Online Criminal Justice Degrees 2022

An online criminal justice degree can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top online criminal justice programs.

February 11, 2022 , Modified on April 8, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Criminal Justice Degrees 2022

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Degrees in the Criminal Justice Field

Many schools offer online criminal justice degrees. Professionals in the criminal justice field use strategic thinking and observational skills to solve crimes and oversee justice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for protective service occupations to grow 8% from 2020-2030.

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice prepares graduates to enter this growing field. This page lists the most affordable criminal justice degrees online, including costs and common classes.

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Questions About Criminal Justice Degrees

What jobs can you get with a criminal justice degree?

Criminal justice careers include police officer, detective, and correctional officer. Some degree-holders continue their education and become lawyers.

What's the difference between criminal justice and criminology?

Criminal justice focuses on the law enforcement system. Criminology explores criminals' sociological and psychological behaviors. Criminologists seek to understand the cause of criminal actions.

What do you study in criminal justice?

Learners study the inner workings of the U.S. justice system. Enrollees learn best practices for preventing crime. They also study laws, theories, and ethics.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Criminal Justice Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Degree in Criminal Justice?

Earning a criminal justice degree can lead to fulfilling criminal justice careers. Workers provide vital services and prevent potential tragedies. A criminal justice degree can also help professionals increase their earning potential.

Students can often work part-time or full-time while pursuing an online criminal justice degree. Asynchronous classes let students watch recorded lectures anytime. Some schools may charge less for online programs.

How Much Does a Criminal Justice Degree Cost?

An online bachelor's degree costs an average of $51,091, according to EducationData.org. However, costs vary by school and learners' residency status. Students attending public in-state schools usually pay the most affordable tuition. Learners earning a degree from an out-of-state or private school may spend much more.

Students who pursue an online criminal justice degree can save money by not commuting. They can also enroll in the most affordable program without relocating.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners should budget for extra expenses. Some schools charge technology fees for tech support and virtual classroom platforms. Schools may also charge graduation fees.

Online students may need to buy a new computer or upgrade their internet. They also need to buy supplies and books. Buying used books or renting them can save money. Criminal justice degree-seekers may need to pay for tools like fingerprint-dusting kits for fieldwork.

How Much Do Criminal Justice Graduates Make?

Salaries vary depending on workers' experience, geographic location, and employer. For example, Californian detectives and criminal investigators earn a mean wage of $111,480. The same professionals in Florida only earn $80,360.

Criminal justice graduates can also work as police officers. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $67,290. Correctional officers make a median of $47,440 per year.

Courses in Criminal Justice

Most criminal justice bachelor's programs require 120 credits. Full-time learners can earn the degree in four years. Students with transfer credits or an associate degree may complete the program in two years.

Degree-seekers study the laws and theories that guide criminal justice. Many classes require course discussions. Students learn how to prevent and respond to crimes. Some programs let students choose a minor or concentration. Options may include forensic psychology and criminology.

See below for three common criminal justice classes. Keep in mind that classes vary by program.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Paralegal Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Career and Salary Outlook for Criminal Justice Students

An online criminal justice degree prepares learners for various careers. Learners can choose a program that aligns with their desired career. For example, aspiring investigators should look for a program that offers a minor in detective work.

In this section, we highlight three potential criminal justice careers. Click the embedded links in the chart for more information.

Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Police and Detectives $67,290 7%
Private Detective and Investigators $53,320 13%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $55,690 4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Criminal Justice Degrees 2022

  1. Ashland University
    Location

    Ashland, OH

    Founded in 1878, AU is a comprehensive college located in Ohio. AU manages a strong online and adult studies program that includes a 120-credit bachelor's in criminal justice. Designed by criminal justice experts, the online program provides students and those already working in law enforcement with necessary training for career success.

    The curriculum covers core topics such as criminology, victimology, and policing in the United States. Students can choose from a generalist track or four other specialized tracks to tailor the degree to their interests. The options include legal studies, correctional administration, and law enforcement administration. Participants build hands-on expertise during field experiences with professionals.

    Enrollees receive credit for professional training in corrections and law enforcement. All students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.70 high school GPA and a 2.25 GPA on transfer credits.

  2. University of Central Missouri
    Location

    Warrensburg, MO

    Tuition

    $12,616

    UCM offers 150 programs, including an online bachelor's in criminal justice and criminology completion program. The school offers nontraditional learners an innovative curriculum that blends theoretical learning, field experience, and the use of state-of-the-art technology. Students complete the bachelor's entirely online or in a hybrid format with some classes taken in Warrensburg. The 120-credit curriculum explores topics such as corrections, criminal law and procedure, juvenile justice, and policing a democratic society.

    Enrollees use real data to investigate research questions in the program. They complete FEMA independent study coursework that provides hands-on experience in incident command and use of the National Incident Management System. The program exposes students to ArcGIS software for crime mapping. Learners can also get experience at a site within UCM's network of local, state, and federal partners through internships.

    Online and hybrid learners pay the same affordable tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 transfer GPA.

  3. Arizona State University
    Location

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Tuition

    $14,166

    ASU operates one of the nation's largest virtual colleges. ASU Online's bachelor's in criminology and criminal justice explores the causes and consequences of crime and how criminal justice agencies address criminality. The degree requires general education courses that students may transfer from prior college education. The criminal justice curriculum explores concepts such as corrections, policing, criminology, and courts and sentencing.

    All students complete a course that teaches them how to apply descriptive and inferential statistics. Elective credits allow students to explore complementary criminal justice issues such as terrorism, sex crimes, and police accountability. Participants can also use elective credits to pursue a supervised internship at a law enforcement agency. Students hone their skills when they collaborate with peers on projects and analyze case studies.

    Out-of-state students pay modestly more tuition than their in-state peers. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores for freshmen and a minimum 2.5 GPA for transfer students.

  4. University of Louisville
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $17,098

    Located in Kentucky, UofL's bachelor's in criminal justice program gives students a strong foundation in adult and juvenile justice. The 54-credit curriculum requires completion and transfer of general education credits prior to enrollment. Alternatively, students may opt to complete two years of general education credits online at UofL.

    Learners pursuing a degree in criminal justice explore core topics such as criminal behavior, criminal procedure, juvenile justice, and criminal law and evidence. Students learn how to use quantitative research methods to analyze criminal justice data. Various electives give learners flexibility to explore subjects in criminal justice and related departments.

    UofL's criminal justice organizations -- Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Phi Sigma -- stream meetings and other events so that online learners can network with on-campus peers. Enrollees receive transfer credit for military and law enforcement/correction academy training. All online students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires an associate degree or equivalent credits.

  5. Washington State University
    Location

    Pullman, WA

    Tuition

    $17,297

    WSU manages one of the nation's oldest criminal justice programs. WSU's Global Campus offers a bachelor's in criminal justice and criminology, a policy-based curriculum influenced by psychology, sociology, and political science. The 120-credit curriculum includes general education requirements that students can meet by transferring an associate degree or significant credit. The criminal justice curriculum explores fundamental topics such as criminal law, criminological theory, and administration of criminal justice.

    Students take electives to explore complementary topics such as crime control policies or policing and society. They may also opt to learn about issues that affect specific populations, such as violence toward women or juvenile justice and corrections. An optional internship gives learners hands-on experience working in a law enforcement setting. Out-of-state students pay modestly more tuition that their in-state peers. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores for freshmen and a minimum 2.5 GPA on transfer credits.

  6. East Central University
    Location

    Ada, OK

    Tuition

    $9,283

    ECU offers the only program in Oklahoma dedicated to criminal justice policy. Faculty design the bachelor's in criminal justice policy program especially for professionals working in criminal justice who want to finish a degree. The 124-credit curriculum includes general education courses and other requirements that students can fulfill by transferring credits. The criminal justice core courses explore criminal behavior, civil rights and civil liberties, public policymaking, and the legal aspects of the criminal justice process.


    Electives examine complementary issues such as juvenile justice or addictions and society. Participants may also use elective credit to pursue a human resources practicum within a law enforcement agency. Students can transfer up to 94 credits to finish the degree sooner. ECU offers competitive tuition rates and provides a nonresident tuition waiver in some instances. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores for freshmen and at least 24 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA for transfer students.

  7. University of North Alabama
    Location

    Florence, AL

    Tuition

    $12,121

    UNA is the state's oldest public four-year college. The university's online programs include the bachelor's in criminal justice. Students complete general education courses and other requirements before completing the 45-credit major. The curriculum includes introductory coursework on the U.S. government, current social problems, and criminal justice. Courses also cover advanced topics such as criminology and research methods in criminal justice.

    Criminal justice majors use 21 elective credits to complete a minor or second major. One option, the crime scene investigator minor, develops students' proficiencies in evidence management, forensic investigation, and crime scene reconstruction. Some enrollees may prefer the security and emergency management minor or another alternative. All students complete a research practicum in criminal justice.

    UNA offers affordable tuition and scholarships for eligible transfer students. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores for freshmen and college transcripts for transfer students.

  8. Lynn University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Located in Boca Raton, Florida, Lynn enrolls about 3,200 students in programs administered by six colleges. The bachelor's in criminal justice program enrolls students new to criminal justice and professionals. The curriculum blends theoretical knowledge and field-based exercises that give students practical experience. The 120-credit program includes a core curriculum that develops learners' skills in critical thinking and writing, personal finance/statistical analysis, and ethical decision-making.

    The criminal justice major delves into concepts such as criminal law, policing in America, victimology, and law and courts. The program features a unique opportunity for full-time students to participate in a semester-long internship in Washington, D.C. Lynn issues iPads for undergraduate academic programs.

    Online students in the criminal justice program pay a low flat tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a high school or GED diploma for freshmen and official transcripts for transfer students.

  9. Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Tuition

    $14,273

    A leader in distance education, EKU offers a bachelor's in criminal justice degree online. The 120-credit program provides a comprehensive overview of the justice system and societal problems. The curriculum's core explores six topics, including crime and delinquency and applied criminal justice analysis. Students use 27 elective credits to build knowledge and expertise in areas such as the judicial process, the juvenile justice system, and living and working in prison.

    Students can also use elective credits to earn certificates in correctional intervention strategies or intelligence studies. EKU's support services include free online tutoring and career services. Learners can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree in criminal justice. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Active-duty military personnel enjoy a steep tuition discount.

    Six start dates provide students with great flexibility. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores for freshmen and a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for transfer students.

  10. Averett University
    Location

    Danville, VA

    Averett features programs specifically for nontraditional learners. The Virginia-based college offers an online bachelor's in sociology and criminal justice program that enrolls students with some college credit and work experience. The 120-credit program emphasizes the application of theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.

    Students can accelerate degree completion by transferring general education courses and other requirements. The program provides 45 credits of core criminal justice courses. Enrollees study criminology, race and ethnicity, police in America, and juvenile delinquency and justice. Participants diversify their skills with one of four minors: leadership, homeland security, business administration, or cybersecurity and computer forensics. Students also learn how to apply research methods to evaluate programs and address social problems.

    Learners can transfer up to 90 credits and Averett may award up to 36 credits for military or police academy experience. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Masters Criminal Justice Programs

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