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||Purdue University Building on Purdue’s mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that’s tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from the prestigious Purdue University system—completely online. 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||Colorado Technical University (CTU) CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, faculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology. Learn More >|