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Criminal Justice Degree Programs

criminal justice degrees

Getting a Criminal Justice Degree

A Criminal Justice Degree is a great degree for veterans and active military who want to continue their service in the civilian sector. There are multiple benefits for veterans pursuing a Degree in Criminal Justice, including the ability to work in local, state, and federal government agencies, and military or private security companies. In addition, a criminal justice degree can open doors for working at top companies and advance careers.

What can you do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

A Degree in Criminal Justice can open doors to an exciting career with excellent pay. Criminal justice careers span a variety of jobs from opportunities in local government, federal jobs, and the private sector. Job opportunities with a degree in criminal justice can be found across all 50 states and overseas too!  A Degree in Criminal Justice can even provide opportunities to work for yourself by starting your own business or working as a consultant. A Criminal Justice Degree is available as an associate degree, bachelor’s, or masters. There are also a variety of certifications available such as crime scene investigation, private security, and peace officer.

A Degree (and certifications) in Criminal Justice will qualify the recipient for a wide variety of jobs. This is an especially great career path for military spouses as they are certain to secure excellent job opportunities across their many moves.

Don’t forget about the MyCAA program for military spouses!

Is a Criminal Justice Degree hard?

No, a Degree in Criminal Justice is not hard to earn! Courses are diverse and exciting and include topics such as:

  • critical-thinking
  • ethical decision-making
  • multi-cultural communication skills
  • technical skills
  • professional development

Students will take a wide range of courses taught by a variety of professionals including academic professors, current law enforcement, and lawyers. Students will learn about the legal, societal, and political demands of criminal justice professionals including local, national, homeland security, and even international law enforcement.

Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and choose a specialty focus such as police administration, homeland security, and crime scene analysis. A Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice will open doors and opportunities including supervisory positions and a significant pay bump from an associate degree.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

  • Probation officer – work with probationers and parolees. Median annual salary: $54,000
  • Detective – criminal investigator that gathers facts and collects evidence of possible crimes. Median annual salary: $65,000.
  • Police officers – protect lives and property. Median annual salary: $65,000.

Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Those earning a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice are well prepared to be leaders in their careers and related fields. When earning a master’s degree one can continue in their current career path with additional earning power, undertake leadership roles, or transition into teaching.

  • Postsecondary teacher – instructor for criminal justice programs. Average annual salary: $74,000.
  • Federal special agent – for a variety of agencies including FBI, ICE, Customs and Immigration, etc.  Median annual salary: $76,000.
  • First-line supervisor of detectives – directly supervises and coordinates activities of members of the police force. Median annual salary: $92,000.

Looking to boost your education even further? Criminal justice is also a very popular doctoral program. Those seeking to earn their Doctorate in Criminal Justice will have opportunities to become preeminent experts in their field.

Careers with a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice include college professors, research and publication, and senior management positions such as chiefs and head administrators.

Is a Criminal Justice Degree worth it?

Yes, a Degree in Criminal Justice is worth it! Earn the knowledge backed by a respectable degree to open up a variety of career opportunities. Take advantage of educational entitlements such as the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program and students can earn a degree for no money out-of-pocket!

GI Bill-approved Schools Offering a Criminal Justice Degree

Ready to earn your Degree in Criminal Justice?  Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:

Southern New Hampshire University

Offers a wide variety of fully online degrees in Criminal Justice including Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, and Master Degree programs. SNHU is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Columbia Southern University

Offers fully online Criminal Justice degrees including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in criminal justice and several related degree programs. Columbia Southern is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Buena Vista University

Offers a few options for undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice including a fully online Bachelor’s degree as well as campus-based options. Buena Vista University is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Trinity Washington University

Offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Trinity Washington University is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Loyola University Chicago

Offers an abundance of Degrees in Criminal Justice including BA and BS in Criminal Justice, an MA in Criminal Justice, and accelerated/dual degree options. Loyola University Chicago is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Nyack College

Offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Nyack College is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Gardner-Webb University

Offers a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. Gardner-Webb is a Yellow Ribbon school.

Quinnipiac University

Offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Quinnipiac is a Yellow Ribbon school.


>> Search more VA-approved schools with a Degree in Criminal Justice.


*All average annual salaries adapted and calculated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. For more information click here.





About the author

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Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.