Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated May 1, 2024
Looking to pursue criminal justice? Explore online criminal justice degrees, including information on concentrations, accreditation, and career pathways.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Earning an online criminal justice degree offers numerous advantages for individuals seeking careers in the field. Online programs often feature asynchronous coursework, enabling students to access lectures and assignments on their own schedules, making them more accessible for working professionals or those with family responsibilities.

A criminal justice education equips students with a foundation in understanding the criminal justice system, law enforcement, corrections, and criminology. Students can develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of crime and the criminal justice system. They also gain critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills for various criminal justice careers.

Graduates of online criminal justice programs can pursue many rewarding careers. Common roles include law enforcement officer, probation and parole officer, correctional officer, and private investigator. These professionals play crucial roles in supervising offenders, ensuring public safety, providing legal support, and conducting investigations.

Online criminal justice bachelor’s degrees can open up opportunities for many fulfilling careers in the field, where professionals contribute to the well-being and safety of communities.

Criminal Justice Online Degrees

Online criminal justice degrees explore policies, practices, and components of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, security, corrections, and the courts. Some programs offer concentrations in homeland security, juvenile justice, and victim advocacy.

Graduates who earn online criminal justice bachelor’s degrees can pursue work as police officers and detectives, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, and private detectives and investigators. Several criminal justice jobs offer salaries that exceed the national average. As of May 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers earned a median salary of $72,280.

The Advantages of a Criminal Justice Education

Criminal justice majors study law enforcement techniques and emergency management strategies to master the skills needed to work in courts and correctional facilities. An online criminal justice degree also provides added flexibility in preparing to pursue law school or other criminal justice graduate programs.

While some employers, including police departments, hire associate degree-holders, others require further education. For example, most federal law enforcement agencies expect prospective FBI agents, U.S. marshals, and Secret Service agents to hold bachelor’s degrees.

Certain high-level positions, such as emergency management director or lawyer, may require candidates to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice. Graduate programs typically require a bachelor’s degree for admission, making them a strong program to consider for aspiring graduate students.

Featured Online Criminal Justice Programs

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Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees

#1 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,168
  • Out-of-state$18,566
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate64%
  • Students Enrolled54,906
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

The University of Central Florida

  • Location-markerOrlando, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,368
  • Out-of-state$19,810
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate41%
  • Students Enrolled68,010
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment9%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Pennsylvania State University World Campus

  • Location-markerUniversity Park, PA
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,484
  • Out-of-state$13,484
  • Retention Rate62%
  • Acceptance Rate76%
  • Students Enrolled14,458
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

The University of Louisiana Monroe

  • Location-markerMonroe, LA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,788
  • Out-of-state$17,888
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled8,718
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment53%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • Location-markerNatchitoches, LA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,180
  • Out-of-state$15,968
  • Retention Rate61%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled9,270
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment88%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Trine University

  • Location-markerAngola, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$33,650
  • Out-of-state$33,650
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate79%
  • Students Enrolled4,024
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment27%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Fort Hays State University

  • Location-markerHays, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,140
  • Out-of-state$14,580
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate90%
  • Students Enrolled14,102
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment57%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

  • Location-markerDurant, OK
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,420
  • Out-of-state$15,360
  • Retention Rate54%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled5,420
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment89%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

McNeese State University

  • Location-markerLake Charles, LA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,147
  • Out-of-state$13,185
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate69%
  • Students Enrolled6,454
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Crown College

  • Location-markerSaint Bonifacius, MN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,270
  • Out-of-state$27,270
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate65%
  • Students Enrolled1,476
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment71%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

The University of Mary

  • Location-markerBismarck, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$18,340
  • Out-of-state$18,340
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate81%
  • Students Enrolled3,841
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment45%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

  • Location-markerOshkosh, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,422
  • Out-of-state$13,995
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate90%
  • Students Enrolled14,142
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment37%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Florida Atlantic University

  • Location-markerBoca Raton, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,642
  • Out-of-state$19,642
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate81%
  • Students Enrolled29,501
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Middle Georgia State University

  • Location-markerMacon, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,728
  • Out-of-state$10,075
  • Retention Rate55%
  • Acceptance Rate99%
  • Students Enrolled7,843
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment72%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Arizona State University

  • Location-markerScottsdale, AZ
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,710
  • Out-of-state$12,984
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled57,848
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment98%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Toccoa Falls College

  • Location-markerToccoa Falls, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$21,490
  • Out-of-state$21,490
  • Retention Rate60%
  • Acceptance Rate68%
  • Students Enrolled2,049
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Minot State University

  • Location-markerMinot, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,892
  • Out-of-state$6,892
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled2,836
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment62%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Location-markerHonolulu, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,340
  • Out-of-state$27,340
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate93%
  • Students Enrolled1,685
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment63%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Location-markerPlatteville, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,418
  • Out-of-state$15,057
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled6,773
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment35%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Online Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice

Indiana University East

  • Location-markerRichmond, IN
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,274
  • Out-of-state$20,634
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate78%
  • Students Enrolled2,981
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes

Best Online Programs

Bachelors in Criminal Justice

2023


The Best Schools

Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected these online criminal justice programs based on curriculum quality, faculty excellence, rankings, awards, and each school’s reputation for providing quality online degrees.

Rankings Methodology

Featured Criminal Justice Programs

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Criminal Justice Concentrations

  • Homeland Security: This specialization focuses on protecting the nation from threats like terrorism through border security, emergency management, and intelligence analysis.
  • Forensic Science: A forensic science concentration applies scientific principles and techniques to investigate crime scenes, collect and analyze evidence, and aid in solving criminal cases.
  • Criminology: Examines the causes, effects, and prevention of crime by studying the social, psychological, and economic factors that contribute to criminal behavior.
  • Cybersecurity: This focus covers safeguarding digital systems, networks, and data from cyberthreats and attacks, including prevention, detection, and response to cyberincidents.
  • Criminal Justice Administration: Coursework in this concentration covers the management and leadership aspects of the criminal justice system. Classes focus on policy development, organizational management, budgeting, and decision-making in law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Criminal Justice?

Online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice typically require four years of full-time study. Like other bachelor’s degree candidates, criminal justice majors usually complete 120 credit hours, including general education classes, major field requirements, and electives.

Most bachelor’s degrees include 50-60 general education credits in English, history, math, and science. Core coursework includes introductory courses and advanced concentration classes. Incoming criminal justice majors with associate degrees or prior college credit can often earn their bachelor’s degree in two years or less — many online programs accept up to 90 transfer credits toward the degree.

Some students prefer part-time enrollment to balance school with work or family obligations. Others select accelerated programs to earn their degrees more quickly. A transfer student can request a credit audit from their prospective school to determine how many credits they need for their bachelor’s degree.

Courses in an Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Program

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice: Introductory courses cover topics in law enforcement, criminal justice institutions, the judicial system, and corrections. Students explore the history of the criminal justice system, policing and justice theories, and common practices in different criminal justice fields.
  • Criminology: This class explores crime’s origin and impact on society. Students examine causation theories, criminal categories, and society’s response to criminal actions. Other topics include victim responses to crimes, the victims’ rights movement, and crime in a legal context.
  • Criminal Law: Students in criminal law courses survey criminal liability, common law, and criminal codes. Coursework introduces students to classifications for criminal acts, the legal process, and defenses to criminal charges.
  • Police Administration: Ideal for students interested in police leadership roles, this advanced course explores the relationships among units and organizations, law enforcement structures, and management functions. Enrollees learn to evaluate staff performance, methods to increase effectiveness, and communications.
  • Correctional Case Management: Correctional case management classes explore broad themes related to probation, parole, and community corrections. Prospective probation officers and correctional case managers study supervision methods, ethical issues in correctional case management, and correctional counseling.

Criminal Justice Degree Salary Information

Graduates with online criminal justice degrees can pursue work in many different settings, such as police departments, law offices, and correctional facilities. Popular criminal justice degree jobs include police officers, probation officers, and corrections officers.

A bachelor’s degree also fulfills qualifications for certain emergency management specialist positions, and many federal agencies prefer to hire candidates who hold a degree in criminal justice. The list below includes a few career paths for individuals with criminal justice degrees.

Popular Questions About Criminal Justice Degrees

What Majors Go Well With Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice pairs well with majors such as psychology, forensic science, cybersecurity, and social work. These majors provide a broader understanding of the social, psychological, and scientific aspects of crime and the criminal justice system.

Is Criminal Justice a Difficult Major?

The difficulty of a criminal justice major can vary depending on individual strengths and interests. It involves studying law, criminology, ethics, and various aspects of the criminal justice system. While it can be challenging, students who are passionate about the field and willing to put in the effort can succeed.

What Is The Highest Paying Job In The Criminal Justice Field?

The highest-paying job in the criminal justice field is often the position of a federal judge or magistrate. Other high-paying careers include FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic psychologists, and top-level law enforcement executives. However, salaries vary based on factors such as experience, location, and specialization.

Is a BS or BA Better For Criminal Justice?

Bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in criminal justice can both lead to successful careers in the field. A BS degree tends to emphasize technical subjects, such as forensic science or cybersecurity. A BA degree may offer a broader education, including courses in social sciences, humanities, and ethics. The choice between a BS or BA depends on individual career goals and personal preferences.