The popularity of criminal justice degrees can be associated with two factors – law enforcement agencies now require college credits as a qualification for most positions and second, some of the fastest growing careers in the coming years are in criminal justice. Thanks to this, the popularity of criminal justice programs has seen a significant rise in recent years.Criminal justice programs are designed to give students the knowledge of the inner workings of courts, law enforcement agencies and corrections institutes. These programs enable students to develop careers in fields such as crime scene investigation, forensics, legal system and legal education, etc.

The following will give you the detailed information on the most popular criminal justice degrees, their levels, enrollment requirements and career outlook.

Top Criminal Justice Programs

If you want to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice, you have the option of enrolling in a wide variety of non-degree and degree-based programs ranging from certificates to masters to doctorates. Further information on degree levels is discussed later as well.

Criminal Justice Degrees
Criminal Justice Degrees

Concentration

Description Minimum Degree Required Common Coursework
 

Computer Forensics

Prepares students to identify and prevent phishing scams, digital schemes, theft and fraud. Bachelor’s Degree – Though Master’s and Doctoral degrees are common Computer Forensics, Digital Forensics, Networking Concepts
 

Corrections

Prepares students for work as correctional officers or prison guards Associate Degree – Bachelor and Graduate Degrees are also common Foundations of Criminal Justice Systems, Introduction to Criminal Law, Theories of Crime Causation, Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Theory, Issues in Corrections
 

Counterterrorism

Prepares students to identify potential threats of terrorism at home and abroad Bachelor’s Degree or higher Foundations of Terrorism, Fundamentals of Intelligence, Biological, Chemical and Nuclear Weapons, Psychology of Violence, Threat Assessment
 

Crime Scene Technician Certificate

Prepares students to identify and collect evidence from crime scenes Certificate Crime Scene Investigation, Homeland Security, Forensic Chemistry
 

Criminal Investigations

Prepares student to collect, record and analyze evidence Associate Degree Evidence, Forensics, Clues, Crime Scenes, The Criminal Mind
 

Criminal Justice Administration

Prepares students to take up administrative positions in law enforcement agencies, such as prisons and courts
Prepares students to understand the criminal mind, human behavior relevant to criminal activity and social influences on crime
Bachelor of Science or a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Probation and Parole, Police and Community Relations, Judicial Process, Legal Issues
 

Criminal Psychology

Prepares students to understand the criminal mind, human behavior relevant to criminal activity and social influences on crime Associate, Bachelor’s or graduate degree Judicial Process, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Behavior Management, Psychology of Criminal Behavior
 

Criminal Psychology

Prepares students to understand the criminal mind, human behavior relevant to criminal activity and social influences on crime Associate, Bachelor’s or graduate degree Judicial Process, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Behavior Management, Psychology of Criminal Behavior
 

Cyber Security

Prepares students to protect sensitive information, secure computer networks and prevent cyber incidents Bachelor’s Degree or higher Linux System Administration, Network Security, Fundamentals of Computer Troubleshooting
 

Emergency Management

Prepares students to plan for disasters such as disease, terrorism and hurricanes, pollution, etc. Bachelor’s Degree or above International Disasters, Risk Perception Awareness, Natural Hazards
 

Forensic Psychology

Prepares students to apply psychology to criminal cases Doctoral Degree Intersection of Law, Psychology and Crime, Understanding Violence, Psychology Research
 

Homeland Security

Prepares students with knowledge of border security, intelligence and emergency management Bachelor’s Degree or higher Critical Infrastructure Protection, Homeland Security, Legal and Ethical Issues
 

Public Administration

Prepares students to work in advocacy and government agencies Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral Degree Research Methods, Introduction to Public Policy Analysis, Human Resources in the Nonprofit and Public Sectors
 

Legal Studies

Prepares students to become legal assistants or paralegals Associate, Bachelor’s or Graduate Degree in Legal Studies Advanced Litigation, Legal Project Management, Trial Practice, Intellectual Property

Levels of Criminal Justice Degrees

Before you enter into a program, it is very important to decide what career you want and which path will take you there. Deciding on a major is one aspect; the other is determining what degree level will take you to your chosen career.

Degree Level

Description Careers Median Salary (2016)
 

Certificate in Criminal Justice

The most basic educational qualification awarded Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
Corrections Officers
Security Guards
$59,680
$42,820
$25,770
 

Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

This degree usually focuses on providing foundational knowledge on law enforcement, court systems and crime control policies Paralegal
Transit and Railroad Police
Police Patrol Officer
$49,500
$66,610
$59,680
 

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

This is the minimum requirement for most criminal justice careers Private Detectives
Criminal Investigators
Fish and Game Wardens
$48,190
$78,120
$51,730
 

Master’s in Criminal Justice

This is the minimum requirement for most criminal justice careers Social Workers
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
$53,760
$41,070
$59,590
 

Doctorate in Criminal Justice

This degree is meant for those who already have a master’s degree Law Teachers
Judges and Magistrates
$111,210
$125,880

Note: All salary data has been taken from O*NET OnLine

Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It?

Before you make a decision about stepping into this field, you need to be sure of the worth of a criminal justice degree. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, many entry level jobs in this sector will be available through 2024. Most criminal justice careers will require college credits or at least a minimum of an associate degree.