Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It?

If you want to be a police officer, private investigator, or criminal profiler, you should consider a criminal justice degree.

This college degree provides the resources needed to get hired in those fields of expertise.

Along with credentialing, a degree in criminal justice grants students skills necessary for the workforce.

Learn more about the pros and cons of whether a criminal justice degree is worth the time and money.

Criminal Justice Degree

What Are The Benefits of a Criminal Justice Degree?

There are many reasons why students pursue a degree in criminal justice.

As a graduate with a degree in criminal justice, you are eligible to work in several jobs in law enforcement and the legal system.

This includes:

  • Public safety officer
  • Police officer
  • Forensic science technician
  • FBI agent
  • Community rights advocate

If you want to work with the government in the legal process, start with a criminal justice degree.

You will have a two- to four-year education and a degree that can transfer or be used to gain the next degree, such as a master’s degree.

This is another one to two years of school that can lead to a master of law or some other high-arched degree.

From here, you can be eligible to sit for the American Bar Association bar exam and become a lawyer.

All it takes is starting with an associate degree in criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Training Programs and Schools

The criminal justice field has a diverse array of training programs and schools.

Along with most public and private US colleges and universities, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provides training for criminal justice majors.

Some options to choose from include:

  • National Academy
  • FBI Academy
  • Virtual Academy for Law Enforcement

At Liberty University, criminal justice majors can earn a four-year bachelor’s degree online.

However, most criminal justice training programs are in person and on campus in a traditional classroom.

The hands-on elements of crime scene investigations and interviewing require formal classroom training.

What Do You Learn With a Criminal Justice Degree?

As a graduate with a criminal justice degree, you are ready to earn an additional degree with a specialization.

For many, you may seek training in law enforcement, for example, as a police officer.

A two-year criminal justice degree is typically required to enter a law academy.

You can also start your own business in cybersecurity or work freelance as a security officer for businesses.

Here, you will also need additional training, which can come as a professional certificate or military experience.

How Long Will It Take to Earn a Criminal Justice Degree?

The average timeline for earning a criminal justice degree is two years.

This is how long the process takes to get an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

Generally, this is an associate of science degree or AS degree.

While attending class to learn how to work in criminal justice, you also get a well-rounded upper-level math, science, and reading education.

Once you have your degree, you can seek employment.

However, most criminal justice majors continue their education or professional training after graduation.

What Can You Do With This Degree?

A criminal justice degree will give a student the skills to work in security, law enforcement, or legal administration.

Whether you want to work as a legal aide or get a job as a cybersecurity officer for the CIA, you will need a criminal justice degree.

Skills you pick up as a criminal justice major include legal writing, investigative research, and interviewing.

These skills are the basis for any job in the criminal justice field.

As a graduate with a criminal justice degree, you have a background in science-related fields that can be used for several subjects.

These include:

  • Legal assistants
  • Paralegals
  • Fire investigators
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Forensic team agents
  • Lawyers and attorneys
  • Cybersecurity officers
  • Security officers
  • Police officers
  • Criminologist

These are all legal and law enforcement-related occupations.

What is a Criminologist and Should I Become One?

Yes, that last one–criminologist–is not so commonly discussed.

But as a criminologist, you can work with crime scenes and lab reports.

Use qualitative and quantitative data to determine who was last seen at the crime.

Be one of the professionals who go on stand to talk about the possible killer of murder using your skills.

Criminologists also help communities to stand up against crime.

By having a professional criminologist in your backyard, you have someone who can find out the real perpetrator of a crime using actual scientific proof.

This process is vital to our US legal system and helps keep the peace for all.

As a result, you often see criminologists on the reports for findings related to policies and strategies for community safety and policing measures.

If you want to work in the criminal justice field most at its heart, go for criminology as your career goal.

Here, you will have the skills and background to help save lives and make the world around you a better place.

It all starts with becoming a criminal justice major and earning a degree.

Is It Worth It to Get a Criminal Justice Degree?

If you aspire to become a lawyer, judge, or security expert, you should get a criminal justice degree.

The degree will help you proceed in your occupation and be able to do the job safely.

However, you will need more than one degree to complete your training.

A criminal justice degree is typically only an associate of science degree, which is a two-year degree.

To get hired by many employers, a four-year bachelor’s degree is required.

This will involve getting another degree after an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

A two-year criminal justice degree is a stepping stone toward more training and education in this department.

You can use this degree to pursue a degree in business administration, graphic design, or even psychology.

So, if you want a degree that will help you get a job now and continue your education later, you should go with criminal justice as a major.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

2 Responses to Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It?

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    Jada Wells #

    A criminal justice degree opens doors to a wide range of fulfilling careers in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, and beyond. It’s not just about earning a degree; it’s about making a difference in society.

  2. Avatar
    Jane Williams #

    Incredibly valuable! A criminal justice degree equips you with critical thinking skills, legal knowledge, and ethical principles necessary to navigate the complexities of the justice system. Plus, the demand for professionals in this field continues to grow, making it a wise investment in your future.

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