Rising tuition rates at schools across the country make affordable online education options increasingly more attractive. More schools are continually being founded and developed, and criminal justice is a popular choice for many students as it is often difficult to succeed in this field without a degree.
Online education is one way to hedge against this potential loss. Taking courses online isn’t only cheaper, but is also more further reaching than most traditional schools. The military newsletter Stars and Stripes recently published an article about the U.S. military’s attempts to help enlisted members complete degrees through online options. Affordable criminal justice programs that are based on a solid university foundation can be found through various online avenues, and are available to almost any type of student.
Penn State University
Penn State University’s World Campus offers one of the most affordable online criminal justice bachelor’s degree programs. Online tuition is $495 per credit, compared to at least $800 per credit for students attending the school’s physical campus. Many of the courses are taught by the same faculty, and usually follow a similar curriculum.
Online programs in criminal justice available through Rasmussen College start at about $300 per credit. Rasmussen College’s School of Judicial Studies offers both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in specializations like corrections, homeland security, investigation and criminal offenders.
Portland State University
Portland State University’s online school offers certificate, bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s programs in criminology and criminal justice. All online criminal justice programs available through Portland State University cost $255 per credit. Required credit amounts range from 24 credits for the school’s online certificate program to 86 credits for the online bachelor’s program.
Washington State University
Washington State University’s online criminal justice program benefits from the school’s renowned traditional degree program, the second-oldest continuously operating criminal justice program in America. Although this program is not among the least expensive, it is generally regarded as one of the top values, at least where quality of education and flexibility of participation are concerned. Online students from Washington State pay about the same as those attending the physical campus, though out-of-state students pay a reduced price that starts at $703 per credit.
The online bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice available through Walden University costs $280 per credit. Walden University students can use the school’s MobileLearn system to access classes and other important school services across multiple platforms and devices.
The online department of Carrington College offers an Associate’s of Science in criminal justice program that can be completed in just over 16 months. This program requires 60 credits for completion. Carrington College’s online programs cost $400 per credit, or $250 per credit for active duty military personnel.
Mountain State University
Mountain State University, headquartered in West Virginia, offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in criminal justice through its online school. MSU’s bachelor’s in criminal justice is available in three concentrations: corrections management, homeland security and police science. Online undergraduate studies start at $365 per credit hour, while online graduate studies cost upwards of $400 per credit hour.
Capella University is one of only a handful of educational institutions to offer accredited online programs leading to either a master’s degree or doctoral degree in criminal justice. The online master’s program in criminal justice costs $461 per credit, while the Ph.D program costs about $4,596 per quarter.
Saint Leo University Online
Saint Leo University Online also offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. Online bachelor’s degree coursework includes criminal justice ethics, substantive criminal law and a senior capstone course in criminology. Online programs at Saint Leo University cost $470 per credit hour.
Grantham University has served members of the U.S. Armed Forces for more than 60 years, although today all courses are available solely online. Grantham offers an associate’s degree in criminal justice and a bachelor’s program offering two concentrations: homeland security and computer science. Non-military students can take online courses starting at $265 per credit hour, while active military members pay $250 per credit hour.
These ten schools are a good place to start when looking for the most affordable way to dive into a criminal justice degree program and, ultimately, career. Nothing beats the power of individual research, though. Make sure to look into other fees related to online schooling at these institutions that may be separate from costs per credit. Also, research technology options to make sure that your computers and accessories are compatible with your online school’s technology. Finally, as with any college program, it is important that the courses are a good fit for you personally. Even the most affordable program may not be the best one, depending on your circumstances.