Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that police officers and detectives in the United States earn an average of $67,290.


    Job growth for police and detective positions is expected to be above-average through 2029, and this will create 40,600 positions that need to be filled.


    The highest number of detectives and criminal investigators are employed in Texas, California, and New York. Florida and Arizona hold the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Our Research

Comparing cost per credit hour across various institutions is one of the best ways to figure out which schools are the most affordable, and that’s exactly what we did when researching online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs. The cost per credit hour for the schools on our list goes as low as just over $100 per credit for in-state students.

Employers and graduate schools generally only accept degrees from programs that are accredited either nationally or regionally. Accrediting bodies to look for in this field include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • 68 hours to write this article
  • 150 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 167 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Many students are interested in an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice for both the flexibility and the more affordable tuition. It’s common for colleges to discount online classes since the students aren’t on campus using the facilities and increasing overhead costs. However, you’ll still need to be aware of how much the program costs and what other expenses you’ll face. You can calculate the overall cost of tuition by multiplying the number of credits the program requires by the cost per credit hour. If you did any classes for college credit while still in high school or are able to test out of some requirements, this will cut down on the expense. You’ll also need to add in the cost of textbooks, which can sometimes be rented for cheaper than buying, and supplies like notebooks, calculators, and an appropriate computer.

While the cost of an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can be daunting, there are financial aid options available. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the main way to qualify for need-based scholarships, grants, and student loans. It qualifies you for federal aid, but it’s also what most schools use as the basis for their private aid options. Scheduling a consultation with the financial aid office will ensure that you’re aware of any scholarships you may be eligible for as well as work-study options that can help you discount tuition.

If you’re planning on working while pursuing your degree, you’ll also need to make sure that you have enough time to read the class materials, complete assignments, and prepare for exams. It may help to go to school part-time so that you’re still making progress toward your degree but also have time for family and work obligations.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? To be accepted into an online bachelor’s in criminal justice program, you will need a high school diploma or GED. It’s also common for competitive programs to require letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Many online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs can be completed entirely asynchronously. You will just need to meet deadlines for assignments, discussion posts, and exams. If you do have classes that are conducted synchronously, you will need to ensure that your schedule allows you to log in at the appointed times.
  • How long does it take to complete an online bachelor’s in criminal justice program? An online bachelor’s in criminal justice takes an average of four years to complete, but this is based on a full-time schedule. Students who need to stretch classes out due to work, family, or finances should anticipate taking up to six years to complete the program. However, you can also choose an accelerated program or take classes over the summer if you want to complete it faster.
  • What tests are required for an online bachelor’s in criminal justice program? Many schools require incoming students to take the SAT or ACT before being accepted.