The educational path you pursue will depend entirely on the criminal justice career you choose and the training requirements for law enforcement in your state. The prerequisites for joining some state sponsored law enforcement training programs include a high school diploma (or equivalent) and passing a rigorous physical exam. However, earning a college degree in criminal justice or a related field will provide you an edge up on the competition and position you for more career advancement opportunities.
Many state an local law enforcement agencies require, at minimum, that candidates have an associate's degree. However, earning a 4-year bachelor's degree, or even a master's degree, is preferrable for those who want advance in their careers and move into supervisory, management and administration positions down the road.
Federal law enforcement agencies typically require their law enforcement officers to obtain a minimum of a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a relevant field. Many specialized federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), prefer candidates with a master's degree and/or at least three years of relevant law enforcement experience.
Simply put, the higher the level of education you're able to obtain the better off you'll be when pursuing career interests in the field of criminal justice.
Featured Criminal Justice Programs
|Request Info||Southern New Hampshire University You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Grand Canyon University (GCU) With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Colorado Technical University (CTU) A degree from Colorado Technical University can connect you to what matters most - a powerful professional network, real-world faculty and accessible, innovative technology. So once you earn your degree, you can hit the ground sprinting. Learn More >|