Online Degrees From Top Colleges & Universities

Honesty, integrity and the willingness to put one’s own personal safety aside to ensure the safety of another are all attributes of people who work in the criminal justice field.

Even at great risk to their own personal safety, those who work in the industry do so because the jobs are rewarding. With continued advancements in technology and science, careers in criminal justice will continue to be in demand.

In order to work in the criminal justice industry – which includes the areas of computer security, corrections, forensics, crime scene investigation, Homeland Security, public safety and security, security and protective services and law enforcement – one must first receive the proper level of education and training.

Criminal justice programs take the principles of sociology, law and psychology and combine them into coursework designed to help prepare students to work in the field.

The level of education required to work in criminal justice depends on the type of career being pursued. For some positions, a high school diploma or equivalent, plus on-the-job training, is sufficient. For others, more advanced degrees may be required.

When choosing an online or traditional degree program in the criminal justice field, it is important to choose a school that has been accredited by a reputable agency. Accreditation guarantees that the program meets educational standards for the industry, and increases a graduate’s chance of finding employment with top-notch employers.

There are two kinds of accrediting agencies – regional and national. Regional accrediting agencies are more stringent in their assessments, so if a program has received an accreditation from a regional agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, it is guaranteed to be a quality program.

It also is important to choose a school with an excellent reputation. U.S. News and World Report annually ranks the best traditional and online colleges based on accreditation status, peer, faculty and student reviews and the quality of the coursework offered.

The University of Maryland at College Park received the number one ranking in the list, with a score of 4.7 out of 5. Its criminal justice program focuses on the causes of and responses to crime. Students enrolled in the program will study individual, group and mass criminal behavior. They also will learn about the professions, institutions and laws in place to prevent, control and reduce the effects of crime on society.

Other schools rounding out the top five include: the University of Albany – SUNY, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Missouri at St. Louis and the Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

U.S. News and World Report also offered recommendations for the top online degree programs in criminal justice. The list includes the New England College, which offers a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice; DeVry University, which offers a Bachelor Degree in Justice Administration; and the University of Phoenix, which offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, with concentrations in either human services or institutional healthcare. 

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