It takes an average of four years to get a criminal justice degree. This is at the bachelor level and is based on full-time classroom attendance. Because there are so many criminal justice jobs and careers available, the degree you need and the time it takes to obtain it will vary.
Jobs in the criminal justice field have increased in the years since the events of September 11, 2001. The emergence of the Homeland Security department of the U.S. government has especially contributed to the number of jobs available in the field. However, there are many other areas of criminal justice that are available to work in.
Although four years is the average amount of time to get your degree, whether you are taking classes online or part-time will be factors in the time it takes to get your degree. So will the degree level for which you are striving. Some jobs only require an associate’s degree, while others require a master’s or Ph.D.
What are some careers in criminal justice?
Criminal justice refers to a broad field that encompasses many different careers. Although your schooling will entail learning the basics about criminal justice, you will eventually branch out to learn details about the career path that you would like to pursue.
Some careers within criminal justice include social worker, bailiff, public safety professional, police officer, correctional officer, security guard, and crime scene investigator. Others are substance abuse counselor, border patrol agent, warden, airport security officer, and private investigator. A big field that has exploded since 2001 for criminal justice graduates is Homeland Security, which encompasses a variety of career opportunities.
What types of classes are taken for a criminal justice degree?
There is a lot that goes into learning about criminal justice. The courses that you take to get a degree will vary depending on the type of school you are attending. Community colleges will offer mainly the basic courses. In order to take more advanced courses you will need to attend a four-year university or college.
Beginner courses for criminal justice include learning about basic rights of both communities and individuals. Advanced courses delve into specific laws and other governing topics.
If you are pursuing a degree in criminal justice, some of the classes you can expect to take will deal with state crime, juvenile criminology, adult crime activity, civil law, and general criminology. You will most likely take classes in forensics, intelligence, behavioral sciences, and terrorism.
Why do some degrees take longer to obtain than others?
Not all careers in criminal justice are the same. Some require advanced degrees, while others can be obtained with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Most associate’s degrees take only two to three years of college classes, while a bachelor’s takes around four years. If you decide to further your studies in criminal justice, you can expect to take one to four more years of school after you receive your bachelor’s degree.
The way in which you take your classes will also affect how long it will be for you to get your degree. Under a traditional college setting, four years is the average for a bachelor’s degree. However, not all students have the ability to attend college full time. If you are working or have a family, you may only be able to attend college part time. This will increase the amount of time it takes to obtain a degree.
One way to obtain your criminal justice degree is online. This is a good choice for students who would have to travel quite a distance to attend classes, for those working full or part time, and for those who have a family or other commitment. Taking online classes is a convenient and flexible way to earn your degree. Many classes offer the opportunity for you to study and do the assignments on your own time, which allows for flexibility if you have a busy life. Although online classes take more self-motivation than traditional classes, students who take the classes seriously actually do just as well as those students receiving face-to-face instruction, according to the United States Department of Education.
Because some online classes can be taken at the student’s own pace, the amount of time it takes to get an online degree will vary. For those students who want to get their degree as quickly as possible, they can whip through the courses and often obtain their degree sooner than someone taking the same classes in a traditional classroom. Students who are only taking a couple of online classes at a time will obviously take longer to obtain their criminal justice degree.
Keep in mind that, once you graduate and get your degree, your learning is not over. Because laws change and events occur, people in criminal justice careers need to keep up with the changes. Many are required to continue their education in one form or another, and often these courses are required on an annual basis.