Professionals in criminal justice who have their eyes on a higher prize may find themselves stuck with only a bachelor’s degree, but for a lot of reasons, a full master’s in criminal justice may not be in the cards. Expense and time are the biggest barriers; master’s degrees can be expensive, and criminal justice professionals tend to work long, demanding hours. Putting aside time for a full 2-3 year master’s degree may be too much. That’s where a criminal justice graduate certificate hits the sweet spot.
A graduate certificate falls between a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, providing the key specialized courses from a master’s program that increase a professional’s knowledge and expertise, but not the whole degree. With just four to six courses, a criminal justice graduate certificate online can make a real impact on a working professional’s career prospects. To help guide criminal justice professionals to the graduate certificates that are trusted and proven, Criminal Justice Degree Hub has ranked the Best Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate programs for 2019.
Our Process: Ranking the Best Graduate Certificate Programs Online
CJDH ranked the top graduate certificate online programs in criminal justice by searching for accredited colleges and universities offering fully or primarily online certificate programs designed for working adults. To arrange the ranking, editors ran the numbers on three main criteria: Cost, Reputation, and Return on Investment. Statistics came from IPEDS, College Scorecard, and Niche.
1. Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU-Global’s online Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership is a 12 credit hour program develops a student’s skills in decision-making and leadership that are successfully applied to the field of criminal justice. Criminal Justice Certificate candidates take classes that include Ethics, Justice and Social Control, Criminal Justice Policy, and Criminological Theory, among others. Colorado State University-Global Campus is recognized as a foremost innovator of distance learning programs for non-traditional learners, providing one of the best online graduate certificate programs in criminal justice.
Colorado State University-Global Campus was founded in 2007 as the first non-profit online university established as an independent institution in a public higher education system. Currently, Colorado State University has a student body of 18,000 students. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Colorado State University degree programs, as an independent institution of higher learning.
Certificate: Criminal Justice Leadership
2. Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s online graduate certificate programs in criminal justice offer the ability to select from seven specialization areas designed by the College of Social Science and College of Criminal Justice. These include Security Management, Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis, Judicial Administration, Homeland Security, Anti-Counterfeiting, and Product Protection (A-CAPP). Coursework (except for A-CAPP) requires nine credits. Criminal Justice certificate holders have the option to apply the credits earned towards a master’s degree.
Michigan State University was established in 1855 in Lansing, MI, which is now considered a college town. It holds the recognition of a land grant and sea grant public university. Michigan State University has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.MSU is among the largest universities in the country with a student enrollment that exceeds 50,000. The school is comprised of 17 colleges that offer more than 200 academic programs.
Certificate: Grad Certificate – 7 specializations
3. Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s online Graduate Certificate programs, from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, offers offer three distinct concentrations of focus. These include the Corrections Management Graduate Certificate, the Online Criminal Sentencing & Sentencing Advocacy Graduate Certificate, and the online Graduate Certificate in Law Enforcement Administration. Each graduate certificate requires the completion of five classes that total 15-credit hours. Non-resident, as well as Arizona residents, pay the same tuition rates for a graduate certificate in any area of focus.
Arizona State University was established in 1885 and has one of the largest, most diverse student populations in the country. Arizona State University is home to the largest institute of higher learning for first-time college students. Arizona State University has been recognized as the second best online undergraduate degree programs. Arizona State University offers 175 different online programs. Since its inception, ASU’s online enrollment has reached new heights in terms of enrollment.
Certificates: Corrections Management
Law Enforcement Administration
4. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University’s online Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership & Management requires the completion of 18 credit hours. Upon completing this Criminal Justice graduate certificate, graduates will have completed half the coursework to earn a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership & Management. The certificate can be typically completed in 12 months. Graduates are prepared to advance their careers in the many facets of the criminal justice system. The Journal of Criminal Justice has ranked SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice among the criminal justice graduate certificate – in the country.
Sam Houston State University is a public school that was established in 1879. SHSU is a member school of the Texas State University System. One of the best online graduate certificate programs in Texas, SHSU’s post graduate certificate programs are ideal for the growing professional job market of eastern Texas. The graduate certificate in criminal justice is just one example.
Certificate: Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management
5. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global’s online Management and Supervisions Certificate in Criminal Justice allows students to explore and examine the management theories and functions of the many types of criminal justice organizations. Purdue University Global’s Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate requires the completion of 36 credits, which translates to approximately 18 hours per week. Coursework includes Leadership Development, Organizational Behavior, Employee Evaluation, and Conflict Management.
Purdue University Global was established in 2018 and is academically affiliated with the Purdue University system. Purdue University Global began when the school acquired Kaplan University – a for-profit, private school repurposed for one of the Midwest’s most prominent public research universities. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Purdue University Global online degree programs for non-traditional adult learners. For students looking to complete their studies quickly, Purdue University Global offers an ExcelTrack option.
Certificate: Management and Supervision Certificate in Criminal Justice
6. CUNY John Jay College
The City University of New York John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers an Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation. CUNY John Jay’s graduate level stand-alone certificate requires the completion of 12 credits; the program is offered online or on-campus. Students graduating with a graduate certificate in criminal justice possess criminal investigative skills that are applicable to the federal, the state and the local levels. The Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation is a New York State Education Department Certificate and is falls among the highest quality of post graduate certificate program.
The City University of NY John Jay College of Criminal Justice was founded in 1964 as a senior college within the City University of New York (CUNY). John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a liberal arts school with a focus on forensic science, public affairs, forensic psychology, and criminal justice. The Business Insider recognized John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s campus as the 18thsafest campus in the country.
Certificate: Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation
7. Boston University
The Metropolitan College offers Boston University’s online Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate. Coursework follows an interdisciplinary approach and requires the completion of 16 credits. Certificate graduates typically complete the graduate certificate coursework in 8 – 12 months. Students graduate with the skills required managing criminal justice ongoing problems. Credits earned when graduating from BU’s online Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate is a prudent addition to any other certificate programs a student may possess or intend to complete in the near future.
Boston University was established in 1839 and is a nonsectarian university. BU’s online graduate criminal justice program is ranked #2, and considered one of the best graduate certificate programs online, according to US News & Report. Boston University’s 135-acre urban campus is home to nearly 35,000 students. Alexander Graham Bell was using Boston University’s lab when he invented the telephone. He was a Boston University professor.
Certificate: Graduate Certificate in Strategic Management in Criminal Justice
8. University of New Haven
The University of New Haven’s Graduate Certificate of Criminal Justice Management comes from the highly respected Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. The coursework for these post graduate certificate programs focuses on the use of modern management standards to criminal justice organizations. Student complete 12 credits by taking four courses: Problem-Oriented policing, Leadership Issues in Policing, Criminal Justice Management, and Futures Research: Long Range Planning and Forecasting in Criminal Justice.
The University of New Haven was founded on the campus of Yale in 1920. The New England Commission of Higher Education(NECHE) accredits The University of New Haven. The University of New Haven has been recognized by the US News & World Report as a top university in the northern portion of the country. The University of New Haven’s main 80+-acre campus in West Haven is about 1.5 hours from New York City and 2.5 hours from Boston, MA.
Certificate: Graduate Certificate – Criminal Justice Management
9. Franklin University
Franklin University’s online Criminal Justice Leadership Graduate Certificate program can be completed in as little as six months. Coursework prepares graduates with earned credentials to advance their career as an agent of change for the ever-changing criminal justice system. Students learn the manner in which policy becomes law and the regulations that guide the enforcement of the revised legislation. The Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership requires the completion of 16 semester hours.
Franklin University is a nonprofit university established in 1902 to serve adult student needs. The school began under the YMCA’s leadership as the School of Commerce. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Franklin University’s degree programs. Franklin University is one Columbus, OH’s largest private institution of higher learning. Franklin University has been recognized as a Top Military Friendly School.
Certificate: Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership
10. Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University’s online Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate is one of the most affordable degrees in the nation, designed for working learners who wish to advance their careers by mastering the necessary theoretical knowledge and research talent. The Graduate Certificate requires the completion of 18 credits plus two required criminal justice courses. Graduate Certificate candidates have no obligation to complete a thesis to earn the certificate. Certificate graduates are prepared to hold positions as a Probation Officer, a Police Officer, an FBI Agent, and legal researcher, among others. Fayetteville State University also offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. https://www.uncfsu.edu/academics/colleges-schools-and-departments/college-of-arts-and-sciences/department-of-criminal-justice/criminal-justice-(ms)
Fayetteville State University was established in 1867 as an act of the North Carolina legislature. It is a historically black university and a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Fayetteville State University holds the distinction of being North Carolina’s first criminal justice program to receive certification by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
Certificate: Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice
Are Criminal Justice Online Graduate Certificate Programs as Good as On-Campus?
Students who are participating in online graduate certificate programs instead of attending on-campus classes have just as many opportunities for receiving a high-quality education. The main reason is that more and more colleges and universities are offering criminal justice graduate certificate online programs that have accreditation through associations including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, for example. Students who are looking for the best graduate certificate programs online will ensure these accreditations are current. In doing so, they can be sure the online graduate certificate programs they’re participating in are monitored, being reviewed, and feature the highest quality curriculum.
Employers who previously thought harshly about students who pursued an online education are now thinking differently about these programs. The main reason is that many reputable educational facilities are offering distance learning programs to hard-working professionals as a means of allowing them to maintain their current schedules while advancing their education. The criticisms that once were flooding the news are now being replaced by employers who think of them as a viable and valuable option for those who need an alternative to on-campus study.
How are Post-Graduate Certificate Programs Different from Master’s Degrees?
It isn’t uncommon for those who are furthering their education to wonder if they should pursue their master’s degree or obtain their post-graduate certificate. Is one better than the other? Post graduate certificate programs help students advance their career while focusing on specialized courses, spending less time, and the need for fewer credits. Obtaining a graduate certificate in criminal justice is beneficial for those who have specific career goals, would prefer not to spend a lot of time on a master’s degree, and want to focus on a specialization. When students earn their criminal justice graduate certificate, they’ll be able to increase their earning potential as well as their ability to enter higher-ranking jobs.
While it’s possible to acquire entry-level positions with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, it’s challenging to achieve career advancement without furthering your education. Therefore, it’s beneficial to explore opportunities with post graduate certificate programs. In doing so, you’re showing your employer that you’re serious about the position you currently have and the one in which you have interest. They’ll see that you have received a graduate certificate in criminal justice and take you seriously.
Will an Online Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate Help My Career?
When professionals opt to participate in fast certificate programs, they’ll find that they can achieve their goals quicker. Those who are looking to increase their salaries, it may benefit them to look at quick certifications that pay well. In doing so, they’ll find a list of easy certifications to get online from accredited schools that will help them with their career. These fast certificate programs provide you with the necessary training that many employers are currently seeking. This training includes valuable skills you’ll need to be successful in security, law enforcement, or corrections.
Employers are consistently seeking prospective employees who possess the empathy necessary to work in public service roles. When you take quick certifications that pay well, it’s possible for you to advance your current career path from an entry-level position to one that’s higher level. If there’s a position you have your eye on, you’ll be able to take this education and use it to your advantage. By taking easy certifications to get online, it’s possible to receive a high-quality education while you’re still maintaining your busy working schedule.