If you have a passion for public safety and criminal justice, then an online bachelor’s in law enforcement could be the right choice for you. Police officers are in demand in communities of all sizes across the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities for police and detectives will expand by seven percent through 2026. Additionally, police officers and detectives earn an annual median salary of $61,600. Law enforcement is an exciting field with new challenges each day. While the job can be stressful, many officers feel it is rewarding to make their communities safer.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement Programs
Online Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1855 as the state’s first agricultural college, Pennsylvania State University has grown and expanded. The university now consists of 24 physical campuses across the state, and its World Campus offers more than 150 different programs in a flexible, online format. One of these online degree options is a bachelor of science in criminal justice, an ideal option for distance-learning students looking to earn an accredited online law enforcement degree. This program is open to students at all different levels, including those just starting out and students who may have already earned credits or an associate degree elsewhere. The one basic requirement for applicants is that they need to have earned their high school diploma or GED.
The BS in criminal justice at Penn State requires students to complete 120 credit hours. For those with transfer credits, at least 36 of the final 60 hours of the program must be completed through Penn State. In addition to general education courses, the major courses in the criminal justice program cover subjects like ethics in criminal justice, police administration, sociology, alternatives to incarceration, and the juvenile justice system. There is also an option for students to pursue a minor in homeland security, which requires an additional 18 credit hours and prepares students for a career in security.
The criminal justice program at Penn State’s World Campus is accredited by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
2. University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is about 40 minutes outside of Boston, and the campus hosts more than 17,000 students earning degrees at all levels. With more than 100 undergraduate majors, UMass Lowell provides high quality education across a range of subjects. The university’s division of online learning offers more than 50 degrees and certificates that students can pursue entirely online or through a mix of online and on-campus coursework. One of these programs is a bachelor of science in criminal justice. This 120-credit hour program includes core general education courses, criminal justice core courses and electives, and classes in major-based computer skills. Some of the electives include topics like juvenile delinquency, criminal profiling, violence in America, and substance abuse and crime.
The law enforcement online degree at UMass Lowell prepares students for careers in a variety of sectors and fields, and offers a range of electives and minors to allow students to customize their degrees. UMass Lowell also offers a BS to MA program that allows students to complete both their bachelor of science and master of arts degrees at an accelerated pace.
UMass Lowell’s unique program structure gives local students the opportunity to take courses both online and on-campus, or they can select to complete their degree entirely online. The online learning program also offers a virtual open house for prospective students, with support specialists in place to help students plan and navigate their programs.
The University of Massachusetts is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
3. City University of Seattle
With its main campus headquartered in Seattle, Washington, City University of Seattle also offers satellite locations around the state. CityU is a private, not-for-profit university, and has partnered with other private institutions around the globe to provide high quality education. Many of the programs offered at CityU are available either on site, online, or a combination of both. The bachelor of science in criminal justice at CityU can be completed entirely online and provides students with the same coursework and education as on-site degrees. This program gives students the additional flexibility to complete coursework on their own time from any location.
The criminal justice program consists of 180 required credit hours. Students can choose from three different concentrations: corporate security and investigation, cyber forensic investigation, and justice administration. Each pathway leads to the same criminal justice degree, but allows students to pursue a specialization based on their ultimate career goals. Students in the program who have already completed a law enforcement training academy program or have military experience may even be eligible to earn up to 25 elective credits towards the degree. Alumni from CityU’s criminal justice program have landed careers in corrections and juvenile justice, criminal and fraud investigation, and law enforcement.
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the criminal justice program at CityU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
City University of Seattle is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
4. Washington State University
In 1890, Washington State University became the state’s first land-grant institution. With its main campus based in the city of Pullman, WSU has many campuses across the state, including an online education community that offers 12 undergraduate degrees and eleven graduate programs. WSU’s Global Campus offers an online criminal justice degree designed to equip students with the skills needed to work in all sectors and areas of law enforcement.
The faculty members in WSU’s criminal justice program often work with all kinds of local and federal law enforcement and investigative agencies, making them valuable sources of information and experience for students entering the field. Students earning their law enforcement degree online at WSU take courses in a wide range of areas outside of general education requirements, including criminological theory, crime control policies, criminal law, criminal procedure, and juvenile justice and corrections.
Transfer students are welcome to apply. The university analyzes transfer transcripts to determine which courses apply towards the completion of a degree at WSU. Courses in the program take place entirely online on a normal semester schedule, but students also have the opportunity to enroll in three-week intensive winter and intersession periods to earn credits while traditional semesters are on break. Most online coursework is completed asynchronously, as it is rare that instructors will ask students to be online at designated times. Additionally, online students often receive invitations to social engagements to help them feel a part of the community at WSU.
Washington State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. Excelsior College
Albany, New York
Excelsior College is a private, regionally-accredited distance learning college dedicated to providing students all over the world with access to flexible, innovative education. On average, students at Excelsior graduate with degrees of all levels in just under three years, even while more than 70% of enrolled students are employed full time.
The fully-online bachelor of science in criminal justice at Excelsior is ideal for students who want to earn their degree faster, and on their own time. The bachelor’s program requires a total of 120 credit hours for graduation, but with Excelsior’s generous transfer policies, students who have earned degree credits at other institutions can likely apply most of those credits towards their degree at Excelsior. Students with military and/or law enforcement training may also qualify for academic credit towards the degree, allowing them to graduate even sooner.
The criminal justice bachelor’s program at Excelsior emphasizes a concentration in law enforcement and public safety to prepare students for their careers. Students in the program study and explore subjects like criminal procedure, community policing, forensic pathology, public and private security, and evidence handling. The major requirement in criminal justice is a minimum of 33 required credit hours, spread between core courses and electives in the area. A capstone course is also required. Students may choose to specialize in areas like homeland security, criminal justice administration, and investigative forensics.
Excelsior College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
6. Rowan University
Glassboro, New Jersey
Students who have earned an associate degree and wish to complete a bachelor’s degree will find Rowan University’s degree completion programs to be an excellent alternative to traditional four-year options. Rowan offers both bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degree completion programs in several majors and subject areas, with 40 graduate level programs for students looking to earn advanced degrees. The online BA in law and justice program offered at Rowan is available entirely online, and requires just 60 semester hours of coursework, in addition to transfer credits and/or earned associate degree hours from previous institutions. The BA in law and justice program is ideal for students hoping to begin careers in corrections, law enforcement, security services, or court services.
The coursework in this degree completion program prepares students for careers in law and justice by emphasizing skills in critical thinking, logic, writing, and reasoning. Some of the required courses students take at Rowan include classes in corrections, international terrorism, human rights, juvenile justice, and theories of criminality. A writing intensive seminar in law and justice is also required.
Students interested in completing their bachelor’s degree in law and justice at Rowan must have already earned either an associate degree or a minimum of 24 transferable credits with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Students who choose to enroll in 13 or more credit hours at Rowan have the opportunity to pay a flat rate for tuition. Many students complete their degree at Rowan in four-to-five consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment.
Rowan University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
7. Webster University
Webster Groves, Missouri
Originally founded as a Catholic university for women, Webster University has grown exponentially in the decades since. Today, Webster is a not-for-profit university based in St. Louis, with over 17,000 students throughout numerous US and global campuses and a growing online learning community. Webster offers a BA in criminology that students can opt to complete either fully or partially online. The 128-credit hour program emphasizes skills in critical thinking to prepare students for careers in criminal justice and law enforcement.
Students must complete 128-credit hours, including 43 within the criminology major. Students complete three semester hours worth of international language study prior to graduation — a requirement that may be waived for students who have completed adequate substitutes before entering the program. The criminology department at Webster emphasises interactions with special populations, with courses covering white collar crime, victimology, radical violent extremism, and gang and small group deviance. Electives include adolescent psychology, urban sociology, and forensic science. All students complete a senior capstone course prior to graduation.
Webster University educates students to become global citizens. Even students taking exclusively online courses can still be engaged in a vibrant and action-oriented community of peers and faculty.
Webster University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Saint Leo University is a private university located near Tampa, Florida, with almost 15,000 enrolled students at their home, satellite, and online campuses. Despite its Catholic affiliation, Saint Leo welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds. Core general education requirements at Saint Leo emphasize a strong foundation in the liberal arts, with coursework in areas like sociology, cultural studies, and creative arts. In line with the university’s religious foundations, other required general education courses include topics in world religions, spirituality, and Christian studies.
Saint Leo offers a fully online BA in criminal justice, made up of 120 required credit hours. Beyond the general education requirements, coursework explores topics in criminal law and procedure, police administration, criminal behavior, and criminal ethics. All criminal justice students complete a senior seminar capstone course in criminology and must pass comprehensive examinations to graduate.
Students applying to online programs at Saint Leo may have the opportunity to pass exams in place of earning certain foundational credits towards their degree. There is also an opportunity for students to apply learning, work, and service experiences towards undergraduate degree credits. The school offers six different academic start dates with rolling admissions, so students can apply, be admitted, and potentially begin classes at any point throughout the year.
Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
9. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s home campus is located in north-central Louisiana, south of Shreveport. The city of Natchitoches has the same charm and similar architecture as New Orleans, while maintaining a smaller, quieter feel. In addition to NSU’s physical campus, the university boasts a flourishing online learning community, offering a long list of associate, bachelor’s, and graduate level degrees that can be completed entirely online. One of these programs, the bachelor of arts in criminal justice is a great option for students looking to earn a law enforcement degree without the hassles associated with classroom-based education. The program is composed of 120 required credit hours that students can generally complete within eight consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment.
Coursework for the criminal justice bachelor’s degree at NSU consists of courses that prepare students for careers in all areas of law enforcement, public safety, and corrections. Required courses include subjects like criminal justice seminars, sociology, political science, and even psychology. NSU hosts a yearly job fair for students in the major, where professionals and recruiters from various criminal justice and law enforcement agencies come to offer interviews and potential employment.
For students living in Louisiana, NSU is part of the Louisiana Transfer program, which allows for simplified and easy transfer of credits earned at other institutions in the state. Students have the opportunity to apply work, learning, and even service experiences toward their undergraduate degree, allowing for a potentially more accelerated path to earning a degree. Online students at NSU can also take advantage of flat rate tuition.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
10. Hampton University
Hampton University’s campus in Virginia is home to the famous Emancipation Oak, where in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the South for the first time. Aside from its impressive and lengthy history as an educational institution in the United States, Hampton now offers several online degree programs. Hampton U Online offers degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and graduate levels, with many certificate programs available, as well. Students looking to pursue a flexible, accessible degree in law enforcement can earn their online accelerated BS in criminal justice at Hampton. The accelerated option allows students to set their own pace and potentially earn their degree at a faster rate than at traditional four-year programs.
The program prepares students for careers in law enforcement, public safety, and corrections. Coursework is diverse and varied, covering a range of subject areas and fields, including behavioral sciences. Students can expect to cover forensic crime scene investigation, issues in law enforcement, terrorism and national security, and emergency preparedness. In total, the program requires 120 semester credit hours that include general education courses like writing, science, mathematics, health education, and world civilizations.
Online coursework at Hampton is offered asynchronously. However, some instructors may require students to take tests during specific timeframes. Hampton’s eight-week sessions allow students to complete required courses at an accelerated pace.
Hampton University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
11. Bellevue University
Founded as Bellevue College in 1966, Bellevue University now serves around 9,000 students each year. Its home campus is in Bellevue, Nebraska, situated on a sprawling 46 acres, where students from all 50 states and abroad earn degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and graduate levels. In addition to its extensive on-campus offerings, Bellevue is a leader in online education, with over 75 different degree and certificate programs available for distance learners. Bellevue offers a fully online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, intended to provide students with all the skills and experience they need to be successful in criminal justice.
Of the 127 required credit hours to this program, 40 are within the major, 51 are elective, and the remaining 36 cover general education requirements. The coursework within the major emphasizes skills and topics that current and future criminal justice professionals need, including crime in America, criminal behavior and victimology, criminal procedure and public policy, and contemporary social justice issues. Students can choose to work within an accelerated small cohort of peers or at a more traditional pace on their own.
Unique to Bellevue is the nine-credit Kirkpatrick Signature Series of courses required for all students at the university. This program enhances skills and information necessary for students to become active and informed citizens of the global community.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12. Midway University
Students looking for religious law enforcement schools online may feel right at home at Midway University. Midway’s mission and core values center around pillars of the Christian faith, such as acting with integrity, being a part of a community, and providing service to others. These core values play a strong role in the university’s BS in criminal justice degree, enhanced by courses in ethics and human differences. General education requirements for online students include coursework in environmental and global issues. Within the criminal justice major, students have the opportunity to explore important subject areas, such as criminal procedure, kinesic interviewing, criminal organizations, and corrections. Midway’s criminal justice bachelor’s program strongly emphasizes skills in psychology, with 12 required credit hours in the area, including psychology courses in forensics, psychopharmacology, and abnormal psychology.
Midway offers students the opportunity to earn credit for previous work and service experiences. This prior knowledge can be proven through transfer credits, portfolio assessments, examinations, and even military experience. Courses at Midway take place in five, eight-week sessions each year, allowing students to complete required coursework at a faster pace than on a traditional semester schedule. Some courses may also be offered in four or six-week session.
Midway offers affordable tuition rates for online students. Students enrolled in at least two classes per eight-week term are eligible to receive financial aid.
Midway University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
13. Eastern Kentucky University
Even students who aren’t local to Eastern Kentucky University’s home campus in Richmond, Kentucky can take advantage of the school’s affordable programs. Regardless of whether an online student at EKU resides inside or outside of Kentucky, online tuition is assessed at the same rate, making degrees like the bachelor’s in police studies especially affordable. The 120-credit hour program is available entirely online through EKU’s asynchronous delivery system that emphasizes important and frequent interactions between online learners, their peers, and instructors. The bachelor’s in police studies program prepares students for careers in law enforcement, such as federal or state officers, security professionals, corrections officers, and victim advocates.
In addition to EKU’s standard 40 required general education credits, the police studies major consists of 24 core course hours, 24 major elective hours, and 23-26 free elective hours. Within the major requirements, students examine topics that include contemporary policing strategies, criminal justice analysis and research, perspectives on crime and delinquency, and ethical decision-making. Students can also choose to pursue a minor and/or a certificate to earn more credentials. At EKU, online courses take place in two, eight-week terms in the fall and spring, and two, six-week terms each summer. Full-time continuous enrollment can help students earn their degree faster.
Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
14. Anderson University
Anderson, South Carolina
Anderson University offers a criminal justice bachelor’s program ideal for students hoping to earn an online law enforcement degree. This online degree is just one of many options for students seeking a more flexible option for earning an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Anderson’s online programs are taught by the same faculty as the courses offered at their physical campus, based outside Greenville, South Carolina. Anderson University offers students smaller class sizes due to the school’s enrollment of around 3,400 students. Anderson’s religious foundations align with the Christian faith. Students in the online criminal justice program benefit from the university’s comprehensive approach to law enforcement topics, including religious issues concerning criminal justice.
Anderson’s criminal justice program requires 123-credit hours to complete, including general education, electives, and major requirements. The program emphasizes a concentration in law enforcement and benefits students looking to begin careers in law enforcement and/or first year students who don’t possess a background in criminal justice. Some of the explored subjects include abnormal psychology, American police systems, criminal law, and judicial systems and practices. Students also take a course in the Christian worldview. A senior seminar in criminal justice is required.
Courses at Anderson are offered in eight-week sessions, ideal for working adults. All students entering online programs at Anderson receive a Journey Coach, or a special advisor available to the student should they need help or guidance during their program.
Anderson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
15. Wilmington University
New Castle, Delaware
Of the over 20,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs at Wilmington University, 41% take courses online. The next largest majority attends classes at the school’s primary campus in New Castle, Delaware.
The bachelor of science in criminal justice program is one of WilmU’s 26 bachelor degree options, and students can complete this degree entirely online. Students have the ability to select courses and paths that best serve their academic and career goals. For example, WilmU offers this degree as a completion program, which assists students who may have already earned an associate degree and need the remaining major coursework to earn their bachelor’s.
Since WilmU’s criminal justice program is able to be changed and molded to fit each student’s needs, the major requirements can somewhat vary. However, most students in this program take courses in subjects like principles of criminology, juvenile justice, criminal law, community corrections, and multicultural issues in criminal justice. Students at WilmU can also take part in a unique co-op program, which allows them to get work experience while earning credit towards their degree. The work experience coincides with supervised educational work through a local partner in criminal justice.
In addition to flexible course scheduling options for students, WilmU allows students the opportunity to gain academic credit for prior work and service experiences they obtained after high school.
Wilmington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
16. Charter Oak State College
New Britain, Connecticut
Charter Oak State College was established in 1973 and is now Connecticut’s foremost online college. The school enables adults who may have earned prior credits or valuable work experience to return to school and finish their post-secondary degree. Charter Oak offers degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and graduate levels.
Students hoping to earn a law enforcement degree may benefit from Charter Oak’s fully online bachelor of science in criminal justice, which prepares students for careers like corrections, rehabilitation, substance abuse counseling, and law enforcement. The entire bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours. However, many students are exempt from general education requirements through transferring previously earned credits, taking examinations, and earning credit for work and service experience outside of school.
The criminal justice major consists of 42 credits beyond the general education requirements, and students have the opportunity to select a concentration within the major. Available specializations are general criminal justice and victim advocacy. Courses within the concentration consist of 15 required credits. Required courses students in Charter Oak’s criminal justice program can include criminology, ethics in criminal justice, constitutional law, and psychology. Students must also complete a capstone course prior to graduation.
Charter Oak has special programs in place to further assist members of the military, single working mothers, and students facing financial difficulties in completing their degrees.
Charter Oak State College is regionally accredited by by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
17. Franklin University
Franklin University is dedicated to helping adult students earn a postsecondary degree. Its home campus in Columbus, Ohio is just one of its many physical locations where students can take classes and earn credits on their own schedule. However, the vast majority of students enrolled at Franklin take their classes online, in one of the university’s many accredited online programs.
Franklin offers a fully online bachelor’s in criminal justice administration, designed with working professionals and transfer students in mind. One of Franklin’s most notable qualities is that students can tailor their degrees to meet academic goals and interests. They may also earn credits for previously achieved work and life skills to put toward their degree.
The 120-credit hour bachelor’s in criminal justice administration includes 28 core major course credit hours and eight major area elective hours. Students in the program can choose a concentration in corrections, homeland security, law enforcement, or public administration. These concentrations help narrow and focus the program to better prepare students for their desired career. All students in the major must complete a capstone in criminal justice, as well.
As one of the largest, nonprofit private universities in the state of Ohio, Franklin is an affordable option for students. Payment plans and financial aid options are available to students.
Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
18. Point Park University
Point Park University’s home campus is nestled in the center of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1960, Point Park, a nonprofit liberal arts college, enrolls over 4,000 students in degree offerings of all levels. As its core mission, Point Park emphasizes student needs, and aims to equip graduates with skills in civic engagement, ethics, and integrity. As part of this mission, Point Park’s online criminal justice program fosters career advancement by preparing students to serve their community through careers in law enforcement, corrections, and security.
In total, the criminal justice bachelor’s program consists of 120 required credit hours, including 36 credit hours within the major. Some of these courses include evolution of policing, constitutional law for law enforcement, professional responsibility, criminal law and procedure, and court organization. Students can choose electives in the major that cover valuable topics, such as sex crimes investigation, juvenile justice, and organized crime. Faculty in the program are experienced criminal justice professionals hailing from all fields and roles. Generally, the program takes between two and four years to complete.
Students transferring from other institutions must be able to provide transcripts that show completion of 12 credit hours minimum.
Point Park University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
19. Tiffin University
Centrally based in Tiffin, Ohio, Tiffin University has campuses across the state, including Columbus, Fremont, Toledo, and Cleveland. While many students take advantage of the accessibility Tiffin’s many campuses provide, others choose to earn their degree entirely online. With enrollment around 3,500, Tiffin provides all students with the attention they deserve in small classes of around 10 to 15 students. Tiffin’s fully online bachelor of criminal justice degree is just one of many online programs available at TU. This 121-credit hour undergraduate program provides students with a practical education to prepare them for careers in law enforcement.
Within the 36 required major credit hours, students will encounter coursework intended to foster a comprehensive, well-rounded criminal justice foundation. Some of the program courses include technology and crime, juvenile justice systems, criminology, victimology, and criminal investigation. There are no specific concentrations available, but students have the opportunity to choose electives within the major that best serve their academic and career goals.
All online courses at Tiffin take place in two, seven-week sessions each semester, with sessions beginning in January, March, May, July, August and October, making enrollment times flexible. Tiffin also gives students the opportunity to complete their degree at their own pace, taking one class or two classes at a time each session.
Tiffin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
20. New England College
Henniker, New Hampshire
Students looking for a liberal arts-based education at a private school will find exactly what they need at New England College. This regionally-accredited college enrolls around 1,700 undergraduate students, keeping classes small with a student to faculty ratio of 16:1. NEC’s home campus is located in Henniker, New Hampshire, but many students choose to pursue one of the fully online degrees offered, including the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. This BA provides students with a foundation in law enforcement and public safety. Emphasis is placed on methods and theories in areas like criminology, ethics, and corrections.
Within the criminal justice degree, students can choose to select a concentration. The options at NEC are cyber security and information assurance, homeland security and emergency management, human services, institutional and community-based corrections, and law enforcement. Each concentration gives students an opportunity to specialize in an area based on their individual career and academic goals. This bachelor’s degree requires 120 total credit hours to complete, with 32 hours required within the major and 16 hours within the student’s chosen concentration. Some of the major-specific courses available include criminal justice ethics, contemporary law enforcement, and criminal law.
To apply, provide a regionally- or nationally-accredited or state-approved high school diploma or GED. Military credit is also accepted, with no need for additional fees or standardized test scores.
New England College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
Choosing an Online Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement Program
Typically, the first half of a bachelor’s program is comprised of prerequisites and general education courses in English, mathematics, science, history, and the humanities. In contrast, the second half of a bachelor’s program focuses on major-specific coursework. In a law enforcement program, these classes include police ethics, investigation, law, and criminology. An online law enforcement degree provides a comprehensive understanding of how the criminal justice system operates. Students also learn strategies for managing and reducing crime.
Students planning to work in certain aspects of law enforcement may select a particular specialization or concentration. Popular specializations include criminology, forensics, cybercrime, and juvenile justice. A specialized degree may help students already working in law enforcement to gain promotion or switch departments. Concentrations vary at each school, so students interested in a particular area should ensure their specialization is available.
Coursework is usually available entirely online, but remember to review any on-campus requirements prior to selecting a program. In addition, check your state’s licensing rules, since many states require licensure of police officers. Students who complete a law enforcement degree online are usually prepared to undergo any state licensing exams or procedures.
Online Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement Careers
Graduates from a law enforcement online degree usually seek careers as police officers, corrections officers, detectives, and probation officers. Candidates for these positions must be able to communicate well, make sound decisions, exhibit patience for surveillance, and remain calm during emergencies. They must also be physically fit to execute their job duties.
Police Officers and Detectives:
Police officers ensure the safety of the public through patrols and responses to emergency calls. They may specialize in preventing and investigating certain types of crimes, such as drug trafficking. Police officers are responsible for writing reports and providing testimony in court. Detectives investigate specific crimes and suspects, including homicide and drug cases.
- Median Annual Salary: $61,600
- Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists:
Probation officers assist people on court-ordered probation with rehabilitation. They regularly check in with people on probation to ensure they are following their probation plans. Correctional treatment specialists work closely with prison inmates during imprisonment in order to write reports about their parole eligibility. They also prepare inmates for release by providing them with career development, counseling, and housing resources. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree.
- Median Annual Salary: $50,160
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers:
Security guards patrol buildings and other properties against criminal activity, especially burglaries. They also assist during emergencies and may be armed. Gaming surveillance officers work in casinos to prevent theft. Both occupations use surveillance equipment and write reports to fulfill their job duties.
- Median Annual Salary: $25,840 overall; $25,770 for security guards; $32,630 for gaming surveillance officers
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics