2020 Best Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Ranking Badge

The 25 schools on this list offer the top online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, based on median salary one year out of college. The school with the highest median salary for this degree is Union Institute & University, at $109,800. Criminal justice majors at Excelsior College had the lowest median debt of students at the top-ranked schools. The range of median salaries for the top 25 schools is $38,600-$109,800.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Union Institute & University $13,256 $17,850 $109,800
#2 #2 Central Christian College of Kansas $20,350 $17,886 $51,800
#3 #3 Bethel University - TN $16,552 $28,875 $50,400
#4 #4 Excelsior College Not Provided $12,500 $49,400
#5 #5 Columbia Southern University $6,600 $22,909 $48,800
#6 #6 $24,000 $23,987 $47,900
#7 #7 $6,880 $25,173 $47,800
#8 #8 $26,919 $25,000 $45,800
#9 #9 $13,320 $27,544 $43,800
#10 #10 $6,540 $31,720 $43,400
#11 #11 $12,336 $21,470 $43,300
#12 #12 $22,275 $23,686 $42,800
#13 #13 $9,600 $19,608 $42,700
#14 #14 $16,296 $16,823 $42,600
#15 #15 $14,980 $19,545 $41,500
#16 #16 $14,579 $34,769 $41,400
#17 #17 $15,194 $23,770 $40,800
#18 #18 $8,696 $21,375 $39,500
#19 #19 $18,333 $28,587 $39,400
#20 #20 $9,000 $24,131 $39,200
#21 #21 $32,827 $22,939 $39,000
#22 #22 $38,210 $17,500 $38,900
#23 #23 $19,604 $26,187 $38,900
#24 #24 $36,900 $27,000 $38,700
#25 #25 $34,170 - $61,200 $37,188 $38,600

2020 Best Online Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top five colleges for an online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Median Debt
$17,850
Median Salary
$109,800

Union Institute & University's flexible online BS in Criminal Justice Management prepares incoming students for a rewarding path in law enforcement and helps working professionals reach further career advancement. The program is taught by instructors who have real-world experience working in the law enforcement industry as line employees, support personnel, supervisors, managers, and executives. Students who complete the program go on to pursue a wide variety of positions, becoming police officers, probation officers, sergeants, county custodial deputies, sheriffs, and captains.

Some of the skills that students will gain include the ability to interpret and define how current issues in the industry are impacting organizations, communities, and other stakeholders, and also how to analyze criminal justice policy from a management point of view. Students will also be given opportunities to grow their supervision, leadership, and administration skills.

Major and core courses include Forensic Science Management, Supervision in the Criminal Justice Field, and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Management. Elective courses span a wide selection of focuses, with courses such as Drugs in Society, Capital Punishment, Managing Regional Gang Task Forces, Critical Incident Management, and Criminological Theories. Union's BS in Criminal Justice Management wraps up with a graduation capstone portfolio.

Visit Union Institute & University's website.

Median Debt
$17,886
Median Salary
$51,800

The online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Central Christian College of Kansas features six-week courses that are taught by professors with real-world experience in the law enforcement industry. This program opens up a wide variety of career opportunities for students, including positions such as crime scene investigators, probation officers, secret service agents, fish and game wardens, police officers, and private investigators. The program is valuable not only to students seeking a career in criminal justice but also to those who are already in the industry and hoping to maintain current certifications and gain further knowledge.

To apply for this program, students must submit a completed application form along with a high school diploma or GED and any higher education transcripts. Central Christian College of Kansas offers 100% online flexibility, financial aid options, and multiple start dates throughout the year. Students are also able to receive credit if they have previously taken community college courses or had military or police academy training. Once students are enrolled, required courses include Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Police Administration, Comparative Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Crisis Management. 

Visit Central Christian College of Kansas's website.

Median Debt
$28,875
Median Salary
$50,400

The online Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice program at Bethel University is specifically designed for working professionals in law enforcement. The program aims to expose its students to laws, technologies, and practices that are required of leaders in the criminal justice field. Program requirements include satisfying 33 hours of general education core, 45 hours of criminal justice major courses, and 50 hours of elective courses. The online format of this program makes it easy for professionals to continue learning while working and gaining real-world experience.

All students are enrolled in an Introduction to Adult Online Learning course to kick off the program. General education core courses include requirements in the following subjects: Freshman Composition, Humanities, Religion or Philosophy, Social Science, Mathematics or Science, and Computer Information Systems. Criminal justice major courses include focuses in Management, Statistics, Criminal Procedure, Crime Theory, Crisis Management, Ethical Issues, and Forensic Science.

Visit Bethel University's website.

Median Debt
$12,500
Median Salary
$49,400

Excelsior College offers a fully online Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice that prepares students to take on the responsibilities of jobs related to law enforcement. The program aims to teach students about how psychological, sociological, and criminological theories influence law enforcement policies and procedures through its coursework. 120 credits are required to complete the BS in Criminal Justice program, 30 of which must come from upper-level courses.

Core criminal justice courses explore topics such as individual rights versus public order, definitions and measurement of crime, plea bargaining, prisons and jails, parole, and community corrections. Criminal justice electives include course credits in a number of subjects including Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice, Gangs in America, Deviant Behavior, and Drugs and Crime. This program also provides students with the opportunity to design a criminal justice research project and practice different research methods while participating in weekly discussions and producing a final research paper. 

Visit Excelsior College's website.

Median Debt
$22,909
Median Salary
$48,800

Columbia Southern University offers an online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration that provides students with the tools to grow and succeed in the field of law enforcement. This online degree program is valuable for both entry-level students and professionals who are interested in furthering their knowledge of law enforcement, court, and corrections operations. After completing the program students will be able to discuss and analyze the influences of laws on the criminal justice system and understand the relationships between corrections, courts, and law enforcement.

Major courses span a variety of different topics and include courses such as Judicial Process, Criminal Law, Police and Community Relations, and Victimology. The program requires 42 semester hours of elective classes, and recommended electives include Organizational Communication, Probation and Parole, Abnormal Psychology, and Typology of Terrorism. The diverse course options allow students to explore the different concentrations of law enforcement and prepare for further higher education or direct entry into the industry.

Columbia Southern University accepts transfer credits and offers students a number of financial support options including military and veteran benefits, pay-as-you-learn payment plans, Learning Partner discounts, and textbooks at no additional cost. The BS in criminal justice administration program requires 120 credits and accepts up to 90 transfer credits.

Visit Columbia Southern University's website.

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