Online Criminal Justice Programs Schools & Colleges
Whether you pursue a career in the courts, in policy or in prosecution and defense, you're likely to find an exciting career when you pursue criminal justice. One day may be different than the next depending on what you do, but more than likely, your job will demand attention to detail and commitment. Whatever you want to do to have an affect in today's U.S. criminal justice system, an education could be especially valuable when it comes to advancing your career.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
Many colleges offer degree programs in law enforcement or administration of justice. If you want to to pursue a career in criminal law as a lawyer or paralegal, you may want to complete a pre-law bachelor's degree program and continue on to law school. Many types of criminal justice programs are available to students online and range from associate to master's degree and beyond. Example online criminal justice degrees you could find include an associate degree in Paralegal Studies or in Criminal Justice. You could also discover similar degree programs at the bachelor's level.
If you are already established in a career, and are looking for ways to advance and expand your learning, online criminal justice programs at the graduate level could be helpful. These can allow you to focus in very specific areas and sharpen your skills. Some of the advanced online criminal justice programs currently available include a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, with focuses either on Law or in Global Issues in Criminal Justice.
Depending on the type of education you pursue, there are a variety of criminal justice career paths. For instance, if you become a paralegal or legal assistant, you could find yourself in a field that is projected to grow by 17 percent from 2012-2022, which is faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The field typically requires a certificate or associate degree, which is a small investment considering the projected growth opportunities. The BLS states that growth is expected because many law firms are trying to cut costs by having paralegals and legal assistants do the work once performed by lawyers. The mean wages earned by paralegals and legal assistants in 2014 were $51,840, according to BLS data. This compares to a national annual mean wage for all occupations of $47,230 in 2014, the BLS shows.
You could also work toward becoming an adjudicator, hearing officer, or administrative law judge. While growth in this overall field is only expected to be 1 percent from 2012-2022, those in these occupations reported earning mean annual wages of $91,530, according to 2014 BLS data. Of course, to enter this field, you may need a master's or advanced degree as well as experience and training that could come from on-the-job opportunities. Other occupations that could be of interest to you include those of a counselor, law clerk, lawyer, and more. Additionally, there are also opportunities in law enforcement. However, these typically require attending a police academy, but a degree could be beneficial to your understanding new material at the academy or even in advancing up in the ranks later on in your career.
- Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231021.htm
- Judges and Hearing Officers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, 2013-14. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook Occupational Handbook 2013-14. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm