Advancement and preparation for a position as a crime analyst is best achieved by earning an M.S. (Masters of Science) in criminal justice with a major in crime analysis. Many universities offer both online and in classroom degree programs to earn your M.S.. A few of these programs can be completed in as little as one year. For example, Tiffin University offers a degree program that can be completed in a year. The Tiffin program is only 10 classes that amount to 30 semester hours of instruction.
Depending on the school, there may be entrance exams or admissions tests before entering. Other schools, however, require no entrance exams for admission to the program. In many cases, there is no thesis requirement or comprehensive examinations required to earn your MS degree, you simply need to excel in the exams administered in each course to obtain good grades.
While every school is different and offers a slightly different program, must offer a series of core classes geared towards preparing a student getting a crime analysis degree to pass the IACA certification test for crime analysis.
These core classes traditional cover Theories of Crime Analysis, Computer Applications in Crime Analysis, Community Policing, Investigations, Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Criminal Justice, Criminal Intelligence and Criminal Analysis Project. After these courses, you will usually be prepared to take and pass the certification exam.
What Type of Crime Analysis Courses Will I Take?
In addition to the above listed courses, many degree programs also require you to complete additional or non-core classes. These classes may cover other related areas, such as criminal justice issues and trends. Understanding of accepted research design and analysis methods are often required to succeed at crime analysis, and electives or non-core classes can teach these skills. Learning statistical applications of research methods in criminal justice course will prepare you to analyze data and discover trends. It also prepares you to use statistical information to prepare reports for agencies, managers and executives.
Other required courses may include those that focus on the ethics and legal issues in criminal justice work or courses that present professional literature about law enforcement, court services and corrections. Survey or discussion courses may also be required, in which discussions center on the effectiveness of trends and techniques in the practice of criminal justice.
Online Crime Analysis Degree Program or On-Campus?
When you are considering a degree in criminal analysis, you will need to determine if you should take an online program or an in-person program at a local campus near you. Degrees in crime analysis are available in both settings, and each has benefits and detriments.
The major benefit of an online option is that you can tailor your schedule around the requirements of your courses. Online courses allow you to accommodate a work schedule and family around your studies. You can do your homework at any time your schedule allows, even in the middle of the night. You can take as few or as many courses a semester as you think you have time to complete.
However, not everyone is disciplined enough to do the work on their own and some need the environment of a classroom setting to structure their study times and learning. People with different styles of learning have different needs. Choose the option that provides you with the best experience and helps you learn the most.
Crime analysis is an exciting field where you can really make a difference in society. You will be working with detectives, government officials and the public. Your efforts will also affect the funding for difference programs within your community.