Why a Criminal Justice Degree is Right For You

Posted: October 03, 2023 | Author: SUU Marketing Communication | Read Time: 4 minutes

So, you are thinking about earning a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and may be wondering whether it is right for you. Naturally, only you will be able to answer that question.

SWAT members talk in a group in front of an SUU airplane.

But let us give you a little to think about regarding a Criminal Justice degree, so you can decide if it is worth it.

As you read along, keep in mind what it is about this field that piques your interest. What is your vision for the future of your Criminal Justice career? What is the difference you want to make?

Foundation for Criminal Justice Careers

First and foremost, a Criminal Justice degree can provide you with the education and skills you need to start or advance your career in the Criminal Justice field. This includes positions in law enforcement, probation, parole, court administration, and more.

"The Criminal Justice degree program at Southern Utah University lays an obvious foundation for public service in law enforcement and law-related careers,” explained Political Science and Criminal Justice Department Chair Kevan Jacobson, “There are also private-sector opportunities, such as private investigation and security."

A Criminal Justice degree can lead to careers where you can work with law-abiding citizens to build your community or help convicted criminals rejoin society; advocate for victims or even oversee offenders on parole or probation.

"Increasingly, law enforcement agencies are requiring a college degree for leadership positions," Jacobson noted, pointing out the increasing need for higher education in the profession.

Knowledge of the Criminal Justice System

Earning a Criminal Justice degree can also provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding of the Criminal Justice system. Course topics include law and legal processes, criminal behavior, and forensic science. This knowledge can be useful not only in your career, but also in your personal life as a well-informed citizen who understands the what and how of these issues.

Make a Difference for a Good Cause

People who are interested in Criminal Justice often have a strong sense of society and have an inner drive to be part of the solution.

"Your SUU experience in the Criminal Justice program will equip you to serve great and good causes far larger than yourself. That is one of the most rewarding aspects of this work," Jacobson said.

As you are thinking about majoring in Criminal Justice, what attracts you to it? What impact would you like to make on the world?

Increase Your Earning Potential

In addition to providing career opportunities, a Criminal Justice degree can also open doors to higher paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most recent (2021) median annual wage for police and detectives was $66,020, while the median annual wage for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $60,250.

For those who wish to continue their education, Jacobson said that a Criminal Justice degree can provide you with a solid foundation for graduate programs in a broad array of fields, including law school. With more education, salaries generally increase as well.

By earning a Criminal Justice degree, you can increase your earning potential in these and other related careers.

Networking Opportunities

Finally, a Criminal Justice degree can provide you with the opportunity to network with other professionals in the field. Like on-campus programs, many online programs offer opportunities for students to connect with and learn from experienced professionals through virtual networking events, mentorship programs, and other interactive experiences.

A Criminal Justice degree is worth it for anyone interested in starting or advancing a career in the field. It provides the education and skills needed for a variety of criminal justice careers, can increase earning potential, offers flexibility, provides a strong foundation of knowledge, and allows for networking with other professionals in the field.

SUU’s Criminal Justice Program: On-campus or Online Program

At SUU, the Bachelor of Criminal Justice program is available in two learning modes: the traditional on-campus program and the flexible online program. With the demands of life and the wonders of technology, a growing number of students prefer - and even require - the flexibility that online degree programs can offer. With an online program, you can complete your coursework at your own pace and on your own schedule, making it a great option for busy individuals who may not have the time to commit to a traditional, in-person program.

An additional benefit of SUU’s online programs is that there is flat-rate tuition regardless of your state of residence. That means that in-state and out-of-state tuition is the same. Plus scholarships make SUU’s already low tuition even more affordable. 

Jacobson concluded, “Our program is accessible, flexible, and affordable. It can be ideal for working professionals, including current law enforcement officers who are seeking to complete their degree to qualify for promotion and leadership/management roles in their departments.”

So, where do you stand? Is a Criminal Justice degree right for you?

Tags: Criminal Justice College of Humanities and Social Sciences Online

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