Top 10 Attorney Jobs

law officeAfter graduating with a law degree, choosing your career path is not always a simple choice, especially if you have different interests in how you plan to put your degree to use. Reviewing the top 10 attorney jobs available today in accordance to salary and potential earnings is a way to gain perspective to help with choosing a career that is right for you. Researching various attorney jobs is a way to understand more about the options available for all law students, whether you have a passion for becoming a judge or if you are thinking of becoming a trial lawyer or a law professor.


criminal defense paralegalIf you are interested in paralegal work, there are many different paralegal jobs available on the market to choose from depending on the position you are interested in and most qualified for professionally. Paralegals and legal assistants earn an average salary of $46,990 annually. Although obtaining a position as a paralegal often only requires an Associate’s degree, it is best to receive a degree that that is law-related.

Conducting legal research for law firms, organizing and handling documents as well as working with other attorneys within the firm itself are all responsibilities of individuals working as paralegals. It is possible to work for corporate agencies along with government agencies; although most paralegals are likely to find work within law firms themselves.

Paralegal jobs are expected to grow approximately 17% between 2012 and 2022, making them an optional position to obtain with the proper experience and educational background. Most paralegal positions require individuals to work full-time. In some cases, positions demand overtime for paralegals depending on the number of clients the firm has taken on and the time of year.

Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense AttorneyWorking as an attorney requires the ability to defend clients who have potentially been charged with theft, murder and other vicious crimes. Taking on the job of a defense attorney requires the ability to create proper defense trials in a court of law to protect and assist your clients as much as possible, regardless of the crime committed and any evidence that is present in each individual case. The average attorney’s salary in the US is approximately $113,000 annually, although this varies with the number of high-profile cases each lawyer is capable of taking on.

Lawyers have an average fee of approximately $48.00 with higher-priced lawyers costing anywhere from $300 to more than $1000 an hour depending on the case and client. Defense attorneys help to build cases in favor of their client, especially in cases involving violence, attempted murder and murder itself.

Working to become a lawyer requires you to pass the bar exam, which is a test for law student graduates to determine whether or not you are knowledgeable enough to represent other individuals within a courtroom. The bar exam varies in each state with the type of questions and the format of the test altogether. Before you become a defense attorney in your state, it is highly recommended to review the criteria of the bar exam before moving forward with the career choice.


Judge JudyBecoming a judge is not always simple, and often requires previous experience in the legal field as an attorney or another professional in law. Working as a judge requires individuals to hold hearings, facilitate issues between parties involved in cases in make final rulings in legal cases. Judges are also responsible for following proper laws within trials and court room cases to ensure that both parties are given fair representation at all times with their lawyers or representatives.

A judge’s annual salary is approximately $102,000, earning $49.00 hourly. Most judges who are currently employed today are hired by government agencies, local courts and state courts. The position is full-time and in some cases, requires additional work outside of the courtroom to help with putting together cases and following evidence and other information that is being presented throughout a longer trial. Seeking a job as a judge is recommended if you have an avid interest in justice and ensuring that no case goes unturned. When you want to become a judge, it is often required to become sworn in by other judges and approved based on your past case work and experience within court rooms. Building a reputation may take years to become an appointed judge depending on where you live and whether you are interested in becoming a local or a state judge.

Trial Lawyer

Trial LawyerWhen you are seeking lawyer jobs after obtaining a legal degree, consider the option of becoming a trial lawyer. Working as a trial lawyer is possible independently or for a corporation, government agency or a law firm of your choice. Trial lawyers are able to help represent those who are interested in suing others for various reasons. When you want to work as a trial lawyer, there are a few different focus areas of law that you can focus on and specialize in to find the right clients to represent.

Some areas of law range from working with businesses, contracts and litigation, whereas other areas of law focus on environmental law, government law and family law. Determining the type of law to study before choosing a career path is possible by reviewing various cases that have been handled in different courts and systems. Becoming a trial lawyer requires all individuals to pass the bar exam, similar to other lawyers, including defense attorneys. Passing the bar exam is one of the most difficult processes of obtaining the ability to practice as an attorney, which is why it is imperative to review the various facets of law available before selecting the right type of law you want to focus on and study.

Trial lawyers have the freedom of choosing different paths of law to study before taking on cases. Additionally, when you choose to work on your own independently as a lawyer with your own firm after you have passed the legal bar exam, it is much easier to take on clients of your own choice. Working as a trial lawyer is ideal if you want to find a career that allows you to provide justice in areas you believe in and want to help within the system today. Before you become a trial lawyer, it is important to gain more experience in a variety of areas of law by visiting court rooms, working with other colleagues and reading on different sectors of the law prior to making your final decision. The more you know about the different areas of the law, the easier it is to choose a path that is right for you for the career that is most suitable for you and the future you have in mind for yourself.

Chief Legal Officer

Chief Legal OfficerChief legal officers are considered the most powerful legal executives within firms and companies they represent. Working as a chief legal officer requires you to oversee various decisions made upon attorneys and other employees working for a government agency, corporation or even for a local law firm. The annual salary for a chief legal officer is approximately $101,000 with $48.00 an hour for a full-time position. Chief legal officers do not require on-the-job training but they do require a Bachelor’s degree to begin filling the position.

Ensuring legal firms meet goals, helping to devise new strategies and assisting with documents and activities are all responsibilities of those working as chief legal officers. Having experience in law or in criminal justice with education is often necessary in order to begin working as a chief legal officer. When you want to work as a chief legal officer, becoming a law grad and working towards becoming an attorney can help to find the position that is ideal for the work environment most suitable for you.

Law Professor

Law ProfessorLaw professors have been known to make anywhere from $115,000 to more than $158,000 annually, depending on the field of law you are teaching, your specialties, experience as well as the number of years you have been working in law yourself. Law professors require a law grad degree and in many cases, require individuals to have passed the legal bar exam in order to begin earning higher salaries when teaching at a higher level in college. Working as a law professor is growing in demand, making it an ideal career to aim for if you have a passion for law and if you an interest in teaching others who are looking to go in the direction of law and working as attorneys themselves.

When you want to work as a law professor it is necessary to have a love for teaching others and the ability to communicate with new students who may not be familiar with the type of laws there are currently in place today, especially in your own state. Understanding a wide range of law subjects is required to become a law professor, although once you become a law professor of your own you have more freedom to begin teaching lessons that you believe in and want to share with your students. Law professors not only require the ability to understand all facets of the law when teaching new students, but they must also have the ability to communicate openly with various methods of teaching and incorporating law into different types of lessons each day in class.

Working as a law professor is one of the most free law-related attorney jobs that are available to choose from today if you have a passion for law and you are seeking a way to share your own passion with other students who are looking to become law professionals or attorneys of their own someday. When you work as a law professor, it is possible to create your own lesson plans and to develop new strategies for your class to build any type of itinerary you have in mind.

Law Firm Administrator

Law Firm AdministratorLaw firm administrators earn approximately $88,000 a year, and require a Bachelor’s degree with less than 5 years of experience in the field. Working as a law firm administrator requires professionals to coordinate services, direct and manage information within firms and offices, and oversee various accounts and client information to help smooth the operation of any law firm. Working as a law firm administrator is a full-time position, and requires the ability to handle multiple tasks throughout the day while keeping track of different clients and cases simultaneously.

When you work as a law firm administrator, overtime is also often common, making it difficult to stick to a traditional schedule if you are not familiar with overtime or working late. Law firm administrators ensure that all cases are taken care of and that events are coordinated and planned as necessary to keep the operation of any law firm they are representing running smooth at all times. Law firm administrators have experience with overseeing final decisions within law firms to help with business growth and the growth of a law firm’s overall image, especially when seeking new clientele or advertising the type of legal services the law firm you represent provides.

Legal Mediator

Legal MediatorWorking as a legal mediator has an average earning of approximately $91,880. Legal mediators are required to work with individuals to help with avoiding conflicts and determining solutions to help resolve them as quickly and as much as possible. When parties who are divorcing or going through a trial are seeking help from out of the courtroom, they often turn to legal mediators to help with the process.

Becoming a mediator requires the study and understanding of law. It is also highly recommended to have a background or experience in psychology or the study of human behavior and communications when choosing to work as a mediator. Mediators often work full-time, and having patience and the ability to handle conflict each workday is necessary to take on this position.

Working as a mediator also requires that individuals are capable of gauging actions and behaviors of others to keep conflicts from becoming out of control, especially in situations where tension is high and it is difficult to get the parties who are involved to properly communicate. When you work as a mediator in any position, it is essential to have the ability to listen to both sides of cases, regardless of the parties who are involved. Working with others when you are mediating can be done individually as well as in group sessions, which is often recommended, especially during cases of separations and divorces from spouses.

If you want to take on work as a mediator, it is also important to understand the legal side of any issues that are brought up or mentioned during the mediation itself; which is why it is necessary to obtain a law grad degree before you begin working as a mediator. The more experience you have in the field of law, the easier it is to ensure you are capable of obtaining the position you want, whether you prefer to work in family law or if you want to work in business litigation and contract cases between disputing parties.

Obtaining another degree in psychology is also highly recommended when working as a mediator in the law. When you have a degree in psychology, you are much more likely to find positions to hire you over those without experience in psychology. Having knowledge of psychology and understanding others and how to communicate effectively at all times is necessary any time you want to work in a mediator position. The more experience you have with working with others, counseling and taking psych courses in college, the easier it is to find job openings that are right for you when you are going into law yourself.

Firm Consultant

legal scalesTraveling is one of the major downfalls when taking on work as a firm consultant, especially if you are working independently or working to build the status of any firm you have been hired into. The average salary of a law firm consultant averages at about $83,000 annually. Working as a law firm consultant requires the ability to move around, meeting with clients in other cities and states to help with developing the right strategies for working attorneys. Firm consultants often have years of experience working in law or a background that is extensive educationally before getting hired into the position.

When you want to work as a firm consultant yourself for other law firms near you, it is important to ensure you have the right charisma skills and the ability to communicate with others, especially when first meeting with representatives from other law firms. Working as a firm consultant is a full-time job and often requires additional overtime, especially when traveling to meet with new firms that require your help and assistance. Because traveling is necessary as a consultant, it is important to consider this before taking on the job yourself.

The more time you spend with working with firm consultants on the job, talking with lawyers and understanding the legal process, the easier it becomes to coach others to help with boosting clientele and building reputations. Firm consultants are also experienced with running businesses and also working in marketing, making them ideal sales men and women. When you want to work as a consultant for a firm, it is important to consider your own experience with marketing and how you can incorporate that into your line of work. When you are up to date with the latest and most current trends in marketing and building the brand of law firms, it is much easier to find new professionals, clients and new law firms to work with for upcoming projects when you begin to consult on your own.

Jury Consultant

Jury ConsultantJury consultants have an average salary of about $115,000 annual. Working as a jury consultant allows you to help with the selection of juries when the jury process begins for an upcoming trial. Working as a jury consultant requires a degree that is often in law. Although obtaining a degree in human behavior, psychology, sociology and other behavior-related categories is another way to potentially obtain a position. Having a degree in law is a way to find work as a jury consultant for government agencies and state agencies, especially if you have additional background with working in psychology or studying it yourself.

Law grads who are interested in becoming a jury consultant for any organization or industry are highly advised to minor in human behavior and psychology to help with expediting the process of obtaining the position. Although working as a jury consultant offers some of the best pay for law grads who are interested in alternate attorney positions, the work is often full-time, demanding and does require individuals working in the field to travel depending on the agency or firm you are working for each day. The work is also considered to be fast-paced, require individuals who are thinking of working as jury consultants to have a quick mind and wit when dealing with multiple cases simultaneously.

The more you understand about the various jobs available for those who have graduated with a law degree, the easier it is to find a position that is ideal for you after graduation. Whether you want to work in a courtroom as a defense lawyer or if you prefer working as a jury consultant in the legal system, there are plenty of options available to choose from with the route of obtaining a law degree. The more time you take to study law prior to graduating and choosing the path for you , the easier it is to select a career that is fitting and that meets the needs you have in terms of salary and the number of work hours you want to put in.


Top 10 Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

online-criminal-justice-programsMost criminal justice careers require an associates, bachelors, or masters degree for employment. Because of modern internet technology, many students earn the degree they need for a criminal justice job by taking online courses. This can be done without quitting their present job or giving up family responsibilities.

Criminal justice is a widely varied field. Individual with degrees are qualified to work in law enforcement as police officers and detectives, corrections officers, probation officers, and security guards. They are also be eligible for a career as a victim services counselor, court counselor, or court bailiff.

justice statue

What are the parameters for choosing the top 10 programs for getting an online degree in criminal justice? All of the schools listed are well-established, accredited, and have been offering online courses for a number of years. They are nationally recognized online universities with a history of producing highly employable graduates.

The schools on this list offer high quality curriculums and the flexibility to work on a degree from anywhere. These online programs give adult learners earning a criminal justice degree the chance to study at a time that is convenient for them and the course offerings to provide a well-rounded education .

As careers in the field of criminal justice continue to be competitive, particularly for state and federal agency jobs, finding the right online criminal justice degree program is dependent on a student’s preferences. To help with the selection process, here is a list of the top accredited colleges and universities which offer the most marketable and reputable online criminal justice degree programs.

1. Colorado Technical University Online

Colorado Technical University Online square logoColorado Technical University (CTU) was founded in 1965. Its main campus is in Colorado Springs, CO. CTU is a private institution of higher learning which has other campuses in Denver, Pueblo, and Westminster. The university also has out of state campuses located in North Kansas City, MO, and Sioux Falls, SD.

Many of the university’s online programs are accredited by state and industry organizations. CTU has several online programs for students everywhere who want to take classes to complete their degree.

CTU provides online programs specifically designed for those seeking an associates or bachelors degree in criminal justice. CTU also offers a masters degree program in management with a concentration in criminal justice.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Those who apply themselves to the field of criminal justice can enhance their future by acquiring knowledge and skills that can help prepare them for the current challenges and opportunities of modern society. Colorado Technical University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree is designed to provide a foundation applicable to a broad range of criminal justice roles and responsibilities.

CTU offers concentrations a student can choose from as they pursue a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree to better prepare them to excel in this competitive field. Students can choose the option that best fits their educational goals.

  • Cybercrime and Security
  • Forensic Investigation
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Human Services
  • General Concentration

The core courses for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program are structured to provide a complete overview of the skills necessary to those who want to work in criminal justice. Core courses include:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement Operations and Report Writing
  • Introduction to Homeland Security
  • American Corrections
  • Victimology
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Procedure
  • The Laws of Evidence
  • Public Administration
  • Abnormal Psychology in the Workplace
  • Social Psychology
  • Career Planning and Management

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3. Keiser University

Keiser University square logoKeiser University is a formerly for profit, presently private university founded as the Keiser School in 1977 by Arthur Keiser and his mother, Evelyn, in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Keisers founded the school to assist in employment growth and training in business and healthcare communities in the region.

By 2009, Keiser grew to accommodate 17,000 students offering over 50 programs accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and schools for students seeking associate, bachelor, masters, or doctoral degrees.

Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Keiser’s online degree programs offer flexibility, practicality, and financial aid for those who qualify, and a highly personalized learning experience for students with day, evening, and online classes. Keiser’s criminal justice programs offer degrees at associates, bachelors, and master’s degree levels as well as personalized attention and career placement services.

Students who graduate with an associate’s degree often find entry level employment in the field of law enforcement. Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree often gain middle level management positions in multiple criminal service occupations. Keiser’s online criminal justice degree programs are specifically tailored for students with job or family responsibilities, seeking to achieve personal and/or professional goals necessary for employment in the field of criminal justice.

Courses for students enrolled in criminal justice include: introduction to criminal justice, introduction to corrections, introduction to law enforcement, introduction to juvenile procedures, criminology, criminal law, criminal investigations, and criminal procedures.

Keiser University’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice provides learning in many areas of the criminal justice system. Course topics include: law enforcement and investigation, deviant behavior, victimology, forensics, private security, corrections and juvenile justice and how components work together and are governed by the laws the Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution. This exploration of the American criminal justice system culminates with an emphasis on research, analysis and the future of the system.

The following objectives are designed to meet Keiser University’s mission and its goals.

  • To expand a student’s ability to understand the tools and procedures used by a variety of agencies within the criminal justice system.
  • To increase a student’s ability to think critically and communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • To help a student become more efficient in researching, collecting and organizing data, solving problems and working as a team.
  • To get a student ready for employment and advancement in criminal justice related careers.

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4. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University round logoColumbia Southern University is a fully online educational institution. This school has open enrollment and offers flexible learning options to its students. It was founded by Dr. Robert G. Mayes, Sr. in Orange Beach, AL in 1993.

CSU is also one of Delta Airlines’ six academic partners and one of 140 institutions providing tuition assistance through GoArmyEd, the U.S. Army’s central tuition assistance portal. Programs offered by CSU are self-paced and offer flexibility for adult learners who want to continue their education while keeping up with career and family responsibilities.

Students interested in a criminal justice degree may enroll in an associate, bachelors, or master degree program specifically designed by professionals in the field. Course offerings for CSU online include: theory and practices of law enforcement, theory and practices of corrections, juvenile delinquency, criminology, criminal law, and judicial process. The estimated time for completion of the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration degree is five years.

Online Criminal Justice Degrees

As the nation continues to focus on security, immigration, public safety, and law enforcement, more career opportunities are opening up, making the field of criminal justice one of the fastest growing in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, police and detective occupations will increase by 5 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Employment advantages such as quick advancement and promotion opportunities make this an attractive career field for the first-time student, former military personnel, or individuals interested in pursuing an interest within the criminal justice field.

Depending on a student’s career goals and objectives, an online criminal justice degree at Columbia Southern Universities could meet their needs.

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration prepares entry-level and seasoned professionals from various backgrounds with the knowledge, skills theoretical foundations, and practices of criminal justice administration including those of law enforcement, courts and corrections. This program lets students learn to make rational decisions and informed responses to the daily challenges faced in law enforcement, courts and corrections operations.

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5. Virginia College

Virginia College logoVirginia College is for profit educational institution founded in Roanoke, VA in 1983. Virginia College offers degrees related to specific careers and occupations. It is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The College is focused on offering a career-focused program to students.

Virginia College’s online students receive the same education as on-campus students and schedule classes to fit into their schedule. Small classes and instructors with working experience in their field, 24 different online academic programs are designed to provide a foundation for the student’s chosen career.

Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice

Students with a job or family responsibilities interested in a criminal justice related career may gain associate, bachelor, or master degrees in law enforcement, courts, juvenile justice, parole, corrections, and the private sector through programs available online. Virginia College’s online criminal justice program includes courses designed to allow students to shape their education to achieve their educational and career goals.

A degree in Criminal Justice at Virginia College is right for anyone who is employed in the field, for someone interested in pursuing a career in the field, or someone who has a strong wish to make their community a better place to live. The program helps individuals succeed in a variety of criminal justice positions, including courtroom administrator, private security officer, probation or parole officer, juvenile delinquency case manager, corrections officer, and more. Additional police academy training may be necessary for law enforcement positions.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice is designed to provide a complete overview in law enforcement, criminal law, the criminal court system, corrections, and private security that will allow students to pursue career opportunities. The curriculum includes course work in each these areas, along with courses designed to improve computer skills to enhance the technical knowledge applicable to the justice system.

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates should be able to:

  • Document the criminal justice process from law enforcement to the administration of justice through corrections
  • Identify the effects of practical and procedural law on individuals in the criminal justice system
  • Explain the nature and extent of crime in the United States and theories of what causes it
  • Describe the historical and philosophical foundations of corrections in America
  • Classify the safety and security of business enterprises as they relate to retail, private, and industrial aspects
  • Analyze the principles, strategies, theory, techniques, and scope of criminal investigations
  • Trace the historical development and current structure of local, state, and federal court systems

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6. Everest University Online

Everest University square logoEverest University, formerly Florida Metropolitan University, was founded in 1999 with several campuses located across the state of Florida. As a for profit university, Florida Metropolitan University began in Tampa with five course offerings and rapidly expanded to many on campus and online campus programs by 2007. The university then became known as Everest University Online.

Everest gives online students assistance with personalized support, skilled instruction offered by professionals, career oriented courses, and flexible scheduling for their programs.

Everest is an excellent choice for students desiring training for a career in the field of criminal justice. The university currently offers two bachelor degree programs for those applying for an entry level or middle management position in the field of criminal justice.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Applied Science degree offers a solid educational backdrop to secure an entry level or middle management security or corrections position. The Bachelor of Science degree provides students with training for middle or higher level positions in a variety of criminal justice careers.

Courses included for students seeking a criminal justice degree at Everest include: criminal evidence, criminal procedure, interview and interrogations, criminal investigations, criminal justice communications, introduction to terrorism, and introduction to corrections.

Through the university’s comprehensive criminal justice program, students can gain the skills necessary to maintain law and order, protect life and property, and conduct administration, planning, and research services. It is designed to prepare the student for a career in loss prevention, probation, corrections, and security administration.

The curriculum offers a balance of theory and application in the areas of:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal evidence
  • Criminal procedure
  • Introduction to corrections
  • Policing
  • Criminal justice report writing
  • Constitutional law
  • Concepts of criminal law
  • Computer applications
  • Juvenile delinquency

The program includes a wide ranging study of the national criminal justice system, various correctional organizations, and law enforcement agencies. Students learn the nature and extent of crime and delinquency, and the cause and explanation of criminal behavior. Rules of evidence, basic investigative techniques and the philosophy of criminal law are additional areas of study.

Students may also look into specialized areas such as drug operations, gang activity, probation, and criminal justice management. Further areas of interest include: computer crime, interview and interrogations, victimology, and alternatives to incarceration.

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice offers a specialized overview of the criminal justice system, preparing students for entry-level positions in a wide range of criminal justice careers. Students can also pursue a concentration in Criminal Investigations or Homeland Security.

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7. University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix round logoThe University of Phoenix was founded by John Sperling within Phoenix, AZ in 1976. Sperling created the for profit institute for higher learning because “working adult students were often invisible on traditional campuses and treated as second class citizens.”

The university began with just 8 students and within two years expanded to San Jose, CA. During 1989, the University began its first online programs and quickly grew to over 200 campuses worldwide offering more than 100 programs at the associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degree levels.

Online Criminal Justice Degrees

The University has personalized, career specific online programs for students seeking to expand their skills and careers. For students seeking training within the field of criminal justice, the university offers an associate of arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in criminal justice administration and security.

At every academic level, students learn from leaders in the field such as sheriffs, district attorneys, chiefs of police, special agents, security executives, and wardens on how to develop leadership skills for a career in law enforcement, the criminal court system, corrections, and security. Courses allow students to concentrate in Criminal Justice Administration, Organization Security and Management, and Administration of Justice and Security.

At the University of Phoenix, a student’s professional knowledge and training are valuable. Through the Prior Learning Assessment, the university offers college credit for training. For example, a student can earn 30 college credits for police academy training, or 12 credits for State Corrections Academy training.

The university is an academic ally of the FBI National Academy Associates and a strategic academic partner of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. It further supports collaborative efforts with ASIS International, which seeks to identify professional competencies, trends and workplace priorities in the field of security.

Through undergraduate and graduate programs, students gain an understanding of criminal justice and security practices and develop leadership skills. The university offers specialized areas of study in management, human services and health care, as well as programs that provide a greater awareness of how technology has impacted private and public sector security.

With a curriculum that emphasizes current theories, as well as real-world situations, students quickly see how they can have a positive influence in their community.

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8. Portland State University

Portland State University square logoPortland State University is a public research university located in the southwest University District of downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1946, it has the largest overall undergraduate and graduate enrollment of any university in the state of Oregon, and is also the only public urban university in the state that is located in a major metropolitan city. Portland State offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as doctorates in seventeen fields. Portland State is governed by a board of trustees.

Portland State is the only university in Oregon to offer a Four-Year Degree Guarantee. PSU promises that full-time freshmen who sign up for the guarantee will get the support and courses they need to graduate in four years – or PSU will not charge tuition for any remaining courses.

Online Bachelor’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Taught by an award-winning, nationally recognized faculty, the Criminology & Criminal Justice degree programs are among the most popular at Portland State University. CCJ brings together students with varied backgrounds who take what they learn about crime and justice back to their communities.

CCJ program graduates are highly qualified candidates for jobs in local, state, and federal law enforcement; corrections; probation and parole; security; non-profit social services; public service; and for top law and graduate schools. CCJ works with over 100 internship placement agencies and 20 to 25percent of graduating CCJ majors are offered a full time position by their internship agency.

Undergraduate Online Programs

Undergraduates and post-baccalaureate students can choose to complete CCJ degrees and certificates completely online to ensure consistent quality, on-time degree completion, and career-readiness. Students in the fully online program are not required to visit campus or “attend” online courses during specific hours.

PSU is one of the top schools in the nation, according to US News & World Report. Its Division of Criminology and Criminal Justice has been offering a high-quality education to students interested in a career in law enforcement since the 1940s.

PSU received a ranking as one of the Best 378 Colleges in 2014 by The Princeton Review and a ranking as an “Up-and-Coming School” in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report.

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9. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University round logoSouthern New Hampshire University, also known as SNHU, is a private, nonprofit, university situated between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. The university is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and has specialized accreditation for several of its schools and programs.

As a non-profit institution and a pioneer in the field of online education, Southern New Hampshire University has the experience, dedicated student support and resources, and commitment to help students succeed online. SNHU world-class student services, including an online bookstore, online library, tutoring and 24/7 tech support, were all developed specifically with the busy adult learner in mind. SNHU also has one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation and a tuition freeze through June 2015

Undergraduate Degrees in Criminal Justice

Student will gain the education they need with SNHU’s online Criminal Justice programs. They’ll learn to analyze and critique operational and public policy from social, administrative, judicial and managerial viewpoints. As an undergraduate, student will also have the chance to specialize in Criminology, Legal Studies and Advocacy, Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, or Police Administration and Operations. These specializations will prepare an individual for a career in law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice and public administration.

The Bachelor of Science in Crime and Criminology curriculum gives students an overview of the U.S. justice system. Students take courses in criminal law, corrections and legal research as part of the requirements to complete a degree.

The university’s online programs are designed to accommodate working adults, parents and those with multiple responsibilities. Students will have access to class online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as access to a dedicated and experienced faculty. Choose from these bachelor of science degree programs:

  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice / Criminology
  • BS in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
  • BS in Criminal Justice/Legal Studies and Advocacy
  • BS in Criminal Justice/Police Administration and Operations

SNHU has been offering online education programs since 1996. An impressive 95 percent of students attending this school find jobs on graduation.

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10. Penn State University

Penn State University round logoThe Pennsylvania State University is a public, state research university with campuses and facilities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the university has a triple mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its teaching mission includes offering undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education programs through resident and online instruction.

Criminal Justice Degrees

As a major, Criminal Justice courses teach students the communications and analytical skills necessary to succeed in a career in the field. With a mixed discipline approach to the problem of crime and society, the program prepares students to pursue graduate studies in criminal justice or related disciplines, and helps students to become effective problem solvers as professionals in their chosen field.

The university approaches the study of criminal justice as an applied science, teaching both theoretical and practical aspects of crime control and justice. The major offers students the opportunity and help to learn about of the roles of policing, laws, courts, and corrections as they apply to the adult and juvenile justice systems.

Students also learn about critical issues and the history related to the role of gender and race/ethnicity in the criminal justice system, victimology, and ethics in criminal justice.

Students earning a bachelor degree in Criminal Justice should:

  • Understand each of the three main components of the criminal justice system and how they relate to each other
  • Be able to evaluate critically both current and future crime control policy proposals and criminal justice research
  • Understand the complexity of the crime experience and how it relates to individual, social, and cultural factors

This major includes the study of law enforcement, courts, and corrections. This is done for each topic individually and as a component of the criminal justice system. Studies also include theories of crime causation and crime control policy. Students should expect to be required to complete reading, writing, and critical thinking skills assignments. These skills will be rigorously applied and developed throughout the course of the degree program.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice provides a broad based liberal arts background for the study of justice, crime, and the criminal justice system. The Bachelor of Science degree offers educational enrichment in fields not traditionally considered part of the liberal arts. Either degree is excellent preparation for a career in criminal justice.

Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus offers the student the convenience and flexibility of learning online. Degrees and certificates are developed specifically for online learners and typically start and end on a semester basis .With Penn State World Campus, a student’s degree and transcript will be identical to those earned by on-campus learners.

The Penn State criminal justice program is certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Services. The University has been offering distance education programs to students for over a century. Students enrolled in this program have the flexibility to log in to their online classroom at any time of the day or night to get assignments and contact their instructors and fellow students.

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Top 10 Law Enforcement Degree Programs

As long as there is crime, there will be a need for those with a criminal justice degree. That’s just a fact. Criminal justice degrees will always be in demand and there are plenty of jobs within the system. You will be able to take courses in criminal psychology, sociology, law, and many other interesting concentrations. There are plenty of public and private schools that offer excellent law enforcement programs. In addition to that, there are also plenty of online schools that you can “attend.”

1. Sacramento State University
The Criminal Justice program at Sacramento State University is one of the biggest criminal justice programs in the entire United States. If you’re living on the West Coast, Sacramento State University is an excellent option. In fact, the degree from Sac State is so in demand that the program is heavily impacted. It is necessary for anyone that wants to join the Criminal Justice program to complete a few prerequisite courses. Sacramento State is a great place to learn the basics of criminal justice. While the education may not be as focused or as high tech as some of the other options on the list, Sacramento State is an excellent choice for those that want a solid foundation and wouldn’t mind getting their Master’s somewhere a little more prestigious.

2. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston University’s College of Criminal Justice is one of the biggest and oldest criminal justice programs in the entire United States. It was also one of the very first colleges to offer a PhD in Criminal Justice. Given the history of this school, law enforcement is taken very seriously here. The school even houses a working courtroom where students can take part in actual, real-life trials. The College of Criminal Justice houses the Texas Forensic Science Commission. This gives all criminal justice students access to top of the line, cutting-edge technology.

3. Kaplan University
For those that want to study law enforcement, but they don’t have enough time to sit in a classroom and do tons of homework, they shouldn’t rule out the possibility of taking online courses. Kaplan is a great online school for programs in law enforcement. One of the best things about online schooling is the flexibility. There are plenty of law enforcement degrees that Kaplan offers. These include Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice or the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice . The Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice degree at Kaplan University emphasizes the history of the United States criminal justice system. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degrees focuses on actual investigative techniques and methods.

4. University of Pennsylvania
If you want to study law enforcement, but you consider yourself more of an Ivy League student, the University of Pennsylvania is probably for you. The University of Pennsylvania remains to be the one Ivy League college that has a Criminology program. While you won’t exactly be working with the latest technology or firing any guns, you will study more of the social science side of things. You will investigating the sociology of crime and how to prevent it.

5. John Jay College of Criminal Justice
This college is tailored, specifically, for those that want to study law enforcement or criminal justice. John Jay College is nationally renowned for its excellent programs in forensic sciences, forensic psychology, and criminal justice studies. US News ranked this school as one of the top public schools for law enforcement in the region. Alumni include Supreme Court Justices, members of the New York State Assembly, and even actors. No matter what area of law enforcement you want to get into, this college will have you covered.

6. Temple University
Temple University’s Department of Criminal Justice, is nationally recognized for being one of the top graduate programs in the country. The graduate program was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 11th best in the United States. There are are many study options that go from undergraduate degrees to PhD programs.

7. University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine has two different concentrations in its law enforcement program: Criminology/Law and Society. The criminal justice program is excellent because it gives students access to a variety of interesting internships. This helps students get real-world experience. In addition to having a great program, it’s easy to know you’re in good hands with the faculty at UC Irvine. Members of the faculty hold different positions in renowned law enforcement organizations throughout the country.

8. George Washington University
George Washington University is one of the finest law enforcement colleges in the country. The criminal justice program is through the College of Sociology, this allows students to get understanding of crime through a social perspective and how social issues can influence criminal behaviors. The different degrees that are available include a broad criminal justice with a certain concentration or a forensic science degree. The general degree is very much so tailored to the individual, giving students the freedom to choose whatever they like.

9. Arizona State University
Arizona State University is one of the finest online schools out there. Their Criminal Justice degree remains to be one of their most popular degree options. Their program is also ranked #1 in the country, making this the very best option for those that want to get their Law Enforcement degree online.

10. Northeastern University
Topping off the list, is Northeastern University. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers undergraduate degrees and Master’s degrees. Northeastern University encourages students to look at criminal justice from a macro perspective. Students will learn a lot about international criminology and this perspective can help students understand criminology much better at the local level.

All in all, criminal justice is an excellent profession. Compiling a list was quite difficult, as there are so many different programs to choose from. No matter what, you will be able to find the perfect law enforcement program for you. Whether you want to be in the action, do criminal psychology, or use your forensic skills, you will be able to find your perfect match.


The Top Ten Graduate Degree Programs In Criminal Justice

All across the nation, high school students count on the US News and World Report college rankings to help them consider the best schools in the nation. These rankings can also be used to see the best graduate degree programs in Criminal Justice.

Criminology is a combination of psychology, sociology and law. This is a rigorous program that is designed to not just catch criminals but understand and prevent illegal behavior. Here are the top ten schools for a graduate degree in this program, and some of the positive features each program has.

When choosing a program, it’s important to look past just numbers. All of the programs on this list are excellent, which is why they’re ranked so highly. You should also consider what your interests are within the scope of criminology, whether academia, program design, corrections, law, international affairs, federal enforcement, profiling, organized crime, or something else. Let these interests guide you to the programs that are experts in these fields. A lower ranking that is more closely tied to your interests will take you further than a higher ranked school who focuses on less interesting concepts.

1. University of Maryland- College Park
This school is consistent front-runner in the criminology arena. They have a dedicated terrorism study program, as well as some unique curriculum that focuses on the study of crime throughout a person’s lifetime. They also boast a substance abuse research program, and the ability to complete part of the degree by taking international law classes abroad with the Nanjing University of China. This lends a global perspective to students that is unique in the field of criminal justice. A PhD program is also available. Its close proximity to Washington DC makes it a consistent recruiting pool for the federal agencies based in and around our nation’s capital.

2. University at Albany-SUNY
This exceptional school of criminal justice focuses on patterns in economic and cultural arenas and how they influence crime. They look in other areas as well for the impetus for criminal behavior, such as social and personal influences, and the structure of criminal organizations. They work on looking at interactions with numerous government agencies at local, national, and worldwide levels, and their relationships with a functioning society. This method seems to be successful in many ways, as two of their alumni shared the single most prestigious criminology award, the Stockholm Award, in 2011. Their groundbreaking research focused on the kinds of life-changing events that can turn even career criminals away from a life of crime.

3. University of Cincinnati
This school is unique because it boasts about the ability to get a criminal justice degree online. Just a few years ago, online schools were not very well ranked, but this is clearly not the case for the University of Cincinnati, and as a number of other top ten programs have online choices, this seems to be no longer the case. The program is both a residential as well as an online curriculum. This program is ranked number one for research productivity, and their classes are dedicated to research, teaching, and service. They have been helping Ohio judges determine which criminals are likely to be repeat offenders, and which programs and services would be most beneficial in helping them to stop. This has the potential of saving Ohio taxpayers billions of dollars, which is certainly a noble pursuit.

4. University of Missouri-St. Louis
This program strives to prepare their students for a variety of criminal justice jobs. The school boasts small class sizes, and the opportunity to learn from some of the premier experts in the field. They work to combine knowledge from the fields of social sciences, law, public administration and corrections. Graduates from this program hold criminal justice jobs in national, local and state agencies, academia, and law careers. Many of the faculty hold nationally respected offices in the American Society of Criminology and editorial positions on nationally known journals in the field.

5 (tie). Pennsylvania State University- University Park
Penn State boasts about their unique degree that merges the sociology and criminology departments. This gives students the option to pursue careers in either sociology or criminal justice post-graduation. Like other programs, they possess a highly respected faculty of experts in the field of criminology. They offer unique programs like quantitative criminology for those with a strong interest in statistics. Fields of interest for the faculty include gender, race and age relations in regard to crime, violence’s influence on both victimization and mental disorders, criminal careers and organizations, deterrence, communities and crime, programs and policies and their effectiveness, and juvenile crime. Students enrolled in the program are expected to take coursework not only related to crime but also become well-versed in masters-level sociology concepts. They believe that this creates a more well-rounded approach to considering the societal impacts and influences in regard to criminal behavior.

5 (tie). University of California- Irvine
The school of criminology, law and society is one of only two law and society programs in the nation. The school focuses on society’s way of dealing with crimes, and the impact that this has on the psyche and future behavior of law breakers. Some of the schools areas of study include the psychological and torture impact of solitary confinement, causes and manifestations of criminal behavior, victimology, regulatory issues, and many aspects of law and their impacts on crime and criminal behaviors. The program began as a section of the school of social ecology, and focuses on many aspects of community problem solving in regard to the problem of both crime and punishment, and their impact on society, families, and the individual.

7 (tie). Florida State University
This is another school that offers two graduate programs, an online and a campus based program. Additionally, the school offers a combined masters in criminology and public administration, or criminology and social work. These programs are geared to create experts not only in the field of law enforcement, but as counselors, and designers and leads of programs and services designed to prevent initial and repeat criminal events. Though many of the schools on the list approach this from an academic standpoint, there is a hands-on design to this program that is unique. This is a good choice for those who would like to work on a daily basis with victims and perpetrators, and to help people one program or individual at a time. One of the school’s bragging points is that they are number one in faculty scholarly productivity, meaning that they are publishing more articles and performing more seminars than the average school. There are benefits and drawbacks to this, as professors who are too intent on publishing may not have the time for strong instruction that may be desired.

7 (tie). Michigan State University
Another school with an online and on-campus choice, Michigan State strives to give many different learning opportunities to their students. International study programs are available for graduate student projects, most recently a study in the United Kingdom of organized crime and the ways that they circumvent regulations to illegally export waste. Studies like this may not sound exciting, but they open the door for those interested in international trade, and how it relates to terrorists. The university is also advising on some very exciting international policy, like helping to design the criminal justice system for the Ukraine. This school boasts a much stronger international component than many of the others, and if travel and world affairs are a particular interest of yours, it would be a great choice for study.

7 (tie). Rutgers
This is an interdisciplinary program between liberal arts and criminal justice. The program has its origins in the school of social work, and as such is focused in understanding the origins of crime, instead of the apprehension of criminals. There is a strong sociology component, so group behavior is a strong part of the theories from this school. It’s a great choice for those interested in how well public policy works, and for those wanting to run and change policy programs. This is a campus-only based program, unlike the other two ranked here, as they believe that in-person instruction is an important component in teaching the concepts they want to convey to their students.

10. CUNY- John Jay College
The only top-ten program based in New York City (though Rutgers is close), this is an advantage to those looking for work in the big apple. This is a part of the CUNY (City University of New York) program. This school has a large artistic component, and a number of students and faculty have memoirs, novels, poems, and other creative but crime related products on the market today. This is the only program on the list with a combined fine arts and criminal justice bent. If you are an aspiring crime novelist or playwright, or have an interest in inmate art therapy, there is no better suited program in the nation than John Jay.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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Top 10 Degree Programs in Social Work

Social work is multifaceted field that involves assisting individuals, families,groups, communities and organizations with a wide variety of social issues and needs. They help in providing the necessary support and access to programs and services to help people live better and more productive lives. Those seeking to enter the field of social work commonly need an advanced criminal justice degree in social work to open the door to a wide variety of criminal justice jobs. Various publications, such as the U.S. News and World Report, rank the top degree programs based on peer assessments. Others rank schools based on academic quality, reputation, awards, and other criteria. The 2012 rankings of Master of Social Work and related programs are as follows:

University of Michigan Ann Arbor
The master’s in social work degree program is offered through the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The program strives to prepare professionals to work at the local, state, national, and international levels of social work. Students are required to choose a practice method concentration and a practice area to apply their selected technique. The practice methods include interpersonal practice, community organization, social policy and evaluation, and management of human services. The practice areas include health, mental health, aging in families and society, community and social systems, and children and youth in families and society.

Washington University in St. Louis
The Master of Social Work program at Washington University is offered through the Brown School of Social work. The school is considered a leader in the field and has contributed to various policy tactics at local, national, and international levels. The school offers instruction in policy, research, and practice. The program offers six concentrations: health, mental health, management, gerontology, social and economic development, and children, youth, and families. The school prides itself on offering a flexible graduate curriculum that provides a solid foundation of the fundamentals of social work, but also enables students to create their own academic path. Students have the ability to choose their concentration and the time and location of their fieldwork.

University of Chicago
The School of Social Service Administration offers the master’s degree program in social work at the University of Chicago. The school is among the oldest social work graduate schools in the nation. The school offers a Master of Arts degree in social work, which is equivalent to the Master of Social Work, but provides a broader academic and practical foundation of direct social work practice. It provides instruction on social science theory, development of policies, and interdisciplinary research. This criminal justice degree prepares individuals to serve as leaders in their fields. Students participate in direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and organizations. They must choose one of two concentrations: social administration or clinical. The program offers flexibility for students to tailor their education to meet specific goals for various criminal justice jobs. Students are able to choose from an array of elective course within the school and throughout the university.

University of Washington
The School of Social Work at the University of Washington provides a Master of Social Work program that offers a solid foundation in social work knowledge, abilities, and ethics. Students engage in in-depth study of social work interventions. The curriculum involves collaborative interaction with students and faculty to successfully prepare students for social work practice in a constantly changing international environment. The program’s main goal is dedication to social justice, and it is driven by a foundation year goal and an advanced year goal. The foundation year goal is to prepare students for generalist practice by providing the basic knowledge and abilities to solve complex social issues. The advanced year goal prepares students for advanced careers in a specific area of concentration that promotes leadership, social interventions, and a dedication to public services. Students participate in internship opportunities in the nearby area.

Columbia University
Columbia University’s School of Social Work is highly regarded for its world-renowned faculty. It offers a Master of Science in Social Work degree program that blends rigorous academic instruction with practical application of social work theories and abilities in actual real world settings. The program is structured around comprehensive study in one of four concentrations: policy practice, advanced clinical practice, advanced generalist practice and programing, and social enterprise administration. In these concentrations, students gain a solid understanding of providing direct social services to a diversity of populations. Students have a variety of local opportunities in New York for delivery of services, development of policies, and research. Students have the ability to choose one of seven practice fields including contemporary social issues; family, youth and child services; aging; health, mental health, and disabilities; the world of work; school-based and school-linked services; and international social welfare and services to immigrants and refugees.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina offers its Master of Social Work degree through the School of Social Work. Students study a rigorous core curriculum and choose one of three concentrations, including direct practice, management and community practice, or self-directed study. The school prides itself on faculty who value evidence-driven practice and the significance of self-reflection. It offers a supportive academic atmosphere where students are able to design a plan of study that best meets their academic and career goals. Students are prepared for direct practice within communities, private agencies, and nonprofit organizations. They are also qualified to work in policy practice and advocacy and leadership.

University of California Berkeley
The University of California Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare offers a master’s degree in social welfare that strives to prepare leaders of the field who are qualified for multi-level social work practice in a variety of areas. It offers education established on strong evidence and the program responds to the constantly changing needs of local and international communities. Faculty members of the school are recognized at the national and international levels and the school performs research on major issues in California, the U.S., and around the world. The program is structured around five concentration areas with each one created to convey specialized understanding and abilities needed for advanced practice in a specific area. The concentrations include direct practice in child and family services, direct practice in health services, direct practice in community mental health services, direct practice in gerontology services, and management and planning. Students participate in research efforts to recognize the best practices, improve delivery of services, and create state-of-the-art social interventions.

University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin offers a Master of Social Work through its School of Social Work. The program prepares individuals for advanced social work practice with a variety of clients. It blends a foundation and concentration curriculum that provides experiential learning through a variety of means, such as internships and externships at certain agencies in the area. The program is structured through a systems and developmental framework. The foundation curriculum prepares students for generalist practice in the social work field. Students learn about historical development, contemporary practice, ethical issues, and organizational contexts. No matter what concentration students choose, the program focuses on dedication to culturally diverse populations, social and economic justice issues, and advancement of social work knowledge. Students can choose from two concentrations: clinical social work or community and administrative leadership.

Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University offers a Master of Science in Social Administration through the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. The school prides itself on its connection to the community, and the university has national recognition for its community-based research. The school is also noted for its ability to change social and economic leaders. The diversity of the community provides students with the ability to experience effective change. Students have the ability to choose the community practice for social change concentration or the direct practice concentration. Within the direct practice concentration, there are five specializations: health, mental health, aging, alcohol and other drug abuse, and children, youth, and families. The direct practice concentration prepares students to tackle complex social needs in a constantly changing environment. The concentration focuses on the development of skills and promotes the incorporation of knowledge about diverse populations and related issues that happen in many different practice settings.

Boston College
The Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College offers a Master of Social Work program that prepares students to take innovative and effectual steps to help individuals in need and provide necessary assistance to at-risk populations. The program offers a flexible curriculum that provides structure and individualization to help students meet their career goals. Students can select clinical or macro practice in four concentration areas: health and mental health, global practice, older adults and families, children, youth and families. Students can create a specialized field of study by linking two or more concentrations. They can also select electives through the Graduate School of Social Work or from collaboration with other institutions. All concentrations require specialized coursework and field placement.