Online Criminal Justice Degree: Is it for You?

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Earning a criminal justice degree online takes commitment and time management. If you are considering a signing up for classes, you probably have many questions. Check these common questions asked by people just like you.

Q. Do I need experience in criminal justice before I can take courses?
A. No. Although it is helpful to have some experience, it is not necessary. Coursework is typically designed for those without prior experience.

Q. Can I get credit for work experience in the criminal justice field?
A. Maybe. Contact the school for information about credit for life experience. Most allow a specific amount of credits from life experience to apply towards your degree. These may replace introductory courses for a criminal justice degree or replace electives.

Q. What kind of job will I qualify for once I get my degree?
A. Law enforcement, crime scene investigation, forensic psychology and computer technology are some common jobs for people with a criminal justice degree.

Q. Do I need to be available a certain times to take the course?
A. No. most are offered asynchronously and you can attend classes when it is convenient for you. Keep in mind that most programs require regular participation on a daily or weekly basis. The exact time is up to you.

Q. Can I get financial aid to complete a criminal justice degree online?
A. Yes. If the college is accredited, you can apply for financial aid by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Each college has its own financial aid office with representatives ready to help you.

Q. How do I know if a criminal justice degree is right for me?
A. Some indicators that you will enjoy criminal justice degree are: interest in investigating the reason something happens, watching many police or investigative shows, not being bothered by bloody scenes or horror shows, enjoy science and math, keen eye for details, like reading legal journals, documents or case studies, and enjoy helping others.

Q. What is the job outlook for the criminal justice field?
A. According to EarnMyDegree.com (2010) there are currently more people with criminal justice degrees than there are jobs, but jobs are expected to increase by 9 to 17 percent each year until 2014 to meet the needs of increasing concerns of security and drug-related crimes.

Q. How much can I make with a criminal justice degree?
A. As of 2010, a police or sheriff patrol officer earns approximately $45,000 a year, detectives and criminal investigators can expect $ 54,000 a year and police or detective supervisors earn approximately $65,000 a year.

Q. Are employers turned off by online degrees?
A. Online degrees are becoming more popular. Choosing an accredited university with a good reputation lends credibility to your degree.

Q. What kind of degree can I earn?
A. Criminal justice degrees range from an Associate’s degree that will help you land an entry-level job, a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree. Those with bachelor’s degree earn nearly double what a person with a high school diploma earns over their lifetime. Those with a Master’s Degree earn 25 percent more than those with a Bachelor’s Degree do.

Earning a criminal justice degree online is a good choice for those who currently hold full-time employment, or caregivers who have responsibilities that interfere with traditional college schedules. Online course provide flexible schedules and eliminate the need to commute to local universities. In rural areas, online education provides access to a range of courses that may not be offered locally.

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