As you begin researching criminal justice degrees, be sure not to focus exclusively on law schools. Paralegals, cops, court reporters, and social workers are all important careers fields within the criminal justice system.

Do You Always Need a Law Degree to Work in Criminal Justice?
Because those who graduate from law degree programs collectively earn a median salary of $110,590, it is little surprise that lawyers receive the most attention within the world of criminal justice. However, a law degree is not the only way to gain entry into this exciting industry.

You may not always make a six-figure income, but there are plenty of criminal justice degrees that lead to comfortable salaries, challenging work, and exciting career opportunities. And in most cases, you do not have to invest the seven years that an aspiring attorney must. For example, paralegal programs typically last just one or two years. With this level of certification, the median salary hovers around $46,000 a year, with the top 10 percent of earners making an impressive $73,450 or more.

Different Types of Criminal Justice Degrees
In addition to paralegal schools and law degree programs, you can pursue any number of criminal justice programs that offer:

  • Probation and corrections officer training
  • Police and law enforcement preparation
  • Stenography and court reporting
  • Social working degrees
  • Paralegal training

Each one of these follows slightly different guidelines, but in most cases, you should budget between one or two years of professional training.

Still Want to Become a Lawyer? Consider an Online Law Degree
If you still want to become a practicing attorney, it might be worth exploring what online law degree programs have to offer. You cover the same materials and follow a similar overall curriculum, but without the commute. Imagine working towards your online law degree from the comfort of home. Consider the gas money, time, and stress you can save when you can study any time you want, anywhere you want.

Take some time to really explore your options before settling on a career and learning platform. Criminal justice is a broad field, with many different careers, levels, and distribution methods.