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best online criminal justice master’s degree
Introduction
Best States for employment
Best Programs
Potential Increased Earnings
Affordable Programs
Accreditation
Program Details
Top Online
Careers & Salaries
online no gre
No GRE Programs
Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree
FAQs
Best Programs and Schools
Additional Resources
Sources
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Online Criminal Justice Masters

Top Online Master’s Programs in Healthcare

Today’s threats to public safety and security are growing. Current criminal justice professionals in the U.S. are needed to assume leadership roles that help their organizations rise to the challenge. Individuals working in these fields should consider earning an Online Criminal Justice Master’s degree. In completing the master’s degree, students can extend their careers to take on advanced positions in the corrections, law enforcement, and rehabilitation fields.

Graduates can also become a college-level instructor at two-year schools. The flexibility of online studies enables students to retain their current position while completing their degree.

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Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees

When it comes to selecting a school in which you want to pursue a master’s in criminal justice, it is important to consider many factors. Some of these factors include – tuition fees, teacher to student ratio, accreditation, graduation rate, quality and reputation of the program. We have considered all these factors and created a list of the best criminal justice programs that can be pursued online. Here is a list of the best criminal justice programs online.

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306
$968483%
#2
California State University, Long Beach
250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840
$7,17674%
#3
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
$6,91672%
#4
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
$18,85881%
#5
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110
$27,28881%
#6
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
$24,79389%
#7
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
$54,720 88%
#8
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
$10,52070%
#9
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
$8,912 63%
#10
Arizona State University
University Drive and Mill Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85287
$11,72063%
#11
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, Illinois 60446
$14,40067%
#12
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809
$15,76867%
#13
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut 06516
$16,92062%
#14
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, California 92407
$7,17655%
#15
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
$5,76554%
#16
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Rd, Utica, New York 13502
$21,48054%
#17
Chaminade University of Honolulu
3140 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
$24,00059%
#18
University of Colorado, Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217

$6,78652%
#19
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960
$18,01853%
#20
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574
$7,29649%
#21
University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee
8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34243
$8,35047%
#22
Trine University
1 University Ave, Angola, Indiana 46703
$39,45063%
#23
La Salle University
1900 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19141
$25,06066%
#24
Tiffin University
155 Miami Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883
$12,60039%
#25
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
$15,48029%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

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Most Affordable Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

Affordability is a key factor when choosing higher education. It is even more important when choosing an online master’s in criminal justice as some of the programs can get expensive. We went through several online masters in criminal justice programs and compiled a list of the most affordable online masters degrees in criminal justice. Here is that list-

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
$5,67044%
#2
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
$5,76554%
#3
University of North Texas
1501 W.Chestnut Ave., Denton, Texas 76203
$5,90056%
#4
Lamar University
4400 MLK Blvd, Beaumont, Texas 77705
$6,32434%
#5
University of North Alabama
One Harrison Plaza, Florence, Alabama 35632
$6,66049%
#6
University of Colorado, Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217
$6,78652%
#7
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
$6,916 72%
#8
California State University, Long Beach
250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840
$7,17674%
#9
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, California 92407
$7,176 55%
#10
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574
$7,29649%
#11
St. Cloud State University
720 Fourth Ave. South, Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56301
$7,46048%
#13
Concordia University, St. Paul
1282 Concordia Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
$8,55051%
#14
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
$8,91263%
#15
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306
$9,68483%
#16
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
$10,52070%
#17
Arizona State University
University Drive and Mill Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85287
$11,72063%
#18
Tiffin University
155 Miami Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883

$12,60039%
#19
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, Illinois 60446
$14,40067%
#20
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
$15,48029%
#21
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809
$15,76867%
#22
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut 06516
$16,92062%
#23
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960

$18,01853%
#24
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
$18,85881%
#25
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Rd, Utica, New York 13502
$21,48054%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

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Understanding Masters in Criminal Justice Programs

Getting a Masters’s degree in Criminal Justice will enhance your career, and going through the program in an online format is the easiest way. But it is essential to understand the Criminal Justice programs.


Accreditation

Graduate school can take a huge bite out of a master’s student savings account. According to education consultant Peterson’s, the cost of tuition at graduate degree programs averages about $30,000. At the top-end, prestigious or private universities can charge as much as $120,000. That’s why the following only list the top accredited schools offering the most affordable online master’s degrees in criminal justice.

Independent evaluators accredit the top online master’s programs in criminal justice. Accreditation is voluntary and can be awarded for the entire university, for the school’s criminal justice department, and online degree programs. There are national accreditation associations along with six regional associations: New England; North Central; Middle states; Southern states; Western states; and the Northwest.

Accreditations vouchsafe for the university or degree program’s academic or financial quality in meeting training expectations for the industry. Employers expect graduates to complete degrees at accredited institutions. The lack of university accreditation disqualifies students from participating in federal financial aid programs. Read more about Accreditation. Read more about Accreditation.


Curriculum in Online Criminal Justice Masters Programs

Master’s degree programs will combine studies in leadership and advanced courses pertinent to a student’s field. Here is a sample of classes offered at online criminal justice master’s degree programs:

  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Cybercrime
  • Criminal Law
  • Public Policy
  • Human Resource Management
  • Labor Relations in the Public Sector
  • Homeland Security Leadership
  • Research Methodology
  • Judicial Processes
  • Court Services Management
  • Measurement of Organizational Performance
  • Capstone Project

Admission Requirements for Criminal Justice Masters Programs

Admission into an online criminal justice master’s degree is very similar to other masters programs. Applicants must meet the minimum requirement set by the university, and these admission requirements vary from university to university. However, generally, here are the most commonly asked requirements:

  • GPA: Most universities require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum of 3.0 GPA.
  • Resume: Universities want to see the applicant’s background and especially if there is any professional experience related to criminal justice. If so, universities might waive some other requirements.
  • Bachelors Degree: A bachelor’s degree in a related field may not be required, but most universities require a bachelor’s degree. And if the applicant possesses a degree in a similar field, some courses can be waived. This will save some tuition fees along with accelerating at a faster pace towards graduation.
  • GRE Test: A lot of universities want to see a GRE score of the applicant before providing admission into a master’s in criminal justice program. However, several universities don’t need GRE. Here are some universities that don’t need a GRE for admission into online criminal justice masters programs.
  • Statement of Purpose: A lot of universities want to see the reason why the applicant is interested in this field. And having a strong statement of purpose will help immensely.

How long does it take to graduate from an online criminal justice master’s degree?

Many factors determine how long it takes to finish a master’s degree in criminal justice. Factors like part-time vs. full time, how many enrolled credits per semester, student background and prerequisites needed, etc. But on average, like most masters degrees, an online criminal justice master’s degree takes about two years or so. Some universities offer accelerated programs that let students finish the program in a year or so.

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Careers & Salaries for Criminal Justice Graduates

Criminal justice employment opportunities are based on the applicant’s experience and their level of academic attainment. Job pay and number of openings vary by state. According to research by the San Francisco Chronicle, the average criminalist starting wage was $33,000 a year for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. In contrast, the annual average starting salary for those with a master’s degree was $55,000 a year. In another study, Saint Joseph’s University researchers found that police officers earn approximately $48,000 a year.

If you earn your master’s degree and advance to deputy police chief, your annual earnings spike to about $74,800. But earnings alone should not inform your decisions on graduate education. Employers recruiting for positions that do not require a master’s degree may prefer that applicants have one and you can be rewarded for your academic achievement. The following compares the best locations for selected criminal justice jobs and their mean annual pay:

CriteriaLocation
Highest employment of First-Line Supervisors of Police and DetectivesNew York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Georgia
Top-paying states (mean annual wage) for police supervisorsCalifornia – $154,430, New Jersey – $130,490, The District of Columbia – $117,770, New York – $115,940, Alaska – $112,910
Top states with the largest employment of Forensic Science TechniciansCalifornia, Florida, Texas, New York, Arizona
States that pay the highest annual wages for Forensic Science TechniciansIllinois – $87,660, California – $85,280, Massachusetts – $79,440, Connecticut – $73,970, New Hampshire – $70,960
Top states with the largest number of jobs for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement TeachersNorth Carolina, New York, California, Texas, Florida
States pay the largest annual salaries for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement TeachersThe District of Columbia – $123,320, California – $111,240, Rhode Island – $93,860, Iowa – $88,750, New Jersey – $87,300

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites five strong careers in criminal justice that require a master’s degree. This list contains current salaries, where criminal justice grads work, and the projected job growth for their roles:

OccupationWagesJob GrowthWhere They Work
Criminologist$92,04015%University social scientist programs
Public and private research organizations
Juvenile justice courts
Corrections
Criminal investigations units
Insurance companies
Forensic Psychologist$77,03014%Police and sheriff’s department investigation units
The FBI and other government agencies
Private internal investigation teams
Criminal courts
Prosecutors’ offices
Jails and prisons
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers$61,90012%Post-secondary community colleges
Law enforcement agencies
State and Federal governmental entities
Trade schools
Computer Forensics Investigator$75,00012%Forensic analytical laboratories
Local and state law enforcement agencies
Federal government, including FBI and CIA
Banks and financial institutions
Computer, internet, and data companies
Private Detectives and Investigators$50,09011%Attorney’s offices
Background-check agencies
Hotels and commercial firms
Patent and intellectual property investigation companies

Source: BLS

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Online Masters in Criminal Justice, No GRE

The online master’s degree in criminal justice upgrades your skills and knowledge to advance into leadership roles in your field. The best online criminal justice programs cited below are not only fully accredited, but they also admit graduate students without requiring their GRE scores:

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FAQs about Online Criminal Justice Masters

Here are pertinent questions and answers for prospective students seeking a criminal justice master’s degree online:

Q: What should students look for in an online criminal justice master’s program?

A: After a prospective master’s student examines the university’s accreditations and GRE requirements, compare the graduation requirements of the program (total number of credits), the curriculum, and the cost of tuition.

Q: Do employers accept master’s degrees earned online?

A: Most universities offer the same criminal justice master’s degree as their brick-and-mortar programs. Your university will not indicate that you earned the degree online. Finally, employers may favor online degrees that are earned at universities known for their on-campus degrees.

Q: Is financial aid available for students to help with tuition and fees?

A: Federal student loans, grants and work study assistance is open to students enrolled in an accredited online master’s degree program. In addition, there are scholarships available from states, universities, and professional criminal justice associations. Read more about financial aid on the Best Financial Guide.

Q: Will my degree qualify me for advanced policing?

A: Based on education and experience, you’ll be qualified to advance to leadership, program management, evidence analysis, and staff-training positions.

Q: What kind of documentation will I need when applying to a graduate criminal justice program?

A: Most programs will require proof of completion of an undergraduate program, a professional resume documenting relevant experience, college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of goals. Many departments still require GRE scores. Some will waive the exam if a student has completed a prior master’s program or earned a bachelor’s degree with a strong GPA.

Q: Is it better to choose a thesis or opt for a comprehensive exam?

A: The thesis option is a good choice for students who plan to conduct research or move into university teaching after completing a doctoral degree. Thesis students may need additional time to complete their online master’s. The comprehensive examination measures students’ wide-range understanding of the criminal justice leadership role for advancement in the field.

Q: Should students pursue a specialization area in their online Q: master’s degree in criminal justice?

A: It all depends on a student’s career goals within their chosen profession. Specializations listed on a student’s diploma demonstrate in-depth training for specific roles, improving their opportunity for advancement in their sector of the justice system. A student may prefer a degree without specializations if their goal is to work in different sectors of their field or plan on entering a doctoral program.

Q: Can earning an online master’s degree in criminal justice qualify a student for doctoral programs?

A: Yes, and it can reduce the time to graduate. Going on to complete a doctorate program can lead to careers in university teaching or research. Some criminal justice students continue on to law school.

Q: Should master’s students join professional associations and attend conferences?

A: Networking plays a major role in finding the right employment opening. Associations can help master’s students find options nationally and within their region. Many such organizations sponsor their own job boards for members and niche career-training opportunities. Affiliation with an association can build a student’s credentials and distinguish them from other job candidates. Plus, networking with mentors or hiring authorities can benefit criminal justice professionals throughout their careers.

Q: What is the National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC)?

A: The NCIRC is a repository of online training programs, including NSI Line Officer training, First-Amendment online training, and the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) programs.

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Additional Resources for Criminal Justice Graduates

While getting an online criminal masters degree will enhance your careers, it is also important to know about other resources. Below is a list of associations and organizations that students should look into for growth opportunities, networking and to keep in touch with ongoing changes in the criminal justice careers.

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Sources

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