Criminal Justice Associate, Bachelor & Masters Degree Programs

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.

Enjoy this post? Don't forget to share.

Criminal Justice Programs

Select Your Desired Program for More Information

Find Classes. Prepare for a Career.

Looking to go back to school? Let us help you find Criminal Justice programs and schools that match your interests.

Featured Criminal Justice Articles

Explore Articles on Hot Topics in the Field of Criminal Justice

  • Forensic Scientist

    Breakthrough in Forensic Science

    Forensic researchers in Tucson, Arizona have developed a revolutionary method that could allow scientists to predict what a person might look like using only their DNA. Scientists at the University of Arizona conducted a research project measuring the following characteristics of nearly 1,000 individuals: eye color, skin, and hair.

    Read more
  • Death Penalty

    Does The Death Penalty Save Lives?

    For the first time in over a generation, the question of whether the death penalty deters murders has captured the attention of scholars, sparking an intense new debate. About 12 current reports indicate each time a convicted murderer is executed, between 3-18 homicides do not occur.

    Read more
  • Bounty Hunter

    Bounty Hunters -- Legit, or not?

    Are bounty hunters legitimate law enforcement professional? There has been increasing controversy in the United States over bounty hunters, with concern voiced over the lack of control that a state has over their behavior. Court jurisdictions have permitted bounty hunters broad authority to locate and detain individuals fleeing to evade the legal process.

    Read more