Fastest Online Criminal Justice Degree in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Fastest Criminal Justice Degrees Online

Working in criminal justice requires having the skills, knowledge, and education to perform the important duties of the profession. Prospective criminal justice students often look for a way to quickly earn a degree, which is why accelerated programs are an attractive option for many. 

Whether you’ve just set your sights on a career in criminal justice or you’re a working professional looking to advance your career, obtaining a criminal justice degree can expand your potential opportunities

How Can I Earn My Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Quickly?

Many people want to attain a criminal law degree quickly. Oftentimes these individuals need to work and earn their degree at the same time. Those looking to obtain their degree as rapidly as possible should consider an accelerated criminal justice degree program. Such programs allow students to graduate faster than students in standard programs. Accelerated criminal justice degree programs are perfect for individuals who are highly motivated to quickly progress through a degree program.

Providing even more flexibility, online accelerated programs give criminal justice students opportunities to learn at their own pace, without the time constraints and travel requirements of in-person programs. If you’re looking to earn a criminal justice degree quickly from a program that offers maximum scheduling flexibility, an accelerated online program could be a great option.

How Fast Can You Earn a Criminal Justice Degree?

How fast you can get your degree depends partially on which program you choose and also on any prior experience or prior learning that can be applied to your degree program. Most of the online degree programs on this list can be completed in 18 to 24 months, although some can take up to four years if you do not have transfer credits or prior work experience.

Is an Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Cheaper Than a Traditional Degree?

An accelerated degree can be less expensive than a traditional degree because you’ll typically be enrolled for less time. The less time you spend enrolled in classes, the less tuition you have to pay. Many programs also allow you to transfer credits from other programs or earn credit through prior experience, which further reduces costs. Some online criminal justice programs also offer cost saving compared to their on-ground counterparts, but you should carefully compare costs of specific programs to determine your total costs.

Tuition rates shown for accelerated criminal justice degrees typically cover only the cost of per-credit instruction. They do not include mandatory fees, course materials, or other expenses. The tuition rate is set for resident students. Some schools charge a different rate for non-resident students, while some charge a flat rate for online students.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The good news about paying for criminal justice degree programs is that universities and colleges often provide financial aid, and many organizations offer scholarships. At the start of the year, you can apply for FAFSA, federal student aid, or you can look into your preferred school’s aid and scholarships. Reach out to the admissions team to discuss your need for financial aid, and they may have several options available for you

Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Programs Overview

Accelerated criminal justice degree programs provide students with the opportunity to earn their degrees at a faster pace. Program length tends to depend on the degree level that a student is looking to earn.

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degrees typically require around 120 credit hours. Accelerated programs offer 8-week courses, instead of the traditional 16 weeks. This allows students the option to potentially earn their degree in half the time of a traditional degree. Programs may also be customized to fit student goals.

Criminal Justice Master’s Degrees can be completed in 12 months. Master’s degrees can be customized to fit student goals and adjusted for students to work at their own pace.

Benefits of an Accelerated Online Criminal Justice Degree Program

One of the biggest benefits of an accelerated criminal justice degree is that the faster you complete a degree program, the sooner you can start earning money in your chosen field. The coursework is condensed, so you’ll get just as much of an education as a traditional program, just in less time. Another benefit is that you don’t have to relocate for an online degree, and you can attend whichever program fits you best from wherever you’re located–no packing or relocating necessary!

What Courses Will I Take In an Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Program?

Generally, criminal justice programs include courses in:

The Psychology of Criminal Behavior

This course goes over the intentions, thoughts, views, and actions of criminals and those suspected of crimes. It’s a type of psychology course.


Investigation courses cover training on how to perform an effective investigation. They may also cover the laws associated with criminal investigations.

Court Systems

In court system courses, you’ll learn how the court system works and the different parts of the system, such as the Supreme Court, circuit courts, and others.

Juvenile Justice

If you’re interested in working with teens and minors, the courses on juvenile justice will interest you. These go over the justice systems and rules for handling minors throughout the criminal process.


Do you know what’s ethical or allowed in your field? Ethics teaches about common criminal justice ethics in law.

American Judicial Processes

This course helps you learn more about the criminal justice system in the United States, including how the police, courts, judges, and attorneys work together.

Criminal Procedures

Once someone is moving through the criminal justice system, there are specific procedures you’ll need to follow. Learn about them and how different people play varied roles in how people move through the system in this course.

Generally, these programs also seek to develop leadership and conflict resolution skills while instilling an understanding of the American judicial system and its major elements.

Rank School Location
1University of OklahomaNorman, Oklahoma
2Lamar UniversityBeaumont, Texas
3Faulkner UniversityMontgomery, Alabama
4University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburg, Texas
5King UniversityBristol, Tennessee

Here are the Fastest Criminal Justice Degrees Online!


University of Oklahoma

  • Norman, Oklahoma
university of oklahoma best online colleges in oklahoma

The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree at the University of Oklahoma is one of the top online criminal justice degree programs in the nation. The program is fast-paced, and designed to accommodate working adults. The online format and eight-week-long courses give students the flexibility to adjust their courses to fit their schedule. Students are assigned an academic advisor upon admission to the program, which further helps students hone their path to their degree. Students choose from four concentration areas: Homeland Security, Administrative Leadership, Restorative Justice, or Investigations and Intelligence Analysis. The program consists of 120 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 18 months, but most students complete their bachelor’s degree in two to three years.



School Overview

Program length: 18 months
Tuition: $159.62 per credit hour
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Lamar University

  • Beaumont, Texas

The online Criminal Justice programs at Lamar University help students gain an in-depth understanding of theoretical foundations of crime control, criminal justice policies and systems in the United States. The 120 credit hour Bachelor’s Degree curriculum includes courses on criminology, interpersonal effectiveness, correctional counseling, correctional systems, and the juvenile justice system. LU will accept up to 90 transferred credits from other institutions. Graduates are qualified for jobs in law enforcement administration, national security, forensics, and law. There is also a nationally-ranked online Master’s in Criminal Justice offered if you wish to continue your studies.

School Overview

Program length: 12 months
Tuition: est. $300 per credit hour
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Faulkner University

  • Montgomery, Alabama

Start your path to success or expand your current criminal justice knowledge and skills when you earn an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree at Faulkner University. This program is for students who have prior higher education experience, and students typically transfer in previously-earned credits. Students must be at least 23 years old and have 66 credit hours of core curriculum coursework to be accepted.

The online degree program is made of 54 credits and is scheduled into six modules of eight weeks. Courses cover multiple aspects of the criminal justice system including criminal behavior analysis, juvenile justice, terrorism, and interview and interrogation. This program can be completed in one year.

School Overview

Program length: 12 – 18 months
Tuition: $335 per credit hour
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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, Texas

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley provides criminal justice professionals with the opportunity to advance their knowledge, skills, and career options with the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Accelerated Online program. The curriculum of the 36-credit hour program enhances the competencies of each student in theories, principles and concepts in criminal justice, and prepares students for administrative and management positions in criminal justice organizations and agencies. It also prepares professionals for working in positions that require a graduate degree. Students also have the opportunity to prepare for education beyond the master’s degree in this accelerated program.

Some courses include Criminal Justice Organizations: Theory and Behavior, Advanced Criminology, Criminal Justice Policy Analysis, and Policing in a Democracy.

School Overview

Program length: 12 months
Tuition: $444.44 per credit hour
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King University

  • Bristol, Tennessee

The comprehensive curriculum featured in the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree at King University prepares graduates for management positions in law enforcement, corrections, or other areas of criminal justice. The program places a unique emphasis on restorative justice, and helps students develop the in-demand skills required for a successful criminal justice career. The online degree program requires 48 credit hours of major coursework and can be completed in as few as 16 months. To graduate, students must have completed a total of 124 credit hours which can include transferred credits.

School Overview

Program length: 16 months
Tuition: $305 per credit hour
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Central Community College

  • Grand Island, Nebraska

The Associate of Applied Science Criminal Justice online degree offered by Central Community College provides students with the fundamental skills necessary for a successful criminal justice career. Take courses in criminal law, juvenile justice, forensic science, report writing, and additional classes for a total of 62 required credit hours. This program is one the cheapest per credit hour, and provides an excellent entrance in the world of criminal justice.

School Overview

Program length: 24 months
Tuition: $92 per credit hour
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University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, Kentucky

The University of the Cumberlands offers an accelerated online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree. The online accelerated program provides the solid foundation for graduates who want to further their career opportunities and earn a better salary. Take your career to the next level as you complete courses that potentially leads to a career in law enforcement or corrections. Gain the knowledge to work for state or federal agencies such as a federal air marshal or customs enforcement officer. While 120 credits are required, they offer free transfer of credits from other universities which can lower that requirement dramatically.

School Overview

Program length: 18 – 24 months
Tuition: $199 per credit hour
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Sinclair College

  • Dayton, Ohio

Sinclair College offers an Associate of Applied Science online Criminal Justice program. Students choose a concentration in Law Enforcement or Corrections, although only the Criminal Justice program is available in an accelerated format. Gain an understanding of the role that criminal justice professionals have in their communities, or around the world. Students build communications skills, knowledge of investigation and procedures, critical thinking skills, and proficient use of technology. The accelerated program can be completed in as few as 15 months.

School Overview

Program length: 24 months
Tuition: $126.03 per credit hour
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Truckee Meadows Community College

  • Reno, Nevada

Truckee Meadows Community College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science online Criminal Justice programs. Some students complete the TMCC program and immediately start working in the profession, while other graduates transfer their credits to continue their criminal justice education in a Bachelor’s degree program.

Learn about constitutional law, criminal law, criminal investigations, trial and procedures, and ethics in criminal justice.

School Overview

Program length: 24 months
Tuition: $160.25 per credit hour
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Thomas Edison State University

  • Trenton, New Jersey

The online Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice program at Thomas Edison State University meets the mid-career needs of adults that want to work in law enforcement, corrections, security or emergency response careers. Students take courses in verbal and written communication skills, human cultures, corrections, criminology, law enforcement and juvenile delinquency. Students that want to advance their criminal justice career potential have the option of earning a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, or a Master’s degree in Homeland Security or Cybersecurity.

The school offers several paths to shorten the time that it takes to complete the degree. Earn credits through the Credit-by Exam program, through portfolio assessment, or military training.

Active duty military personnel receive a tuition discount.

School Overview

Program length: est. 18 months
Tuition: $399 per credit hour
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Trine University

  • Angola, Indiana

The Master of Science with a Criminal Justice Major degree at Trine University is a newly updated program that focuses on crisis intervention and child welfare and the family.

The program prepares students to work in the criminal justice system through extensive coursework in criminology, how law enforcement responds to crisis situations, psychopathology and other courses. New classes start every eight weeks.

School Overview

Program length: 12 months
Tuition: $575 per credit hour
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Fort Hays State University

  • Hays, Kansas

Fort Hays State University offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science online Criminal Justice programs. The primary difference between the two programs is that the Bachelor of Arts requires 10 credits of a foreign language, while the Bachelor of Science does not.

Throughout the online criminal justice degree, students will complete courses in criminal justice research, digital and cybercrime, security administration, and serial predators, among others.

The school accepts previous credit, which reduces the time to complete the program.

School Overview

Program length: est. 24 – 30 months
Tuition: $181.64 per credit hour
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Georgia Highlands College

  • Rome, Georgia

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at Georgia Highlands College is one of the newer criminal justice degree programs on this list, and is offered in accelerated eight-week terms. The school explains that participation in the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) may be awarded credits that apply to the program, up to a maximum of 30 hours. Students also have the opportunity to potentially apply Credits for Prior Learning to degree requirements, shortening the time to program completion.

The online criminal justice degree program prepares graduates to enter into a career or expand their current career opportunities at the local, state, or federal level of law enforcement or corrections. The program can be completed in as few as two years.

School Board

Program length: 24 months – 36 months
Tuition: $199 per credit hour
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Louisiana State University

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University offers online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice programs that provides a solid foundation for working in the profession. There are two concentrations available in addition to the general track: Criminal Psychology and Forensic Psychology, although the Forensic Psychology path is not accelerated. Gain knowledge and skills necessary to work in both the adult and juvenile justice system as you progress through core courses and courses in corrections management, private and industrial security, forensic science, and criminal justice administration.

Students with military or law enforcement experience can earn credits through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

School Overview

Program length: est. 24 months
Tuition: $291 per credit hour
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Florida International University

  • Miami, Florida

Florida International University offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree. Completing the program prepares graduates to work in academia, to pursue a doctorate degree, or to work at a criminal justice agency.

Students that have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.2 GPA in upper division coursework are eligible to apply to the program.

School Overview

Program length: est. 18 – 24 months
Tuition: $455.66 per credit hour
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Norwich University

  • Northfield, Vermont

Norwich University offers a 100 percent online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree that provides an in-depth exploration of criminal behavior at the global level. Learn the knowledge, skills, and strategies to protect citizens and allies from harm through the extensive resources provided by the school in areas such as law enforcement, corrections, cybercrime, international law, terrorism, and criminological theory. The school also offers an online bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.

There is a one-week residency that serves as a culminating experience. The university covers the cost of all meals and accommodations on the Vermont campus during the residency experience.

School Overview

Program length: 15 months
Tuition: $719 per credit hour
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University of Cincinnati

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Earn a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree at the University of Cincinnati by completing just 33 credit hours of online courses. Many students earn their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the school and then pursue the master’s degree, while other students transfer undergraduate credits to the school.

Gain the skills to advance your career through interdisciplinary study through experience-based learning, best practice approaches, and by learning how to apply other skills to real-world situations in criminal justice.

Students choose from three concentrations, which includes Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention, Corrections and Offender Behavior, or the Analysis of Criminal Behavior concentration.

School Overview

Program length: 12 months
Tuition: $761 per credit hour
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Johnson & Wales University

  • Providence, Rhode Island

The Online Accelerated Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Johnson & Wales University provides the opportunity for students to expand their career and assume leadership positions in criminal justice. Online academic advisors work one-on-one with students to help ensure their success in online learning.

Students have the opportunity to work on their master’s degree while completing their bachelor’s degree program.

School Overview

Program length: 18 – 24 months
Tuition: $495 per credit hour
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Albertus Magnus College

  • New Haven, Connecticut

Albertus Magnus College offers a comprehensive online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program that can be completed as quickly as 18 months. Students gain an understanding of the criminal justice system, rooted deeply in sociology and a person-centered focus. Learn the importance of demonstrating effective and respectful interaction with citizens while completing courses in deviance and criminology, contemporary issues in criminal justice, research methods and other courses.

Some students continue their education by earning a master’s degree in criminal justice at the school.

School Overview

Program length: 18 months
Tuition: est. $555 per credit hour
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DeSales University

  • Center Valley, Pennsylvania

DeSales University offers several tracks in its online accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree. The school focuses on providing students with instruction grounded in practical applications so that graduates are able to immediately apply their knowledge and skills. Transfer credits or receive credits through the prior learning assessment.

School Overview

Program length: 18 – 24 months
Tuition: $523 per credit hour
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Monroe College

  • New Rochelle, New York

The Monroe College School of Criminal Justice features a variety of criminal justice programs that appeals to every level of criminal justice professional, and offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s level online degree programs. Gain real-world knowledge and skills in law enforcement, corrections and the court system. Criminal justice students have the opportunity to join the 18-month PASS program to prepare for a job in law enforcement. Online students have the same access to support and professional connections that are provided to students completing the traditional degree program.

School Overview

Program length: 18 – 24 months
Tuition: $624 per credit hour
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Utica College

  • Utica, New York
Outdoor view of Utica College

Utica College offers five specializations in its Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program. Gain a solid foundation in the processes, issues, and issues related to crime and justice. The school offers five optional specializations, including Cyber Criminology and Policy, Legal Issues in Criminal Justice, and White-Collar Crime; and students can become CipherTrace Certified Examiners (CTCE) to investigate cryptocurrency.

Shorten the length of time to complete the program with transfer credits.

School Overview

Program length: 24 – 36 months
Tuition: $450 per credit hour
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St. Joseph’s University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Complete the application file for the St. Joseph’s University Online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree within 20 days and pay no application fee. The program is designed for working criminal justice professionals and to create scholars in the field.

Learn administrative strategies, the latest trends in criminal justice, theory and research, and ethics in criminal justice and other knowledge and skills to become a leader in your field. There are five concentrations, including a general track, intelligence and crime analysis, behavior management, federal law enforcement, and the homeland security track.

School Overview

Program length: est. 18 months
Tuition: $905 per credit hour
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Lewis University

  • Romeoville, Illinois

Earn an accelerated online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree at Lewis University, and gain an advanced understanding of management theory, and the administration of criminal justice agencies. Expand your knowledge and skills related to the importance of effectively communicating with other agencies, protecting communities, and the importance of safeguarding human rights.

School Overview

Program length: 24 months
Tuition: $580 per credit hour
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What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree?

When you think about “criminal justice,” the first job that comes to mind is probably one in law enforcement, but there is a wide range of jobs you can pursue with a degree in criminal justice. These include:

  • Crime Scene Analyst
  • Court Advocate
  • Investigative Analyst
  • Computer Forensics Investigator
  • Conservation Warden
  • Investigative Reporter
  • Criminal Psychologist
  • Victim Advocate.

If it touches the criminal justice system, then it’s a job you can get with a criminal justice degree.

Do I Need an Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree to Work on a Police Force or in Law Enforcement?

It depends on the police agency, but in most cases, police officers do hold a degree. The degree isn’t necessarily in criminal justice, though, so you may want to reach out to the police agency or law enforcement agency you’d like to work for and ask what their requirements are. Some will require you to attend a police academy, for example, while others may want military or criminal justice experience.

What Is The Average Salary for Criminal Justice Degree Graduates?

According to PayScale, the average base salary for someone with a BS in criminal justice is approximately $60,000 annually.

Job Outlook for Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Graduates

Employment in legal occupations is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031 and will result in about 131,000 new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Completing one of the fastest criminal justice degree online programs helps you quickly achieve your career goals and start enacting plans for your future.

The BLS lists private detectives and investigators, police and detectives, probation officers and correctional specialists as careers with anticipated significant job growth over the next several years.

Career Opportunities for Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Graduates

Private detectives, retail store detectives, law enforcement officers, probation or parole officers are examples of criminal justice careers that are typically available at the local or the state level. Other career options include but aren’t limited to:

Corrections Officers

Correctional officers supervise people in correctional facilities and guard those in jails, courtrooms, prisons, or holding cells. Their overall responsibility is to legally maintain order. Other responsibilities include checking inmates and visitors for weapons and drugs, monitoring activities of inmates, and inspecting facilities for security and safety.

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following:

  • Average Salary: $47,920
  • Expected Job Growth: -10% decrease
  • Employment: Local, State, and Federal Jails, Prisons or Holding Cells

Despite decrease in employment, approx. 30,000 jobs are projected each year, on average, between 2021 and 2031.


Crime Scene Investigators

Crime Scene Investigators analyze  crime scenes, finding and collecting evidence. They also work with detectives and other professionals to solve or determine how and why a crime happened.

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following: 

  • Average Salary: $59,380
  • Expected Job Growth: 6% increase
  • Employment: Offices, Labs, Crime Scenes


Forensics Specialists

Forensic Specialists work with law enforcement to identify and collect evidence at crime scenes. Their extensive training and application of scientific techniques aids in solving complex crimes and ensuring that justice is served based on objective evidence.

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following: 

  • Average Salary: $61,930
  • Expected Job Growth: 11% increase
  • Employment: Offices, Labs, Crime Scenes

Corporate Security Professionals 

Corporate security professionals are responsible for protecting digital information from threats. Threats could be in the form of cyber attacks, employee carelessness, or natural disasters. 

They develop and implement computer security policies, monitor networks for evidence of breaches, assist with security procedures, and ensure sensitive information protected by firewalls, encryption, and other forms of protection. 

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following: 

  • Average Salary: $102,600
  • Expected Job Growth: 35% increase
  • Employment: Information Security Analyst, Data Security Analyst, and Network Security Analyst (local, national, international)

Many criminal justice professionals have careers at the federal or international level. The Department of Homeland Security explains that the agency “hires thousands of people every year in a vast array of different occupations,” potentially providing exceptional career opportunities for graduates of online criminal justice programs.

  • Homeland Security Officials
  • Federal Investigators
  • International Crime Specialists
  • Secret Service Specialists

Completing one of the fastest online criminal justice degree programs helps you achieve your career goals and plan for your future at an accelerated pace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following careers with anticipated significant job growth over the next several years. Each of these paths comes with its unique salary range and opportunities for advancement.

  • Private Detectives and Investigators
  • Police Officers and Detectives
  • Probation Officers and Parole Officers
  • Correctional Specialists

The tuition rate for accelerated criminal justice degrees only covers per-credit instruction. It doesn’t cover mandatory fees, course materials, or other expenses. Tuition rates may vary depending on residency. Some schools charge a different rate for non-resident students, while other schools charge online students the same tuition rate as resident students.

What Is The Average Salary for Criminal Justice Degree Graduates?

According to PayScale, the average base salary for someone with a BS in Criminal Justice is $63,000 annually. While this average salary provides a general overview, there are other factors that can influence your earning potential.

Geographical Location

Your geographical area can significantly impact salary expectations. Urban areas with higher living costs and greater demand for criminal justice experts may offer more competitive salaries. On the other hand, rural areas with lower demand may provide relatively lower wages.

Education and Certifications

Advancing your education by pursuing a criminal justice degree can elevate your earning potential. Additional qualifications demonstrate dedication and competence, making you more desirable to employers.

Skills and Experience

Skills and years of experience in your profession are major factors in salary growth. As you gain practical experience and expertise, you become eligible for promotions and/or higher-paying positions. Identifying and developing expertise in a specialization within criminal justice can also make you eligible for higher-paying positions.

Criminal Justice Concentration Areas

Choosing the right concentration within criminal justice is a decision that can shape your entire career. As an aspiring professional, take time to assess the following:

  • Interests
  • Strengths
  • Short- and Long-term Goals

Engaging in internships, volunteering, or networking opportunities can provide valuable insights into the different concentration areas, helping you make an informed decision.

Remain open to the possibility of exploring multiple concentration areas throughout your career. The criminal justice field allows for lateral movement and diverse experiences, giving you the option to discover your true passion while making meaningful contributions to society.

Law Enforcement

One of the most familiar concentration areas within criminal justice is law enforcement. Professionals in this area work on the frontlines, enforcing laws, protecting communities, and maintaining public order.

Forensic Science and Investigation

Forensic science and investigation concentrate on the application of scientific techniques to gather and analyze evidence crucial to criminal cases. This field includes forensic pathologists, crime scene investigators, fingerprint analysts, DNA specialists, and more.

Legal Studies and Criminal Law

This concentration focuses on the legal aspects of criminal justice. Navigate legal procedures, constitutional rights, and contribute to the fair administration of justice. Alternatively, focus on juvenile justice. Specialists often collaborate with social workers, counselors, and community organizations to provide holistic support to at-risk youth.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions requirements for an accelerated criminal justice program vary depending on the institution. Keep in mind that the goal is to determine if you can thrive in an intensive and condensed program. Below you will find a general idea of what is required for admission.

Educational Prerequisites

Prerequisites may vary depending on the institution, but common requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Some accelerated programs may also require a minimum GPA from your previous school.

Prior Coursework in Criminal Justice or Related Fields

While some accelerated criminal justice programs accept students from diverse academic backgrounds, having prior coursework in criminal justice or related fields can be beneficial.

Work Experience

Demonstrating relevant work experience related to criminal justice can increase your chances of admission. Internships, volunteer work at law enforcement agencies, legal services organizations, or community service initiatives show a commitment to criminal justice.

Letters of Recommendation

Most accelerated criminal justice programs require letters of recommendation as part of the admissions process. These letters, typically from academic instructors, employers, or supervisors, provide insights into your character, work ethic, and potential for success in the program.

Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement

A compelling statement of purpose or personal statement may be another component of the admissions process. This written essay allows you to articulate your motivation for pursuing a career in criminal justice.

Standardized Test Scores

While not always a requirement, some accelerated criminal justice programs may consider standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.

Application Fee

Accelerated criminal justice programs typically require an application fee. This fee covers the administrative costs associated with processing applications and varies among institutions.

Possible Interview

In some cases, accelerated programs may conduct interviews as part of the admissions process. Interviews allow program administrators to assess your communication skills, motivation, and compatibility with the program’s mission.

Tips for Choosing an Accelerated Criminal Justice Program

Accelerated criminal justice programs offer an excellent opportunity to achieve your career goals quickly and efficiently. With several options available, selecting the right accelerated program can be challenging. Here are a few tips for choosing an accelerated criminal justice program that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

Accreditation and Reputation

Make sure to choose a criminal justice program from an institution that is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Accreditation guarantees that the program meets high educational standards and is recognized by potential employers.

Research the program’s reputation by reading reviews, speaking with alumni, and seeking feedback from professionals in the criminal justice field.

Curriculum and Specializations

Review the curriculum of the accelerated program to understand the courses and subjects it covers. Look for programs that offer a comprehensive education in criminal justice. Some accelerated programs may offer specializations within criminal justice, allowing you to focus on areas of particular interest. Choosing a program with specializations can give you a competitive edge in your chosen career paths.

Accelerated Format

The main advantage of an accelerated program is the reduced time to completion. However, the pace of these programs can vary. Some may offer intense, shorter semesters, while others might spread coursework over the same duration as traditional programs. Consider your learning style and ability to manage an accelerated pace when choosing a program.

Alumni Success and Job Placement

Research the job placement rate and success of previous graduates from the accelerated criminal justice program. A high job placement rate indicates that the program adequately prepares students for their careers and gives them the necessary skills and knowledge demanded by the job market.

Are Accelerated Criminal Justice Degrees Accelerated?

Accelerated programs demand dedication and time management skills. The condensed nature of accelerated criminal justice program coursework can be challenging and may require you to be fully committed.

Intensive Coursework

Accelerated programs cover the same material as traditional programs but in a more intensive manner. Courses may be condensed into shorter semesters, and students usually take more classes simultaneously to complete the required credits.

Focus on Core Curriculum

To streamline the program, accelerated criminal justice degrees focus on core coursework directly related to the field. Courses emphasized include criminal law, criminology, ethics, and law enforcement procedures.

Limited Breaks

Unlike traditional programs that have extended breaks between semesters, accelerated programs may have shorter or fewer breaks to maintain the accelerated pace.

If you are eager to pursue a career in criminal justice, an accelerated degree can expedite the process and help you realize your career goals sooner.

Can I Work While Attending an Online Criminal Justice Program?

Online criminal justice programs come with several advantages that make it feasible for you to work. Online education has revolutionized the academic landscape, providing greater flexibility and convenience in pursuing your goals.

Schedule Flexibility

Unlike traditional, campus-based programs, online criminal justice programs offer students the freedom to access course materials and lectures at their convenience.


Many online criminal justice programs are designed to allow you to progress through the coursework as it fits with your learning style and personal commitments. Self-pacing allows you to allocate time for both work and study according to your schedule.

No Commute

By choosing an online criminal justice program, students eliminate the need for daily commutes to a physical campus. This time-saving benefit allows students to dedicate more hours to their employment or study, enhancing their work-study balance.

Part-Time Study Options

Some online criminal justice programs offer part-time study options, allowing students to take fewer courses per semester. This option is particularly helpful for those juggling work and academic responsibilities simultaneously.

Maintaining balance is the key to balancing work and an online criminal justice program. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a Realistic Schedule
  • Communicate with Employers
  • Set Priorities
  • Use Time Management Techniques
  • Seek Support from Family and Friends
  • Take Advantage of Support Services


We reviewed and ranked schools with online criminal justice programs. We manually researched each of these programs and included information provided directly by the school’s website.

Each school was assigned a unique score based on program length and tuition and ranked based on these factors. The school with the lower tuition rate received the higher ranking in case of a tie. Every listed school is properly accredited and provides a minimum of an online associate degree in criminal justice. We did not include certificate programs in this list of ranked criminal justice programs.

We always strive to do our best to be honest, fair and accurate in our rankings. No school can pay us to receive a higher ranking. Sponsored schools are listed separately from ranked schools and programs, and clearly labeled as SPONSORED schools.

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