Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Michigan

A degree in criminal justice opens pathways into government and social and protective service positions that make a difference in communities both state and nationwide. With an online degree in criminal justice, diverse careers such as paralegal work or parole administration, dispatching or police work, and even animal control or private security are available to you. The range of degree levels, from certification and associate, to bachelor’s and post-secondary education, opens access to a variety of positions in the field.

Michigan ranked as the fourth highest state in the country for hate crimes. More specialists in criminal justice can help Michigan navigate and improve social relations and awareness Federal Bureau of Investigations

As society becomes more aware of social issues -- including race relations, drug addiction and dependence, and equality in jurisprudence -- the state of Michigan needs dedicated residents guiding both governing agencies and the local community. According to a 2016 study completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Michigan ranked as the fourth highest state in the country for hate crimes. More specialists in criminal justice can help Michigan navigate and improve social relations and awareness. Become a positive driving force for community engagement with your online criminal justice degree in Michigan.

An online degree offers multiple benefits. The flexibility inherent in the online classroom allows you access to course materials, your professors, and classmates through your school’s online system at any time. Online systems also allow you to submit assignments, complete exams and quizzes, and follow your personal progress from the comfort of your own home. Many schools offer specific support systems designed for online students, including tutoring resources and intern and job search tools.

Courses taught online can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses align with on-campus classes, giving you a campus-like experience synchronized with a group of classmates, while asynchronous courses can be completed at your own pace with flexible submission dates and benchmarkers.

The variety of coursework options in online programs prioritizes convenience. Schools increasingly recognize that online students often juggle personal commitments with full- or part-time careers. Online programs work with your busy schedule to ensure you can achieve your education and career goals.

Regardless of the program or degree you choose to pursue, accreditation is a vital component for your future success. A school’s accreditation ensures your degree is recognized in the professional sector as maintaining quality education standards across all fields. The United States Department of Education (ED) lists all accredited institutions on their website.

A school’s accreditation ensures your degree is recognized in the professional sector as maintaining quality education standards across all fields

Furthermore, the ED sanctions six governing bodies to maintain regional standards across the country; the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits all public institutions in the state of Michigan. Additionally, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) sets standards for police and law enforcement training centers and associations across Michigan. Check out their website for more information on potential schools and programs, in particular those institutions sponsored by the Michigan Police Accreditation Coalition (MIPAC).

Criminal justice is a field with multiple potential career avenues, with various opportunities for growth.

At the associate degree level, you can enter directly into positions in security services as a parole officer, private security guard, policeman police dispatcher, firefighter, or fire investigator. These positions require a foundation in jurisprudence, a desire to help others, and a strong moral compass.

At the bachelor’s level, positions of management and independent work, such as detective investigation, first response management, or paralegal are open to you. A post-secondary online criminal justice degree allows you to enter higher managerial positions or become a field educator.

Michigan maintains strict licensure, registration, and certification for members of law enforcement. In addition to your Michigan online criminal justice degree, you need to complete additional licensure and certifications depending on the career path you choose.

For example, the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) sets regulations for all law enforcement officers in the state. This governing body provides the certification you need for employment at the state and federal level. To find out more about law enforcement certification centers, check out the MCOLES certification website. Similarly, the Federal Bureau of Investigations Training Academy ensures all applicants meet national standards.

All members of the field of jurisprudence, from paralegals and lawyers, to judges and commissioners, must register with the State Bar of Michigan

With regard to professional registration, requirements vary by profession. All members of the field of jurisprudence, from paralegals and lawyers, to judges and commissioners, must register with the State Bar of Michigan. The state bar maintains the high quality of Michigan’s legal system and ensures ethical practices. Private investigators must register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). To find out more, check out the licensing website.

While paralegal certification is not state-mandated, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations strongly encourages future professionals to take the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam and the Paralegal Core Competency Exam. The exams authorize you to register nationally as a certified paralegal assistant. In addition, the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals provides various certifications for criminal justice degree holders, including certification in alcohol and drug counseling, clinical supervision, and prevention consultancy.

As you embark on your online criminal justice degree in Michigan, make sure that your degree program meets standards required by the governing bodies shaping your future career.

Given the broad spectrum of job opportunities for criminal justice degree holders in Michigan, potential salaries vary dramatically. Based on Michigan State’s Occupational Outlook summary, the state’s prospects overall are on the rise. Michigan already offers higher rates of employment for fish and game wardens, probation officers, and court reporters than the national average. With a degree in criminal justice, you can be a contributing member of the local community and a positive influence on Michigan State social dynamics.

The following tables list current salary averages among protective services occupations, court corrections services, and more general criminal justice opportunities that degree holders can pursue.

Protective Services Occupations in Michigan

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Firefighters 6,980 $21.57 $44,870
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 250 $29.83 $62,040
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 2,020 $40.48 $84,190
Fish and Game Wardens 200 $27.71 $57,640
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers 16,720 $26.82 $55,780
Private Detectives and Investigators 340 $25.90 $53,860
Security Guards 25,780 $13.09 $27,230
Transportation Security Screeners 900 $19.91 $41,400
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Michigan

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 2,470 $27.95 $58,130
Lawyers 15,100 $54.20 $112,740
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates 620 N/A N/A
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 6,250 $24.52 $51,000
Court Reporters 590 $24.52 $51,010
Bailiffs 700 $20.17 $41,950
Correctional Officers and Jailers 9,590 $24.00 $49,910
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Michigan

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians 330 $30.10 $62,610
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers 420 N/A $78,610
Source: BLS, May 2017

The following lists detail some of the various scholarships and grant opportunities available for criminal justice specialists, and for Michigan residents overall. In addition to these awards, make sure to check out scholarship opportunities offered by your college or university. Also, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Officer Ed Nowakszyk Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Provided by the Optimist Club of Saginaw, MI, this scholarship is for Saginaw County residents pursuing a degree in criminal justice. Applicants must demonstrate dedication to law enforcement and leadership. View Scholarship

Judge Gary R. McDonald Memorial Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Another opportunity administered by Saginaw County Optimist Club, this memorial fund supports students with aspirations to enter law-related careers. Applicants must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution. View Scholarship

Alpha Phi Sigma National V.A. Leonard Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply: For majors in Criminal Justice, the Alpha Phi Sigma Honors Society supports ongoing criminal justice degrees across the country. This is a competitive scholarship based on academic achievement, professional recommendations, and extracurricular and volunteer activities. View Scholarship

Alpha Phi Sigma National Regina B. Shearn Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply: Founded in 2001, the Regina B. Shearn scholarship fund provides financial assistance for ongoing criminal justice scholars. A student’s academic performance, leadership and service record is considered when awarding the scholarship. View Scholarship

My Alarm Center Student Scholarships $1,000

Who Can Apply: My Alarm Center offers scholarships for students pursuing degrees in criminal justice, law, and law enforcement. This scholarship is essay-based, requiring applicants to submit a persuasive argument answering questions regarding the role of civilian engagement in law enforcement. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Michigan Residents

Michigan Promise Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: For Michigan resident high school seniors attending an accredited institution. Applicants must complete at least 40 hours of community service and maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. Students entering the military may apply for the Promise Scholarship and defer award funds until completion of their tour of duty. View Scholarship

Fostering Futures Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Designed specifically for young adults in the foster care system, the Fostering Futures Scholarship covers the costs of tuition, boarding, and school supplies. Applicants must attend a for a four-year college/university or community college and meet satisfactory academic progress over the course of their degree. View Scholarship

Police and Firefighter’s Survivor Tuition Grant Tuition Waiver

Who Can Apply: Created in 1996, this state grant supports survivors of police and firefighting professionals lost in the line of duty. Applicants must have lost their parent or primary caregiver before 21 years of age (grant applicable only until the student’s 26th birthday). View Scholarship

Michigan Tuition Grant Varies

Who Can Apply: For Michigan residents in financial need, the Michigan Tuition Grant covers school tuition and mandatory fees at accredited institutions. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and prove residency in Michigan for at least one year prior to application. View Scholarship

Children of Veterans Tuition Grant $11,200

Who Can Apply: For Michigan residents 16-26 years old and children or dependents of a U.S. military service member who was maimed or killed in the line of duty. Applicants must maintain a 2.25 GPA or higher and be a Michigan resident for at least one year prior to application. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Michigan

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations facilitate opportunities for networking and job searches and often provide continuing educational courses about the latest issues and innovations in the criminal justice field. Make sure to get the most out of your degree by joining and participating in one of the following associations, and look for more local options in your area.

Michigan Council of Professional Investigators

Designed for independent private investigators, the Michigan Council of Professional Investigators maintains quality investigative skills within the community while providing networking and training opportunities.

Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals

As a member of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC), this association supports substance abuse disorder specialists by bringing together professionals in the fields of law, criminal justice, psychology, and social work.

Michigan State Bar Association

The State Bar administers law standards and jurisprudence in the state of Michigan. All law professionals must belong to the Bar Association and follow their code of ethics.

Michigan Association of Police Organizations

A coalition of multiple associations organized to protect and promote Michigan State Police, this organization fights for the rights and protections of law enforcement officers and their families.

National Federation of Paralegal Associations

This non-profit association maintains standards of the paralegal profession nationwide, and offers networking opportunities. The association monitors court proceedings at the state and national level to keep community members aware of changes in the field.

Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society

An association for undergraduate and graduate scholars of criminal justice, Alphi Phi Sigma offers career development opportunities and a wealth of networking venues to get the most out of your criminal justice degree.

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