Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Nebraska

If you've been considering earning a criminal justice degree in Nebraska, now might be the perfect time to take advantage of recent upward trends in the state's economy. A preliminary report from Nebraska's Department of Labor showed that the labor force increased by 7,633 people from February 2018 to March 2018. In February 2018, 30,904 people were unemployed in Nebraska, and that number dropped to 29,410 unemployed people in March 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for police and detectives nationwide will increase by 7% between 2016 and 2026. Criminal justice students are poised to move into this growing job market with degrees that make them appealing candidates to a variety of employers.

employment for police and detectives nationwide will increase by 7% between 2016 and 2026. Criminal justice students are poised to move into this growing job market with degrees that make them appealing candidates to a variety of employers BLS

For some students, earning their criminal justice degree online in Nebraska may be more appealing. Many students choose distance learning over the traditional college experience for a multitude of reasons, including affordability, flexibility, and convenience. This page will serve as your guide as you explore the possibilities that a criminal justice degree may grant you, as well as some factors you may want to consider as you decide on a program that's right for you.

There are many ways to earn a criminal justice degree in Nebraska. One option you may want to consider is earning your degree online. Distance programs offer many advantages over a traditional degree. Online degrees are often less expensive than earning a degree on campus. Tuition fees are often lower, but distance learners also save on costs by not having to relocate or commute to attend school. Digital textbooks for online degrees are usually cheaper than physical course materials that are required for traditional schooling.

Earning your degree online usually means you can access and complete coursework on your own schedule. Most distance learners find that they are able to work full time while they pursue their degrees. This results in a more affordable educational experience as you can continue to earn an income and pay tuition as you move toward graduation. Online students are often busy adults with families and other obligations outside of their educational pursuits. Students like these appreciate the opportunity to earn their degree with as little disruption to their lives as possible.

Though criminal justice degrees in Nebraska are available at accredited and unaccredited institutions, accredited schools are the better choice for several reasons. Accreditation means that a school has met the standards set by one or more accreditation agencies. Often, purveyors of financial aid mandate that the beneficiaries of their awards attend accredited schools. Most schools only accept transfer credits from other accredited colleges, and some employers may prefer graduates of accredited programs over their counterparts from unaccredited schools.

There are many organizations that bestow accreditation on colleges and universities in Nebraska, including the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. The regional accreditation body for schools in Nebraska is the Higher Learning Commission. Regional accreditation is generally seen as more prestigious than national accreditation due to more stringent evaluation criteria employed during the accreditation process. For this reason, transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted than those from nationally accredited schools.

The U.S. Department of Education provides a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs that can be found here.

Some criminal justice careers require no more than a high school education. These jobs include correctional officer, bailiff, fire inspector, police officer, private detective or investigator, security guard, and gaming surveillance officer

Some criminal justice careers require no more than a high school education. These jobs include correctional officer, bailiff, fire inspector, police officer, private detective or investigator, security guard, and gaming surveillance officer. Some jobs however, may require the applicant to have at least an associate degree, such as court reporter, paralegal, legal assistant, and firefighter. There are many occupations for which you would need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field. These occupations include probation officer, correctional treatment specialist, arbitrator, mediator, conciliator, and forensic science technician. Careers such as judge, hearing officer, and lawyer will require applicants to earn a master's degree in criminal justice or a doctorate.

Fulfilling the educational requirements is not always sufficient to qualify for criminal justice jobs in Nebraska. Police officers, federal law enforcement agents, probation officers, correctional treatment specialists, fire inspectors, forensic science technicians, private investigators, and detectives all go through some sort of training academy or on-the-job training.

Students who are interested in earning their online criminal justice degree in Nebraska should be aware of any licensure, registration, or certification requirements that may exist for the careers they want to pursue. Many criminal justice jobs require employees to hold relevant licensure for the state in which they work, and these licensure requirements vary by position and state. Private detectives and investigators are generally required to hold a license, which includes a background check and a written exam. Lawyers are also required to obtain a license to practice law in their state.

Certification may be the more appropriate route for some careers in criminal justice. In most cases, licensure is mandated in order to serve in certain positions, while certification is often voluntary. In addition, licensure is usually granted by the state while certifications may be provided by a private company.

Court reporters and forensic science technicians are often required to have some form of license or certification, but this varies by state and jurisdiction. Firefighters usually have to be certified as emergency medical technicians and sometimes as paramedics. Fire inspectors, private detectives or investigators, and paralegals or legal assistants may also need to earn certification. Registration is another designation that may be required of professionals working in criminal justice. For example, security guards must typically register their firearm.

Many states have different licensing regulations, so job seekers should verify requirements for the locality in which they plan to work. In addition, states vary in regard to the transferability of professional licenses between territories.

According to BLS, the mean hourly wage for all protective service occupations in the state of Nebraska is $21.04, while the annual mean wage is $43,760. This industry employs 15,440 people in the state. The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), in affiliation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration, projects that employment for protective service occupations in Nebraska will grow by 12% from 2014 to 2024.

employment for those working in legal support services will grow by 10.4% between 2014 and 2024

Professionals working in legal services earn $30.70 per hour and $83,800 per year. The PMP projects that employment for those working in legal support services will grow by 10.4% between 2014 and 2024. In Nebraska, 2,270 professionals work as correctional officers and jailers, who have a mean hourly wage of $17.37 and a mean annual wage of $40,980. PMP projections predict that employment in this industry will increase 6.1% from 2014 to 2024.

The following tables provide information on the employment, average hourly wage, and average annual wage for many occupations in the criminal justice field in Nebraska. Students pursuing an online criminal justice degree in Nebraska will find this information useful as they plan for their careers after graduation.

Protective Services Occupations in Nebraska

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Firefighters 1,140 $24.13 $50,200
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 140 $27.82 $57,870
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 340 $34.70 $72,170
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers 3,390 $27.45 $57,090
Security Guards 4,490 $15.51 $32,270
Transportation Security Screeners 240 $18.24 $37,940
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Nebraska

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 510 $20.29 $42,200
Lawyers 2,950 $53.34 $110,950
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 1,560 $22.35 $46,490
Court Reporters N/A $24.73 $51,430
Bailiffs 60 $25.14 $52,280
Correctional Officers and Jailers 2,270 $19.70 $40,980
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Nebraska

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians 110 $25.96 $53,990
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers 90 N/A $55,940
Source: BLS, May 2017

Students pursuing criminal justice degrees in Nebraska may benefit from available scholarship and grant opportunities. The following sections outline some scholarships for which students in criminal justice programs are eligible, as well as some specifically for students in Nebraska.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Brian Terry Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The Brian Terry Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA who plan to earn an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field at an accredited university. View Scholarship

Alpha Phi Sigma Best Paper Scholarships $150 to $500

Who Can Apply: Alpha Phi Sigma presents three scholarship awards to undergraduate students who win the Best Paper Scholarship competition. Students must write a paper on the designated topic in criminal justice and be members of Alpha Phi Sigma. View Scholarship

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: My Alarm Center awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors or freshmen or sophomores in college who are studying law, criminal justice, law enforcement, or a related field. View Scholarship

Sheryl A. Horak Law Enforcement Explorer Memorial Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is awarded to Law Enforcement Explorers who are high school seniors or older. Applicants must submit an essay on why they want to work in law enforcement. View Scholarship

Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Crimcheck awards this scholarship annually to college students and high school seniors who plan to pursue degrees in criminal justice. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Nebraska Residents

Wade and Alice Knapp Scholarship Fund $2,000

Who Can Apply: The Wade and Alice Knapp Scholarship is available to undergraduate students in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UNO or UNL. View Scholarship

Lincoln Legal Professionals Association Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is offered to undergraduate students in the state of Nebraska with at least a 3.0 GPA who wish to work in the legal support field. View Scholarship

NSHSS Andeavor Youth Leadership Awards $2,500

Who Can Apply: Andeavor awards this scholarship to high school seniors living in one of 19 states (including Nebraska) who have shown leadership capabilities. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Urban League of Nebraska, Inc. Multicultural Association Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The Urban League of Nebraska provides this scholarship to graduating high school seniors to encourage the pursuit of higher education. Applicants must be residents of Nebraska with at least a 2.5 GPA and 10 hours of documented community service experience. View Scholarship

Aksarben/Horatio Alger State Scholarships $6,000

Who Can Apply: These scholarships are available to students in Nebraska and western Iowa who are graduating high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.0 and significant financial need. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Nebraska

Professional Organizations

As you pursue your criminal justice degree online in Nebraska, you will discover that there are many organizations that exist for students and professionals studying and working in the field. Members of these associations enjoy various benefits such as opportunities for networking and collaborating among peers, as well as access to industry publications, research materials, and job postings.

The following section provides details on several professional organizations that may appeal to students earning their online criminal justice degree in Nebraska.

National Association of Police Organizations

NAPO is an alliance of police organizations across the U.S. that promotes the interests of law enforcement officers by way of education, political action, and legislative advocacy.

American Correctional Association

ACA was originally founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, making it the oldest association representing correctional professionals in the country. ACA works to improve the justice system through advancement in several areas, such as research, education, ethics, and public perception.

National Lawyers Association

NLA is a nonprofit organization made up of lawyers and other legal professionals committed to upholding the law and advancing the various causes that the community espouses.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences

The AAFS represents more than 6,600 members in all industries of the forensic sciences. Members have access to professional development opportunities, an annual meeting, newsletters, research studies, job postings, and webinars.

NALS

Originally known as the National Association of Legal Secretaries, NALS has since expanded to incorporate a wider variety of legal professionals. The organization provides benefits such as continuing legal education to its members.

National Criminal Justice Association

NCJA represents governments at all levels in advocating for appropriate criminal justice policy and funding for programs that advance the goals of the community.

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