What Can I Do With an Online Criminal Justice Degree?

Many of the people who consider an online criminal justice program wonder exactly what it is they will be able to do after earning their degree. The truth is that there is no exact answer.

Criminal justice is a very broad field with a wide range of job opportunities. Grads can find themselves working against crime at the local level as a police officer or at the federal level as an FBI agent.

Specific job opportunities also depend upon the program that is completed. Although the liberal arts orientation of most criminal justice programs is designed to prepare students for criminal justice work at almost any level, different programs focus on different aspects of the field.

For example, some online criminal justice programs emphasize the administration side of criminal justice, while other programs focus on security management and criminal investigations. The type of program you take will impact your ability to do certain types of jobs within the criminal justice field.

Common Career Paths

Some of the most popular career paths for criminal justice majors include jobs as police officers, security guards, body guards, parole officers, corrections counselors, game wardens, and park rangers. After earning an online criminal justice degree, you should be able to obtain any of these entry level positions.

Entry-level jobs are also available at the Department of Homeland Security, which employs thousands of law enforcement workers through its many agencies. Jobs are available as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, an immigration inspector, a customs inspector, or a Federal Air Marshal.

If you have law enforcement experience or an advanced criminal justice degree you may also be able to pursue opportunities with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as other government organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Other jobs that often require some work experience include police detective and private detective. Both of these careers can be pursued by people who have a criminal justice degree as well as experience as a police officer or law enforcement professional. Police detectives typically work for government agencies, while private detectives work for themselves or private firms.

Alternative Career Paths

Although most criminal justice majors use their online degree to pursue a job in law enforcement or a related field, there are some grads that use their credentials to move into other areas of social science, such as law or public policy. Job opportunities exist within courts, law firms, and advocacy groups. Specific job titles include court administrator, legal assistant, law clerk, and policy advocate.

Criminal justice majors can also move into social work, victim services, or similar jobs that call for knowledge of law enforcement, courts, and human rights. Although some of these jobs may require additional education or professional certification, a criminal justice program will give students the academic foundation for higher education programs as well as the skills needed to succeed in fields that deal with the political, social, and psychological aspects of society.

Guest post from Karen Schweitzer who writes about colleges online for OnlineColleges.net.

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.

3 comments… add one
  • Wayne

    Thanks, I was thinking of getting into a career in criminal justice.

  • Brittany

    Hello, My name is Brittany, I am a 25 yr old wife and mother of 2 wonderful children. I am currently in my second yr at Ashford University going for my BA in Social and Criminal Justice. I am sort of at a cross roads I want to become a criminal lawyer but I would like to get a job now while still in school whether its interning for a lawyers office or whatever. I’m not really sure what to do. But I know this is the field that I am very passionate about. Is there anything I can do now while still in school I live in Maryland and I have been searching but everything says you need experience or a degree. I am a very passionate and outgoing person who loves to help others. Any information you may have could help so please send some my way… : ) Thank you!

  • Timmy Guntharp

    Really beneficial, numerous thanks for placing up that.

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