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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.) Degree

Majors Overview March 2, 2015

Get information about a Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.) degree program and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice complete coursework that delves into criminal justice theory, correction procedures, court processes, and law enforcement techniques. The curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, covers behavioral theory and social issues, political and legal issues, human diversity and multicultural understanding, statistics and research methods, criminology, and criminal law.

Schools may also offer specialized criminal justice degrees, such as Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.) degrees with a concentration in homeland security/emergency preparedness or Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J) in Justice Administration. It takes about four years to complete most programs, although some schools may also offer accelerated degree completion programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Some schools only allow entry to working professionals with work experience in law enforcement or a related field or to individuals with an associate’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Coursework

Coursework augments general education courses, such as English or math, with required courses, including criminal psychology, public safety, correction procedures, and law. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Constitutional law
•Public administration
•Sociology and corrections
•Social policies
•Criminology
•Criminal law
•Child and young adult psychology

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program can seek employment in probation, corrections, security, or a related field, although licensing or additional training may be necessary. Individuals may seek jobs with private security companies, local law enforcement agencies, correctional and judicial systems, or government agencies. They may pursue job titles such as the following:

•Court administrator
•Corrections case manager
•Domestic violence shelter counselor
•Corrections officer
•Probation officer
•County sheriff’s deputy
•Criminal investigator

Job and Wage Outlook

While police and detectives are expected to see a job growth rate of 5% over the 2012 – 2022 decade, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are likely to experience a 1% decrease in growth over the same period (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, police and sheriff’s patrol officers brought home an average annual wage of $57,770, while probation officers and correctional treatment specialists banked $52,380 on average (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Some professions in criminal justice may require licensing, certification, or further training. Law enforcement personnel, probationary officers, and corrections officers are usually required to complete a training program through the company department or agency that employs them (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A gun-carrying individual may need to obtain a gun license or permit and may also be required to complete additional training.

Career advancement in law enforcement fields can be ensured through completion of master’s degree programs in criminal justice or a related field (BLS). Those that seek higher-level managerial or administrative positions in corrections, social services, and law enforcement, in addition to related fields, may earn a Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) or Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice. Degree requirements may include a capstone experience, a master’s thesis, or a comprehensive exam.

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1 Program(s) Found
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South University , Virginia Beach
  • Available programs include B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Legal Studies, and A.S. in Paralegal Studies.
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  • Offers associate and bachelor-level programs in Criminal Justice.
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ECPI University , Newport News
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  • Develop and apply basic statistical skills and quantitative reasoning for critical evaluation of quantitative information.
  • Understand the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective criminal justice system.
  • Examine ethical standards and issues in criminal justice processes and in professional decision making including the ever-present tension between crime control and appropriate civil liberties.
  • Survey a range of theoretical approached that explain crime and apply theoretical reasoning and concepts to observations of crime and control.
  • Analyze, from a restorative justice perspective, the needs of victims and offenders and the involved community as an alternative to satisfying abstract legal principals or punishing the offender.
  • Appreciate the investigative profession as a scientific field; sample and apply physical science methods to solve forensic problems.
  • Online Courses
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2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
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  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
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  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Accredited
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Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Offers associate and bachelor-level programs in Criminal Justice.
  • Program topics include criminal investigation processes and ethics, criminal law, juvenile justice and more.
  • A B.A.S. in Criminal Justice program is also available for students who already possess an A.A.S.
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Develop and apply basic statistical skills and quantitative reasoning for critical evaluation of quantitative information.
  • Understand the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective criminal justice system.
  • Examine ethical standards and issues in criminal justice processes and in professional decision making including the ever-present tension between crime control and appropriate civil liberties.
  • Survey a range of theoretical approached that explain crime and apply theoretical reasoning and concepts to observations of crime and control.
  • Analyze, from a restorative justice perspective, the needs of victims and offenders and the involved community as an alternative to satisfying abstract legal principals or punishing the offender.
  • Appreciate the investigative profession as a scientific field; sample and apply physical science methods to solve forensic problems.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

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