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Criminal justice and criminology professionals who want to advance in their career find an accelerated online program right up their alley. Accelerated programs have the same material and requirements as their non-accelerated counterparts. The only difference is that accelerated programs take less time to complete. With an accelerated degree, you can start focusing solely on your career faster than if you choose the non-accelerated option. You can earn an accelerated criminal justice degree online or on campus. As a matter of fact, a lot of these programs are available online.

Online education will give you lots of flexibility. While you’re looking, keep in mind that good degrees for law enforcement include criminal justice, cybersecurity, finance, and public safety. Some of the best colleges for criminal justice and law enforcement have several specific options. Some programs let you count work experience toward your degree. If you already have a criminal justice job, look for schools that will count your experience as credit hours. This way, you can take fewer classes and get your degree sooner.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Working adults who want to enhance their career want to do it quickly, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing quality for speed. Bachelor’s Degree Center editors know that, and that’s why the BDC ranking of the fastest online criminal justice programs just starts with speed. Programs are also ranked according to five key factors: Cost, Employment, Graduation Rate, Reputation, and Salary Potential. Only trusted, accredited programs qualify.

1. University of Oklahoma

When you’re planning to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online, you may want to consider the program at the University of Oklahoma. The accelerated criminal justice degree online from the university allows students to finish their degree in 18 months or at a pace that fits their goals. The program offers eight-week courses that give students the opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree at a fast pace. Students can also transfer credits to speed up the process.

A key way the University of Oklahoma stands apart from other programs is the focus on law enforcement and related skills. The program teaches students the basics of forensic science as it applies to investigations, as well as the way the justice system works and different types of crimes. By providing students with a strong foundation, it prepares students for the challenges of working in law enforcement careers.

What We Like: The University of Oklahoma is one of the top ten online programs for criminal justice according to U.S. News and World Reports.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

2. Ball State University

When you are looking for an accelerated online criminal justice degree that fits your personal schedule, the BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology at Ball State University may help with your goals. The accelerated program allows you to transfer the majority of your credits and still complete the online degree program. You only need to finish the last 30 credits at the university to obtain your bachelor’s degree. As an accelerated program, it also offers fast-paced classes.

Ball State University is recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the best schools for its online criminal justice degree program. The program provides students with the strong foundation they need to take on a career in law enforcement or a related career path. It also ensures that students are prepared for the rigors of their careers and have the ability to keep up in a fast-paced work environment.

What We Like: Ball State University offers credit for military service and allows students to get credit for classes by taking appropriate exams.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology

3. Norwich University

Norwich University offers an accelerated criminal justice degree online that allows students to focus on their career objectives. The online degree program provides a robust curriculum that teaches leadership skills, ethics, and data analysis as it applies to the criminal justice field. It also prepares students to understand different aspects of the law to handle the challenges of working in law enforcement or a similar role.

Norwich University allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the online degree program. That allows students to finish up their degrees at a fast pace and continue into a long-term career. Students can finish the degree program in 18 months or as it fits their schedule. The flexible program ensures that students are able to focus on their goals.

What We Like: Norwich University offers multiple start dates for the online criminal justice degree program to fit the needs of working adults.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

4. DeSales University

DeSales University offers an accelerated online criminal justice degree program that fits the needs of working adults. The program offers different tracks to help students focus on a specific career objective. That allows students to gain the specialized skills that fit their industries and the situation at their jobs. It also gives students a chance to adjust to a new job.

A key way DeSales University differs from other programs is the flexibility of the online degree program. Students can work around their schedules while completing a degree. It also offers accelerated courses on-campus through a night and weekend program. The options allow students to find a strategy that works for their long-term goals and situation.

What We Like: DeSales University offers personal advising to students in the online criminal justice program to help students narrow down their options and select the right courses for their goals.

Degree: BA in Criminal Justice

5. King University (TN)

King University offers an online  BS in Criminal Justice degree program with an accelerated format that helps students reach their goals. The online degree program allows students to finish the degree within 16 months due to the short five-week courses. When students are taking full-time courses, they are able to finish their degrees at a fast pace and move forward with long-term plans for a career.

The way King University stands apart from other programs is the focus on comprehensive understanding of the American justice system. The program gives students a strong foundation in criminal procedures and criminal law to prepare students for the challenges of working in law enforcement, parole officers, or other civil servant roles.

What We Like: King University in Tennessee is a Yellow Ribbon School and is a military-friendly school that works with the GI Bill to help veterans, active-duty members of the military, and their family members.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

6. Troy University

The accelerated online criminal justice program at Troy University is a good option for students who want to complete their degree at a fast pace. The online program allows students to transfer up to 75 percent of their credits. That allows students to finish their degrees at a fast pace and move forward into a new career.

Troy University differs from other programs by focusing on flexibility and access to educational opportunities. The online degree program allows students to work at their own pace. It gives students the ability to work from any location and ensures that students are able to access course materials when they are ready for the classes. It also focuses on providing a strong foundation in criminal procedures to give students the skills they need to work in law enforcement.

What We Like: Students in the criminal justice degree program at Troy University can complete a certification in cybersecurity to enhance their skills and options for a career.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

7. University of West Georgia

When you’re looking for an accelerated online program in criminal justice, you want to consider the BS in Criminal Justice from the University of West Georgia. The online degree program allows students to transfer up to 90 credits, which reduces the time you spend working on your classes. It allows students to work at their own pace and is designed around the needs of working adults.

The University of West Georgia offers a flexible solution for students who want to study criminal justice. The degree program allows students to work online or on-campus. That means students can work at their own pace and complete their degree when it fits their situation. When students do not transfer credits, it is possible to finish the degree within three years when taking a full-time schedule. Transferring credits may cut back on the time required to finish the degree.

What We Like: The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges for its online degree programs.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice. The online degree program allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the program to cut back on the amount of time required to finish a degree. The school also offers a simple application process that allows students to complete the application online and then the school obtains records of a student’s transcripts from other institutions in the United States for transfer credits.

Southern New Hampshire University stands apart by focusing on a user-friendly experience for students. It makes the application process and transfer process simple by focusing on a single application. It does not require the complexity of providing a variety of documents to the school. That allows students to easily start working on their degrees.

What We Like: Students with experience in law enforcement may qualify for credits based on their experience and work.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

9. Monroe College

The online criminal justice degree program from Monroe College offers accelerated options to move forward with a career. The degree program ensures that students are able to focus on their long-term goals and move into an exciting career in the criminal justice system. It gives students a strong foundation to help build on their career and develop the skills they need for their goals.

Monroe College allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the online degree program. That allows students to finish their degree in a short amount of time and start working in their careers. The ability to transfer credits into the program ensures that students do not waste time when they have already finished some education in other programs.

What We Like: Monroe College offers a Police Academy Scholars program, or PASS program, that prepares students studying in criminal justice for the challenges of the police academy.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

10. Louisiana State University – Alexandria

Louisiana State University – Alexandria offers an accelerated criminal justice degree online that allows students to transfer credits into the program with ease. The program allows students to transfer a variety of credits, so the exact amount of time required to complete the program may vary. Students can transfer the majority of their credits into the program and still finish a degree at the university.

LSU Alexandria stands out from other programs by offering multiple start-dates for the online degree program in criminal justice. Students can start working on their degree at multiple times throughout the year, which gives students greater flexibility to work around a job or personal obligations. The start dates for the degree program occur at different points throughout the year, so students can select a date that works around their needs.

What We Like: Students can get up to 15 credits for the degree when they have completed the 320-hour basic training course through the Police Academy.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

How Can I Get My Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Fast?

A lot of people want to earn their degrees quickly. Thankfully, you have several options to get your degree fast. First, you can get an accelerated degree. There are pros and cons to these programs. On the one hand, you will have to do twice the amount of work in a short period of time. Some students experience a lot of stress in accelerated degree programs. However, you’ll also graduate sooner than your peers in non-accelerated programs.

If an accelerated program seems like too much pressure, you do have other options to speed up your degree process. A few schools also let you “test out” of the subjects that you already understand. Many BA degrees require a language class, for example, but if you can demonstrate proficiency in a second language, you may be able to forgo that class. When you research your school options, ask about ways to speed up your degree. Many school advisors would be happy to work with you.

Do I Need a Four Year Degree to Work in Criminal Justice?

You don’t need a 4 year degree to work in criminal justice. As a matter of fact, the criminal justice field is full of people with all educational levels. You’ll work with people who have everything from certificates to Masters degrees. You’ll definitely find criminal justice Bachelor degree jobs when you start searching, but you’ll also find criminal justice Associate degree jobs. 2 year criminal justice degree jobs include corrections officer, security guard, criminal investigator, and more. You won’t find a shortage when you’re ready to start your career.

That said, some people do choose to pursue a Bachelor degree instead. 2 year criminal justice degree jobs can be very fulfilling. However, some people don’t want to be limited to criminal justice Associate degree jobs. With a 4 year degree, you have all of the job possibilities listed above, but you’ll also have the possibility of criminal justice Bachelor degree jobs. Those jobs include private detective, crime scene investigator, forensics investigator, and several others. A Bachelor degree can also help you get promotions and earn a higher salary.

Should I Get a Criminal Justice Degree to Work in Law Enforcement?

While you don’t technically need a degree for a criminal justice career, a degree certainly wouldn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, a degree can help you earn more money. Thankfully, the best collegest for criminal justice and law enforcement tend to be reasonably priced, career-focused schools. Many of these colleges have great online programs, so take some time to look for the best online colleges for law enforcement.

Should I Choose a BA or BS in Criminal Justice?

Should you get a BA or BS degree? Is criminal justice a BA or BS degree? A lot of students ask that question. As a matter of fact, it’s both. You can get either a BA or a BS in criminal justice. How do you choose? It depends on you and your goals. BS degrees tend to be more specialized than their BA counterparts. They often require fewer core classes than BA degrees do. For example, while many BA programs have a language requirement, most BS programs do not.

A BS program is a great choice if you want a specific law enforcement career. BA programs, on the other hand, tend to be more broad. They appeal to students who want to get a well-rounded education. A BA will work well for you if you want a broader career, if your career involves a lot of research, or if you want a job that involves working with people. If you’re unsure about your options, a counselor or advisor can make the right choice. In any case, having a degree will help your career to move in the right direction.

Related Rankings:

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