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What Can I Do With a Degree in Criminal Justice?

America faces one of the highest crime and incarceration rates in the world—jailing 655 inmates per 100,000 people, which is nearly 7% higher than the rate of the next-closest country. Our criminal justice system needs forward-thinking leaders who are ready to develop innovative solutions that will decrease crime and increase public safety.

You may want to pursue a career in criminal justice if you:

  • Want to actively improve the community where you live.
  • Have a desire to help reform and improve the criminal justice system.
  • Want to develop programs that systematically reduce crime.
  • Are interested in helping rehabilitate criminals and reduce repeat offenders.
  • Want to help victims of crime get justice and hold the correct individuals accountable.

By earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you will develop a thorough understanding of the American justice system. You will gain analytical and critical thinking skills to deal with the ethical and social implication of your career, as well as learn how modern-day technologies can help prevent and control crime.

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Who Can Benefit from a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

A career in criminal justice can be a rewarding way to serve your community while securing a job in a growing and well-paying sector. Whether you’re currently in the field, or looking for a new career, here are some ideal candidates for a B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration.

Current Criminal Justice Professionals

With evolving civil service education requirements, current professionals looking to advance their career will benefit from getting their bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree can satisfy increased salary expectations, and lead to supervisory or management opportunities, as well as new job prospects in fields like intelligence or national security. You may even be able to get transfer credit for your current training.

Post-Military Career Seekers

Transitioning from military service to a civilian career can pose unique challenges. For those looking to continue to serve their country and use their training to build a meaningful career, criminal justice can be a natural transition. Pairing military skills with a bachelor’s degree can make veterans top candidates for advancement in this field.

Professionals Looking for a Career Change

Criminal justice offers strong job prospects and a purposeful career. For those looking to transition into this industry, a bachelor’s degree provides foundation knowledge of the U.S. justice system as well as cutting-edge techniques and technology that will give you a leg up.

graphic describes 4 benefits to a career in criminal justice

What Jobs Can I Qualify For With a Criminal Justice Degree?

A B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration is an extremely flexible degree with a range of career options. Here are some of the top careers in the criminal justice field that either require or benefit from a bachelor’s degree.

Police Officers

Police officers are the first line of defense against crime. They investigate minor crimes, patrol communities, apprehend and arrest suspects, and issue traffic citations. While a bachelor’s degree is not required, a degree is often preferred and can be a top consideration for advancement.

  • Projected Growth: 7% through 2026
  • Median Salary: $62,960

FBI Agent

FBI agents are responsible for investigating violations related to national security and federal law. One of the highest paid careers in the law enforcement world, you need a four-year college degree as well as several years work experience to apply.

  • Projected Growth: Not reported
  • Median Salary: $63,908

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. Many technicians specialize in various types of laboratory analysis and a bachelor’s degree is required.

  • Projected Growth: 17% through 2026
  • Median Salary: $57,850

Probation Officer

Probation officers provide social services to assist in the rehabilitation of law offenders on probation or parole. Bachelor’s degrees are the entry-level education for this field.

  • Projected Growth: 6% through 2026
  • Median Salary: $51,410

U.S. Marshal

U.S. Marshals serve a number of functions, including defending and protecting innocent people, as well as apprehending and transporting criminal suspects. They must have a bachelor’s degree and minimum one year of specialized experience.

  • Projected Growth: Not reported
  • Median Starting Salary: $45,371

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelor’s Degree and Associate Degree in Criminal Justice?

Many people interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice weigh the pros and cons of getting an advanced degree. For many, an associate degree seems like the quickest and easiest way to advance. However, there are distinct advantages to obtaining your B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration.

graphic describes which criminal justice degree to pursue

Choose the Right Program to Meet Your Needs

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is a worthwhile investment, especially when you can pursue your degree while continuing to work full time with programs like Franklin University’s Online B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration. This option is specially designed for working professionals who want to advance their career. With online courses, you can work at your pace and fast track your degree with transfer credit opportunities.

Here are some of the reasons to choose Franklin University for your B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration: Learn from real world practitioners in the criminal justice administration field. Tailor your program by choosing from a variety of electives that will prepare you for your specific career interests.

Benefit from award-winning curriculum—an AECT best practice distance educator— which signifies our dedication to collaboration and innovation that impacts your learning and success. Use broad-based experiential learning tools to participate in unique multimedia-based learning experiences that include virtual field trips, offender accounts, and guest speakers.

What Skills Will I Gain by Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Not only will a bachelor’s degree open doors to higher-earning careers, it will also give you the in-depth knowledge and job-ready skills that may take years to gain on the job, or may not be taught at all.

When you attend a respected bachelor’s program like Franklin University’s B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration, you can expect to gain critical skills in these areas:

  • Law enforcement; corrections, probation and parole
  • Juvenile justice, delinquency and juvenile corrections
  • Criminology theory and crime control
  • Criminal justice leadership and administration

When you complete your degree you will be prepared to:

  • Use data-driven best practices to decrease crime and diminish reliance on mass incarceration practices that marginalize entire communities.
  • Analyze and synthesize scientific theories of crime control, evaluating and developing models specific to various causes of crime.
  • Communicate effectively in both written and spoken communications. This important skill will aid in everything from report writing to talking to suspects or parolees.
  • Develop innovative programs that challenge old conventions and improve safety and security.

What Graduate Degree Options are There in Criminal Justice?

From harsh sentencing laws and mass incarceration to pill mills and the opioid epidemic, our criminal justice system faces unparalleled challenges that affect broad cross-sections of society. While the need for reform may be obvious, a plan for much-needed change is not.

A new generation of criminal justice leaders will tackle these problems from the top-down and ground up.

A master’s in criminal justice will teach you to develop real solutions to the complexities of a decentralized criminal justice system. Franklin University’s Online Master’s in Criminal Justice can be completed in as few as 14 months, jumpstarting your career advancement and ability to effect meaningful change.

Ready to Pursue Your Degree in Criminal Justice?

If you’re ready to start to make a difference in the American justice system, or advance your career in these fields, a B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration is an important step.

Join Franklin University’s Online B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration program to learn from top industry professionals, pursue a hands-on curriculum and customize your program to your career goals.

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