A bachelors degree in criminal justice typically takes about four years to complete. This amount of time can be reduced if you are interested in earning an online degree in the field. Unlike an associates degree, which costs less money and usually takes less time, a bachelors degree will provide you with a broad amount of knowledge in the criminal justice field, while allowing you the opportunity to select a specific area of focus (such as legal studies, loss prevention, protective services, juvenile justice, etc.). While a bachelors in the field will give this opportunity to specialize, it will not provide the advanced technical or clinical skills that a masters degree or PhD program would provide.
A bachelors degree is an excellent degree program to consider if you're seeking to be a generalist in the criminal justice field, with the option to find a focus after you begin your career. While higher-level degrees, such as a masters and PhD can increase your salary range, a bachelors may, in fact, make you more marketable early on, because you will not be overspecialized or require a higher level salary from the get-go. Additionally, once you get your foot in the door in the field, criminal justice agencies are well-known for providing future educational and job opportunities within the context of your job.
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