An associates or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is a useful tool whether you’re looking to get into police work, some other branch of federal or state law enforcement, or even if your goal is to eventually go to law school and become an attorney.
For most law enforcement positions, the associate of either science or arts in criminal justice has become a bit more important lately, at least at the more local level. That’s because the states, counties and towns who hire officers, troopers and sheriffs are in a budget pinch this year because of the bad economy. They’re making at least a few less hires than they did in previous years, and they’re viewing every position as a criminal justice degree job. Candidates who have no degrees are finding it tougher to get hired.
Cost Of An Associate’s Criminal Justice Degree
The cost of an associate degree in law enforcement can vary widely, depending on whether you choose to study online or in a traditional school, and whether you go for a private or public college. If your budget is tight, it’s good to take a look at community colleges in your area. Many of them offer law enforcement programs at a very reasonable cost, particularly to local students.
At Colorado Northwest Community College, for example, the 64-credit associate in criminal justice degree will cost a total of about $5,200. if you are in in-state student and $11,000. you’re out-of state (neither cost here includes room and board). The Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland’s tuition structure shows just how much going local can save you. It has a 61-credit associate of applied science in criminal justice program that’s $5,490. for in-county students, $10,614. for out-of-county and almost $16,000. for out-of-state residents (all are 2009 fees for tuition only). The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a well-known name in the New York area. It’s $170. per tuition hour fee seems high, but it helps in-state residents by topping out their fees at a maximum of $2,000. per term. Living at any school obviously boosts your cost. The associates in CJ at small, private Southern Vermont College is a total of about $26,000. if you pay for tuition plus on-campus living.
Choosing Among The Best Online Programs
Online study isn’t necessarily cheaper, but it may allow you to step up to a better known school. Indiana Wesleyan University, on old institution that’s certainly a familiar name in the Midwest, has a 100% online associate degree in criminal justice that takes 62 credits and costs a total of just under $17,000. Liberty University, a Christian school in Virginia, is a bit less – about $15,000. total for the AA Criminal Justice. Keep in mind that at some of these schools, fees per course are higher if you do not take all your courses at that particular school.
Cost Of A Bachelor’s In Criminal Justice
Portland State University on the west coast offers big savings thru its online bachelor in criminal justice program. The 92-credit program is just over $23,000 total. Kaplan University, which has been ranked #1 in several studies of online programs, offers a distance learning bachelor of science degree in criminal justice with specialties including corrections, homeland security, forensic psychology and law enforcement. The total cost of the program is currently $63,500. As with the associates degree, if you’re willing to trade the prestige of a nationally known school for a community college, you can save. Florida Gulf Coast University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice that is under $16,000. total if you are a Florida resident.
What’s The Best Degree For Law Enforcement?
Police departments around the country almost all ask job recruits to have some type of degree or certification today. But there are alot of different degrees that can lead into a law enforcement career.
Social Science Degrees
Psychology and sociology can be helpful for careers where police or corrections personnel need help dealing with the psychology of individuals. Social workers are often employed to work on rehabilitative services for incarcerated persons or on helping the families of offenders. Psychiatrists are often used to help deal with mental health issues in criminals, and sometimes with mental stress problems in the police themselves.
Criminology is also a social science degree, but its more squarely focused on law enforcement. It can be an interesting specialty if you want to work in acapacity where you need to understand and be able to explain why and how criminals behave the way they do. A master’s in criminology is often seen as a good springboard to more senior management positions in police departments or other law enforcement agencies.
This is the most widely popuilar degree for those who want an learn how to work in positions on or close to the front lines of law enforcement. The degree, which may be called “policing” or “investigating,” is appropriate if you are interested in moving into a leadership position. Sometimes, it can be valuable in a legal career.
Becuase law enforcement is so complex today, it requires people with a wider variety of knowlewdge than ever before. Beyond the degrees above, it’s possible to get into law enforcement with a computer science degree, financial or accounting expertise or skill in foreign languages.