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When it comes to find­ing the cheap­est crim­i­nal jus­tice degree, you have lots of choic­es. If you’re a work­ing adult in crim­i­nol­o­gy going back to school, return on invest­ment should be your top pri­or­i­ty. Afford­able tuition rates help keep your ini­tial invest­ment low – espe­cial­ly since most peo­ple are pay­ing them­selves. Online edu­ca­tion opens up a lot of options, giv­ing you some extra wig­gle room. With a lit­tle bit of research, you’ll find plen­ty of ways to save mon­ey on your degree and stretch your dol­lars as far as they can go. First, look for region­al col­leges. In-state col­lege tuition will vir­tu­al­ly always be cheap­er than out-of-state tuition. Even for online degrees, in-state stu­dents save more than out-of-state students.

Anoth­er option is to look for pro­grams that will give you cred­it for expe­ri­ence. Most peo­ple look­ing for an online bachelor’s or degree com­ple­tion pro­gram are already work­ing in the field. If you already have some expe­ri­ence work­ing in crim­i­nal jus­tice, then some col­lege pro­grams may give you class cred­it for that expe­ri­ence. This will low­er your over­all class load, giv­ing you few­er class­es to pay for and a short­er path­way to graduation.

Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Criminal Justice Degree Online

To rank the most afford­able crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online, Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter edi­tors start­ed with only accred­it­ed, trust­wor­thy insti­tu­tions, because afford­abil­i­ty isn’t every­thing. How­ev­er, it is the key com­po­nent of the most afford­able rank­ing, so pro­grams in the BDC Most Afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Degree rank­ing are pre­sent­ed from high­est to low­est tuition (as report­ed to IPEDS).

1. Fayetteville State University

Fayet­teville State Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice is cer­ti­fied by the Acad­e­my of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Sci­ences (ACJS). It was the first Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­gram in North Car­oli­na, but it has evolved into a robust pro­gram with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree as well as a Crim­i­nal Jus­tice minor. The uni­ver­si­ty also offers an online option for any lev­el of under­grad­u­ate pro­grams. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online, with cours­es in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and Crim­i­nol­o­gy. The CJ degree should pre­pare stu­dents for a wide range of career options, includ­ing DEA or FBI agent, Police Offi­cer, Juve­nile Deten­tion Offi­cer, Legal Researcher, Crime Ana­lyst, etc.

The pro­gram stands apart with a cer­tifi­cate in Cyber Secu­ri­ty and a focus on solv­ing mod­ern crim­i­nal jus­tice issues. The col­lege is built on diver­si­ty in state-of-the-art facil­i­ties. The goal is to pro­mote social, cul­tur­al, edu­ca­tion­al, and eco­nom­ic trans­for­ma­tion. The mot­to aligns with the focus of the uni­ver­si­ty: “Res Non Ver­ba” trans­lat­ed “Deeds not Words.”

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

2. Bellevue University

Belle­vue Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice (Tra­di­tion­al or Cohort) intro­duces stu­dents to the val­ues for which the degree will rep­re­sent, with jus­tice and integri­ty at the fore­front. The goal of the under­grad­u­ate degree pro­gram is to pre­pare stu­dents for a career in the courts, law enforce­ment, and/or cor­rec­tions. The pro­gram is designed to trans­form stu­dents through a series of hands-on and inte­grat­ed learn­ing expe­ri­ences, which simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pre­pare stu­dents for a pre-law major as well as oth­er grad­u­ate degree options. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

Belle­vue Uni­ver­si­ty is rec­og­nized as a nation­al leader skills-based train­ing with the Real Mas­tery® approach to learn­ing. The real-world knowl­edge and hands-on expe­ri­ence are par­tic­u­lar­ly crit­i­cal to career suc­cess goals for all stu­dents. Their mot­to aligns with the focus on expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing: “Real Learn­ing for Real Life.” Stu­dents learn and grow by doing.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice (Tra­di­tion­al or Cohort)

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

3. Kentucky State University

Ken­tucky State Uni­ver­si­ty’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pre­pares stu­dents for a career in cor­rec­tions, the courts, or law enforce­ment through in-depth course­work in crim­i­nal jus­tice polic­ing, court pro­ce­dures, as well as research and eth­i­cal issues. Career path out­comes are as diverse as the course­work with focal areas in intel­li­gence, secu­ri­ty, advo­ca­cy, polic­ing, and social work. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online. KSU has pre­pared stu­dents for careers in the legal sys­tem, cor­rec­tions or polic­ing since the 1970s.

As one of the top-ranked region­al col­leges in the South, Ken­tucky State Uni­ver­si­ty is a his­tor­i­cal­ly black col­lege that was found­ed in 1886. The col­lege also ranks as a “Best Val­ue School” accord­ing to US News & World Report. The col­lege focus­es on putting the stu­dents first while encour­ag­ing diver­si­ty in an intel­lec­tu­al envi­ron­ment. Their mot­to is “Onward, Upward,” which seems appro­pri­ate giv­en their ded­i­ca­tion to excel­lence and aca­d­e­m­ic achievement.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

4. Louisiana State University — Alexandria

Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice offers course­work and train­ing for careers in juve­nile jus­tice admin­is­tra­tion, cor­rec­tions, pro­ba­tion and parole, pri­vate sec­tor secu­ri­ty, and law enforce­ment. With online course­work in com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lead­er­ship, as well as options for foren­sics, admin­is­tra­tion, cor­rec­tions, and oth­er foun­da­tion­al knowl­edge, Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty, Alexan­dria, pre­pares stu­dents to solve prob­lems across a wide array of com­plex law and crim­i­nal jus­tice envi­ron­ments. The Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online.

Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty, Alexan­dria, is ranked as a nation­al­ly rec­og­nized “top per­former on social mobil­i­ty,” by US News & World Report. LSU, Alexan­dria, is a state-assist­ed uni­ver­si­ty on an urban cam­pus. The col­ors are pur­ple-and-gold, and their team is the Gen­er­als. The focus on the col­lege is mul­ti-faceted, offer­ing degrees in lib­er­al arts as well as pro­fes­sion­al dis­ci­plines to ensure the widest pos­si­ble scope for career readi­ness. The beau­ti­ful col­lege cam­pus has ancient oak trees that are from the 19th century.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

5. Northern Kentucky University

North­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice deliv­ers online course­work to help stu­dents under­stand the basics of law enforce­ment, law and order, as well as polic­ing and cor­rec­tions. The uni­ver­si­ty is ded­i­cat­ed to life-long learn­ing, cel­e­brat­ing excel­lence and embrac­ing diver­si­ty. This online Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­gram is designed to be afford­able, with 63% of the stu­dent body receiv­ing need-based finan­cial aid or schol­ar­ships. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

North­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty is top-ranked as a “nation­al uni­ver­si­ty” as well as for its busi­ness pro­grams by US News & World Report. The col­lege prides itself on offer­ing high-qual­i­ty, afford­able edu­ca­tion with a com­mu­ni­ty of diver­si­ty and glob­al aware­ness. The mot­to aligns with that intense con­cen­tra­tion of action-ori­ent­ed edu­ca­tion: “Let’s go to work.” The strik­ing school col­ors are black and gold, with Vic­tor E. Viking known as the school mascot.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

6. University of Louisiana at Monroe

Uni­ver­si­ty of Louisiana’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice is the old­est degree pro­gram of its kind in the state. A major­i­ty of stu­dents, 88%, find jobs in the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice field with­in six months of grad­u­at­ing with a degree. Pop­u­lar career options include Police Offi­cer, Pri­vate Detec­tive, Crime Scene Inves­ti­ga­tor, Foren­sic Sci­ence Tech­ni­cian, Pro­ba­tion Offi­cer, Fraud Inves­ti­ga­tor, Fish and Game War­den, etc. More than 40% of stu­dents also go on to pur­sue a mas­ter’s degree. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Louisiana at Mon­roe is top-ranked for its busi­ness pro­grams, for social mobil­i­ty, and as a nation­al uni­ver­si­ty by US News & World Report. ULM trans­forms stu­dents, prepar­ing them for the glob­al soci­ety. The mot­to is “Seek the Truth.” The col­ors are maroon and gold, with a nick­name of Warhawks. With more than 80 years of stu­dent suc­cess, some 35 degree pro­grams are designed to be accom­plished with 100% online course­work. ULM Online has also received acco­lades as one of the school’s fastest-grow­ing areas of education.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

7. Missouri Southern State University

Mis­souri South­ern State Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Admin­is­tra­tion is designed to sup­port stu­dents in their learn­ing and under­stand­ing of law enforce­ment, cor­rec­tions, and the courts. The degree is designed to sup­port stu­dents in their pur­suit of a fast-paced pro­fes­sion in law and jus­tice. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

With green-and-gold col­ors, Mis­souri South­ern State Uni­ver­si­ty is a top-ranked Region­al Col­lege in the Mid­west, accord­ing to the US News & World Report. Appro­pri­ate­ly enough, the mas­cot is Roary the Lion. The uni­ver­si­ty is accred­it­ed by the High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion (HLC). Near­ly 62% of the col­lege stu­dents are first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents, with 66% receiv­ing finan­cial aid.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Administration

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

8. Troy University

The BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­gram is one of the largest at Troy Uni­ver­si­ty, with career options in law, foren­sics, or polic­ing. What sets this pro­gram apart is the inclu­sion of instruc­tors with real-life expe­ri­ence. Stu­dents have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gain a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing and the skills they will need for the job. With 18% growth pro­jec­tions in the crim­i­nal jus­tice indus­try, this pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents for a career as a police offi­cer, pro­ba­tion offi­cer, or even an attor­ney or oth­er tra­di­tion­al or more con­tem­po­rary role in law and order. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

Known for being one of the top-ranked “Most Inno­v­a­tive Schools” by US News & World Report, Troy Uni­ver­si­ty is an inter­na­tion­al uni­ver­si­ty that serves stu­dents’ needs across four cam­pus­es in Alaba­ma. Their lev­el of inno­va­tion is clear with their high-touch and high-tech edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ences. The col­lege mot­to is: “Edu­cate the mind to think, the heart to feel, and the body to act.”

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

9. Columbia College (MO)

Colum­bia Col­lege’s BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Admin­is­tra­tion is a mul­ti-func­tion­al degree that’s designed to allow for a range of career options. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online, but it also has intern­ship and practicum oppor­tu­ni­ties to bet­ter pre­pare stu­dents for entry-lev­el career objec­tives. The online course­work, in par­tic­u­lar, offers a crit­i­cal foun­da­tion for stu­dents who will be pur­su­ing fur­ther stud­ies in grad­u­ate or law schools.

Colum­bia Col­lege is a pri­vate, lib­er­al arts and sci­ences col­lege. As a non­prof­it, it is ded­i­cat­ed to offer­ing high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, with a range of pro­grams that are both tra­di­tion­al and non-tra­di­tion­al. The learn­ing expe­ri­ence is designed to be focused on the indi­vid­ual with inno­va­tion and flex­i­bil­i­ty as key cor­ner­stones of the col­lege culture.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Administration

10. Youngstown State University

Youngstown State Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Applied Sci­ence — Crim­i­nal Jus­tice con­cen­tra­tion pro­gram is designed to teach stu­dents how to pro­tect and serve. The course­work cen­ters around ser­vice to the com­mu­ni­ty, with an online pro­gram that allows for the most com­plete study of law and jus­tice. The pro­gram focus­es on how to use the law to pro­tect the com­mu­ni­ty, which is also why it is a nat­ur­al segue into law school. The pro­gram is rec­og­nized as an afford­able Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree online.

Youngstown State Uni­ver­si­ty is top-ranked for its Engi­neer­ing Pro­grams, as well as one of the top Region­al Uni­ver­si­ties in the Mid­west, by US News & World Report. YSU is an urban research uni­ver­si­ty, ded­i­cat­ed to excel­lence and inno­va­tion. While the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice pro­gram is an out­stand­ing exam­ple of stu­dent-focused stud­ies, the entire uni­ver­si­ty focus­es on intel­lec­tu­al inquiry, with the nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion toward explo­ration and dis­cov­ery in acad­e­mia and in all life­long pur­suits. The school col­ors are car­di­nal red and white, with the mas­cot Pete the Pen­guin. The mot­to is “Ani­mus Lib­er­a­tus,” trans­lat­ed “The Mind Freed.

Degree: BS in Applied Sci­ence — Crim­i­nal Jus­tice concentration

Click here to learn more about this crim­i­nal jus­tice degree program!

Why Should I Get an Online Criminal Justice Degree?

An on-cam­pus crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­gram has its advan­tages, but many pro­fes­sion­als in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem want to go back to school with­out leav­ing their jobs. Crim­i­nal jus­tice careers often start with a high school diplo­ma, but a bachelor’s degree pro­gram can help you meet your career goals. When you find a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in crim­i­nal jus­tice from an online col­lege, enroll­ment is con­ve­nient. Make sure it has prop­er accred­i­ta­tion, a good grad­u­a­tion rate, and

Whether you want full-time or part-time study, online learn­ing can be much more con­ve­nient than in-per­son for crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­fes­sion­als who want to become crim­i­nal jus­tice majors. Online stu­dents and learn­ers com­plete their cred­it hours at home, and if you have trans­fer cred­its, the process can be much faster.

You can learn about:

  • crim­i­nol­o­gy and crim­i­nal justice
  • emer­gency management
  • pub­lic safety
  • pub­lic safety
  • crim­i­nal profiling
  • research meth­ods
  • crim­i­nal procedure
  • crim­i­nal law
  • the US court system
  • home­land security
  • crim­i­nal investigation
  • crim­i­nal behavior

Career oppor­tu­ni­ties in fed­er­al and local law enforce­ment agen­cies open up with a high­er edu­ca­tion. Choose your elec­tives for spe­cial­iza­tion and prac­tice your crit­i­cal think­ing skills for lead­er­ship posi­tions. Your online crim­i­nal jus­tice bachelor’s degree will take you places!

Will I Make More Money With a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

Does your crim­i­nal jus­tice salary poten­tial go up with a Bach­e­lor’s degree? Yes. A Bach­e­lor’s degree is vir­tu­al­ly always a great way to increase your salary poten­tial. At the end of the day, a crim­i­nal jus­tice salary depends on the type of job you pur­sue and the lev­el of edu­ca­tion you earn, but for those who earn a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, salary poten­tial goes up quick­ly. How much does a crim­i­nal jus­tice degree make? As of 2019, the aver­age crim­i­nal jus­tice salary for peo­ple with Bach­e­lor’s degrees is just over $59,000. The num­ber varies between jobs, of course. A crim­i­nal jus­tice salary per hour can range from just over $12 to near­ly $29. That num­ber only gets high­er when it comes to cyber­se­cu­ri­ty jobs in par­tic­u­lar, though. In this case, a crim­i­nal jus­tice salary has an aver­age of $92,600 per year.

The bot­tom line is that a Bach­e­lor’s degree can help your career. With this upfront invest­ment, you can see lots of finan­cial ben­e­fits as you work.

How Much Can I Make in Criminal Justice?

You can make a great salary work­ing in crim­i­nal jus­tice and cyber­se­cu­ri­ty. As stat­ed above, with crim­i­nal jus­tice jobs, salary pos­si­bil­i­ties are quite high. Of course, when it comes to crim­i­nal jus­tice jobs, salary can vary wide­ly depend­ing on the type of work. Gen­er­al­ly, jobs that require a Bach­e­lor’s degree will pay more than jobs that require an Asso­ci­ate’s degree or no degree at all. Just take a look at crim­i­nal jus­tice salary per hour infor­ma­tion. A quick search for “crim­i­nal jus­tice salary per hour” shows that pay can be as low as $12.97 or as high as $28.17. Basi­cal­ly, the bet­ter your edu­ca­tion, the bet­ter your crim­i­nal jus­tice jobs salary.

Can I Get a Criminal Justice Degree for Free?

It’s extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to get a col­lege degree for free. That said, it’s not impos­si­ble. If you’re already work­ing in crim­i­nal jus­tice, find out if your employ­er offers an edu­ca­tion reim­burse­ment pro­gram. A lot of employ­ers rec­og­nize the val­ue of a col­lege-edu­cat­ed work­force. How­ev­er, many also rec­og­nize that the expense often keeps peo­ple from pur­su­ing those goals. There­fore, some employ­ers will reim­burse their employ­ees for col­lege cred­its. Oth­er­wise, you can look for grants and schol­ar­ships to help you pay for your education.

You can also take some crim­i­nal jus­tice online cours­es free. Now, these cours­es are usu­al­ly non-cred­it options. They won’t pro­vide col­lege cred­it or count toward your degree. How­ev­er, when you’re look­ing for crim­i­nal jus­tice online cours­es, free options can help you boost your knowl­edge and know what to expect when you do take col­lege cours­es. You may even find a col­lege pro­gram that lets you “test out” of cer­tain class­es by demon­strat­ing knowl­edge of the sub­ject mate­r­i­al. In that case, those free online cours­es will help you immense­ly. While you like­ly won’t earn an online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree free, you may find that free cours­es are well worth the effort that you put into them.

You may also find a few free online law enforce­ment class­es as part of a cer­tifi­cate pro­gram. Cer­tifi­cate pro­grams give you anoth­er low-cost option for pur­su­ing your edu­ca­tion. When it comes to sav­ing mon­ey on your edu­ca­tion, you’ll need some cre­ativ­i­ty and research skills. Once you put in the work, though, you’ll find a path that works for you.

To save even more mon­ey on your degree, con­sid­er attend­ing com­mu­ni­ty col­lege for the first year or two of your edu­ca­tion. Com­mu­ni­ty col­lege class­es are much cheap­er than uni­ver­si­ty class­es. You can take your gen­er­al edu­ca­tion cours­es at a com­mu­ni­ty col­lege and then trans­fer the cred­its over to your online university.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Bach­e­lor’s Degrees

15 Best Online Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Degrees

10 Fastest Online Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Degrees