Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Maryland

Maryland has an overall positive economic outlook. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, its GDP continues to rise, outpacing the national average. With a per capita personal income of $59,524, the state ranks fifth nationwide.

Maryland's unemployment rate of 4.3% is higher than the national rate of 3.9%. Maryland's 2.2% employment growth rate was the country's sixth fastest, surpassing the national rate of 1.4% BLS

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that Maryland's unemployment rate of 4.3% is higher than the national rate of 3.9%. However, the state announced in 2018 that it had experienced a 10-year low for unemployment insurance claims. In November 2017, Maryland's 2.2% employment growth rate was the country's sixth fastest, surpassing the national rate of 1.4%.

As employment opportunities surge, the state promotes continued economic growth by investing heavily in education. Additionally, as online programs become increasingly available, more students can further their education and advance their careers.

The future is particularly promising for Maryland's criminal justice professionals. The BLS projects 5% national employment growth for protective service occupations between 2016 and 2026. However, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation projects 13.7% growth for the state's protective service workers between 2014 and 2024.

Furthermore, Maryland protective service professionals earn some of the nation's highest mean annual salaries. Likewise, Maryland maintains one of the nation's highest job concentrations for legal professionals.

For many students, an online criminal justice degree in Maryland is a flexible alternative to traditional on-campus programs. Generally, more program and school options are available to distance learners. Maryland residents may pursue an in-state degree or pay in-state tuition for an out-of-state program online.

Students earning an online criminal justice degree in Maryland study at home according to their own schedules. Synchronous online programs require students to complete coursework at specific times, but they typically accommodate the needs of working students. Asynchronous online programs allow students to study whenever is most convenient for them.

Online criminal justice degrees in Maryland are generally more affordable than on-campus programs. Distance learners pay fewer fees related to on-campus housing, unused facilities, and travel.

Students researching criminal justice degrees in Maryland must consider each school's accreditation status. Colleges and universities undergo voluntary accreditation to demonstrate the quality of their programs. Federal aid is only available to students enrolled in accredited schools. Additionally, many employers only select candidates from accredited institutions.

Most academically oriented, nonprofit institutions are regionally accredited. However, many career-based, for-profit schools opt for national accreditation. Although nationally accredited schools typically accept transfer credits from any accredited school, most regionally accredited schools only accept credits from other regionally accredited schools.

Although nationally accredited schools typically accept transfer credits from any accredited school, most regionally accredited schools only accept credits from other regionally accredited schools

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recognizes six regional accrediting bodies, each of which evaluates higher education institutions within a specific geographic area. Because regional accreditation entails a more rigorous evaluation process than national accreditation, it is more widely respected.

Often, departments within universities maintain additional, program-specific accreditation. However, since regulations vary by state, few national organizations grant programmatic accreditation for criminal justice degrees. Still, some national law enforcement agencies allow programs to bear their seal of approval. This can be helpful for students seeking employment within a specific organization.

The ED maintains an online database of accredited schools. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the regional accreditor for colleges and universities in Maryland.

The criminal justice field provides opportunities for people of diverse educational backgrounds. Many aspiring protective service professionals earn an associate degree in criminal justice. Associate holders often work in entry-level police force, corrections, and security positions.

An associate degree can be an excellent springboard to further education. Many graduates of associate programs later earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. This prepares students to work as parole officers, domestic violence counselors, or corrections case workers.

Some criminal justice professions require an advanced degree, such as a master's degree in criminal justice. These fields typically require substantial counseling training, a deep understanding of the legal system, and exceptional leadership skills.

In Maryland, most protective service organizations require candidates to complete focused training programs. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services maintains specialized training facilities and programs for aspiring police officers, parole officers, corrections professionals, and public safety workers.

Many criminal justice occupations require specialized certification or licensure. State registration is also mandatory for many protective service workers, particularly those who carry weapons. Certification proves that a criminal justice worker has satisfactorily completed a field-specific training program. Although most certificates are legally optional, many employers require them.

Licenses, on the other hand, are state-mandated legal documents which professionals must possess to work in their field. Licensure and certification requirements vary by state. The Maryland State Police Licensing Division oversees training, certification, and licensure for state police officers, fire marshals, parole officers, security guards, and private investigators.

Students planning to work elsewhere after earning a criminal justice degree in Maryland should research their new state's regulations. Similarly, criminal justice workers who move to Maryland from other regions must typically complete additional training. However, experienced professionals may qualify for training waivers.

Criminal justice degrees in Maryland prepare students for careers in protective services, legal services, and corrections. According to BLS data, Maryland's protective service workers earn a mean annual salary of $49,700. This surpasses the occupation's national average of $47,190.

In Maryland, these workers earn $92,010 on average each year. Maryland's concentration of legal jobs is the nation's fifth-highest

Nationally, legal professionals earn a median annual salary of $80,080. In Maryland, these workers earn $92,010 on average each year. Maryland's concentration of legal jobs is the nation's fifth-highest.

The BLS projects 9% employment growth for legal professionals nationwide between 2016 and 2026. According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), analysts project 19.1% employment growth for Maryland paralegals and legal assistants between 2014 and 2024.

Similarly, analysts project 20.2% growth for the state's security guards -- much higher than the projected national growth of 5.1%. The table below contains employment and salary data for criminal justice professions in Maryland.

Protective Services Occupations in Maryland

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Firefighters 4,130 $28.17 $58,590
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 170 $30.38 $63,190
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 950 $48.02 $99,880
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers N/A $31.74 $66,020
Private Detectives and Investigators N/A $27.08 $56,330
Security Guards 26,230 $16.41 $26,820
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Maryland

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Lawyers 11,900 $60.81 $126,480
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates 580 $70.20 $146,020
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 6,890 $26.61 $55,360
Bailiffs 580 $19.28 $40,110
Correctional Officers and Jailers 7,120 $23.34 $48,550
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Maryland

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians 420 $32.37 $67,330
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary 230 N/A $80,040
Source: BLS, May 2017

Students earning online criminal justice degrees in Maryland should begin researching financial aid options early. Students may determine their eligibility for federal assistance by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). National, state-specific, and program-specific scholarships are also available to help students finance their educations.

Students pursuing a criminal justice degree online in Maryland may be eligible for the scholarships listed below.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Irlet Anderson Scholarship Award $2,500

Who Can Apply: The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives offers this award to college students pursuing a career in criminal justice. Applicants must possess a 3.8 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Criminal Justice Scholarship Award $500

Who Can Apply: Crimcheck.com provides this award for students pursuing a postsecondary criminal justice education. Applicants must maintain a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate community leadership experience, and submit a personal essay on a criminal justice topic. View Scholarship

Captain James J. Regan Memorial Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: This scholarship exists for graduating high school seniors and already-enrolled students pursuing a law enforcement-related career. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, and community involvement. They must also submit a personal essay. View Scholarship

Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award $6,500 to $8,500

Who Can Apply: The American Correctional Association presents this scholarship to exceptional criminal justice students. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, and community leadership experience. View Scholarship

Brian Terry Foundation Scholarship Program Varies

Who Can Apply: The Brian Terry Foundation created this program to support criminal justice students pursuing a law enforcement career. Applicants must submit a personal essay and procure two letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Maryland Residents

Howard P. Rawlings Educational Assistance Grant $400 to $3,000

Who Can Apply: This award supports Maryland residents enrolled in an in-state college or university. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, submit the FAFSA, and be full-time students. View Scholarship

Maryland 2+2 Transfer Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship program is for students who plan to transfer from an associate program to a four-year Maryland school. Applicants must be Maryland residents. View Scholarship

Central Scholarship Program Varies

Who Can Apply: The Central Scholarship assists Maryland residents planning to enroll in higher education programs. Applicants must possess a 2.0 GPA and live within 200 miles of Baltimore City. View Scholarship

Angie M. Houtz Memorial Scholarship $3,000

Who Can Apply: The Angie M. Houtz Memorial Scholarship Fund awards Maryland students who hold a record of academic excellence and community involvement. View Scholarship

Maryland Chiefs of Police Association Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: The Maryland Chiefs of Police present this award to a state resident pursuing a degree related to law enforcement. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and community involvement. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Maryland

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations can be excellent resources for criminal justice students. Many associations offer members career assistance, networking opportunities, and access to industry research. Some organizations also provide health and insurance benefits, scholarship funds, and continuing education.

Students pursuing a criminal justice degree online in Maryland may join one of the organizations listed below.

Maryland Correctional Administrators Association

This association supports Maryland corrections workers by providing training opportunities and advocating for improved working conditions.

Maryland Troopers Association

This organization grants a voice to Maryland police troopers. Members receive training and educational support, advocate for improved employment standards, and promote best security practices.

Maryland Investigators and Security Association

This association connects Maryland's investigators and security professionals to information exchanges, professional networking, and advocacy initiatives.

Maryland Law Enforcement Officers

This organization represents and assists law enforcement officials in Maryland. It provides professional resources, training programs, and advocacy opportunities for its members.

Maryland Association of Paralegals

This association connects Maryland paralegals to mentorship programs, networking events, and industry information.

Maryland Chiefs of Police Association

This organization promotes law enforcement efficacy and improvement. Members work with communities and legislators to enhance police communication and relations in Maryland.

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