Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Maine

Maine will likely experience modest economic growth over the next few years. The state’s Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) projects that employment for all occupations will grow only 0.8% through 2024. However, some sectors of the economy, including occupations in the field of criminal justice, will grow significantly in this time.

The CWRI anticipates that employment for police and sheriff patrol officers will increase by 5.2% in the next few years. Center for Workforce Research and Information

The CWRI anticipates that employment for police and sheriff patrol officers will increase by 5.2% in the next few years. Similarly, the CWRI projects that employment for security guards will grow by 4.7% and employment for correctional facilities officers will increase by 3.7%. Across the state of Maine, protective service is the sixth fastest growing field.

Especially for those with full-time jobs or family obligations, earning an online criminal justice degree can help you develop the knowledge and professional skills necessary to take advantage of these opportunities. You can pursue an online associate degree at one of Maine’s community colleges in order to obtain entry-level jobs in security or corrections. Alternatively, you can earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice at one of the state’s public universities, a common requirement for higher-level jobs such as detective or crime scene investigator.

Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Maine

There are several benefits to earning an online criminal justice degree in Maine. Online programs offer students the flexibility to watch lectures and complete coursework on their own schedules. Students may take courses from the comfort of their own homes. The convenience of online education is particularly important to working professionals looking to change careers and parents who need to balance their studies with childcare.

Online programs are often more more affordable than on-campus programs. Many schools charge a lower rate for online courses. Furthermore, online students do not have to pay for transportation or room and board. Schools may exempt online students from paying certain fees associated with on-campus services, including athletic facility costs.

Distance education is similar to in-person learning in many ways. At most schools, the same faculty teach both online and on-campus courses. Students study the same material, complete the same assignments, and earn the same degree. However, online learning does require a great deal of self-discipline and time management. If you are looking for an inexpensive and flexible way to earn your criminal justice degree in Maine, an online program may be the best choice.

Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Maine

When researching online criminal justice degrees in Maine, make sure to check if your program is accredited. Accreditation ensures that schools meet certain academic standards and adequately prepare graduates for jobs in their chosen field. Attending a non-accredited school will limit your ability to receive financial aid or transfer your credits to another institution.

Employers and graduate schools prefer regional accreditation because it requires higher standards and a more rigorous process.

There are three main types of accreditation: regional, national, and specialized. Regional accreditation is the most common and most prestigious of the three. Employers and graduate schools prefer regional accreditation because it requires higher standards and a more rigorous process. The regional accrediting body for Maine is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) authorizes ten agencies to oversee national accreditation. For-profit schools and vocational institutions typically hold national accreditation. While these institutions confer valid degrees, students may have difficulty obtaining financial aid or transferring credits.

Finally, specialized accreditors review programs in particular fields or disciplines. For example, the American Bar Association (ABA) accredits law schools. In most states, students who wish to take the bar exam must attend an ABA-accredited institution.

You can search the ED’s database of postsecondary institutions to see if your program holds regional, national, or specialized accreditation.

Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Maine

For most entry-level criminal justice jobs in Maine, such as state trooper or corrections facility officer, the only education requirement is a high school diploma or GED. However, a postsecondary degree in criminal justice can help you enter the field faster, increase your odds of being hired, and qualify you for more advanced positions.

With just a high school diploma, you must be at least 21 years of age to apply to Maine’s police academy. However, the state allows 20-year-olds to apply if they have at least 60 college credits. An associate degree in criminal justice can help you meet this educational requirement.

For positions with greater responsibility, state agencies and local governments usually prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The federal government almost exclusively hires candidates with postsecondary education. For example, individuals interested in working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation must hold, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Certain roles, such as forensic science technician, may require candidates to hold a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

All aspiring police officers and law enforcement officials in Maine must complete the state’s basic law enforcement training program. Individuals who plan to work as corrections officers must complete the basic corrections training program. Some positions may require specialized training from particular institutions. For example, future game wardens must attend the Advanced Warden Academy.

Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in Maine

All law enforcement and corrections officials in Maine must complete their respective training programs. To enroll in these programs, individuals must be 21 or older, pass a physical examination, and have a high school diploma or GED. Candidates must not have been convicted of any felonies. The state permits 20-year-olds to apply to a training program if they meet certain educational requirements.

Private security personnel in Maine do not need to be individually licensed. However, armed security guards must work for a company that has been licensed by the state’s Commissioner of Public Safety. Private security companies may require their employees to submit to background checks or complete gun safety courses and other training programs.

Private investigators must have their own license. To become licensed, individuals must be 21 or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and maintain a clean criminal record

Private investigators must have their own license. To become licensed, individuals must be 21 or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and maintain a clean criminal record. In addition, private investigators must meet certain education and experience requirements. Finally, private investigators must pass an exam administered by the Office of the Chief of State Police.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state. While some states negotiate reciprocity agreements with one another, most licenses usually do not automatically transfer from state to state. Licensing regulations change frequently, so it is important to carefully review your state’s requirements before applying for a job.

In addition to licensure, criminal justice professionals can pursue a number of different certifications to demonstrate their expertise in a particular area. For example, police officers in Maine can receive certification as drug recognition experts. These officers specially train to recognize individuals driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Certification can improve your job prospects and help you earn a higher salary.

Career and Salary Expectations

According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for professionals working in protective service occupations was $17.63 in 2017. This averages out to a median salary of $39,760. While these are both lower than the national average for criminal justice occupations, certain roles, such as detective or fish and game warden, earn considerably more.

The field of criminal justice maintains better job prospects than many other industries in Maine. While the state as a whole will see only 0.8% employment growth through 2024, Maine’s Department of Labor projects employment for protective service occupations will increase by 4.1% over that same period.

Earning an online criminal justice degree in Maine can help you find higher paying jobs. For example, criminal justice postsecondary teachers in Maine earn an average salary of $55,130, well above the state and national averages. To qualify for these jobs, however, you will likely need at least a master’s degree in criminal justice. The tables below include employment and salary information for a variety of occupations in the field.

Protective Services Occupations in Maine

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Fire Inspectors and Investigators70$23.07$47,980
Detectives and Criminal Investigators580$33.30$69,270
Fish and Game Wardens130$27.51$57,230
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers2,120$23.23$48,310
Security Guards1,860$13.65$28,380
Transportation Security Screeners120$19.92$41,430
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Maine

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists270$21.82$45,390
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates90$52.22$108,620
Paralegals and Legal Assistants1,280$23.13$48,110
Correctional Officers and Jailers1,600$18.84$39,180
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Maine

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians50$22.56$46,930
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers60N/A$55,130
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarships are the best way to pay for criminal justice degrees in Maine. Some national foundations provide scholarships specifically to individuals seeking careers in law enforcement. A number of organizations in Maine provide support to residents pursuing postsecondary education in the state. The list below describes a small sample of the scholarship opportunities available to you.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: The American Correctional Association encourages minority students planning to work in criminal justice to apply for this award. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Women in Federal Law Enforcement Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to women pursuing a degree in criminal justice. Applicants must have completed at least one full year of college with a 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Crimcheck scholarship applicants must intend to pursue a career in criminal justice. Students must also have a 3.0 GPA.

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Scholarships $1,500-$2,500

Who Can Apply: Students must enroll at an accredited academic institution and commit to working in the field of criminal justice. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need and hold a minimum 3.8 GPA. View Scholarship

Brian Terry Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: The Brian Terry Foundation awards scholarships to students seeking an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Maine Residents

State of Maine Grant Program $1,500

Who Can Apply: This grant program is open to Maine residents enrolled at least half-time at an accredited college or university. The state provides these awards based on financial need. View Scholarship

Futurama Foundation Scholarships $1,200

Who Can Apply: Requirements for the Futurama Foundation’s scholarships vary. Generally, applicants must be women with financial need pursuing postsecondary education in Maine. View Scholarship

Maude MacKenzie Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This program is open to any Maine resident attending a college or university in the state. The foundation awards scholarships based on academic achievement, community service, and financial need. View Scholarship

Mitchell Scholarship $9,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Maine residents who graduated from a public high school in the state. Candidates must enroll at an accredited college or university. The Mitchell Institute evaluates candidates based on academic potential, community involvement, and financial need. View Scholarship

Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Maine

Law Enforcement Agencies in Maine

Professional Organizations

After earning a criminal justice degree online in Maine, you should consider joining a professional organization in the state. These organizations provide networking opportunities, host a variety of professional development and educational resources, and help you stay connected to the latest research and news in the field. Many also promote job openings on their websites.

Maine Association of Police

MAP represents local law enforcement officials in Maine. The association advocates for beneficial criminal justice policy and fair police compensation.

Maine Chiefs of Police Association

Made up of senior law enforcement leaders, MCPA works on police-community relations and enhances police training and professionalism.

Maine Sheriffs’ Association

MSA represents sheriffs and deputy sheriffs in Maine. The association coordinates law enforcement activities with other agencies in the state.

Maine Licensed Private Investigator Association

MPLIA acts as a professional association for licensed, bonded, and insured private investigators. The association promotes the ethical conduct of investigators operating in the state.

American Correctional Association

ACA convenes, educates, and supports correctional facilities employees across the country.

American Probation and Parole Association

APPA is an international professional association that provides training and educational resources to individuals working in pretrial, probation, parole, and community-based corrections.

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