Degrees Needed for Criminal Justice Careers

In order to obtain a career in the field of criminal justice, you will have to meet a series of education, training, and experience requirements. These requirements can vary drastically from career to career, but most criminal justice careers will require you to obtain a degree. Unfortunately, since so many different degree options exist, you may have difficulty determining whether a particular degree will help you obtain your desired career. As a result, it is important for you to consider a few things before you pursue a degree in criminal justice.

First, you should consider the prerequisites you will have to meet in order to be admitted into a program that offers your desired degree. Every degree program has its own set of prerequisites, and you will have to meet the prerequisites of the program you are considering in order to enter that program. Secondly, you should consider the length of time it will take you to earn the degree you are considering. Every degree program will require you to complete a specific set of courses, and it can take you anywhere from 2 to 8 years to complete these courses. Since you will invest a significant amount of time into your education in order to earn your degree, it is important for you to know exactly how much time you will have to invest to earn each degree.


Third, you should consider the requirements of your desired career, since every career has its own set of requirements and the criminal justice career you are considering may require a specific degree. In fact, some criminal justice careers actually do not require a degree at all, so it is extremely important for you to make sure you are pursuing a degree that you actually need.

Associate’s Criminal Justice Degree

An associate’s degree in criminal justice is one of the many degrees that might help you obtain a position in the field of criminal justice. However, it is important to note, that an associate’s degree in criminal justice is not the only type of associate’s degree you may be required to obtain. In fact, a career in criminal justice actually might require a number of different types of associate’s degrees, and it may be difficult for you to determine exactly which degree is required for a specific position. In order for you to make sure you are pursuing the right degree, you may wish to know a little more about some of the associate’s degrees you can pursue.

Many criminal justice professionals pursue an Associate’s in Criminal Justice degree. This degree is intended for individuals who are pursuing entry-level criminal justice careers in the court system, local law enforcement, or state law enforcement. An associate’s degree in criminal justice typically will allow you to meet the education requirements for careers such as bailiff, local or state police officer, paralegal, security guard, or another type of court or law enforcement professional.

Other associate’s degrees many criminal justice professionals pursue are the Associate’s in Paralegal Studies degree and the Associate’s in Legal Studies degree. Both of these degrees are intended for individuals who are attempting to obtain an entry-level position in the court system, and both of these degrees will help you obtain a paralegal position. Another associate’s degree that many criminal justice professionals pursue is an associate’s degree in computer forensics. This degree is intended for individuals who are attempting to obtain an entry-level position in a cyber crimes unit.

Most of the programs offering these degrees are two-year programs, but some programs may actually allow you to complete the program in one year. The specific requirements necessary for admission into one of these programs vary from school to school, but most schools require you to have a General Educational Development (GED) credential or a high school diploma, average SAT scores, and an average high school GPA.

Bachelor’s Criminal Justice Degree

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is one of the many degrees that may help you obtain a position in the field of criminal justice. Nonetheless, it is important to note, that a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is not the only type of bachelor’s degree you may be required to obtain. In fact, a criminal justice career actually might require a number of different types of bachelor’s degrees, and it may be difficult for you to determine exactly which degree is required for a specific position. In order for you to make sure that you are pursuing the right degree, you may want to know a little more about some of the bachelor’s degrees you can pursue.

Three bachelor’s degrees that many criminal justice professionals pursue are the Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) degree, the Bachelor’s of Science in Criminology (BSC) degree, and the Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminology (BAC) degree. These three degrees all are intended for individuals who are pursuing a position in federal law enforcement or a mid-level position in the court system, local law enforcement, or state law enforcement. These three degrees may be helpful if you intend to become a criminologist, a corrections officer, a federal agent (some agencies may require other degrees instead of or in addition to these degrees), a loss prevention officer, a parole officer, a private detective, or another type of professional in state, local, or federal law enforcement.

Another bachelor’s degree that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science degree. This degree is intended for individuals who are pursuing criminal justice careers within the science community, and it typically will help you become a crime scene examiner, a criminal laboratory analyst, or another type of scientist in the criminal justice field. However, it is important to note that in some cases, a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or physics may be just as helpful, if not more helpful than a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science degree when you are applying for these positions.

Most programs offering these types of degrees are four-year programs, but some institutions may allow you to complete the program in as little as two years. Specific admissions requirements to enter one of these programs vary from school to school, but most schools require you to have a General Educational Development (GED) credential or a high school diploma, above average SAT scores, and an above average GPA.

Master’s Criminal Justice Degree

A master’s degree in criminal justice is one of the many degrees that may help you obtain a position in the field of criminal justice. However, a master’s degree in criminal justice is not the only type of master’s degree that you may be required to obtain. In fact, a career in criminal justice actually may require a number of different types of master’s degrees, and it may be difficult for you to determine exactly which degree is required for a specific position. In order for you to make sure that you are pursuing the right degree, you may want to know a little more about some of the master’s degrees typically pursued by criminal justice professionals.

Some criminal justice professionals pursue the Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree, the Master’s of Science in Criminology (MSC) degree, and the Master of Arts in Criminology (MAC) degree. These three degrees are intended for individuals pursuing administrative, management, supervisory, research or teaching positions in the criminal justice field. These degrees may be helpful if you are pursuing a career as a criminal justice professor at a community college, a crime prevention specialist, a warden, or another type of criminal justice professional.

Another master’s degree that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Master’s of Science in Forensic Science degree. This degree is intended for individuals pursuing criminal justice careers that require them to specialize in a specific type of forensic examination. The Master’s of Science in Forensic Science degree may be helpful if you want to become a ballistics expert, a forensic anthropologist, a forensic chemist, a forensic pathologist, or another forensic specialist. It is important to note, however, that some employers may require you to obtain a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in the forensic specialty in which you are planning to work instead of or in addition to a Master’s in Forensic Science degree.

Most programs offering these types of degrees are two-year programs, but some programs may allow you to earn your degree in one year. The specific admissions requirements necessary to enter one of these programs vary from school to school, but most schools require a bachelor’s degree, above average GRE scores, and an above average GPA.

Doctorate Criminal Justice Degree

A doctoral degree in criminal justice is one of many degrees that may help you obtain a position in the field of criminal justice. It is important to note, however, that a doctoral degree in criminal justice is not the only type of doctorate you may be required to obtain. In fact, a career in criminal justice actually may require a number of different types of doctoral degrees, and it may be difficult for you to determine exactly which degree is required for a specific position. In order for you to make sure that you are pursuing the right degree, you may want to know a little more about some of the doctorate degrees that criminal justice professionals typically pursue.

Two doctoral degrees that some criminal justice professionals pursue are the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Criminal Justice degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Criminology degree. These degrees are both intended for individuals who are pursuing upper level administration, research, or teaching positions in the criminal justice field. These degrees may be helpful if you are attempting to become an administrator for a state or federal agency, a criminal justice professor for a college or university, a head criminologist, or another type of criminal justice professional.

Another doctoral degree that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. This degree is a law degree intended for individuals who are pursuing criminal justice careers in the court system. The Juris Doctor (JD) degree will allow you to meet the education requirements to become a defense attorney, a judge, or a prosecutor. Another doctoral degree that some criminal justice professionals pursue is the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. This degree is a medical degree required for an individual who is attempting to become a medical examiner.

Most of the programs offering these degrees are two, three, or four-year programs. While specific admissions requirements vary from program to program, most of these programs will require a bachelor’s degree (two year programs may require a master’s degree); above average GRE scores, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT); an above average GPA; and other requirements.