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Complete Look at Criminal Justice Undergraduate Degrees

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 3/31/2011

Are you looking for information about criminal justice undergraduate degrees? Read on to learn more about this degree, schools that offer it, and career outlook.

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    Criminal justice takes a large variety of different disciplines and topics that are related to the courts and law enforcement and applies them to America's criminal justice system. Students will take a variety of classes to learn the skills, laws and techniques necessary to be successful in this field. Before starting any criminal justice undergraduate degree, students should take the time the learn about the degree and the career.

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    Colleges and Universities

    Utah State University offers an Associate's degree in criminal justice. Students must complete an application and meet all requirements that apply to them. Credits are $227 each. This university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Medaille College offers a degree in this field. Students will focus on principles and theories of criminology, criminal justice system details, elements of crimes and roles of legal system employees. Students must complete an application and send in any transcripts. A campus visit is also highly encouraged. Students will pay $680 per credit hour. This college is accredited by the Commission on Higher Learning of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Boston University Metropolitan College offers a degree in this field. Each student will have to complete an application and send in transcripts. This college highly encourages aspiring students to contact them to get further admissions details because requirements can very from student to student. Part-time students will pay $362 per credit and a registration fee of $40. Full-time students will pay $19,657 per semester with a registration fee of $40, a $275 undergraduate student fee and an undergraduate application fee of $75. This university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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    Common Classes

    Criminal justice undergraduate degrees require students to take several different classes. Those pursuing an Associate's degree often take the following classes: criminal law, laws of evidence, introduction to criminal justice, criminal investigation and a variety of criminal justice electives.

    Those pursuing a Bachelor's degree will take the Associate's degree courses, as well as the following: principles in criminal justice, directed study, drugs and society, police and society, special topics in criminal justice, law and justice in the city, corrections: concepts/issues/systems and courts/criminal procedure/society.

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    Is a Bachelor's Degree Right for You?

    This is a question all aspiring criminal justice students will have to ask themselves based on their specific career goals.

    When deciding whether a degree is the best choice, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Does the district you plan to work in require a degree?
    • Will a degree be necessary for career growth and advancement?
    • If your district does not require a degree, will you plan on working in one in the future that does?
    • How much will having the degree impact your earning potential?
    • Are there any laws or regulations concerning further education?
    • Will you be limited in what you can do on the job, such as carry a gun, if you do not have a degree?
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    Career Outlook

    The following salaries are for those on the Bachelor's degree level. Sheriff or police patrol officers earn an average of $45,500, security managers $50,000, loss prevention manager $42,786, administrative assistant $30,222, probation or correctional officer $37,182, paralegal or legal assistant $33,971 and security director $82,503.

    Careers can be found on the local, state, private and federal levels. Popular criminal justice careers include police officer, security officer, border patrol agent, correction officer, parole agent, criminal justice researcher and court officer.

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    Resources

    Utah State University. (2011). Criminal Justice, AS. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from Utah State University: http://distance.usu.edu/htm/degrees/undergraduate&_d=97

    Medaille College. (2011). Criminal Justice. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from Medaille College: http://www.medaille.edu/academics/undergraduate/criminaljustice/

    Boston University Metropolitan College. (2011). Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from Boston University Metropolitan College: http://www.bu.edu/met/programs/undergraduate/criminal-justice/

    Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011). Police and Detectives. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos160.htm

    Herzing University. (2011). Criminal Justice Salaries and Career Outlook. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from Herzing University: http://www.herzing.edu/academics/criminal-justice/salary