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10 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs in California for 2021

Are you a working criminal justice professional in California? looking for a career boost? Choosing a criminal justice degree program in California involves identifying what you’re seeking from the degree. Earning a criminal justice degree from one of the many criminal justice schools in California prepares a student to become a more effective community protector as they enter their career or are seeking to improve their existing employment opportunities. 

Working professionals in the law enforcement and criminal justice field may want to find an online school for criminal justice in California that offers them credit for their experience. A school that grants credit hours and waives class requirements for a portion of the degree requirements can help a working professional save money on the cost of their degree and earn their criminal justice degree sooner than normal. 

How We Ranked the Best Online Criminal Justice Programs in California 

The editors at Criminal Justice Degree Hub feature only accredited, legitimate institutions offering fully online and hybrid programs. We rank programs using data from IPEDS and Niche, including factors like cost, salary, and student reviews. 

1. San Diego State University

San Diego State University offers the best online criminal justice programs in California. Skills are offered that allow the student to become proficient in many of the tasks required throughout the criminal justice field. This gives the student an opportunity to explore many different career options as they make their way through the education process. With a BS in Criminal Justice, students can choose a specialization that will give them an opportunity to work in a wide variety of fields, including law enforcement or forensics.

San Diego State University offers degree programs that meet the industry’s strictest standards. Degree programs are developed to provide the knowledge and abilities that will allow the student to go after and eventually reach their goals. The staff and faculty at the university are second to none when it comes to providing the level of attention and support each student needs. As students near their graduation date, they are able to look forward to a bright and very productive future.

Program: BS in Criminal Justice 

2. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University provides students with one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. Students who enroll have the benefit of being able to complete their studies online in an environment in which they are most comfortable. They can maintain their current job while learning the skills they need to perform many of the necessary tasks that are required by those working in law enforcement and other criminal justice fields. With a Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Completion Program, students can finish their degree and begin working almost immediately.

At Azusa Pacific University, students enjoy smaller class sizes and more one on one time with their instructors. The online learning platform allows students to interact with their instructor and complete their assignments with ease. Work can be completed from almost any location. Students can choose an environment where there are fewer distractions. Graduates who have earned their degree can begin to look forward to new opportunities before they ever receive their diploma.

Program: Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Completion

3. California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. Students can look forward to receiving the training they need to pursue a career in any of the criminal justice fields including forensics, law enforcement, and security fields. With the state-of-the-art online format, students are able to study from anywhere. As they earn their BS in Criminal Justice, they can begin to work in the field and gain valuable experience they will need to accomplish their career goals.

At California Baptist University, students have access to the top degree programs as well as award-winning faculty members. The school’s list of resources is extensive offering both online and on-campus options. Students enjoy a small class size and the freedom to interact with their instructors outside of the classroom so that any issues that arise are taken care of immediately. Every graduate leaves the university with a feeling of accomplishment that carries over into their career.

Program: BS in Criminal Justice 

4. Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University gives students an opportunity to enroll in one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. The skills that are taught to students can be applied to many fields in the criminal justice area. Learning using the online format allows students to return to school while they are still employed full-time giving them an opportunity to gain much-needed experience. Earning a B.A. in Criminology allows them to find work in this very fast-paced and unique area of criminal justice.

Fresno Pacific University is well-known for its commitment to its students on every level. From the award-winning staff and faculty to degree programs that go over and above in terms of skills and valuable information. Students can look forward to smaller class sizes, one on one time with faculty, and easy online access to all of their coursework. Students can maintain a job that allows them to gain the experience they need while completing their education and preparing to move forward with their career.

Program: Criminology, B.A.

5. National University

National University offers students one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. Students can look forward to using the online learning platform that allows them to study from any location that offers an internet connection. They will receive all of the required skills for working in an administrative capacity in the criminal justice field. By earning a BS in Criminal Justice Administration, students can find the job they want while they are still pursuing their education.

National University is considered to be one of the best schools in the country for online learning. Classes are kept small and faculty members are professionals in their respective fields making it possible for them to teach from experience. Students have access to several online resources that will help them continue to move forward with their career as they get closer to their graduation date. Each student can graduate knowing they have earned a degree from one of the most effective online universities in the country.

Program: BS in Criminal Justice Administration

6. Sacramento State University

Sacramento State University offers students one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. Learning skills through an online platform gives students a chance to gain the necessary experience by working full-time in an area where they hope to build their career. As they continue to learn, they can begin applying this information and utilizing skills as they are learned. With a BS in Criminal Justice, students are able to build a career they live in a very diverse and detail-oriented field.

Sacramento State University is one of the most well-respected schools in the state when it comes to the use of technology. Their online learning platform allows students to explore their options while keeping a job and supporting their families. Students are able to complete their coursework in an environment in which they feel the most comfortable, while still having access to their professional instructors. They receive both guidance and support allowing them to overcome even the most difficult obstacles.

Program: BS in Criminal Justice

7. California State University, San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino offers one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. The school gives students all of the information and skills to build a highly successful career in the criminal justice field. The online format makes it possible for them to begin looking for work long before they actually graduate. With a BA in Criminal Justice, students can explore almost any specialization they choose and build a career they can be proud of.

California State University, San Bernardino is an award-winning school that offers technologically advanced degree programs. They use an online platform that gives students a chance to learn in a comfortable environment. Students receive the same quality education as those who attend a campus class without having to worry or be anxious in an unfamiliar environment. Graduates can take their degree and apply for a variety of positions that will allow them to create a career they can be proud of.

Program: BA in Criminal Justice

8. Brandman University

Brandman University offers students some of the best online criminal justice programs in California. The university provides students with the tools and resources they need to be able to find work in a variety of areas within the criminal justice and legal fields. Students who earn their BA in CI and other types of degrees in the Justice/Legal field can begin looking for work long before they graduate. Working in the same field they are studying allows them to use their new skills almost immediately.

Brandman University is a well-respected school located in Irvine, California. Students have access to the highest quality degree programs through an online learning platform that is designed to make earning their degree as easy as possible. Faculty members are professionals in their respective fields and offer insight to students that comes from experience. Students who earn their degree from the university are able to explore new opportunities in their chosen career field while they are still in school.

Program: BA in CJ also others in Justice/Legal field

9. California Coast University

California Coast University gives students an opportunity to enroll in one of the best online criminal justice programs in California. Students are able to learn all of the necessary skills they will need to explore a variety of careers within the criminal justice field. They can begin to look for work while they are still pursuing their education. Earning a Criminal Justice Bachelor’s degree will give them the skills they need to find work in almost any area they choose within the criminal justice and legal fields.

California Coast University takes pride in being able to offer its criminal justice degree programs through an online platform. Students can contact faculty members as needed and can complete their studies while they remain on the job. They are able to receive the assistance they need, the same as if they were attending class on campus. Graduates can enter the workforce knowing they have earned a degree that will provide them with everything they need to succeed.

Program: Criminal Justice Bachelor’s

10. California Southern University

California Southern University has the best online criminal justice programs in California for students who want to continue their education while remaining on the job. Skills are taught in various areas that allow students to explore several different job options within the criminal justice field. This allows them to choose a specialization in which they can thrive and build a successful career. With a BS in Criminal Justice, a student’s career path is wide open allowing them to follow any path they choose within the criminal justice or legal fields.

California Southern University has been recognized for its commitment to excellence in education. The school has faculty members in place who have worked within their chosen areas of expertise for many years. Students can rely on a smaller than average class size and one on one time with their instructor which is vital to their success. They are able to access their coursework as well as the school’s extensive list of resources using an online portal. This allows them to pursue their educational goals in an environment that they feel comfortable working in.

Program: BS in Criminal Justice

How Do I Choose a Criminal Justice Degree Program in California?

A criminal justice degree program includes the study of investigative principles, ethics, criminal law and sociological topics that include drug and alcohol abuse, forensic psychology, and organized crime. Some curriculums enable a student to focus on a specific area of criminal justice studies to further refine a student’s body of knowledge. A student that’s interested in working in the area of white collar crime may want to look into schools that offer such an educational opportunity.

Students also need to consider the practical aspects of attending school in person or online. Many criminal justice programs are offered in online-only formats in order to increase access to higher education for working professionals, but they’re not limited to working professionals only. Online schools for criminal justice in California are also aimed at students who want to enter the field of law enforcement and protection occupations with a solid educational foundation. Online criminal justice programs in California offer flexible schedules and some online schools for criminal justice in California allow students to work at their own pace. 

How is the Job Market for Criminal Justice in California?

The job market for criminal justice majors in California is good, but will experience growth that’s lower than the average for most jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS categorizes all jobs that have an enforcement aspect under the Protective Service Occupation category. It’s worth noting that the field of criminal justice is varied and many jobs that aren’t strictly related to law enforcement will fall under this category. Some criminal justice fields are more likely to have strong demand for employees due to the increasing number of retiring Baby Boomers and other factors that cause people to leave the field. Criminal justice jobs in California will always have a level of demand due to the fact communities are always in need of trained individuals to help with handling the complexities of crime reduction and prevention. 

Criminal justice degree jobs in California include correctional and probation officers, peace officer, detectives, investigators, forensic science technicians, security officers, and more. A graduate who is looking at entry-level criminal justice jobs in California will find plenty of opportunities in private security and corrections facilities. Entry-level criminal justice jobs in California offer excellent opportunities for graduates to use their observational skills and apply their sociological understanding to the causes of crime without the additional burden of being a public employee. Skills learned at an entry-level criminal justice job in California can be combined with criminal justice education and improve your chances of finding quality employment. 

How Much Can I Make with a Criminal Justice Degree in California?

The average criminal justice salary in California is $54,000 a year, or $26 an hour. Some jobs pay as low as $19,662 a year while others pay as much as $203,503. However, the majority of criminal justice jobs in California pay the average salary. The great disparity in pay is an indicator that there is a lot of room for advancement in the criminal justice field. Job seekers will find lots of room for upward movement in their career, even when they start out at the low end of the pay scale when first graduating with their criminal justice degree. The more experience a graduate earns in the early days of their career can help them find better jobs with local, state, and federal agencies that seek out employees with a degree in criminal justice.

Working professionals who are seeking to improve their employment and earning opportunities are most likely already earning around the average salary for someone who holds a criminal justice degree. Earning the degree enables the working professional to move into specialized areas of law enforcement or work for private employers that put a value on an employee with experience and education in the area of criminal justice. Government agencies also look for employees with a broad base of experience and education in order to better serve the public at large. This offers the opportunity to start and advance in a government role, or use the prestige of such an employment to find a well-compensated position in the private sector. 

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Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees

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Criminaljusticedegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.