The broad, interdisciplinary field of criminal justice explores laws, law enforcement and the justice system. Corrections is a niche area of criminal justice dedicated to the punishment, treatment, supervision and rehabilitation of individuals who have been convicted of different crimes. Specifically, corrections personnel oversee and assist criminal offenders during three key phases: incarceration, or imprisonment; parole, or conditional release from prison once a sentence has been completed or commuted; and probation, a period of close supervision usually granted to a convicted criminal in lieu of actual jail time. Some correctional employees serve as guards and attendants at prisons (which are also known as correctional institutions), while others work with released offenders as parole or probation officers.

Many corrections professionals begin their careers at the collegiate level by earning an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. In most cases, this will take the form of a bachelor's in criminal science with a concentration in corrections. These programs will introduce students to the laws, ethics and most popular strategies guiding today's corrections field. Corrections bachelor's pathways often include internships or practicum courses, which allow students to receive hands-on training from experienced professionals. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their corrections bachelor's degree online, rather than in a classroom. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to a comparable number of post-graduation job opportunities. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule of most online corrections degree programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may conflict with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with a bachelor's degree in corrections and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CORRECTIONS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A bachelor's degree in corrections will prepare students for this demanding -- yet equally rewarding -- profession. The coursework will cover legal protocols and procedures for the incarceration, parole and probation of convicted offenders, as well as some best-practice approaches to communicating and interacting with these individuals. The curriculum will also incorporate history, anthropology, sociology, psychology and other social sciences that have bearing in the criminal justice field. Internships and practicum courses also enable students to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in a real-world correctional setting.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CORRECTIONS WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online bachelor's degree programs in corrections offer a flexible alternative to traditional college learning. Students can access lectures and other course materials, participate in virtual discussions with fellow students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own time from their home computer. Current educational technology also allows them to study away from their desk using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online students can typically coordinate internships at sites that are reasonably close to their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S IN CORRECTIONS?

Many careers in corrections are attainable with an associate degree -- and in some cases, a high school diploma -- so those with a bachelor's degree will be well-positioned to enter the job market. Common professional titles for corrections degree-holders include correctional officers and jailers, parole and probation officers, bailiffs and correctional treatment specialists. The bachelor's degree may also serve as a stepping-stone for those who wish to advance to graduate school and study to become criminal justice teachers at the collegiate level.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CORRECTIONS PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor's in corrections programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online bachelor's in corrections, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor's degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Brandman University

Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 79%

Founded in 1958, Irvine, California-based Brandman University originally served as an educational institution for the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. While it has expanded to serve learners of all ages and backgrounds, Brandman remains military friendly, with expanded programs for working professionals. U.S. News & World Report ranks this university among the most innovative schools in 2019.

Brandman's bachelor of arts in criminal justice degree requires 120 credits, including general education and program specific units. Learners can complete this degree either entirely online or as a hybrid program. The curriculum covers various criminal justice topics, including corrections, forensics, and immigration and national security.

Brandman's online corrections degree requires a capstone course, which involves examining the U.S. criminal justice system from a critical perspective. This course also includes solving various problems related to the criminal justice system. Designed for working students, courses start every eight weeks, six times a year.

To apply for Brandman's online corrections degree, applicants must already hold a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and at least 12 transferable, bachelor-level credits from a regionally accredited school. Students without transfer credits may need to take additional general electives.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previous educational institutions. The Brandman Track, a four-course program provided through the university's School of Extended Education, offers degree candidates the opportunity to earn up to 12 credits needed for admission. Distance learners may complete the Brandman Track entirely online.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Tuition: $500/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (877) 516-4501
Email: apply@brandman.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

A private Christian research university founded in 1978, Regent University ranks among the top national universities and best online bachelor's programs in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, this university delivers more than 130 programs on a 70-acre campus located just 16 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Regent's numerous online degree offerings include a bachelor of science in criminal justice. This degree prepares learners for a law enforcement career, with graduates working as game wardens, border patrol officers, and police officers. This 120-credit degree emphasizes a Christian worldview, ethics, and critical thinking. The optional concentration in corrections focuses on issues in juvenile justice, law, and criminal justice systems. Each course lasts just eight weeks.

Regent offers an attractive transfer credit policy, accepting up to 90 transfer credits towards the criminal justice degree. For this program, degree candidates must complete 50% of major requirements at Regent. This criminal justice corrections degree online provides an easy application process. Candidates must submit unofficial transcripts and complete an admissions questionnaire.

Distance learners may take advantage of Regent's Online Peer Mentorship Program, online tutoring services, career services, and weekly chapel on the web or on campus. Regardless of residency, distance learners pay the same per credit hour tuition rate. Regent charges part-time learners slightly more per credit hour than full-time students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT, ACT, or CLT

Contact
Phone: (800) 373-5504
Email: admissions@regent.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Founded in Manchester in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the country. With a degree catalog of more than 200 options, SNHU delivers education online to more than 90,000 students annually. Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, SNHU ranks first among most innovative schools according to U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list.

SNHU's online bachelor of science in criminal justice program requires 120 credits, including either 12 credits for major electives or the optional concentration in corrections. The concentration focuses on correctional administration, offender rehabilitation, and community-based corrections. SNHU's transfer policy accepts up to 90 undergraduate credits towards a program. Degree candidates complete courses asynchronously, with classes lasting just eight weeks and with start dates six times a year.

The school provides an easy admissions process. After online application, SNHU retrieves transcripts from the learner's previous schools and evaluates credits for transfer. Distance learners who completed basic police, parole, or corrections training may qualify for up to 12 credits towards SNHU's criminal justice degree. This program does not require GRE, SAT, or GMAT test scores. Unlike other institutions, SNHU does not require an application fee. The university also offers a 30% tuition discount for U.S. military and spouses of active-duty service members.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $320/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (888) 327-SNHU
Email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Lowell, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

A national research university, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell delivers courses to more than 18,000 students online and on-campus. The school ranks 80th among top public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

UMass Lowell's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice requires 120 credits, including 36 credits in criminal justice courses. Learners can complete the criminal justice program entirely online or as a hybrid program. To provide studies in key criminal justice areas, the university offers five concentrations: police, violence, corrections, homeland security, and crime and mental health. Distance learners majoring in criminal justice must earn at least a 2.2 GPA overall and a minimum 2.5 GPA in all criminal justice courses.

Degree candidates can also pursue an accelerated track, completing a bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously. UMass Lowell counts two graduate classes towards the bachelor program's 120 credits.

UMass Lowell accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward a degree. To qualify for admission, learners must hold a high school diploma or successfully pass a GED or HiSET exam. GRE or GMAT scores are optional. For online programs, the university charges the same tuition rate to all students, regardless of residency. UMass Lowell's Online and Continuing Education School accepts students on a rolling basis.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $380/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (978) 934-4106
Email: CJGradAdvisor@uml.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

West Texas A&M University

Canyon, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

With a rich history dating back to 1910, West Texas A&M University remains the northernmost senior institution of higher learning in Texas. Located in Canyon, Texas, this public university is part of the Texas A&M University System, one of the largest higher education systems in the country. WTAMU uniquely offers two different pathways for criminal justice majors: a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

The bachelor of science requires additional math or science classes, while the bachelor of arts program includes a foreign language component. Regardless of degree type, this interdisciplinary program allows degree candidates to select a major track in policing, corrections, or administration. Each degree requires 120 credits.

Students can complete WTAMU's criminal justice administration degree entirely online. Distance learners can complete any of the degree pathways in four years. WTAMU requires all criminal justice majors to complete a six-credit internship at a criminal justice agency. Degree candidates work with the program director to locate an internship tailored towards the student's career interests.

To apply, distance learners must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants must also earn a class rank along with a specific ACT or SAT test score. Students who do not receive a class rank or meet test score requirements may still apply, but the university reviews those applications on a competitive basis.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice - Corrections; BS in Criminal Justice - Corrections
Tuition: $8,982/year in-state; $10,608/year out-of-state with waiver; $22,158/year out-of-state without waiver
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (806) 651-3310
Email: bbang@wtamu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Bemidji State University

Bemidji, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Located on the western shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University serves more than 5,100 students online and on campus. BSU's emphasis on Native American culture and history reflects the heritage and priorities of the Lake Bemidji community. Among the school's several unique programs offerings are aquatic biology, Indian studies, creative and electronic writing, and wilderness management.

Bemidji gives students the opportunity to complete the last two years of a four-year criminal justice degree entirely online. Through the bachelor of science in criminal justice degree, learners can choose among four emphases: corrections, victimology, law enforcement, or tribal justice. The corrections emphasis prepares students for careers in probation, counseling, court services, and correctional facilities. The university does not offer required courses for the tribal justice emphasis online. Learners enrolled in this emphasis must visit the campus.

The criminal justice major requires 48 credits for completion. Degree candidates must first transfer at least 24 semester credits to begin the online program. BSU works with several regional colleges in Minnesota to help students complete and transfer specific courses for this degree.

Graduation requires learners to complete a full-time, supervised field instruction internship at a public or private criminal justice agency. BSU requires degree candidates earn a minimum 2.25 GPA to graduate. BSU's criminal justice degree meets the requirements for the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $296/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (218) 755-2068
Email: Bonner.Karger@bemidjistate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

A public, historically black university located in Durham, North Carolina, North Carolina Central University aims to advance research in biotechnological and biomedical sciences. The school houses two advanced biotechnology research facilities on campus. While NCCU requires all degree candidates to perform community service before graduation, online students are exempt from the volunteer requirement.

The university's entirely online bachelor of science in criminal justice degree provides learners with an overview of the criminal justice system, including the system's history. This 120-credit program requires learners to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate. Students can choose from among the following concentrations: law enforcement, homeland security, corrections, or juvenile justice. The juvenile justice concentration requires regular campus visits to complete courses. Distance learners typically finish the criminal justice degree in four years. Online courses last 16 weeks and follow a regular semester schedule.

Through the university's Department of Criminal Justice, NCCU provides all distance learners with an academic adviser. All criminal justice degree candidates must complete a three-credit, 80-hour internship. The university waives the internship requirement for students employed for at least one continuous year in a criminal justice position. Learners exempt from the internship must still complete an additional three-credit course. NCCU requires criminal justice majors completing the internship to purchase liability insurance.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $144/credit in-state; $574/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (877) 678-0006
Email: nccuonline@nccu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Park University

Parkville, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 23%

A private, liberal arts institution founded in 1875, Park University delivers courses to more than 16,500 students online and at 41 campuses around the world. Located just minutes from Kansas City in Park, Missouri, the university's flagship campus comprises 700 acres of woodlands and historic buildings, featuring a unique and extensive underground campus with business offices and a library.

Offered online and on campus, the school's bachelor of science in criminal justice administration degree requires only 45 credit hours to complete. Degree candidates can select a concentration in law enforcement, security, or corrections. Each concentration involves two courses.

For this criminal justice degree, students must complete either an internship or a senior writing project. The school partners with local, state, and federal offices to offer internship opportunities, giving learners the chance to gain real-world experience in the field. The internship involves an outside professional who evaluates students in a work environment. The internship comprises either 135 hours for three credits or 270 hours for six credits.

The senior writing project offers an alternative to the internship and caters to students currently employed in a criminal justice position. Delivered regularly online, this course consists of activities related to the student's current, full-time work in the criminal justice field. Learners use or create an existing project from work and are evaluated by a supervisor. Substituting the senior writing project for the internship requires approval from the school's Criminal Justice Department.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $399/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Contact
Phone: (816) 741-2000
Email: john.hamilton@park.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Eastern Kentucky University offers programs both online and at its Richmond-based campus. Located 26 miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky, and within a short drive from several historical sites, the surrounding community features theaters, a regional shopping mall, and many cultural activities and events.

EKU ranks 28th among top public schools according to U.S. News & World Report. The university offers an online bachelor of science degree in corrections and juvenile justice studies. While the school accepts up to 90 transfer credit hours, degree candidates must complete at least 30 of the 120 credit hours at EKU. To offer convenience, the university provides six start dates for the degree throughout the year.

EKU's criminal justice corrections degree online includes asynchronous classes lasting only eight weeks. The curriculum focuses on community corrections, the juvenile justice system, and rehabilitation strategies for adults and juvenile offenders. Distance learners receive a personalized graduation plan and access to an academic adviser.

EKU offers a special tuition discount for active-duty service members. Transfer students must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Incoming freshmen must earn a minimum 2.5 high school GPA or meet specific ACT or SAT scores.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies
Tuition: $409/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (859) 622-9951
Email: Courtney.Spradling@eku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

Founded in 1893 in Silver City, Western New Mexico University delivers programs to 3,500 students online and on campus. WNMU's campus lies a few hours drive away from major cities, including Tucson, Arizona and El Paso, Texas. The surrounding Silver City community features a thriving art community with dozens of galleries.

WNMU's bachelor of science in criminal justice degree prepares students for careers in corrections, the military, and law enforcement. Distance learners can complete this entirely online corrections degree in four years with full-time study. The university delivers courses asynchronously, giving learners the flexibility to complete coursework from any location at any time. Students may choose a concentration in corrections, policing, or forest wildlife law enforcement, although WNMU does not offer the forest wildlife law enforcement concentration online.

Students must complete 120 credits for this criminal justice degree. The corrections concentration requires 24 credit hours, including nine core classes and 15 electives. WNMU offers online support to distance learners, including online tutoring and tech support any time of the day. All distance learners also receive access to online student advisers.

This university offers scholarships to qualifying freshmen and transfer students. As part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, WNMU provides waivers to students from Arizona, Colorado, and El Paso, Texas, granting in-state tuition rates to students from these areas. Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $3,033/term in-state; $6,770/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT; ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (575) 538-6187
Email: bullockd@wnmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Montana State University - Northern

Havre, MT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Founded in 1929, Montana State University-Northern serves a large geographic region in north central Montana, including four Native American reservations. The university's campus in Havre, Montana, lies only a three-hour drive from Glacier National Park -- and a 20-minute drive from camping, hiking trails, and fishing in Beaver Creek Park, the largest county park in the country. MSUN ranks high among regional colleges in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 best colleges list.

MSUN's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice prepares learners for careers in criminal justice, including positions in corrections, probations, security, and private investigations. This 120-credit program is offered asynchronously, and students complete coursework through the university's Brightspace online platform. Distance learners may choose the criminal justice major or a minor in the field.

Accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, this university requires official high school transcripts from first-time students applying to the program. MSUN also requires ACT or SAT scores from all applicants under the age of 21. Transfer students must send official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended. Admission requirements also include immunization records.

Coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the Western Undergraduate Exchange provides out-of-state students with a tuition discount. Learners residing in one of 15 states may qualify for the program. The university also offers scholarships and priority registration for outstanding high school students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Tuition: $2,978/term in-state; $9,333/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (406) 265-3595
Email: jack.bieger@msun.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Lee University

Cleveland, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

A private university located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Lee's campus comprises nearly 120 acres in Cleveland, Tennessee. Although one of the largest Christian private institutions in Tennessee, and the largest in the Appalachian College Association, this university boasts small class sizes with a 16-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

As part of Lee's Division of Adult Learning, students can complete the 120-credit bachelor's degree in criminal justice in four years. The program offers students the choice between a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. Learners enrolled in the bachelor of arts program must complete at least six hours of a foreign language at the intermediate level. Degree candidate may choose an emphasis in either corrections or criminology and juvenile justice. Each emphasis requires 24 semester credits.

Students must complete at least 25% of the required credits at the university; criminal justice degree candidates must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Learners complete asynchronous classes lasting just seven weeks. Students should expect to spend approximately 16 hours per week on coursework. Lee's Division of Adult Learning also offers accelerated on-site instruction in which a student attends classes once a week for three hours on campus and completes online assignments.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $8,040/term
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (423) 614-8500
Email: admissions@leeuniversity.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

University of Maine at Fort Kent

Fort Kent, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Nestled in St. John Valley, an international crossroads comprising Maine, Quebec, and New Brunswick, the University of Maine at Fort Kent offers a unique rural setting with convenient access to two major cities. This rural university also lies in the Acadia of the Lands and Forests, where descendants of French settlers maintain and celebrate cultural identity. UMFK also enrolls a high percentage of international students, giving degree candidates the opportunity to meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Distance learners can complete the university's bachelor of science degree in public safety administration with a specialization in corrections in four years. The program emphasizes public safety, management, and administration. This criminal justice degree requires 62 credits for core classes and a minimum of 30 credit hours for the planned field of study. Learners work with a program coordinator to design an individualized study plan.

For the correctional officer degree online, UMFK recommends that students earn an associate degree in criminal justice before entering the bachelor's program. The university counts all credits earned in an associate program towards the criminal justice degree. To apply, incoming high school applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a school counselor or teacher. All other applicants must send either official high school or college transcripts or an official GED score report.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Public Safety Administration
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $239/credit in-state; $382/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 121 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Work Experience: Required (unless recent high school graduate)

Contact
Phone: (888) 879-8635
Email: umfkadm@maine.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

14

Missouri Western State University

St. Joseph, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Founded in 1915, Missouri Western State University is a public university located in St. Joseph, Missouri. It boasts small class sizes, with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, and enrolls students from all over the United States and countries around the world.

MWSU's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice prepares distance learners for careers in law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Graduates pursue careers such as court administrators, law enforcement officers, and corrections officers. Students can tailor the program towards specific career goals and interests by picking among five concentrations: legal studies, law enforcement, juvenile justice, corrections, and administration.

While MWSU offers most courses online, some classes may require campus visits; a few require synchronous video-conferencing. This university does not offer self-paced classes. Students receive instructions and deadlines from instructors for assigned readings, homework, and discussions. Distance learners submit assignments either through the course website, email, fax, or through regular mail. Coursework is delivered online through the Canvas platform, which students can access from any location at any time.

MWSU's online corrections degree requires 42-47 credit hours for the core curriculum and 28-31 credits for the concentration. The program offers two tracks for completion. The first involves a senior seminar and either an internship, requiring at least 135 hours in a criminal justice position, or a practicum, which includes working 135 hours under direct supervision. The second track involves a research proposal and a quantitative analysis. Students can complete this degree in four years. Missouri Western State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $206/credit in-state; $426/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT

Contact
Phone: (816) 271-4293
Email: cjlssw@missouriwestern.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

New England College

Henniker, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, New England College ranks 173rd in best online bachelor's programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 best colleges list. A private liberal arts college in Henniker, New Hampshire, NEC engages through experiential learning. The university boasts small class sizes with a 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. NEC participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which grants funding to eligible veterans and dependents for tuition and fees.

This university offers several entirely online programs, including a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice with a concentration in institutional and community-based corrections. This program focuses on legal and policy-driven pathways for offenders reentering society. The online corrections degree requires 120 total credits, including 40 credits in general education, 32 credits in the major, 16 in the required concentration, and 32 elective credits.

Each course lasts only seven weeks, and distance learners can complete the program in four years. Notable courses include legal and policy issues in corrections administration, law enforcement supervision, management and leadership, community-based corrections, and restorative justice.

NEC offers an attractive transfer policy, accepting up to 90 credits towards a bachelor's degree. This university does not require any fees or standardized test scores for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previous schools attended.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Institutional and community-based corrections
Tuition: $405/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (855) 300-9387
Email: info@newenglandcollegeonline.com
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Timeline 4 to 5 years
Program Costs $35,000 to $55,000 for full tuition
Concentrations Criminal Justice, Law, Criminology, Forensic Science, Public Administration, Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Emergency Management, Leadership
Accreditation There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.

The job outlook for corrections bachelor's degree-holders is somewhat mixed. On one hand, their strong academic background will allow them to compete for top jobs against candidates who complete their education with associates degrees or high school diplomas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals with a bachelor's degree face an unemployment of 2.8%; by comparison, associate degree- and high school diploma-holders face unemployment rates of 3.8% and 5.0%, respectively. The unemployment rate for bachelor's recipients is also much lower than the national average for all occupations, which currently sits at 4.7%.

However, the BLS projects below-average job growth in the coming years for some of the most prominent correctional occupations. The following table looks at job growth estimates for some of these professions.

Job Placement

Occupation Projected Job Growth (2014-24) Projected Change in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 4% +3,300
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs 4% +17,900
Police and Detectives 4% +33,100
National Average 7% --

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Earning a Living

Students who earn a bachelor's degree in corrections and other criminal justice fields enjoy higher earning potential than those who complete their education with an associate degree in criminal justice. Using data from the 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report, the table below looks at earning expectations for both of these degree-holders at two career benchmarks.

Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Associate Degree in Criminal Justice $31,100 $46,000
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice $37,000 $59,100

Source: 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table indicates, those with a bachelor's in criminal justice outearn their associate-holding counterparts by roughly 19% at the entry-level mark and 28.5% at the mid-career mark. However, salary expectations for employees with a bachelor's degree in corrections will also depend on their specific job title, as well as their experience level and their city/state of employment. The next table looks at career salary growth rates for five of the most popular corrections career pathways.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Correctional Officer $32,388 $36,512 $40,095 $48,129
Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist $36,000 $50,000 $52,000 $64,000
Bailiff $36,000 $31,000 $37,000 $52,000
Parole Officer $40,000 $40,000 $48,000 $61,000
Juvenile Probation Officer $35,000 $42,000 $45,000 $45,000

Source: PayScale

All five occupations listed reported 20-year salary growth of at least 28.6%. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists experience the highest growth rate: a 77.8% earnings increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Parole officers placed second with 52.5% career growth, followed by correctional officers with 48.6% growth.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with an online corrections bachelor's degree will be qualified for dozens of positions dealing with the incarceration, parole and probation of convicted criminals. Four common career paths are outlined below.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists: Probation officers work with probationers, or convicted criminals who are allowed to remain out of jail but must be closely supervised. Probationers are legally required to meet with their assigned officers to go over the conditions of their sentencing and receive evaluations. Correctional treatment specialists (also known as case managers) provide the same service for inmates at prisons who plan to be paroled.

Correctional Officers and Jailers: Correctional officers and jailers supervise inmates at jails and prisons, and enforce rules and regulations. They are also responsible for ensuring that all inmates remain safe and secure for the duration of their incarceration. Most correctional officers and jailers receive academy-based training that follows guidelines from the American Correctional Association.

Bailiffs: Bailiffs maintain order, safety and security in courtrooms during trials, sentencing and other legal proceedings. They typically have a background in law enforcement, and as part of their job, they must be trained to subdue, disarm and arrest individuals if the need arises.

Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary: These educators lead courses in criminal justice and law enforcement at colleges, universities and other postsecondary learning institutions. Most collegiate teaching positions are attainable with a master's degree or higher.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $49,360
Correctional Officers and Jailers $45,320
Bailiffs $44,900
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary $64,460

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Many criminal justice bachelor's degree recipients choose to continue their education with a master's program. For more information on this option, please visit our Online Master's in Criminal Justice Guide.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to corrections is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for corrections professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Correctional Association: Founded as the National Prison Association in 1870, the ACA is today one of the leading voices in the training and professional development of corrections professionals. Perks for members include complimentary magazine and newsletter subscriptions, invitations to networking opportunities and discounts on continuing ed courses and other programs.
  • Correctional Peace Officers Association: This nonprofit created in 1984 is dedicated to the spouses, children and other family members of correctional officers who lose their lives in the line of duty. CPOAs programs include an annual charity golf tournament and a scholarship program for children of slain officers who plan to attend college.
  • American Probation and Parole Association: APPA represents probation and parole personnel working with criminals and juvenile offenders. The organization's website features an extensive online resource library, as well as links to online and onsite training programs.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Bachelor's in Corrections Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location
1 Brandman University Irvine, CA
2 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA
3 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
4 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
5 Lindenwood University St. Charles, MO
6 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
7 West Texas A & M University Canyon, TX
8 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
9 Park University Parkville, MO
10 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
11 Cameron University Lawton, OK
12 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM
13 New England College Henniker, NH
14 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
15 Missouri Western State University St. Joseph, MO
Best Online Bachelor's in Corrections Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
2 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
3 Washburn University Topeka, KS
4 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
5 Baker College Flint, MI