Find your calling—serving and protecting your community
Develop the academic knowledge of criminology, law enforcement, corrections and the criminal justice system you need to propel your career to the next level. Build a foundation to pursue a career keeping people safe and securing justice for those in need.
The Herzing University Criminal Justice program features undergraduate associate and bachelor’s degree options, including two bachelor’s degree concentrations:
Either start from the beginning as a new student or build upon your existing education and experience in law enforcement – you can transfer up to 90 approved credits into our bachelor’s degree program.
A better tomorrow starts with people like you taking steps to help make the world safer for all of us.
Herzing University exists to help you take that step. Join the Herzing family and team up with a lifelong partner in learning dedicated to your career success.
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Save time and money by earning dual credit
Qualifying undergraduate students may apply up to 12 credits toward an MBA degree.
Criminal justice graduates may choose one of several MBA concentrations, or consider our Dual Concentration option to add additional emphasis to your MBA credential.
There are many different career opportunities for graduates of our criminal justice program. Your choices for jobs exist at the federal, state and local levels, as well as private sector organizations.
You may qualify for these types of jobs with a degree in criminal justice, among others:
- Detective or criminal investigator
- Fish and game warden
- Parole and probation officer
- Correctional treatment specialist
- Correctional officer and jailers
How do I advance in my career?
Jobs in criminal justice often have multiple levels of rank, and advancement is determined by level of education, length of experience, and on-the-job performance. As most positions are in the public sector, specific levels must be reached before advancement can occur; this may include a minimum exam score, number of years in the position, or the next level of degree in criminal justice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can earn your associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online. Look for a regionally accredited university like Herzing that has a well-rounded curriculum and experienced faculty and staff. Universities that offer student advisors and online support can help prepare you for academic success.
Once you have your associate or bachelor’s degree, you can also pursue additional training or education to help increase your earning potential and further your career.
There are many benefits to earning a criminal justice degree. One is that you can get a variety of jobs including police officer, public official, or criminal investigator. Some jobs may require more education or experience, but a criminal justice degree can help provide a rich base of knowledge that can prepare you for a well-paying and lengthy career in different sectors.
Another benefit is there is a continued need for criminal justice professionals to help ensure the safety of the nation's citizens.
A third benefit is there are nationwide opportunities, because every city and state has a need for experienced criminal justice professionals in a variety of roles.
With an associate degree in criminal justice, you may be eligible for a variety of jobs, including security guards and first-line supervisors of protective service workers. These jobs are found in a variety of industries, including travel, gambling, and investigation and security services.
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards earned an average salary of $34,360 per year ($16.52 per hour).*
With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can be eligible for jobs such as first-line supervisor of correctional officer, first-line supervisor, police officer, or detective. The BLS reports the median annual wage for police and detectives was $67,290 per year in May 2020.
To determine the best degree option, you must consider your ultimate career goals. A homeland security degree is very focused and may be a good fit if you know you would like to work in that specific field. It offers students a background in national security, including terrorism, counterterrorism, and intelligence.
A degree in criminal justice may be a good fit if you enjoy criminal justice but would like to have more career options. A criminal justice degree provides students knowledge of law enforcement, criminology, law, and community relations. Because it has a wider focus, it can be applied to many different jobs in different sectors.
Criminology is the study of crime, including its causes, consequences and costs. Criminology students study the behavior patterns, backgrounds, and sociological trends of criminals.
Criminal justice is a social science that seeks to identify and explain criminal behavior, as well as how society deals with crime. Criminal justice majors focus more on the legal and correctional systems, the deterrence of crimes, and ethics codes of behavior. Students in a criminal justice program often study a variety of topics including legal studies, psychology, public administration, and sociology.
Though they are different, both criminologists and criminal justice professionals work in the criminal justice sector to lessen crime and improve society.
Course subjects and topics in our bachelor’s degree program include:
- Criminal Investigation, which provides an overview of the investigative process and current issues.
- Criminal Law, which covers key components of criminal law and its enforcement. It also includes an overview of the criminal law process, defenses, and jurisdiction of the courts.
- Ethics in Law Enforcement, which reviews public administration and ethical issues involved with public service.
- Evidence Forensics, which covers the law model and types and current rules of evidence acquisition.
- Introduction to Homeland Security, which details the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and its strategies and initiatives, as well as legal issues related to homeland security.
- Risk Assessment, which helps students learn how to assess and identify threats, analyze targets, and implement approaches to risk assessment.
You are typically not required to earn a degree to enroll in police academy and work as a police officer. A high school diploma is often the minimal required formal education, with a required background check. Some agencies may require a bachelor’s degree or a certain number of credit hours, especially at the federal level.
According to a 2017 study from the National Police Foundation, about one third (30.2 percent) of police officers in the U.S. hold a four-year college degree. Just over half (51.8 percent) hold a two-year degree, and 5.4 percent hold a graduate degree.
While you may not need a degree for your first entry-level job as a police officer, if you plan to continue advancing your career in criminal justice, earning an associate or bachelor’s degree is a good idea.
Herzing University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice may be completed in as few as 32 months. Transfer up to 90 approved credits to get it done even faster. The associate degree path typically takes 20 months to complete.
With year-round learning and opportunity to transfer in prior college credit, Herzing University offers you the opportunity to start quickly and get your career moving.
Yes, absolutely. A degree in criminal justice can help prepare you for a variety of jobs, from law enforcement to public service. The field continues to expand, offering people more career opportunities. In addition, a criminal justice degree provides a strong base of knowledge for future learning, if you choose to pursue additional learning, such as a law degree or a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree.
If you enjoy learning about the law, possess a strong sense of responsibility, and would like to help serve your community, a criminal justice degree may be a great fit. Learn more about our criminal justice degree program today!
Criminal Justice Degree Programs
Showing 4 programs for the Online campus
This program provides students with comprehensive academic knowledge of criminology, law enforcement, corrections, and the criminal justice system as well as the skills and techniques used in these disciplines. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring a bachelor's degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.)
This program provides students with a comprehensive academic knowledge of public safety; including criminology, law enforcement, courts, fire science, corrections, and industrial security as it relates to the coordination of homeland security activities between public safety agencies at various levels of government as well as the skills and techniques used in these disciplines. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring a bachelor's degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional federal, state, local or private certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a homeland security, public safety, or law enforcement position.)
This program provides students with a comprehensive academic knowledge of public safety; including criminology, law enforcement, corrections and the criminal justice system, as well as the skills and techniques for supervision and management. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring a bachelor's degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.)
This program provides students with comprehensive academic knowledge of criminology, law enforcement, corrections, and the criminal justice system as well as the skills and techniques used in these disciplines. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring an associate degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.)
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Accreditation & Disclosures
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.
Eligible states for enrollment: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District Of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.