Online Criminal Justice Degrees in New York

Although New York’s crime rate has been steadily declining in the last two decades, there is still a large demand for well-trained professionals in the criminal justice field. This demand is partly due to the increasing frequency of high-tech crimes such as intellectual property theft, money laundering, and identity theft. Next to California, New York maintains the highest demand for correctional treatment professionals and probation officers in the country. Protective services personnel in New York earn an average annual salary of $51,430, significantly higher than the national average.

Next to California, New York maintains the highest demand for correctional treatment professionals and probation officers in the country.

Online criminal justice degrees teach students about policing, criminal rehabilitation, investigation, and crime prevention. There are several excellent options for students who wish to pursue a criminal justice degree online in New York. The state hosts more than 100 schools that offer criminal justice degrees at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.

Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in New York

Rapid advances in digital technology have made online education an affordable, convenient, and flexible option. A plethora of eLearning options saves students a significant amount of money. Many schools offer a tuition discount for online courses, and distance learners typically do not pay on-campus fees for parking and athletic facilities. Online students also avoid costs associated with transportation and room and board.

Online learning also provides educational options to nontraditional students, including seniors, digital nomads, full-time workers, and stay-at-home parents. Prior to the availability and accessibility of online education, nontraditional students often had a difficult time returning to school. Today, all students can earn a degree while still tending to their other responsibilities.

Digital learning is convenient for all types of students. Without having to attend synchronous on-campus classes, students can watch lectures and complete assignments whenever and wherever they choose. Online learning also allows students to attend schools that normally would be too far away. Students interested in an online criminal justice degree in New York can choose the school that best suits their goals, rather than just attending whichever school is closest to their location.

Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in New York

Schools in the U.S. receive two main forms of accreditation: regional and national. Regional organizations grant accreditation to academically focused colleges and universities. There are six regional accrediting bodies in the country. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education oversees colleges and universities in the state of New York. Most employers and graduate schools prefer degrees from regionally accredited institutions. Nationally accredited schools are generally for-profit institutions that offer career, religious, technical, or vocational programs.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education oversees colleges and universities in the state of New York.

Specialized accrediting agencies confer accreditation on departments and programs within an institution. For example, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) accredits criminal justice programs. Only a handful of U.S. schools enjoy ACJS accreditation.

Accreditation is also important because unaccredited colleges and universities cannot receive federal funding. Consequently, students cannot receive Pell grants and student loans. Accreditation also affects students’ ability to transfer credits. Nationally accredited schools accept transfer credits from institutions with national or regional accreditation. However, regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions.

Students can visit the U.S. Department of Education website to check each school’s accreditation status.

Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in New York

Despite the continuing downward trend in crime, there remains a strong demand for criminal justice professionals in New York. The state boasts a comprehensive list of colleges and universities that offer academic and training opportunities for individuals who wish to work in the criminal justice system.

Many criminal justice jobs in New York require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Professionals should hold a bachelor’s degree to obtain work as a border patrol agent, computer forensics investigator, or juvenile probation officer. However, there are positions available to graduates with just an associate degree. Options include criminal law paralegal or court clerk. Careers in management or federal law enforcement typically require a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Some criminal justice jobs require specialized training. For example, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives agents must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and additional training in relevant federal law.

Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in New York

There are several job opportunities available to individuals holding a criminal justice degree in New York, each with its own set of requirements. Because of this, there is no single set of rules regarding academic, certification, licensing, or registration that covers the entire field. Each specialization requires its own licensure or certification process, and these rules vary from one state to another.

There is no single set of rules regarding academic, certification, licensing, or registration that covers the entire field.

Licensure refers to a mandatory process all professionals must undergo before working in a certain field. For example, forensic social workers must obtain a state license in social work to practice within the criminal justice system. New York offers two licensing levels, each with a corresponding educational requirement. Licensed master social workers need a post-bachelor’s degree, while licensed clinical social workers must hold a graduate degree and pass a clinical exam.

Law enforcement and corrections professionals must receive a relevant license in their field. Unlike most states, New York requires police officers and correctional officers to hold at least 60 credits of college coursework. The state waives this requirement for candidates with at least two years of experience in the armed forces. Candidates should also attend the relevant academy for training.

Licenses generally do not transfer between states. However, most states allow private investigators who are not licensed in the state to operate within their jurisdiction for investigative purposes. This professional courtesy applies only if the investigation originated in the licensed private investigator’s home state. Licensing regulations change often. Criminal justice students should verify requirements before applying to work within a certain jurisdiction.

Unlike licensure, certification is a voluntary process that indicates mastery in a particular subject. Many criminal justice employers prefer certified candidates. Forensic accountants, for example, should hold a CPA and a certification in forensic accounting.

Career and Salary Expectations

Individuals who earn a criminal justice degree in New York can pursue several different career opportunities in the protective services field. Protective service workers include correctional treatment specialists, firefighters, paralegals, security guards, and, of course, police officers. Salaries for this group vary widely, from $34,000 per year for security guards to $165,000 per year for lawyers. On average, protective service professionals in New York earn a mean hourly wage of $25.22 and a mean annual wage of $52,460.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job openings in protective services will grow 5% nationwide by 2026. The exact rate of growth varies greatly between occupations. Projections Central projects that jobs for detectives and criminal investigators in New York will only grow 0.7% by 2026, but jobs for patrol officers will grow by 6.3% in the same period. PC also projects massive growth for criminal justice professors and forensic science technicians (26.3% and 26.7%, respectively).

The tables below show the average hourly and annual wages for criminal justice jobs in New York.

Protective Services Occupations in New York

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Fire Inspectors and Investigators520$30.46$63,350
Detectives and Criminal Investigators9,290$42.46$88,320
Fish and Game Wardens390$32.32$67,230
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers46,940$35.10$73,000
Private Detectives and Investigators1,750$30.00$62,400
Security Guards119,130$16.53$34,390
Transportation Security Screeners3,600$19.78$41,140
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in New York

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists4,530$32.74$68,110
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates3,200$77.06$160,280
Paralegals and Legal Assistants24,240$27.89$58,000
Court Reporters1,440$42.85$89,140
Correctional Officers and Jailers34,820$30.76$63,990
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in New York

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians720$32.94$68,510
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary1,420N/A$63,020
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are several criminal justice scholarships available at colleges and universities all over the country. Private organizations also provide scholarship opportunities for students majoring in a criminal justice field. Because New York City hosts the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, there are numerous scholarship opportunities available for students pursuing both on-campus and online criminal justice degrees in New York.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program $1,000-10,000

Who Can Apply: The ACFE Foundation welcomes applications from students who are interested in a career in fraud examination. Applicants must include three letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Lint Center for National Security Studies Scholarship $500-2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must submit an essay on one of the goals of the Lint Center for National Security Studies. Students should explain their ideas or experiences regarding alliance building, counterintelligence, national defense, or national studies. View Scholarship

Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award $1,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship accepts applications from minority students who plan to pursue a college degree or graduate training in criminal justice. Applicants must submit a 250-word essay on the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. View Scholarship

Out to Protect Scholarship Program $500-1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals who are pursuing a basic law enforcement training program. Candidates must fill out the online application form and submit letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: This annual scholarship is open to all students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who have completed at least one full academic year. Recipients must pursue a degree in criminal justice or a related field. View Scholarship

Scholarships for New York Residents

Dean’s Honor Scholar Program: Hofstra University $10,000-15,000

Who Can Apply: Students who fall within the top 10 percent of their entering law class may apply for this scholarship opportunity. View Scholarship

Florence E. Jenkins Memorial Online School ScholarshipE Full tuition

Who Can Apply: Applicants must meet all New York paralegal academic entrance requirements. Candidates must be referred by the pastor or minister of the congregation they actively attend. View Scholarship

Martin A. Linehan Memorial Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The scholarship accepts applications from second-year criminal justice students at Onondaga Community College. Students should demonstrate excellent academic performance. View Scholarship

New York Cadet Corps $10,000

Who Can Apply: This apprenticeship program gives college students hands-on police experience while they attend school. Students work alongside police officers part-time during the school year and full-time in the summer. View Scholarship

Resources for Criminal Justice Students in New York

Law Enforcement Agencies in New York

Professional Organizations

Networking is an essential part of any profession, including criminal justice occupations. Professional organizations provide networking opportunities such as conferences, discussion boards, and small gatherings. Members in criminal justice organizations can stay up to date with the latest developments in the field. These organizations can be especially helpful for individuals who recently completed a New York online criminal justice degree. Many organizations also help students and recent graduates find jobs and internship opportunities.

New York County Lawyers Association

The first inclusive bar association in New York, NYCLA extends membership to any attorney who has passed the NYS bar exam.

New York State Probation Officers Association

The organization promotes professionalism in the probation field. Members include current and retired probation officers.

National Association of Police Organizations

This coalition represents police associations and unions from all over the country. The organization advances the interests of law enforcement officers.

New York City Paralegal Association

This association offers career guidance and network opportunities to paralegals. The association also assesses global, national, and state proficiency standards.

NYS Corrections and Youth Services Association

The organization provides professional training to NYS residents who work in the corrections or youth services field.

New York State Police Investigators Association

The association represents members during an administrative investigation or disciplinary action procedure.

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