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Get your criminal justice online degree for a career in law enforcement

Updated on February 26, 2015
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Get your online degree

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Are you thinking of going back to school to further your education? Do you have limited time for classes, but want a degree? Have you been considering an online degree instead of attending classes? Are you wondering if an online degree is a good investment or a bad choice?

Online degree programs are becoming more appealing and the route many are choosing to further their education and increase their earnings. Individuals that are too busy or have too many commitments in their life choose an online degree, hoping they made the right choice. There are many benefits that come with an online degree. This article will explain the benefits of earning an online degree.

Unfortunately, there are so many online degree programs to choose from that make it difficult to decide on just one. There are online degree programs for medical, sociology, criminal justice, and many more. When I decided I wanted to continue my education in criminal justice, so I tried to find as much information as I could, because I was skeptical of getting an online degree without attending classes.

The only information available was advertisement from the actual schools, but no information from individual experience on the program. This made my decision very difficult to make without knowing what to expect. Without visiting each school personally, I knew this would be difficult in finding the right online degree program to attend.

Online Degree

Why you should choose a degree online

Online University

Getting a degree is a choice that improves your worth in a career and a noteworthy achievement. Four years ago, I decided to further my education with a Master’s degree in criminal justice, hoping to increase my worth to a potential employer.

I already had a bachelor’s degree in criminology from a traditional school, but wanted a Master’s in criminal justice. After careful consideration, I chose to continue my education and pursue a master’s in criminal justice. I wanted to add value to my Bachelor’s degree by learning more about law enforcement and the criminal justice system. I was ready for the criminal justice online degree!

There was only one problem holding me back from this dream- I did not have time to attend the criminal justice classes. I had a fulltime job and my personal life required a great deal of my time. I thought it would be impossible until I found the criminal justice online degree program.
They advertised that only a few hours of your time will be required in the week. Most of the online degree programs target adult education and build their programs to fit the needs of the working class. I thought this was great. I have a few hours to spare! So I decided to pursue a criminal justice online degree.

Why accreditation is important

During my search of criminal justice online degree programs, I realized that not all criminal justice online degree programs are equal! There are many schools that are not accredited. Why is accredited the most important part? There are several reasons why you need to look only at accredited schools:

  • Accredited online programs could transfer credits to a university or college, if you choose in the future to take the traditional route
  • Student loans and grants will cover the tuition of an accredited school if needed.
  • Accredited schools meet the valid requirements needed to receive the online degree. That means the online degree that you receive is equal to a traditional college or university. A full list of accredited online degree programs and schools can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website at: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.


Online programs

Choosing an online degree program

Once I found the list of accredited criminal justice online degree programs, I wanted to make sure that the program fit my lifestyle and gave me the best options for future career advancement. After careful consideration, I chose the University of Phoenix’s online degree in criminal justice. I chose this school because of the name recognition. I wanted a school that was well-known. There are many criminal justice online degree programs to choose from, like Kaplan, Capella, and Devry, but I still chose the University of Phoenix. This one was a better choice for me.

Once I decided, I filled out the application and started the process of getting my criminal justice online degree. I spoke with the academic advisor for University of Phoenix that kept in contact with me throughout the entire criminal justice online degree program. They answered all my questions and were very helpful with everything.

All the questions involving student loans, the application process, the criminal justice online degree program requirements, and the criminal justice classes were answered by the individuals that worked for the University of Phoenix. Once I got the approved for the criminal justice online degree program, I was ready to begin.

Would you choose an online degree?

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Criminal justice online degree

The first day for my criminal justice classes was new for me. I was use to the traditional class setting of a large university. When I attended my first day of classes for my criminal justice program, I would go to class, listen to the professor introduce themselves, receive the summary of what the class expectations were, and receive the syllabus for the course. I would receive the reading and class assignments that were expected from me for that week.

To my surprise, the criminal justice online degree program was very similar to the traditional school, only it was online. I logged in, read the introduction of the professor, read the summary of the course expectations, and received the syllabus. I did have to wrote a biography of myself and post it in the class forum, as did everyone else in the class. This was a way to get to know everyone a little better. This made the criminal justice learning process easier.

All of the criminal justice online classes involved class participation, writing research papers almost weekly, and group assignments. There were discussion questions that required a researched answer, reading assignments for the week, and class participation with valid responses. When I started the criminal justice online program, I was under the impression that only a few hours a week would be needed for the class. Unfortunately, most of my free time was spent reading, responding to questions, and writing research papers for my criminal justice classes.

Choose an online degree

Online University

There are many reasons for choosing an online degree. Here are a few that made my decision an easier choice:

  • Advancing your education and advancing your degree
  • Networking with individuals that are in the same chosen field as you
  • Learning from individuals that are in the same chosen field as you
  • Getting to know and learn from classmates from every state, different backgrounds, different jobs, and different experiences in life.
  • Expanding your network of friends and potential coworkers. Many could help you find a job or give you great advice.
  • Fulfilling your dreams by getting a degree

One of the best decisions I made in my life was getting an online degree in justice. The experience introduced me to the world of online education, where everyone can communicate through internet connectivity. I was able to communicate and work with wonderful individuals across the country, as if we were sitting in the same room. It took me a few weeks to become familiar with the online degree program, but once I became familiar, I was able to be a great asset to the criminal justice program.

What an online degree in criminal justice taught me was the ability to work online with a group of people. With every group project, I was required to keep in touch with everyone as if they were a few minutes away. This was made easier with emails, online chats in the group forums, and phone conferences with each other. This was difficult at first to get used to, but it did get easier after the first class.

Is an online degree worth your time?

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An online degree is worth it

This is a question that you have to answer yourself. Is an online degree worth the time, effort, money, and work required to succeed? My opinion is- Yes. An online degree is worth the effort. The online degree program for criminal justice fit my needs and gave me the degree I always wanted. Getting an online degree was the right choice for me, but you need to decide if an online degree is worth it for you.

I graduated with a criminal justice online degree last year and I am very happy. I learned a lot of valuable information and had a great experience while receiving my Master’s in criminal justice. There was a lot of work required, but once I set aside a few hours daily, I was able to devote enough time for the work and I did receive good grades in each criminal justice class.

I was able to learn from unbelievable classmates and professors that taught me a great deal about the criminal justice system. Everyone was very knowledgeable and respectful of each other. The discussions every week involved personal experiences and professional opinions on criminal justice. This was useful for me and it gave me everything that I wanted to learn about criminal justice and more.

I also keep in touch with many of my classmates and professors from the criminal justice online degree program even after two years. They are a good source of information and have expanded my contacts in the criminal justice area. I know that they would help me in this field if I wanted to relocate or find another job in the future.

Online degree programs still have skeptics wondering whether or not an individual will receive the same experience as a traditional school- the availability of professors for questions, the peer interactions, the assistance with everything and anything needed for success in the classes. Attending both a traditional and an online school, I can say the experience was pretty similar to each other.

The only difference was the commute to class. With an online degree criminal justice program, the only commute I had to do was the one from my bedroom to my living room.
The workload was heavy, but there I only had to reach for my computer to attend my criminal justice class. I did not have to worry about being late.

Even though I did not meet anyone in person, I do feel like I am part of a community that will help me if I ever needed them. My experience with the criminal justice program was great and I learned a great deal from my classmates in each class. I am glad that I chose the University of Phoenix criminal justice online degree program because now I can say just like the commercial......I am a phoenix!


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    • bestonlineschools profile image

      Best Online Schools 3 years ago from UK

      I like your experience about your expectation of reduced schooling hours but to end up finding that you have to work more hours- probably even more than that of a fellow student who takes his course on-campus.

      But what I like about it is that the time spent is worth it in the long run, as one end up mastering a lot of additional skills like good communication skills, time management and so forth in online schooling as compared to traditional schooling.

    • Is2222 profile image

      Paul Barlow 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I work at a small private career college that offers Criminal Justice. We have a virtual shooting range and crime scene investigation rooms. You can't really get that online, but there are definitely advantages to online learning. Great article as are all of your articles.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      It's helpful to learn of your positive experience with online learning. As you noted, there are lots of opportunities for this type of higher education and not having to make a commute may be the deciding factor for some people.

      Voted up and SHARED.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can see how obtaining an online degree would be a great way for some people. I think however that it would take a lot of self discipline. For myself I would prefer the classroom structure. Interesting hub and I'm sure many people will benefit from reading it, when trying to decide which route to go.

      Welcome to HubPages.

    • happyturtle profile image

      happyturtle 5 years ago from UK

      Ironically I believe it all depends where in the world you are based. As EvansP said, within the UK, Open University has gain huge respect and transaction.

    • profile image

      EvansP 5 years ago

      Interesting hub. I guess there will always be skeptics, but the longer the institutions are around the more credibility they get. I studied for my physics degree in the UK through the Open University (distance learning, as opposed to online learning), and after many years this institution is highly regarded amongst employers. I guess online/distance learning shows a great deal of dedication and ambition, as the discipline required to organise your own time is tremendous.