Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Online [2021 Guide]

Does the thought of getting your accelerated criminal justice degree online excite you? Crime fighting. Catching the bad guys. Ensuring justice is served.

Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree

When you go into criminal justice, you can feel good about the work that you do.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You may also enjoy a growing market of 4-6% and an average annual salary of $50,000 to over $75,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Types of Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Criminal justice may make you think of excitement. The types of degrees you can get in criminal justice are exciting. There is so much variety.

You may even choose a focus on homeland security or cybersecurity.

You might already have an idea of what direction you want to go. Which of these sounds the most appealing to you?

  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Cyber Security
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Crime Scene Investigation
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Juvenile Justice
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security

Don’t settle for boring and ordinary. If you have skills that could make the world a safer place, one of these criminal justice degree programs might be the perfect fit for you.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Programs Overview

An accelerated criminal justice degree can help prepare you to fight crime and keep the world a safer place. You may already have the raw skills, like:

  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Great verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • A high physical fitness level

These are skills that might make you a great candidate for a criminal justice degree. Also, you need to have a strong desire to help others and enforce the law.

The classes you will take may give you the head knowledge and the practice to hone your skills and desires. Your classes could include such topics as:

  • American Corrections
  • Criminal Law
  • Cybersecurity and Policy
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Homeland Security
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • The Laws of Evidence
  • Terrorism and Organized Crime
  • Victimology

These classes can help prepare you for the reality of criminal law, security, justice and crime.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Careers with an Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree

Careers with an Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree

Becoming a police officer is not your only choice for a criminal justice degree. There are many other careers for you to consider, including:

  • Computer Forensics Investigator
  • Correctional Officer
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • FBI agent
  • Fish and Game Warden
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Fraud Investigator
  • Homicide Detective
  • Private Detective
  • Probation Officer
  • Secret Service Agent
  • Security Guard
  • State Trooper
  • US Marshal

The type of work you may be doing is so varied. From working in nature to working in a mall. Investigating money laundering to a murder scene. You might be working primarily on a computer screen, or you may be in federal prison or on the road.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

These are definitely not boring jobs! And there are jobs to be had. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an increase of 4-6% in criminal justice-related jobs over the next decade. Having a bachelor’s degree or previous law enforcement or military experience likely drastically increases your job prospects.

Here are some job titles and average salaries for the industry.

Job Title Average Annual Salary
Detective $78,120
Transit Police $66,610
Police Officer $59,680
Forensic Science Technician $55,660
Insurance Investigator $54,850
Fish and Game Warden $51,730
Probation Officer $50,160
Correctional Officer $50,160
Secret Service Agent $49,746
Government Detective $49,480

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

All of these jobs have entry-level positions, meaning that you may start at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up.

The Benefits of Online Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Start Anytime: Instead of waiting for next semester, you may start right now. Most universities throughout North America will offer you start dates each month.

Go Faster: Traditional students will spend the next 16 weeks attending class 2-3 times a week. But you can look into accelerated online classes. Instead of taking 16 weeks and sitting in class each week, you may enroll in an 8 week accelerated online class. You are still covering the same material, just faster.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Study Where You Want, When You Want: Taking classes online means not having to show up to class at any particular location or time. You may complete your work on your schedule and from the comfort of your own home.

3 Ways to Accelerate Your Criminal Justice Degree Even More

criminal justice degree student studying on her computer at home

A criminal justice degree is generally 182 credits. If you take the average 30 credit hours per year, that is 6 years.

If you’re currently in a position that has you thinking, I need a degree fast, then an accelerated program might be the right fit. These 3 strategies may help you cut years off of your degree.

1. Test Out of College Classes and Earn Up to 1 Year of Credit

It may sound criminal, but it is completely legal. You can get credit and not go to class. Through the College Level Examination Program, you may earn up to 30 credits by exam. The exams cost $89. You then buy a study guide and study like crazy.

When you take the exam, if you get 50% of the 95 multiple choice questions right, you may earn 3 credits.

2. Get College Credit for Your Life and Work Experience and Earn another Semester!

Do you have previous work experience? If you completed a certification or training program, you might be eligible for college credit. Military experience may especially reward you with a lot of college credit.

The American Council of Education along with the US military recognize and provide credit recommendations for your military service. Even your basic training might count as credit. You may apply to have your credit transferred through your Joint Service Transcript.

Even without military experience, universities like Colorado Tech University may look at your employment and past experiences for credit. You will likely need to complete an Experiential Learning Portfolio that demonstrates how you already have the knowledge for the course. Once submitted and approved, you are awarded credit for your experience.

Most universities will allow you up to 15 credits for prior training. That’s 5 classes you may not have to take.

3. Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Course Load

When you look at a degree plan, you may see that the typical schedule gives you 30 credit hours each year. With 182 credit hours for a criminal justice degree, that may equal 6 years sitting in class.

The trick is to take a higher number of classes. Each semester, you can take 18 credit hours instead of 15. You also have 3 semesters a year to take classes. Fall, Spring, and Summer. That route may give you 54 credits in 12 months.

Bonus: Transferring Your Existing College Credits

You might be able to use pre-existing college credit for your criminal justice degree now. There are just 3 criteria to check:

  • Your old college was accredited
  • You earned at least a C in the class
  • The class is applicable to your new degree

Sometimes, the class won’t apply to your new degree. That’s still okay, because you can often use any class you passed from an accredited college to fill your elective spots.

Lower Tuition Costs

screenshot of FAFSA website

Earning your degree can be expensive, but you may cut down on your out-of-pocket costs. Remember, you use credit by exam to earn 30 credits. Each 3 credit exam costs you $89, which would be around $890 for 30 credits. That’s a lot lower than paying tuition for those 10 classes. Plus, you may get up to 15 more credits if you have prior training.

Then, you can further lower your expenses by taking advantage of financial aid. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out what you qualify for in grants and loans. Then, research university and other scholarship opportunities. You might also qualify for state funding or work for a company that offers tuition assistance.

Criminal Justice Degree Accreditation

A criminal justice program does not need to have specific accreditation. What you are looking for is that your school itself is accredited by a regional board. You can check on a school’s accreditation by going to the Department of Education website and searching for your school.

There are a few nice-to-have accreditations that your school might have though, including:

If the school you are attending is regionally accredited, you can be comfortable that your degree will be recognized by employers.

Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Programs Overview

Questions Related to Earning a Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Online

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have.

Is Criminal Justice a 4 Year Degree?

Yes, Criminal Justice is a 4 year bachelor’s degree. It can, however, take longer or shorter than 4 years to complete. Criminal Justice tends to be a more lengthy program, with more classes to take. You might shorten your time by testing out of classes, submitting a portfolio for prior learning, and taking the max number of accelerated classes per semester.

If four years is too long for your liking, you may look into a criminal justice associates degree which typically takes only two years to complete. Or, on the other hand, you can advance your education beyond a bachelor’s and earn a masters in criminal justice. A master’s normally takes two additional years on top of earning your bachelor’s.

How Fast Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

If you test out of 30 credits, turn a portfolio for prior learning for 15 credits, and take 18 credits per semester (including summer), you might finish in about 2.5 years.

What Is the Best Online School for Criminal Justice?

It depends. One university may appeal to you over another, but as long as a school is accredited, you can rest assured that it will provide you with a high-quality education.

Universities Offering Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree Online Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Military University

American Military University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

AMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Anderson University

Anderson University campus

  • BA in Criminal Justice

Anderson is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

  • BS in Criminology & Criminal Justice

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ashland University

Ashland University campus

  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Ashland is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Aurora University

Aurora University campus

  • BA in Criminal Justice

Aurora is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Bellevue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

CalBaptist is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Capella University

Capella University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University campus

  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

CCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Faulkner University

Faulkner University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Faulkner is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

FIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

King University

King University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

King is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lamar University

Lamar University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Lamar is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University

Maryville University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Maryville is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Point Park University

Point Park University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Point Park is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Portland State University

portland state university campus

  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice

PSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College campus

  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Rasmussen is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

SEMO is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Stevenson University

Stevenson University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

Stevenson is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tiffin University

Tiffin University campus

  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Criminal Behavior
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Criminalistics
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Justice Administration
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement

Tiffin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Oklahoma – Norman

University of Oklahoma - Norman campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

OU Norman is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

  • BS in Criminology

UWG is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

West Virginia State University

West Virginia State University campus

  • BS in Criminal Justice

WVSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Get Ready to Serve!

female cop examining findings for a crime in her office

There are heroes in real life. People who risk their lives to protect and serve others. Heroes go to work every day in a job that makes the world a safer place. Those heroes are real.

That could be you.

Choosing a career in criminal justice doesn’t need to cost you 6 years of your life and more money than it needs to. By following the tips above, you might fly through your degree in 2.5 years and be out on the streets making a difference.

It may be hard. But it may also be worth it.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.