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Top 10 Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs for 2019

Most criminal justice professionals, whether they are in the field or in the office, begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree at most, and often just a high school or community college education. There’s nothing wrong with that – there are well-paying jobs even without advanced education. But after working for some time and gaining experience, many working adults in criminal justice begin to feel frustrated about their ability to advance and make more money. For those experienced, active professionals, criminal justice master’s programs online may be the answer.

Getting a Master’s in Criminal Justice online provided the credentials and specialized expertise to earn promotion and change careers, but without having to commute to school, move to another area, or put the brakes on a career that is already in process. There are now many criminal justice graduate programs online, offered by some of the most prestigious and trusted colleges and universities in the nation. Criminal Justice Degree Hub’s ranking of the Top 10 Online Master’s in Criminal Justice for 2019 is just the start.

How We Ranked the Best Master’s in Criminal Justice Online Programs

With increased demand from criminal justice workers, colleges and universities all over the country are establishing online master’s in criminal justice programs. CJDH’s editors began by looking over all of the programs available, keeping our focus on accredited, reputable institutions. With the initial work done, we ranked programs according to their Cost, Reputation, and Salary Potential, using data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche. These factors show prospective students that they can trust these schools to provide a real return on investment and a serious boost in their career.

1. University of California, Irvine

When you are looking for a masters in criminal justice online, you want to consider the MAS in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California at Irvine. The degree program focuses on students who plan to work in law enforcement, social services, and related fields. It provides leadership training to ensure that you are ready to take on a leadership role in your field.

The University of California at Irvine stands apart from other criminal justice programs by offering a strong foundation in leadership. The degree program recognizes that you not only need to understand criminology. You also need to recognize the role of law enforcement professionals when it comes to handling challenges within the system.

Degree: MAS in Criminology, Law, and Society

2. University of Colorado Denver

When you are looking into criminal justice masters programs online, you will notice the Master of Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado Denver. The fully online program offers a strong foundation in topics of study related to the justice system. It focuses on giving students a well-rounded view of how the system works and the potential causes of crime.

The University of Colorado Denver gives students a clear understanding of the criminal justice system and the potential problems that may lead to crime. It strives to ensure students recognize the challenges that limit potential reform efforts and the solutions that may assist with long-term outcomes to prevent future crime by addressing the problems that contribute to crime.

Degree: Master of Criminal Justice

3. Arizona State University

When you are evaluating criminal justice graduate programs online, you will want to look into the MA in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. The degree program studies the causes of crime and the impact of crime on society, as well as the criminal justice system. It provides an opportunity to advance in your career with a focus on leadership, compassion, and legal standards.

Arizona State University offers a fully-online program with a focus on providing students with a strong foundation in the social aspects of criminal activity. It helps you understand the reasons crime occurs and the potential solutions that may prevent crime in the future. It also ensures you know how to handle challenges within the system to improve your skills for long-term career goals.

Degree: MA in Criminal Justice

4. Boston University

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Boston University provides students with a strong foundation in topics related to the criminal justice system. The online program allows students to focus on a specific area of criminal justice through concentrations. You can study cybercrime investigation and cybersecurity, crime analysis, or strategic movement through the online program.

Boston University stands apart from other programs by offering specialized training in specific areas of criminal justice. It ensures that you understand the role of law enforcement when it comes to specific types of crimes. It also offers the training you need to address certain types of investigations that may be challenging in the law enforcement industry.

Degree: MS in Criminal Justice

5. New Mexico State University

The Master of Criminal Justice program at New Mexico State University offers the opportunity to advance in your career or to prepare for more advanced studies. The program is available fully online or through a hybrid program that gives you the flexibility to work with a schedule that fits your current obligations and schedule. It focuses on providing the training students need to advance in their career.

New Mexico State University allows students to focus on their career in law enforcement by improving their skills and building up their knowledge about topics related to the industry. The online format allows you to work at your own pace and maintain your current plans for your career. It also provides the foundational skills you need to advance into a higher level of education.

Degree: Master of Criminal Justice

6. Concordia University St Paul

If you want to take on a leadership role in law enforcement or social services, then the MA in Criminal Justice Leadership from Concordia University St. Paul is a good choice for your goals. The degree program focuses on developing your leadership skills while enhancing your professionalism. That focus on professionalism within the criminal justice system allows you to advance in your career.

Concordia University St. Paul offers a fully online degree program with a focus on leadership and professionalism. The degree helps you advance in your career by teaching you the skills you need to take on a leadership role. It also focuses on helping you develop the skills you need to handle the challenges of leading others in a law enforcement position.

Degree: MA in Criminal Justice Leadership

7. Florida International University

The online MS in Criminal Justice from Florida International University is a research-focused degree program designed for students who plan to work in academia or applied research as it relates to the criminal justice system. It is a good choice if you plan to work in an analytical position or in research associated with criminology and society.

Florida International University stands out by focusing on the research aspects of the criminal justice system. The degree program teaches students proper methods of research and provides a strong foundation in the skills needed to handle criminology. It also offers the flexibility students need to maintain their current role in a career while pursuing a master’s degree with online courses that allow students to work at their own pace.

Degree: MS in Criminal Justice

8. Sam Houston State University

When you are looking at criminal justice masters programs online, consider the MS in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. The online degree program focuses on the goals of working professionals and offers a flexible schedule to assist with your career. It works around your work hours so you can finish the degree within two years while you are maintaining your professional obligations.

Sam Houston State University stands out for the focus on criminal justice that applies to law enforcement, securities, social services, and probation. It also offers the opportunity to take on an advanced role in a law enforcement field to help students advance in their career. Since the degree is designed for working adults, it offers a chance for students to focus on their career while studying in their free time.

Degree: MS in Criminal Justice

9. University of Cincinnati

The online MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati offers an interdisciplinary approach to the criminal justice system. Students study criminal justice with an enhanced view by evaluating the psychological, legal, and sociological aspects of criminal justice. It recognizes that multiple factors play a role in criminal activity and takes measures to help students understand the potential challenges associated with preventing crime.

The University of Cincinnati stands out from other online criminal justice programs by taking an interdisciplinary approach to the topics of discussion. It not only discusses topics related to law enforcement and social services. It breaks down information based on psychological aspects and the sociological impact of different outcomes. It also studies the legal aspects that impact behavior and activities.

Degree: MS in Criminal Justice

10. Texas A&M International University

When you are looking into criminal justice graduate programs online, the MS in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M International University is a good option for your goals. The online degree program gives you the knowledge you need to shape criminal justice policy and make changes to the system. It also recognizes the value of understanding the way the system works for adults and juveniles. The focus on providing students with a strong foundation in the topic of criminal justice helps students recognize areas where the system works well, and areas where it may need improvement.

Texas A&M International University stands apart by offering students a well-rounded view of the criminal justice system. It does not only focus on the system as it relates to adults, so it helps students understand the potential challenges of preventing crime in different populations and groups. It also teaches students about the policies associated with the system and the way policies may impact the lives of individuals involved in crime or in law enforcement.

Degree: MS in Criminal Justice

Can I Get a Job with an Online Master’s in Criminal Justice?

Yes, someone who has completed their Master’s in Criminal Justice has the ability to gain quality employment. The best online criminal justice schools offer Master degree options for those who want to take their career to the next level. With an online Masters in Criminal Justice, students can take their current positions and gain promotion, or shift their careers into other directions such as forensic psychologists or law enforcement. The discipline and completion of a Master degree is not common in the different criminal justice sectors, but its demand is growing encouraging employees to enhance their education and become proficient in their area of expertise.

The best online Masters in criminal justice degree provides students with the skills and ability to specialize their skill set in their career, making them marketable to employers. Ensuring that criminal justice degree online accredited and has a curriculum that is reflective of these necessary skills is essential for students seeking new employment. Employers look to determine the accreditation of the institutions, which is why students should consider the best online criminal justice schools that have high rankings and the best online criminal justice Masters programs.

What If I Don’t Want a Full Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Yet?

If a student is not ready to take on the responsibility and commitment of a 30 credit hour plus Master’s degree in criminal justice, then they have other options to gain specialization in their field. Earning a criminal justice graduate certificate online is an option for these students, as certificate programs are both more flexible and more affordable. Taking criminal justice certificate programs online offers students the ability to take a handful of courses in a certain area, honing those particular skills and making them proficient.

Often available in one semester, these courses can be completed 100% online, allowing students to continue their daily jobs and work at their convenience. Some careers in the criminal justice field do not require the complete Master degree, which is where the graduate certificate becomes valuable. It is also much cheaper than a complete Master degree, making it an affordable and in some cases more attractive to students than the Master program. These certificates still give them promotion and employment potential and can encourage salary increases.

Do I Have to Take the GRE for an Online Criminal Justice Master’s?

The short answer is no. Requiring a student to take the GRE for a Master’s in Criminal Justice is something that is regulated by the institution offering the program. For most online Masters in Criminal Justice, no GRE required is the standard. The GRE test is designed for students who are completing their undergraduate programs and do not often have professional experience, essentially. The GRE is also important for graduate programs in the business sector, as it has its foundation in this industry. This test is also used as a way to determine applicants for grad school.

Working professionals who have years of experience in their field and are returning to school later to pursue an online Masters degree will reflect their experience on their application, allowing recruiters and counselors to process their application without the need of an applicant test such as the GRE. Also, the fundamentals of the business industry in which the GRE is founded is not equal to the criminal justice industry, making it unnecessary for applicants and those seeking entry into an online Masters degree in Criminal Justice.

Related rankings:
Top 10 Campus Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs
Top 10 Campus Homeland Security Degree Programs
Top 10 Online Homeland Security Degree Programs

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