Why This Matters

  • 4.5 MILLION U.S. ADULTS ARE ON PROBATION

    According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 55 adults in the U.S. were under community supervision, either as probationers or parolees, in 2016.

  • DEMAND FOR SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS UP 11%

    Probation officers bridge the divide between the criminal justice system and the communities in which offenders and their families live. The job outlook for social service occupations is strong through 2028.

  • INCREASE YOUR SALARY BY $13,710 PER YEAR

    Probation officers who work for local governments earn an average annual salary of $58,040. Comparatively, correctional officers and bailiffs earn an average annual salary of $45,760.

Our Research

The most common path to a career as a probation officer is a degree in criminal justice. Most jobs require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. However, some students seek an associate degree to build a foundation for undergraduate study, while those who already have a bachelor’s degree may pursue a master’s for career advancement. We included all three levels of degrees on this list.

All programs are offered online. Many schools also offer their programs on-campus or in a hybrid format.

The programs on our list are all offered at regionally accredited schools, which confirms that they meet high standards of quality for higher education.

We reviewed all of the listed programs on the basis of cost, coursework, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. We then calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 54 hours to write this article
  • 95 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 278 education programs we compared

The Top 33 Online Probation Officer Degree Programs

Best Online Probation Officer Degree Programs
01
Indiana University East

intelligent score 99.72

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit $272.78 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 765-973-8208

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
Wayne Community College

intelligent score 97.07

Award Most Affordable

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Most Affordable

Delivery Format Online, On-Campus

Programs Associate in Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology

Required Credits to Graduate 73-74 credits

Department Public Safety

Estimated Cost per Credit $172 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 919-739-6798

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-Campus

Programs Associate in Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology

Required Credits to Graduate 73-74 credits

01
Lee University

intelligent score 96.87

Award Best Juvenile Justice Focus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Juvenile Justice Focus

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department College of Arts and Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit $554.12 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 423-614-8370

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
Colorado State University Global

intelligent score 96.41

Award Best Global Campus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Global Campus

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $350 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-462-7845

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
Liberty University

intelligent score 95.29

Award Best for Transfer Students

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Transfer Students

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department Helms School of Government

Estimated Cost per Credit $390 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-424-9595

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
University of Arizona Global Campus

intelligent score 94.96

Award Best Bachelor of Arts Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Bachelor of Arts Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department College of Arts & Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit $510 per credit

accreditation WSCUC Senior College and University Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 866-711-1700

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
University of Louisville

intelligent score 94.88

Award Best Military Tuition Discounts

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Military Tuition Discounts

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 121 credits

Department College of Arts and Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit $539 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-871-8635

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 121 credits

01
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

intelligent score 94.43

Award Best Bachelor of Science Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Bachelor of Science Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department Department of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit $895 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 423-425-4135

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
University of Alaska Fairbanks

intelligent score 94.13

Award Best in the Non-Continental U.S.

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best in the Non-Continental U.S.

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Arts in Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

Department College of Liberal Arts

Estimated Cost per Credit $223 per credit

accreditation Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 907-455-2060

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Bachelor of Arts in Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 120 credits

01
University of California, Irvine

intelligent score 94.06

Award Best Masters Degree

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Masters Degree

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law, and Society

Required Credits to Graduate 52 credits

Department Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Estimated Cost per Credit $553.62 per credit

accreditation Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College & University Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 949-824-5462

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law, and Society

Required Credits to Graduate 52 credits

01
Best Public University
McNeese State University
01
Best Public Research School
Florida International University
01
Best Degree Options
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
01
Best in the South
Troy University
01
Best for Small Class Sizes
Valdosta State University
01
Liberal Arts Focus
University of Florida
01
Best Minor Program
The University of Oklahoma
01
Best MBA
Lamar University
01
Best Catholic University
Saint Leo University
01
Best in the Midwest
University of Toledo
01
Best Online University
Southern New Hampshire University
01
Good Value
University of West Georgia
01
Most Experienced Faculty
West Texas A&M University
01
Most Flexible Completion Time
Wichita State University
01
Alumni Recommended
Fayetteville State University
01
Flexible Start Dates
Tiffin University
01
Industry-Leading Faculty
Southern University and A&M College
01
Best Associate Degree
Regent University
01
Best Private University
University of Mount Olive
01
Best in the West
Union Institute & University
01
Best in the Northeast
Rosemont College
01
Best Pre-Law Concentration
University of Wyoming
01
Simple Enrollment Process
Humphreys University

What You Should Know About This Degree

As there are no specific probation officer degrees, most students prepare for a career as a probation officer by earning a degree in criminal justice. This degree will give you a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system in the U.S., and it will help you develop the critical-thinking, decision-making, and communications skills necessary for a probation officer career. A degree in social work, sociology, or behavioral science can also prepare you to work as a probation officer.

Job growth for probation officers is expected to be slower than average in the coming decade, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 3,000 new jobs will be added by 2028. As most probation officers are employed at the state and local levels, the number of positions available will depend on funding from these governments.

Job prospects will be better for those who are fluent in a second language, particularly Spanish. This is something to consider when choosing electives or a minor as part of your degree program.

Even if you have a degree, most probation officers must complete a government-sponsored training program and pass a test to become certified. Probation officers must also be able to pass background and drug tests.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Probation Officer programs:

  • Do I meet the qualifications for this program? Each program sets its own eligibility requirements. For example, some bachelor’s degree programs are specifically designed for transfer students who have already completed most or all of their general education requirements. At the master’s level, some programs may seek students who have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or professional experience. Review the program’s requirements to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications for admission.
  • Are there any in-person requirements? Some online programs may have in-person components for internships or residencies. Individuals who are already working in criminal justice settings may be able to fulfill their internship hours at their job. Check with the program to find out what, if any, internship requirements they have, and make sure you can accommodate them in your schedule.

Look up the program’s application requirements and deadlines online, or contact the school’s admissions department for this information. Being aware of deadlines and staying organized will facilitate a smooth admissions process.

Now is also a good time to think about paying for your degree. Talk to a financial aid counselor about loans, scholarships, and assistantships. If you are currently employed, find out if your job offers tuition assistance benefits.