Online Law & Criminal Justice Degree Programs

There are several types of degrees to consider within the framework of a law or criminal justice degree program. An undergraduate degree in criminal justice provide the educational background for a broad range of professions, and also serve as a foundation for continued studies. A criminal justice education targeted towards more advanced academic plans, including master and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs, require postgraduate work. Read more about online criminal justice degree programs.

Some Stats

According to U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, Legal Professions and Studies accounted for 10,509 (1.5%) of associate degrees conferred in academic year 2005-6. (1) In academic year 2004-5, 38,930 students (2.7%) earned bachelor degrees, while 8,781 (1.4%) earned postgraduate degrees. Combined, these totaled more than half of all first-professional degrees conferred. (2)

Employment Outlook

The 2008-2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook indicates strong employment prospects in all areas of law and criminal justice. Factors, such as the growing impact of security issues on public and private agencies, and expected increases in retirement rates over the next several years, make these high-demand careers. Employment rates for positions such as police officers and detectives are expected to grow by 11% by 2016; security guards by 17%; private investigators by 18%; paralegals and legal assistants by 22%; and gaming surveillance officers by 34%, all of which are at or significantly above national growth averages. (3)

Specialties

There are many specialization areas within the scope of law and criminal justice degree programs. Examples include forensic science, corrections, criminal investigation, pre-law, law enforcement and social work.

What to Expect

Coursework for law or criminal justice programs online varies, depending on the area of specialization. Undergraduate programs may include general core courses, such as communications, math, and science. Most specialty areas also include courses in sociology and psychology. Click here to see a list of online criminal justice degree programs.

The End Result

Many career options are available with online degrees in law or criminal justice. Most positions are currently in great demand, particularly in urban areas. Examples include:

Air Marshal
Border Patrol Agent
Computer Forensics Technician
Crime Scene Investigator
Fish and Game Warden
Fraud Investigator
Juvenile Corrections Officer
Loss Prevention Specialist
Paralegal/Legal Assistant
Probation Officer

The wide range of professional opportunities and the strong outlook for future hiring needs makes a degree in criminal justice or law a good move. Consider the area of specialization, as well as your educational timeline, to decide which type of program is best for you. Click to see a list of programs to get your law degree online.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Digest of Education Statistics, 2007 (NCES 2008-022), table 259
(2) U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004–2005 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005
(3) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2008-2009

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