Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Arizona
For students considering earning an online criminal justice degree, Arizona provides several opportunities for education and employment. The state’s economy is strong, and the University of Arizona’s Economic and Business Research Center predicts that Arizona will continue to outpace the country as a whole over the next 30 years. The favorable economy, sunny climate, and affordable cost of living attracts more residents to the state each year.
The University of Arizona’s Economic and Business Research Center predicts that Arizona will continue to outpace the country as a whole over the next 30 years.
As Arizona’s population grows, demand for criminal justice professionals increases as well. According to the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report, the state joined the nation in seeing a rise in violent crime. Arizona’s metropolitan areas in particular deal with more criminal activity than in prior years. Phoenix’s rising murder rate, now on par with the national average, demands more skilled criminal investigators and police officers. Arizona’s proximity to the Mexican border makes it a good state for individuals interested in working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or other border security positions.
If you want to pursue an online criminal justice degree, Arizona offers numerous quality distance education programs. Whether you are completely new to the field or an experienced professional, you will find ample opportunities in the state.
Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Arizona
Online degrees offer the same curriculum and academic rigor as on-campus degrees, but with additional benefits such as flexibility, convenience, and affordability. By pursuing your criminal justice degree online, you will be able to create your own schedule and work from home. Instead of commuting to a physical campus several times a week at a specific time, online learners log on to their computers and complete coursework whenever is most convenient. Distance learners can keep full-time jobs, take care of children and family members, and maintain other personal responsibilities.
Because online learners avoid the cost of commuting and on-campus fees, their degrees often cost less than in-person degrees. Some schools offer tuition discounts for online courses. Additionally, many distance programs offer accelerated classes and credit for prior learning experiences, allowing students to complete their program more quickly. The number of schools you can attend increases dramatically when geography is no longer a consideration. You can choose the Arizona online criminal justice degree that most closely fits your academic interests and career goals, instead of just enrolling in the closest program to your location.
Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Arizona
Arizona offers numerous on-campus and online criminal justice degrees at accredited schools. Accreditation is a voluntary process that colleges and universities undergo to prove they meet standards agreed upon by the academic community. Students who attend an accredited school receive a quality education and gain the skills necessary for success in the workplace.
The main regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in Arizona is the Higher Learning Commission.
Independent organizations called accrediting agencies evaluate schools to make sure they meet these standards. The three types of accrediting agencies are regional, national, and specialized. Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted and prestigious form. National accreditation is less common and less widely accepted. Vocational and for-profit schools usually receive national accreditation. Specialized accreditation agencies evaluate specific programs such as nursing or business.
If you attend an unaccredited school, you will be ineligible for financial aid from the federal government. Additionally, colleges and universities do not accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools. Most employers only recognize degrees from accredited schools, and many prefer degrees from schools with regional accreditation. By choosing a regionally accredited school, you increase your chances of receiving financial aid and finding employment.
The main regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in Arizona is the Higher Learning Commission. You can search the U.S. Department of Education’s database of postsecondary institutions to see which schools hold accreditation.
Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Arizona
The field of criminal justice offers a wide variety of career opportunities, each with different educational requirements. After you earn your online criminal justice degree, Arizona presents work opportunities in corrections, criminal justice administration, criminology, law enforcement, security, and investigative services.
Many entry-level positions across the field require an associate degree in criminal justice. Positions like police officer, correctional officer, fire investigator, crime scene technician, security officer, or police dispatch frequently require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Even for jobs that do not require a degree, students who complete an associate or bachelor’s program tend to be more competitive hires than those with only a high school diploma.
More specialized and higher paying criminal justice jobs in Arizona require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. Individuals with an online criminal justice degree work in many of the positions mentioned above, as well as in forensics, state and federal courts, social services, and management.
Criminal justice professionals who hold relevant experience and a master’s degree have the best chance of reaching leadership, supervisory, and administrative positions. Master’s degree holders typically specialize in an area such as terrorism, crime prevention, or investigation. Certain criminal justice jobs in Arizona require additional technical training. For example, police officers must undergo training with the police academy.
Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in Arizona
Many criminal justice jobs require employees to hold relevant licenses for the state in which they work. These licensure requirements can vary considerably by position and state. If you move to a different state, you must make sure you meet the new requirements and then re-apply for licensure in that state. Licensing regulations also change often. Students should check regularly that they are meeting licensure requirements for their desired profession.
Criminal justice professionals who carry weapons, such as police officers and security guards, typically must register through the correct government agency.
Criminal justice professionals who carry weapons, such as police officers and security guards, typically must register through the correct government agency. The Arizona Department of Public Safety oversees the licensure process for private investigators and security guards.
Although people often use the terms licensure and certification interchangeably, the words actually refer to different things. Licensure is a legal requirement organized and overseen by the state. To be eligible to work in many criminal justice positions, you must earn the proper license as mandated by the law. Certification, on the other hand, is a voluntary process that individuals undergo to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. While not usually mandatory, certifications can help individuals obtain jobs. For example, individuals who hold a AZ POST peace officer certification receive priority consideration for employment with the Arizona State Troopers.
Career and Salary Expectations
Professionals seeking a criminal justice job in Arizona face a promising career outlook and salary expectations. Protective service occupations in the state earn a mean hourly wage of $22.61 and a mean annual wage of $47,030. This field includes occupations such as criminal investigators, security guards, firefighters, and police officers. Students might also consider employment in court and corrections occupations, which include probation officers, correctional officers, and paralegals. Actual salaries vary depending on specific occupation, geographic area, work experience, and educational background.
Criminal justice students in Arizona should review the employment and salary information below. These tables detail the average wages and number of positions available for each specific occupation in the state. Due to employment numbers, it is more difficult to find work as a private investigator or detective than it is to find work as a security guard. Forensic technicians in Arizona receive a much more competitive wage than bailiffs. Students can use this information to guide their decisions about what to study, as well as the type of position they should pursue upon graduation.
Protective Services Occupations in Arizona
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average annual Wage
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators
|Fish and Game Wardens
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
|Private Detectives and Investigators
|Transportation Security Screeners
Court and Corrections Occupations in Arizona
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average annual Wage
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
|Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants
|Correctional Officers and Jailers
Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Arizona
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average annual Wage
|Forensic Science Technicians
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Figuring out how to pay for college is a common worry for many students seeking higher education. Luckily, many financial aid opportunities exist to help students pay for their criminal justice degrees in Arizona. Students should first fill out the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal grants and loans. Many local businesses, state governments, and professional associations offer private scholarships like those listed below.
Criminal Justice Scholarships
Arizona Justice Educator’s Association Scholarship $500
John A. Wagner, Jr. Youth Leadership Program Scholarship $1,000
George A. Zeiss Memorial Scholarships $1,000
Alphonso Deal Scholarship Varies
The McGaughey Family Scholarship $1,000
Scholarships for Arizona Residents
Flinn Foundation Scholarships More than $120,000
Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarships Varies
The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Scholarship 1,000-2,500/semester
Students Supporting a Family Scholarship $500-1,000
Don & Sybil Harrington Scholarship $2,500-5,000
Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Arizona
Law Enforcement Agencies in Arizona
- Arizona Department of Corrections
- Arizona Department of Homeland Security
- Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center
- Arizona Rangers
- Arizona Department of Public Safety
Professional organizations benefit criminal justice students by providing networking opportunities, job boards, and resources. By becoming a member of a professional group, you can connect with other professionals in your field and stay up-to-date with the latest research. Membership usually costs less for students and recent graduates, and members often receive discounts on legal services, conferences, and industry publications. Early career professionals often find their first jobs through associations like those below.
AJEA promotes quality criminal justice education in Arizona. The organization hosts an annual conference and awards scholarships to criminal justice students.
NCJA represents local, state, and tribal governments on issues related to crime. The group develops strategies to help justice agencies improve their programs and organizations.
The NBPA promotes fairness, justice, and effectiveness in law enforcement. The organization advocates for minority police officers.
ACJS promotes scholarly and professional work in criminal justice. The academy hosts groups that focus on topics such as restorative justice, women and minorities, crime prevention, and victimology.
ASC researches the consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. The society encourages members to collaborate and exchange knowledge.
The ACA is the oldest organization designed for correctional professionals. The group represents thousands of members around the world.