In the academic world, criminal justice is considered the study of the system we use to detect, arrest, prosecute and punish criminals in society. It is less concerned with the causes of crimes than the institutions around the event themselves. When you study criminal justice in order to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you will be exposed to a deeper understanding of the systems and procedures that process crime and its perpetrators.
Just as there are many aspects to crime itself, so too are there myriad aspects to the study and application of a criminal justice degree. Though police officers are the obvious symbol of criminal justice, and are vital to keeping the system running, there are opportunities for those interested in other aspects of the field such as social work, the legal industry or even jobs in private industry. The opportunities are limitless.
Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice provides students with broad knowledge of the criminal justice system. Students enrolled in criminal justice programs learn about such topics as the role of technology in forensics and criminal justice, how the corrections system works, how the courts work with law enforcement, and criminal justice theory. Many online criminal justice programs allow the student to focus on an area of interest, such as paralegal studies or forensic science. A bachelor in criminal justice degree also provides the education needed to become a police officer and advance to positions like detective or criminal investigator. Whether you’re looking to land an entry-level position or advance your career, a criminal justice bachelor’s degree will give you the education you need to increase your experience and earning power. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a worker’s earnings increase with education level and those with a bachelor’s degree can earn 30% percent more per week than those with an associate’s degree. Bachelor’s program graduates also have lower unemployment rates than those with lower educational attainment. Due to growing demand, many schools are offering online criminal justice programs.
Examples of courses in a criminal justice bachelor’s degree curriculum include:
- Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice
- Drugs and Society
- Deviance and Social Control
- Constitutional Law
- Principles of Investigation
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Criminal Evidence
- Statistics in Criminal Justice
- Research Methods in Criminal Justice
- Crime Prevention
- Critical Issues in Criminal Justice
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will help prepare you for some of the most highly sought-after jobs in the criminal justice field, such as detective or criminal investigator positions. In 2015, professionals in these occupations earned a median annual salary of $77,210.3 Investigative positions at all levels of the criminal justice system require integrity, self-control, and attention to detail, which a bachelor’s degree will help you develop.