For many people, pursuing an online criminal justice degree makes a lot of sense. There are several reasons for someone to consider a degree online, whether it’s an online criminal justice degree or any other type of degree. The benefits of gaining a degree online can become significant depending on the applicant and their particular situation.
An online degree offers a lot of flexibility. They’re not all the same, but an online degree can offer someone the ability to take classes online partially or fully. An online option can help someone finish a degree if they’re short on some credits. An online criminal justice degree can allow a student to study at their own pace, whether they need more time or an accelerated program.
For working adults, gaining their degree online can help them advance in their job or in their profession without the need to leave work to pursue the degree. Generally, an online criminal justice degree provides students with a way to start or continue their education on their own terms. Online education is also a great solution for veterans.
While it’s not always the case, an online criminal justice degree can often cost less. Many of the stigmas associated with online learning from years ago are now gone. This is especially true at a time when people are doing far more online in general. Digital education materials, improved methods of online communication, and the ability to attend school from virtually anywhere all make earning a degree online a far better option for many people today.
In addition to all the benefits associated with earning a degree online, it’s important applicants know their online degree is the same as a degree earned at a more traditional institution. In fact, many of the traditional institutions offer online courses and programs.
How We Ranked The Top Online Criminal Justice Programs
The Criminal Justice Degree Hub editors found schools offering online Criminal Justice programs. Then we ranked the programs based on cost, reputation, and future salary.
1. Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University’s School of the Arts & Sciences offers an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice that is ranked among Iowa’s most innovative Online Criminal Justice Degree programs. Upper Iowa University’s criminal justice online degree program opens the path to many criminal justice jobs or the perfect springboard to a bachelor’s degree program. Coursework is delivered on Upper Iowa University’s two classes at a time policy.
Upper Iowa University’s Criminal Justice degree online program’s featured coursework includes an introduction to criminal justice, community-oriented policing, sociology of law, criminal investigations ethics in criminal justice, introduction to corrections and offender treatment, plus a special project, to name a few. About 95% of the graduates of Upper Iowa University’s Online Criminal Justice Degree program are employed or enrolled in another academic degree program six months after they graduate.
2. The University of Northern Iowa
The University of Northern Iowa offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice that focuses on the necessary skills required for students seeking career advancement. Guide to Online Schools has recognized UNI’s Criminal Justice degree online among the top twenty programs in the country. UNI accepts up to 65 credit hours (from an articulated AAS academic degree) if earned from a community college, if eligible, which can be applied to this program’s 120 credit unit mandate.
The University of Northern Iowa’s criminal justice online degree program is delivered with two courses each semester and is available entirely online. This is a cohort program that holds 20 to 25 students each term. Sample classes for this Online Criminal Justice Degree program include crime and community, victimology, communication ethics for criminal justice professionals, violence in intimate relationships, and psychology and the law, to name a few.
3. Buena Vista University
Buena Vista University’s Center for Criminal Justice Studies offers a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice that explores the reasons for criminal behavior. This criminal justice online degree program offers two academic concentrations from which to choose, a criminal justice track and a criminology track. The criminal justice track prepares a student for various criminal justice careers. The criminology track of this Criminal Justice degree online is designed for students who wish to pursue more advanced academic degrees in criminal justice.
These criminal justice degree options include a core curriculum of criminal justice systems, a survey of criminology, criminological research methods, an introduction to the American Government, and general psychology, plus a capstone project, among others. This Online Criminal Justice Degree program from Buena Vista University prepares students to be head above other candidates when attending the police academy.
4. Iowa Wesleyan University
Iowa Wesleyan University offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an academic concentration in criminal justice that is recognized among the leading Online Criminal Justice Degree programs in Iowa and beyond, according to US News & World Report. This criminal justice online degree program awards credit for military experience and allows for up to 90 credits to be transferred if eligible. Iowa Wesleyan University offers students interested in this online degree in criminal justice six start dates each year.
Coursework for Iowa Wesleyan University’s Criminal Justice degree online is delivered in eight-week modules and includes these classes – general psychology, criminology, law enforcement, criminal and individual rights, and law enforcement, to name a few. Students graduating from Iowa Wesleyan University’s criminal justice degree join the ranks of case managers, law enforcement administrators, program directors, or courts and appeals processors, to name a few.
5. Simpson College
Simpson College’s Continuing & Graduate Programs offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that is among Iowa’s most innovative and affordable Online Criminal Justice Degree programs. This Criminal Justice degree online is offered with six start dates during the academic year in the Summer, Fall, and Spring. Simpson College does accept transfer credits if the earned credits meet Simpson College’s degree eligibility requirements.
Coursework for Simpson College’s criminal justice online degree program explores the importance of diversity issues and includes the skills of ethical decision-making. More specifically, the classes for this criminal justice bachelor’s program include juvenile delinquency, the standards of professional behavior, introduction to criminal justice, and inequality and justice, plus a criminal justice field experience, to name a few.
6. Southeastern Community College
Southeastern Community College offers an Associate of Arts degree program in Criminal Justice that prepares AA degree candidates for transfer to a four-year university. Southeastern Community College’s Criminal Justice degree online requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 62 credits to meet SCC’s program graduation requirements. This criminal justice online degree program is typically completed in four semesters.
This Associate of Arts Online Criminal Justice Degree program includes classes like introduction to criminal justice, the American National Government, criminal law, constitutional law, multicultural perspectives, introduction to corrections and leadership development studies, among others. Check our Southeastern Community College’s career guidance, job listings through the school’s career coach. Students enrolled in Southeastern Community College’s Online Criminal Justice Degree program have the option of attending one of the four-year schools with an articulation agreement with Southeastern Community College.
7. Hawkeye Community College
Hawkeye Community College offers two of Iowa’s most innovative associate-level Online Criminal Justice Degree programs with its Associate of Arts (AA) degree or its Associate of Science (AS) degree programs. Both of Hawkeye Community College’s criminal justice online degree programs require degree candidates to complete a minimum of 62-semester units to meet Hawkeye Community College graduate criteria, which includes various general education requirements as well.
Students graduating from Hawkeye Community College’s Criminal Justice degree online offers students the opportunity to use the skills learned in these associate-level Online Criminal Justice Degree programs in the fields of substance abuse, social work, business, biology, computers, and psychology, to name a few. Sample coursework for this criminal justice online degree program includes an introduction to criminal justice, criminal investigation, white-collar crime, criminal justice ethics, and the American National Government, to name a few.
8. Grand View University
Grand View University (Grand View Online) offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that offers students a path to employment or is the landing program for those students attending another Online Criminal Justice Degree program at the associate level. Applicants for the 2+2 program from Grand View University must hold an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in criminal justice from an accredited institution of higher education.
This criminal justice online degree program from Grand View University requires 66 to 67 credit units, depending on the incoming students’ current earned credits. Featured coursework for this Criminal Justice degree online includes these classes – introduction to criminal justice, juvenile justice and gangs, social problems, the police, and the courts, crime scene investigation, statistics for social scientists, and criminological theory, plus a capstone project and related criminal justice internship.
9. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges
Eastern Iowa Community College (EICC at a Distance) is a self-paced mobile security academic program that is available entirely online. Eastern Iowa Community College’s Online Criminal Justice Degree program is a seven-semester hour program that is generally completed in three months. This online degree program from Eastern Iowa Community College includes traditional classroom work and the use of live virtual machines in the college’s labs – exploring QR codes, mobile device risks, BYOD security, and learning how to manage and implement various antimalware tools and programs.
This mobile security degree online includes coursework covering these topics – smartphones, wearable technology location tracking, securing mobile devices, legacy devices, and the access of untrusted content, to name just a few. Additionally, students enrolled in Eastern Iowa Community College’s Online Criminal Justice Degree program will participate in lab simulations, case projects and sit for a final culminating examination.
10. Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College offers one of Iowa’s leading Associate of Applied Science degree programs in human services that can be completed in only five terms. Iowa Lakes Community College’s Online Criminal Justice Degree program is available entirely online or on the college’s Estherville campus and requires degree candidates to complete 69-semester units to meet Iowa Lakes Community College’s graduation criteria.
The online degree program in human services from Iowa Lakes Community College includes coursework like human disabilities and services, counseling techniques, behavior management, introduction to psychology, case management, marriage and family, services and vocational planning, social work and social welfare, and juvenile delinquency, plus a practicum or internship in a related field. This degree online in human services is often the springboard for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in counseling, education, psychology, social work, or education, to name a few.
How is the Criminal Justice Job Market in Iowa?
The job market for criminal justice jobs in Iowa offers a lot of options and will continue to grow. Iowa continues to look for solutions to criminal justice problems in the state, which means criminal justice jobs in Iowa will continue to grow, evolve, and need people to fill the roles.
The criminal justice field is a large one and contains an incredibly large number of positions that make it all work. That applies in Iowa just as much as it does across the nation. People looking for criminal justice jobs in Iowa can find them in the public and private sectors.
Courts, legal institutions, private businesses, and others all have a need for criminal justice personnel at every level and in every capacity. This means the job market has room for new online criminal justice degree graduates as well as for experienced criminal justice professionals looking to make a lateral career move or climb their chosen career’s ladder.
Those looking for criminal justice jobs in Iowa can also consider work with federal agencies within the state as well. However, it’s important that job seekers keep in mind that many types of criminal justice jobs in Iowa may require additional education, certification, training, or other requirements before they can begin work.
Still, it’s possible to find a job in the criminal justice field while also pursuing a degree online or another program that will help them gain the credentials to move forward with the criminal justice job they have more interest in. Also, all the experience counts.
How Much Can I Make with a Criminal Justice Degree in Iowa?
Criminal justice salary averages can vary widely depending on a slew of factors. Some of those factors include:
- Job title
All these things can change a criminal justice salary, sometimes drastically. It’s possible to find jobs that offer a criminal justice salary ranging between $20k and $150k, depending on the aforementioned factors.
Criminal justice jobs in Iowa include every level of law enforcement, teachers and trainers, court personnel, every position at a correctional facility, and dozens of other positions. All these positions have their own specific job outlooks and criminal justice salary considerations.
Because of these wide variances in criminal justice salary possibilities, applicants should do very thorough job searches when they’re ready. This is especially true of criminal justice jobs in Iowa, where the benefits of many of these jobs can often play a major role in someone’s choice as much as the salary amount.