Working in the field of criminal justice is a big dream for many individuals, but it can be tough to break into the industry. If you are serious about uncovering your potential as a police officer, criminal investigator or even air marshall, then you will have to start with a solid education. Earning a degree in the field helps you to be taken seriously as a candidate, and it may even help you to secure a mid-level job rather than an entry-level position.
Believe it or not, you can actually study for a criminal justice career from the comfort of your own home thanks to online courses. Here is everything you will need to know about pursuing a police sciences degree over the Internet.
How Does an Online Degree Work?
This is a great question, and it is one that many potential online students have. Rather than driving to a college campus and sitting through lectures at set times for as many as four years, students studying online can simply open up their computers and watch live streaming sessions or even recorded lectures. You will use the same textbooks, but you can communicate with your teaching staff and fellow classmates online or through email rather than in person.
What are the Prerequisites for Enrollment?
Every school has a different set of requirements for enrollment, but all applicants should have graduated from high school or have the equivalent of a general education degree. Colleges may also ask their applicants for copies of their high school transcripts, for references from previous teachers and employers or for a written admission essay. You will also need to be over the age of 18 and be comfortable using a computer as well as the Internet.
What Subjects Will I Study?
During the course of your online degree, you will be able to study dozens of subjects relating to criminal justice and police work. Some of the most common courses to find on your syllabus might include constitutional law, police administration, search and seizure laws, investigation science and crime mapping.
How Long Does it Take to Complete?
If you are planning to complete an associate degree, which is generally 60 to 65 credits, you should expect the degree to take two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree, which is roughly 120 credits, will take four years to complete. However, studying online means that you can complete the materials at your own pace, and students can work through their degree faster or slower than average based on their needs and their schedule.
How Do I Turn a Degree Into a Career?
After earning your degree, you might want to apply to become a police officer. You will generally need to be 21 and physically fit in order to pass entrance exams for this position. However, other career opportunities include that of federal agent, DEA employee, insurance claim adjuster, private security agent or immigration inspector.