Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from a Community College?

I got another interesting question from one of my readers: Can I receive a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from a Community College (CC)?

With 99.9% certainty, I can only say: “NO”

Why not? – Majority of Community Colleges in the U.S. are accredited to provide college courses, certificate programs, and degrees up to the Associate level. This means that you wouldn’t even be able to complete a Bachelors degree at a CC, yet a Masters.

There are exceptions to that, as I know of a few Community Colleges that offer a bachelor degree in Criminal Justice. This is usually due to the institution’s restructuring from a Community College into a College or University. The process of getting the proper accreditation is not easy for a higher learning establishment, but it is needed if you want to obtain a marketable degree. Make sure to ask if your degree courses, and the programs themselves, are properly accredited by asking your local CC advisor.

So what should you do to get a Masters in Criminal Justice?

If you are planning on getting at least a Bachelor or a Master degree in Criminal Justice you can do one of the following things:

  • Go to a community college for a Criminal Justice program for 2 years
    • Obtain an associates or enough credits to transfer into a 4-year university where you can obtain a bachelor degree in about 2 more years, making it 4 years total.
    • Once you have your bachelor degree in Criminal Justice you can then apply into a masters program.
  • Go straight into a bachelor granting college or university, skipping the community college scene altogether (also 4 years on average).
    • After successful completion of the Criminal Justice program you can then apply into a masters program.

The Community College route can be cheaper if you are planning to transfer into a pricey bachelor degree program. However, you should also consider your state universities. For the most part, they are cheaper and are regionally accredited. If you are an in-state student of a particular state university, you could save many thousands more than an out-of-state student could. This last piece of advice also applies to those that got their associates degree, or have course credits, from a Community College or other school — you can apply as a junior in your state college or university, granted you meet the requirements.

Hope this helps. Oh… if you know of community colleges that do offer a bachelors degree + , then post it below. I would be happy to share this info with everyone.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

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