and apprehending offenders, police officers, detectives, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists often have a background in criminal justice.

Law & Criminal Justice Degree Programs and Careers

In a criminal justice degree program, you can learn about the fundamentals of the legal system, criminal behavior and psychology, methods of policing, systems of incarceration, and ethical treatment of offenders. Many colleges offer online criminal justice degree programs, and these can be a great choice for those already working in a law enforcement career, since you can go to work and school at the same time.

To become a lawyer, you must first get a bachelor's degree and then go to law school. Lawyers must have excellent critical thinking skills and be able to communicate clearly and persuasively, so applicable undergrad degrees include history, political science/government, logic/rhetoric, philosophy and English. Law schools are very selective, but today there are many options, including online programs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts strong growth for law & criminal justice careers, including legal assistant and lawyer. In 2009, legal assistants earned a mean annual salary of $50,080 and lawyers earned $129,020.

Why Go to an Online College for Criminal Justice?

Many students are discovering the benefits of trying to earn their education online, including criminal justice majors. Online programs offer the opportunity for students to realize their dream of entering into the field of criminal justice. Below is one students story as to why they chose to enroll in online classes for their criminal justice education.

"Ever since I was a young girl I have wanted to work in the criminal justice field. I recently found a poem that I wrote when I was eight years old. It was about how I wanted to be a police officer when I grow up.  A couple of years after graduating from High School I enrolled into college but for personal reasons I had to drop out. Eight years ago my partner got very ill and could no longer work or be left alone, therefore I was not able to work outside of the home or go to school.  On my 30th birthday, reality hit me hard; if something was to happen to my partner I will be in trouble. I haven't had a job in seven years, no college degree and no real income.  So I looked into online college I was very afraid to start college at 30 years, but I am going for it. So now, I am two classes away from finishing my first year with a 4.0 grade point average, but I find myself worrying about the debt I am getting myself in. I do know that the day I graduate will be one of the proudest days in my life and I am looking forward to one day being able to protect and serve. Online classes have made it all possible."

- Jennifer (Oklahoma)

Find Online Criminal Justice Colleges

At the bottom of the page you will discover several colleges that offer an online degree in criminal justice. You can also choose the program options on the right to narrow down your selection. When you find a program you are interested in, simply choose click on one of the options we offer to find more information, fill out a form, and we will put you in contact with a representative who can answer your questions.

View Online College Courses Below

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