Your college degree should provide you with a world of useful knowledge and open a wealth of job possibilities. One option that ticks both boxes is an online degree in criminal justice. When you study for a criminal justice degree, you’ll learn about law enforcement, penal institutions, and crime in society.

Gaining knowledge in this ever-growing field offers many benefits that make this degree well worth considering.

It Gives You a Variety of Job Options

When you earn a criminal justice degree, you won’t be pigeonholed into a certain career. Many career paths and options exist, particularly in the public sector. Some of the jobs that individuals with these degrees hold include:

  • police officers and sheriffs;
  • correctional officers;
  • forensic technicians;
  • fraud investigators;
  • probation officers;
  • private detectives, and;
  • security guards.

Job growth in most of these roles is on pace with or faster than growth in almost every other industry. Pay is also competitive for those who hold a criminal justice degree. Police officers across the U.S. make an average of $63,380 per year. Forensic science technicians make $58,230 per year. Private detectives, who are often self-employed and contract with individual clients or businesses, earn an average of $50,090 per year.

Criminal Justice Careers Offer Excellent Benefits

Most criminal justice careers are in the public sector.

Whether at the local, state, or federal level, job benefits tend to be better for employees who work in public organizations. Retirement benefits for public employees are generally more generous than the 401(k) retirement plans favored in the private sector. Health care benefits, including medical and dental insurance after retirement, also tend to be much better for public sector employees. This is particularly true for individuals who land careers with the federal government.

Public-sector jobs tend to offer more robust fringe benefits than private sector jobs too. While there might not be free snacks or telecommuting options in some government offices, employees get other significant benefits such as assistance with grad school tuition, on-site fitness programs, and regular professional development opportunities.

It Offers Excellent Job Security

Despite the best efforts of society, crime will never go away. The most recent statistics available indicate that almost seven million Americans were incarcerated or on parole or probation in 2016. It’s a sad picture, but the upside is that continued crime spells excellent job security for criminal justice professionals. If you get a degree in criminal justice, you’ll likely never be out of work until you retire.

Because many criminal justice positions are in the public sector, you’ll also enjoy better job security during economic downturns than your peers in the private sector. Even in the rare cases of a government shutdown, employees are generally put on furlough instead of terminated. That means that professionals with a criminal justice degree are less likely to worry about paying off student loans or having to go back to school to learn a new field.

Getting a Degree Online Offers Convenience

If you’re considering studying for a criminal justice degree, you’ll need to decide if you want to study in-person at a school or online. Many students choose online programs because of the convenience they offer.

Some of the other benefits of online programs include:

  • the ability to study from home whenever you want;
  • no commuting costs for class meetings;
  • the ability to study while working full time, and;
  • the opportunity to interact with future criminal justice professionals from around the nation.

You can also benefit from an accelerated program, such as the one offered at Los Angeles Pacific University. The degree is made up of 45 credits and some complete it within two years.

If you’re looking for a tiered degree program to get into the field, Southern New Hampshire University offers online criminal justice programs starting at the AS and progressing up to the BS and MS. The school even offers an MBA in Criminal Justice for those who want to go into high-level management careers in this field.

If you’re already working in the criminal justice field or the military and want to start or further your education, Purdue University Global offers a variety of degree options tailored to different career fields.

Start Making a Difference Today

Getting your criminal justice degree online is a great way to start making a difference in your community.

With dedicated study, you can earn an online criminal justice degree and be in the workforce in as little as two years. You’ll have a world of job options in practically any area you want to live in. Of course, you’ll also have a positive impact on the world while enjoying great job security, pay, and benefits.