Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Louisiana
Earning a Louisiana online criminal justice degree offers an exciting opportunity for distance learners, especially since the state recently enacted comprehensive criminal justice reform. In 2017, the Louisiana governor signed into law a series of 10 legislative bills to reform criminal justice and reduce Louisiana’s imprisonment rate, which ranks as the highest in the country, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2016, Louisiana also imprisoned 760 individuals per every 100,000 residents, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BLS).
Louisiana saw positive economic growth in 2017 with the per capita personal income rising 2.9% BEA
The new laws call for changes to the criminal justice system in Louisiana, including expanding probation and prison alternatives; improving victim services; and investing funds in juvenile justice and recidivism reduction programs in prisons, jails, and work release facilities. The new criminal justice reform laws will require hiring new criminal justice employees, especially lawyers, probation officers, and victim advocates.
With an unemployment rate of 4.4% as of March 2018, according to the BLS, Louisiana’s job market remains a lucrative place for recent graduates to seek employment. Louisiana saw positive economic growth in 2017 with the per capita personal income rising 2.9%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
With positive economic growth and low unemployment, Louisiana is an ideal location to earn a degree. Distance learners can earn an online degree in criminal justice from out of state at one of Louisiana’s top colleges.
Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Louisiana
Earning a Louisiana online criminal justice degree provides distance learners with a number of benefits, including flexibility and convenience.
Many online criminal justice degrees are offered in an asynchronous format. This allows students to complete work on their own schedules and maintain work and family responsibilities. Cohort programs, which require students to move through the curriculum with a group of learners, still allow students to complete work online, but they usually include synchronous components and take longer to complete.
Online students receive direct access to instructors through email and online forums to ask a question or seek additional assistance.
An educational institution may also accept hours earned from a basic police training course, as prescribed and certified by the Louisiana Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), in exchange for college credit. Universities or colleges may also accept basic training completed outside of Louisiana to replace college credit.
This exchange can save a degree candidate money by reducing the amount of classes required. The reduction also allows a learner to complete a Louisiana online criminal justice degree earlier than expected by reducing the number of required credits to graduate. Distance learners also save money on transportation and parking costs.
Earning a criminal justice degree online can also provide learners with more individualized attention than in a large, physical classroom. Students receive direct access to instructors through email and online forums to ask a question or seek additional assistance.
Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Louisiana
When researching a criminal justice program in Louisiana, students should check the school’s accreditation status. In Louisiana, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) serves as the main regional accrediting agency.
Credible educational institutions typically receive regional, national, or specialized accreditation. A specific regional agency reviews and awards accreditation based on the school’s specific geographic location and whether they meet certain academic standards. SACSCOC overseas all colleges and universities in 11 southeastern states.
In Louisiana, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) serves as the main regional accrediting agency.
Agencies sponsored by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) award national accreditation. Unlike regional or national accreditation, specialized accreditation usually applies to a university’s department, program, or college or school.
Accreditation can affect a student’s employment long after graduation since not all employers accept degrees and certificates from unaccredited schools. Accreditation may also affect transfer credits, as some institution only accept credits from schools with the same type of accreditation.
You can search for your program or school in the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs here.
Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Louisiana
A job applicant may need to meet certain educational requirements for a criminal justice occupation.
In Louisiana, applicants can apply to become a police officer or firefighter with only a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate. However, an associate degree can prepare students for more career options, including positions in corrections, legal assisting, and law enforcement, as well as preparing them to earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice helps prepare learners for mid-level careers or degree advancement. Such careers include parole officer, lobbyist, statistician, and witness advocate.
Depending on the criminal justice job, an applicant may need additional training, testing, or certification.
Leadership positions in Louisiana may require a master’s degree in criminal justice, which also provides degree candidates with a competitive edge in the job market. Potential careers with a master’s degree include air marshal, college instructor, law enforcement performance auditor, federal agent, policy analyst, and juvenile probation officer.
Depending on the criminal justice job, an applicant may need additional training, testing, or certification. To become a lawyer in Louisiana, a degree candidate must complete a written examination known as the bar exam. The Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions administers the bar exam. To join the State Police, a cadet must attend the Louisiana State Police Training Academy, which provides basic training and continuing education for troopers.
Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in Louisiana
Many criminal justice jobs require applicants to hold a specific licence in the state where they work. Security guards must register in most states, especially if carrying a firearm, according to the BLS. Requirements for licensure vary based on the job position and state.
In Louisiana, specific criminal justice jobs require licensure with the state. For example, private investigators must apply for licensure with the Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners in order to work. Even with licensure, an applicant must complete an online continuing education course every two years to maintain a private investigator license. Security officers must seek licensing from the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners, the state’s regulatory body for the private security industry.
To practice some professions, a state requires a type of license under state law. A certification, by contrast, typically remains a voluntary process in which an employee seeks to demonstrate professionalism and competency in the field.
Many criminal justice jobs require applicants to hold a specific licence in the state where they work.
In 1978, Louisiana created POST to mandate training standards for peace officers in the state. The definition of a peace officer includes any full-time or part-time employee in the state who makes arrests, performs searches, issues warrants, and prevents or detects crime. Unlike other voluntary certifications, a peace officer must complete a basic training course within the first year of employment in accordance with state law. The course includes testing, a state exam, and firearms training.
POST awards three basic types of certification: certification for basic law enforcement peace officers, certification for basic correctional peace officer, and certification for jailer training officers. An applicant who presents an out-of-state POST certificate may still qualify for certification by passing a statewide exam with a minimum required score, qualifying on the firearms course, and completing a basic training manual.
Since licensure instructions can change frequently, job seekers should verify requirements with the local municipality where they plan to work.
Career and Salary Expectations
Despite crime rates falling throughout the country, the need for police officers and other criminal justice professionals will continue to rise in the near future, according to the BLS. However, employment demand will depend on location. Protective service occupations may include police officer, firefighter, security guard, correctional officer, lawyer, judge, or other law profession.
Jobseekers in Louisiana will see protective service occupations grow 5% from 2016 to 2026, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Employment for private detectives will grow at a rate of 11%, which is faster than the national average. The BLS projects national employment of correctional officers to decline 7% from 2016 to 2026. In Louisiana, a protective service occupation offers a mean hourly wage of $17.44 and an annual mean wage of $36,270, according to the BLS.
The table below shows protective service occupations in Louisiana, along with employment rates and average hourly and annual wages. Criminal justice students and graduates interested in finding a job in the state can compare and contrast the different professions, including court and corrections occupations, and how much the jobs pay by using the information provided below.
Protective Services Occupations in Louisiana
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average annual Wage
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
|Private Detectives and Investigators
|Transportation Security Screeners
Court and Corrections Occupations in Louisiana
|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 Louisiana
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average annual Wage
|Forensic Science Technicians
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Many scholarship opportunities exist for students seeking careers in criminal justice. Eligibility for financial awards may require a written essay or minimum GPA. As a first step, all prospective students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for grants, loans, and work-study awards.
The list below shows 10 available scholarships, including five for students seeking a career in the criminal justice field and five for degree candidates residing in Louisiana.
Criminal Justice Scholarships
Brian A. Terry Scholarship Varies
My Alarm Center $1,000
Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500
Out to Protect Scholarship $500-1,000
Scholarships for Louisiana Residents
Claude L. Cockerham III Scholarship $500
George and Cecil Bedsole Endowed Scholarship Varies
Louisiana Sheriffs’ Scholarship $500
Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance Go Grant $300-3,000
Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarship $500-2,500
Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Louisiana
Law Enforcement Agencies in Louisiana
- Louisiana State Police
- Louisiana Department of Justice
- Louisiana Department of Corrections
- Louisiana Division of Levee District Police
- Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – Enforcement Division
- Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
A professional organization provides criminal justice students and recent graduates with valuable career services and professional benefits. Associations provide members with networking opportunities, online discussion boards, discounts on products and services, job listings, professional publications, scholarship information, and access to the latest research in the field.
The list featured below shows six of the most common criminal justice professional organizations in Louisiana for individuals working in police departments, correctional institutions, and law offices.
Serving individuals working in the criminal justice field, this association provides information about effective methods used in modern institutional and community corrections on the state and local levels.
A fraternal organization representing the men and women of the Louisiana State Police, this association works to improve pay and benefits, assure a better work environment, and provide professional support for members.
This association serves more than 350 municipal police departments in Louisiana, providing members with the latest police training, education, and information, as well as representation in the Louisiana State Legislature.
LACD, the only association devoted to the criminal defense profession in Louisiana, offers members many benefits, including access to a membership directory, online discussion forums, award and scholarship opportunities, and the chance to attend meetings and seminars.
The LSBA provides members with a number of benefits, including resources for law students preparing for bar admissions, career services, law publications, discounted business services, and online resources. This association also provides legal resources for the public.
Dedicated to men and women serving and protecting the citizens of Louisiana, this association provides online resources to members and access to annual meetings.
Find Criminal Justice Jobs in Louisiana
- Louisiana State Police
- Join New Orleans Police Department
- Alexandria Police Department
- City of Covington, Louisiana
- Civil Service Louisiana