Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Despite the news about budget cuts for local and federal law enforcement agencies, there are still plenty of opportunities for budding criminal justice professionals. The criminal justice field is wide and varied. Some of the many jobs available for people with a criminal justice degree include forensics, administration, legal services, court jobs, law enforcement, and more. Professionals can choose if they prefer a job in the field as a police officer, investigator, or other job – or if they prefer to work in administrative, legal, or management. The salary range for these jobs is $49,421-$113,930 for an educated professional with some experience. Going back to school for a criminal justice degree is typically at least a two year commitment and many people can’t afford to stop working for that long. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable online criminal justice programs prospective students can consider. Online school is often less expensive than traditional school and students are able to tailor their studies around a busy schedule more easily. Here’s what to look for in an online criminal justice program.


There are many institutions which offer accreditation for educational programs, however, not all are created equal. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the ultimate accreditation (actual assessment completed by a private third party) institute and has a searchable database prospective students can access to determine if the online program they are considering is fully certified. People who are only looking for an additional certification should talk to their current employer or the employer they wish to work for in the future and ask if the online program they are considering is acceptable.


Online criminal justice programs offer a wide range of concentrations for professionals to focus on. Specializations include forensic sciences, law enforcement, public safety management, security, corrections, court reporting, criminal justice administration, homeland security, legal studies, paralegal/ legal assistant, and crime scene investigation. Aspiring students should know their ultimate career goals and find an online program which will help them achieve these goals.


Many of the top-ranked online criminal justice programs employ professors who aren’t only experts in their field, but also in online teaching. The virtual classroom is much different than the traditional class, and professors should tailor their readings, assignments, examinations, and lecture accordingly. By attending a program where faculty has the know-how and technology required to teach as effectively as they would in-person, students will leave better prepared for careers.

Below is a list of the best online criminal justice programs in the country. This ranking was determined based on a variety of data sets including enrollment numbers, graduation rates, class to teacher ratio, and rigor of courses. Additionally, surveys assessing current student satisfaction were taken into account.



Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University may refer to its Criminal Justice program under the less interesting sounding Justice Studies, but its online offerings are no different than many of its other neighboring schools. In fact, it separates itself from its competitors by actually offering more specific real world applications of Criminal Justice through its Justice Studies program.

Central Christian College of Kansas

Central Christian College of Kansas utilizes a virtual campus system to provide its students with not only a Criminal Justice program that can be completed entirely online, but also a system that allows students to seek out online mentors that can guide them through each step of degree completion. Central Christian College has had such resounding success with its program that it guarantees students will receive their degree in less than two years. While it might be appropriate to question such results, in reality much of their success stems from their stable of experienced professionals in the field that have specifically tailored the coursework to tackle real world subject matter.

Coleman University

Coleman University is proud of its distance learning program for students seeking to complete a degree in Criminal Justice from the comfort of their home (or anywhere with a computer). Coleman University understands the need for online courses in a student’s life, not only from a scheduling standpoint, but from a cost one as well. With online courses, students can save the money they’d otherwise have to spend on commuting to campus everyday.

Lincoln University

Lincoln University is committed to providing students with the most effective online technologies, not only through online coursework, but with other tools on the Internet as well. Through their lecture capture system, students may review lectures provided by teachers in the courses of their choice from the comfort of their home as they study and work towards their Criminal Justice degree. Not only that, Lincoln University also provides its students with an entire compendium of trusted research sources that can be browsed and used from any computer.

Wilmington University

Wilmington University has been blurring the line between the coursework of traditional and online classrooms for several years now, ensuring that its students receive a top education regardless of their preference. With over sixty different online programs, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice among them, students are often surprised by Wilmington University’s accessibility and the breadth of its solid academic support.

Bowling Green Technical College

Bowling Green Technical College offers online programs for Criminal Justice, as well as a slew of other coursework, so that students unavailable at certain times of day may still get the education they desire. The catch, of course, is that certain aspects of the coursework (such as tests) must be completed on location. Luckily, Bowling Green Technical College provides a variety of locations that students may complete these physical aspects at, giving them ample time to prepare around their schedule for such eventualities.

University of Houston

University of Houston has been working to improve the online coursework available to its students for quite some time now. The culmination of these efforts takes the form of not only the large range of classes available to all degree programs, but to its “ToOLS” system as well. Through “ToOLS,” students can properly acclimate themselves to the online studying environment as well as receive feedback on their study habits to ensure the Internet doesn’t distract them from earning their degree.

Cayuga County Community College

Cayuga County Community College understands the frustration of attending a college that doesn’t offer enough support for its online classrooms. As a result, Cayuga County Community College offers degree programs that are fully capable of being completed online. These aren’t just hybrid classes either. In fact, the classes they offer will appear as “normal” classes should you decide to transfer to another school. In this way, students of the Criminal Justice degree program are afforded options should they decide to attend a different school during the course of earning their degree.

Wayne Community College

Wayne Community College has online programs for all students, whether they are searching for a degree, diploma or certification in Criminal Justice. In addition to its commitment to students that are seeking a degree online, Wayne Community College also has support for students seeking non-credit courses to complete online as well. If a program in Criminal Justice Technology sounds interesting, Wayne Community College’s online programs may be your answer.

Granite State College

Granite State College has become one of the top schools in New Hampshire for students seeking an online education. Part of the strength of Granite State College’s learning system stems from its commitment to students through the applicability of “life experience” towards earned credits. In addition to their interesting credit transfer policies, Granite State College offers the same flexibility and value that other colleges offer through its Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree program.

Hampton University

Hampton University has evolved its online offerings over the years into what has become “Hampton U Online.” Designed with the student on a busy schedule in mind, Hampton U Online acts as a virtual representation of the universe itself, with all of the same support and educational tools that students have come to expect from its physical campus. Anyone seeking a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice would do well to begin their search here.

University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota has gone to great lengths to not only offer a variety of courses for its students, but to also allow for a wide range of goals. Whether a student is seeking an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, the University of Minnesota has online coursework available for them. In fact, the University of Minnesota also has online support for those that wish to continue their education, whether they be a student that took a break or a returning adult learner.

Buena Vista University

Buena Vista University is committed to providing an enriching and rewarding experience for all of its students in the Criminal Justice field. To that end, they have begun instituting a degree program that allows students to perform coursework both online and through evening classes that are specifically catered to those with an otherwise hectic schedule. Through this hybrid approach, Buena Vista University has established itself as one of the best colleges to attend in the state of Iowa for an education that can be attained both in the classroom and online.

Cuesta College

Cuesta College has gone above and beyond many other schools in its commitment to the online degree program system. Not only does Cuesta College offer online classes for Criminal Justice, they also offer assessments that allow a student to take an honest look at their self-discipline to decide if they are ready for the realities of a class that doesn’t require their physical presence. Oftentimes, students see online courses as a way of “slacking off” throughout the semester. With Cuesta College though, students can find out if they’re truly ready and what steps need to be taken if they are not.

National University

National University has a huge bevy of online degree programs for students too busy to attend a traditional class. Of their online programs, National University is proud to announce that over seventy percent may completed entirely online, without stepping one foot on a campus. Anyone seeking a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice may want to begin their search here.

Minot State University

Minot State University have been slowly evolving their online offerings over the past decade to become as inclusive as possible to all walks of life. Regardless of your situation, Minot State University has the online classes available to suit your needs and set you on the path to a career in Criminal Justice.

Lehman College

Lehman College understands the value of technology in our everyday lives and has taken to utilizing it as a tool for expanding on its student’s education. Through the online course management system, Blackboard, Lehman College has made a concentrated effort to provide students with as many alternatives to the traditional classroom structure as they can. Their hope is that students will be better equipped in this manner to complete their degrees in a timely manner and move on to great careers in Criminal Justice, as well as other fields.

DePaul University

DePaul University has dedicated itself to working adults seeking a degree for over a century. In that time, DePaul University has developed a strong foundation for providing yearning students with the necessary tools to complete their education from home. As a testament to the value of their online systems, DePaul University offers not just Bachelor programs, but Master’s as well.

Jefferson Community and Technical College

Jefferson Community and Technical College refers to its distance learning program as “eLearning.” Through eLearning, Jefferson Community and Technical College seeks to provide its students with the types of tools and education that students have come to expect with the evolution of the Internet and the offerings of the modern era. In fact, Jefferson Community and Technical College’s system provides students with classes from over sixteen different colleges found throughout the state of Kentucky, ensuring that any student with an interest in Criminal Justice will be able to find the classes they need to be successful.

Clackamas Community College

Clackamas Community College has a large selection of courses for its Criminal Justice program for students seeking a way to attend classes without having to take time out of their busy schedules. Clackamas Community College utilizes online courses that vary in how much can be completed entirely online. A word of caution for potential students though, as online courses for this college require an additional technology fee.

Hawaii Pacific University

Hawaii Pacific University may not offer an entire degree program in Criminal Justice, but what it lacks in specificity it makes up for by providing students with a small sampling of classes that may be completed online towards a Criminal Justice degree. Students at Hawaii Pacific University can expect to complete their highest level coursework in a traditional classroom while working towards their general education credits from the comfort of their home.

Mid-State Technical College

Mid-State Technical College brings quality online coursework to its students in the Criminal Justice program with two specific tools: TelePresence and computer conferencing. TelePresence brings students from multiple campuses into one class through high-quality videos that not only connect students to each other, but to a knowledgeable and experienced professor as well. Computer conferencing, on the other hand, brings students into the classroom through their innovative Fuze system. Of course, utilizing such tools does limit eligibility: only students with a microphone and headset may participate in these online versions of classes.

Brevard Community College

Brevard Community College utilizes online teaching technology through the use of its learning platform known as ANGEL. This Learning Management System allows Brevard Community College to provide its students interactive coursework on exciting Criminal Justice programs while still being flexible in the manner in which it is delivered. For those seeking an easily accessible method for acquiring their Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Brevard Community College is worth the time to look into.

Riverland Community College

Riverland Community College understands the need for distance learning in today’s day and age. To that end, Riverland Community College offers not only online coursework for its Criminal Justice degree program, but academic and computer surveys as well to ensure that its students are more than prepared for the rigors of online academic coursework. Additionally, Riverland Community College supports the innovative use of its ITV system, which allows students to attend classes at a different location than the main campus while still communicating with an instructor. Regardless of your preferences for off-campus instruction, Riverland Community College has the tools necessary for your needs.

University of Alabama

University of Alabama has a number of courses available under their “Distance Learning” branch, Criminal Justice among them. While the coursework is considered to be designed for “evening” classes, in reality these Internet-based classes are ideal for anyone whose schedule is considered to be anything but flexible. While there is coursework that can be done online, the University of Alabama does have some requirements to the program that require students to be able to physically attend the school.

Bay Path College

Bay Path College is an educational institution devoted to the education and enlightenment of women. Their online programs offer coursework devoted to women, though they do have some other classes that men are allowed to attend. As a result, Bay Path College isn’t as inclusive as some other schools that allow for online coursework, but for women interested in a field in Criminal Justice, Bay Path College may be the right fit for them.

Drexel University

Drexel University prides itself on its newest incarnation, Drexel University Online. Through this new facet of the school, students may complete Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice while doing so with a flexible schedule that allows them to learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. Best of all, Drexel University Online makes no distinction between the degrees that are earned through traditional classes and those earned by those that commit to the class online.

Albertus Magnus College

Albertus Magnus College has offered an effective and high-quality education since its inception in 1925. Based within Connecticut, Albertus Magnus College has been working on accelerated learning programs since the 1980s to help cater to working students with a need for a flexible schedule. As part of its innovative approach to coursework, Albertus Magnus College has begun offering accelerated degree programs that are fully online and provide the practical knowledge of a classroom with the ease and accessibility of the Internet.

Highline Community College

Highline Community College provides its students with all of the tools they’ll need in Criminal Justice through its Administration of Justice program. While referred to under a different name, the Administration of Justice program is still very much the Criminal Justice field that students have come to expect. In addition, much of Highline Community College’s coursework may be completed through its online program and the ANGEL system.

Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree for Criminal Justice through its online courses that do not, under any circumstances, require students to visit the campus directly. As a result, this extremely popular option for students interested in Criminal Justice is used to pave their way for the future at another university where they might earn their Bachelor’s or even Master’s.