The varied Criminal Justice Certificates are ideal for those interested in pursuing law enforcement careers. Core courses often include crime scene investigation and criminal profiling. Graduates typically find employment as police officers, detectives, or crime scene technicians. A certificate may require a range four to 12 months to complete.
University Degree Offerings
Portland State University American Justice System Certificate
Criminal Justice Certificates
Criminal justice degrees are available at certificate, associate, bachelor, masters, and doctorate levels. They typically carry the “science” designation, as in Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice or Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies.
Criminal justice certificates may be non-degree, undergraduate, or graduate level. The first two are typically for those entry-level law enforcement students, while graduate level certificate are designed for those students who are in, or seek to attain, leadership or administrative positions within law enforcement. Certificate programs may focus on such areas as criminal behavior, advanced crime analysis, crime scene investigation, homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement, corrections, and the American justice system.
At the associate level, students may expect to learn about criminology, criminal law and investigation, and counter-terrorism strategies.
Bachelor degree programs for criminal justice allow students to pursue concentrations in particular areas of the field. These may include crime and criminals, computer forensics, information systems and security, and homeland security.
Students in master’s degree programs for criminal justice may focus on such specialized areas as law enforcement, legal studies, public policy and administration, global issues, and leadership and executive management.
Doctorate degrees are usually designated as Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, Ph.D. in Human Services – Criminal Justice, Ph.D. in Public Policy – Criminal Justice, or similar concentrations as master’s degree programs.
Why a Criminal Justice Certificate online
- Individuals who desire to uphold the law, protect law-abiding citizens, and investigate crime scenes can benefit from this certificate.
- Students with a penchant for observation, investigation, and analysis of human behavior would enhance those skills and increase their knowledge base.
- Graduates become qualified to fill a number of roles in the community as public servants, such as police and correction officers, criminologists, and detectives.
- Annual salaries for graduates vary widely, from about $49,000 to over $88,800, depending on the specific career and schedule; many law enforcement personnel also work overtime, as well as weekends and holidays. For example, fish and game wardens may earn around $49,700 annually, while detectives and criminal investigators may earn as much as $88,870.
Criminal Justice Certificate Courses & Areas of Study
The primary courses in a Criminal Justice certificate program usually include:
- Criminology, or the scientific study of crime and criminals.
- Legal studies and society.
- Deviance in society.
- Paralegal studies.
- Forensic psychology.
- Crime scene investigation.
- Juvenile justice.
- American justice system, courts and criminal procedures.
- Correctional systems and practices.
Criminal Justice Career opportunities
Graduates with Criminal justice certificates may enjoy a wide variety of careers. This list presents merely a brief overview of potential careers and is by no means comprehensive:
- Fish and game wardens. Annual salaries average around $49,700; job outlook is predicted for a growth rate of 9 percent between 2012 and 2020.
- Correction officers. Annual salaries range from about $26,000 to $67,000; job outlook is predicted for a growth rate of 5 percent between 2012 and 2020.
- Patrol officers. Average annual salaries are about $53,500; job outlook is predicted for a growth rate of 7 percent between 2012 and 2020.
- Detectives and criminal investigators. Average annual salaries range from about $68,800 to $88,870; job outlook is predicted for a growth rate of 21 percent between 2012 and 2020.
- Crime scene investigators. Average annual salaries range from about $33,000 to $83,000; job outlook is predicted for 19 percent growth between 2012 and 2020.
- Criminologists. Average annual salaries range from about $44,000 to $130,000; job outlook is predicted for 18 percent growth between 2012 and 2020.
Online Criminal Justice Certificates
Busy adult learners, especially those already working in the field of criminal justice, need the kind of flexibility and convenience online education offers. An online Criminal Justice certificate program enables these busy public servants to increase their knowledge and relevant skills at times that fit into their schedules, even if they currently work the field.
Criminal Justice Certificate Education & Admissions requirements
The admissions requirements for students interested in enrolling for Criminal Justice certificate programs vary based on whether the certificate is undergraduate or graduate level. For undergraduate criminal justice certificates, students typically must have at least a high school diploma or GED. They often must also meet with an advisor to choose the proper foundational courses. Students enrolling in graduate level criminal justice certificate programs must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and provide transcripts with a designated minimal GPA (often 2.75 or higher).
Criminal Justice Certificate Accreditation
It is crucial that a Criminal Justice Certificate program have the proper credentials, particularly because of the type of careers students have or will have who earn that certificate. Regional accreditation is the most recognized type in the United States. Other important accrediting agencies for criminal justice programs include the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).
Top Ranked Criminal Justice Certificates
When top-ranked institutions offer Criminal Justice certificates, students can rest assured their education is just as valid as one earned in a traditional setting. Such reputable institutions often also receive high ranks by such organizations as U.S. News & World Report, Forbes Magazine, and the Princeton Review.
Criminal Justice Professional Organizations
Criminal justice students and graduates can engage in professional development and networking opportunities with organizations such as the following:
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS): The ACJS focuses on research, education, and policy analysis in the criminal justice field.
- American Society of Criminology (ASC): The ASC is actually an international organization focused on criminology overall, and specifically with causes, prevention, and treatment of crime and criminals.
- American Correctional Association (ACA): The ACA focuses on education and professional development for criminal justice students and professionals in correctional careers.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS): The AAFS focuses on the knowledge and application of forensic science to the legal system.
- Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA): The JRSA focuses on conducting research and establishing policies on issues related to the justice system, as well as providing training opportunities and technical assistance.
- National Sheriffs Association (NSA): The NSA focuses on improving professionalism in the field of criminal justice through the areas of education, research, and hands-on training.