Can I Pursue a Criminal Justice Degree Part-Time?

Completing a criminal justice degree on a part-time basis is one of the easiest ways to further your career without sacrificing your time. The number of students attending classes full-time decreased in recent years as the average age of students entering college rose. Many students today know that studying on a part-time basis lets them save money, work full-time at a regular job and still have time for their families and other commitments. You can take courses online or through a traditional college and still get the same experiences that full-time students do.

Online Courses vs. Traditional Learning

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, 23 percent of students taking courses at four-year universities attend classes on a part-time basis while the number of part-time community college students is approximately 59 percent. In addition to choosing between a four-year college and a community college, you also need to compare online learning to traditional learning. If you have a strong Internet connection, access to a computer and the ability to work well on your own, online courses might be a good fit. Those who need to work closely with a professor and around other students do better in traditional classroom settings.

Criminal Justice Courses

Working on a part-time criminal justice degree lets you take the same courses as full-time students but at a pace that works for you. These programs often require that you take general education courses on social and behavioral sciences, life sciences, mathematics and humanities before you take any criminal justice courses. After taking an introduction to criminal justice class, you can take specialized courses that focus on cyber security, law enforcement, legal issues and ethics. Some schools also offer courses for those planning to work as police or correctional officers, with juveniles or for the government.

Future Career Paths

Most students enter criminal justice programs because they want to work for different law enforcement agencies. While you don’t need a college degree to work for the police department, the Department of Homeland Security, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations and other government agencies require that applicants have a college degree. Completing your degree on a part-time basis lets you see the types of jobs that are available to you and gain some additional experience that will appeal to those employers. Some of the jobs you might enjoy include cyber security experts, parole or probation officers, paralegals and treatment specialists.

Benefits of Part-Time Learning

Completing a part-time criminal justice degree comes with a number of benefits. The amount that you pay each semester is less than what full-time students pay, and you can continue working at your full-time job. Part-time students also have more time to devote to their studies, which can lead to higher grades. Instead of doing homework every night and trying to complete assignments for four or more classes each semester, you can take just one or two classes. Part-time criminal justice students even have more time to do an internship with a local agency, police department or law office.

If you think that you don’t have time to work on your criminal justice degree, take a look at the programs in your area. These programs let students work part-time towards a criminal justice degree and still take the same courses and have access to the same experiences and internships that full-time students do.