Our Top Colleges for Online Criminal Justice Degrees in 2024

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Degree program, graduation, and career outcomes greatly vary. As such, no offer or guarantee of employment or earnings is made on this website. Any occupational information provided is for illustrative purposes only. Prospective students should consult with a representative from the school they select for degree program, graduation time, online curriculum offering, tuition, financial aid, and career outlook information.

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What are the best careers for Criminal Justice degrees in 2024?

A career in the criminal justice sector can offer a great deal of satisfaction for employees, as roles within this field play a big part in the safety of all American citizens. Whether you want to be a special agent, a lawyer, or a correctional counselor, the work you do will be meaningful to the public as a whole. While qualifications vary depending on the specific career you are interested in, in most cases a degree in criminal justice is a good way to get your foot in the door.

Below are just a few of the leading occupations for criminal justice graduates. Though not exhaustive, we hope that this list will aid you as you consider what career path you’d like to pursue:

  1. Becoming a Federal Special Agent: Criminal Justice Degrees

    Federal special agents protect the country from both domestic and foreign threats. They may be employed by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the secret service, or a myriad of other government agencies. Most agents spend their time conducting surveillance, executing warrants, gathering and analyzing evidence, or working undercover. Depending on your position, hours can vary dramatically. In general, agents must have considerable analytical skills as well as fantastic communication skills, as they need to be able to work within a huge variety of situations.

  2. Becoming a Law Enforcement Detective: Criminal Justice Degrees

    Law enforcement detectives work on the frontline, holding the responsibility to investigate and track down crime suspects. They must gather accurate and compelling evidence that can help incriminate suspects, so observational and analytical skills are a must. Daily activities may include writing reports, interviewing witnesses and suspects, documenting evidence, and doing fieldwork. Getting a job as a detective typically requires some experience as a police officer.

  3. Becoming a Crime Scene Investigator: Criminal Justice Degrees

    Crime scene investigators utilize science to find and analyze potential evidence of a crime. Whether it’s collecting fingerprints, examining crime scenes directly, or analyzing DNA evidence, these investigators spend their days traveling between the lab and crime scenes in order to extract and investigate evidence. They may also be called to court to testify about the evidence they find. Besides coursework in the criminal justice field, crime scene investigators will also need education in a relevant scientific subject, such as forensics.

  4. Becoming a Private Investigator: Criminal Justice Degrees

    Private investigators are hired by members of the public to investigate crimes they may be a victim of. Investigators may locate witnesses, gather evidence, or conduct surveillance in order to assist their employers. They often perform background checks and research the activity of suspects online, so being internet-savvy is a must. Additionally, strong analytical skills are necessary as investigators will need to easily find evidence and be able to observe subtleties in suspect behavior.

    There are no specific requirements for being a private investigator, but a degree in criminal justice as well as experience in law enforcement will go a long way in building a foundation of trust with potential customers.

  5. Becoming a Lawyer: Criminal Justice and Law Degrees

    Whether they work for the government, a corporation, or within a civil or criminal court, lawyers use their law expertise to protect their employer from arbitration or argue a case within court. The best lawyers have a deep understanding of the law, knowledge of past cases and the legal precedents they’ve resulted in, quick wit, and fantastic communication skills. They might spend their days arguing in court, writing reports in their office, interviewing clients, or analyzing evidence and compiling arguments for their cases.

    Lawyers will need a master’s in law and will need to pass their state’s bar exam to practice law legally. It’s very common for prospective lawyers to get started by earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice or a related field, which can provide a strong foundation for a career in law.

  6. Becoming a Correctional Counselor: Criminal Justice Degrees

    Correctional counselors work with offenders within the prison system. They evaluate potential parolees to determine if they might be fit to go on parole. They look into the offender’s past crimes and current prison behavior, administer questionnaires and interviews with both the offender and people who know the offender, and review any other relevant information before determining how likely the offender is to reoffend. These reports are then forwarded to the parole board, who make the final recommendation. Once an offender is released on parole, the correctional counselor continues to keep track of their behavior and may even create a specialized treatment plan aimed at helping the parolee stay out of trouble. Correctional counselors need a bachelor’s or master’s in criminal justice to get started.

    For those interested in any of these careers, getting a bachelor’s in criminal justice or a related field is a great first step, and doing so online is the most convenient and affordable way to do so. By getting started on your online degree program now, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your career dreams.

    Explore your future in the criminal justice field by checking out your degree program options today.

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