The state of Ohio is currently experiencing increased wages and employment opportunities. A survey conducted by PNC Financial Services found that 40% of business owners in Ohio expect to increase wages for their employees in 2018. Roughly one-third of those owners plan to hire additional full-time staff this year. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) projects that employment will continue to grow through 2024, with approximately 170,000 new jobs being added to the state each year.
employment will continue to grow through 2024, with approximately 170,000 new jobs being added to the state each year Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Employment in protective service occupations will grow at a slower, albeit steady, rate of 3.7% during that same period. ODJFS anticipates the need for more than 800 police and sheriff's patrol officers in the state each year, along with nearly 600 security guards and close to 400 correctional officers and jailers.
Earning an online criminal justice degree in Ohio can position you to take advantage of these opportunities. You can pursue an online associate degree at one of the state's community colleges to prepare for an entry-level job in the field. Many public and private universities in Ohio also offer online bachelor's and master's programs in criminal justice, equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed for jobs in law enforcement management, federal corrections, or crime scene investigation.
Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Ohio
Students can pursue criminal justice degrees in Ohio both online and in-person. While it is important to pick the kind of learning that is right for you, online programs offer a number of benefits, especially for students balancing studies with work or family obligations.
For instance, students can complete online courses on their own schedules from the comfort of their own homes. Many programs do not require students to log in at certain times. However, online classes usually require students to watch lectures and submit assignments by particular deadlines. Students can usually take their exams online, though some programs may require students to travel to a proctored test center near them.
Online programs can be less expensive as well. While most schools charge similar rates for online and on-campus learning, some colleges offer discounts for distance learners. Online students also avoid paying for room and board. Some schools exempt distance learners from paying fees associated with campus services such as athletic or medical facilities.
Finally, online programs give students more academic options. Because you are not limited by geography, you may be able to find a program of study -- like criminal justice technology -- that is not available at your local college or university.
Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Ohio
When researching criminal justice degrees online in Ohio, make sure to find a program that is accredited. Accreditation ensures that schools meet certain educational standards and prepare students for relevant careers. Attending an accredited school also ensures that you qualify for financial aid and can transfer your credits to another institution.
Employers and other colleges generally prefer degrees from regionally accredited schools since they meet higher standards and undergo a more rigorous process
There are three types of accreditation: regional, national, and specialized. Six agencies administer regional accreditation in the United States. Most nonprofit colleges and universities receive regional accreditation. Employers and other colleges generally prefer degrees from regionally accredited schools since they meet higher standards and undergo a more rigorous process. The regional accrediting agency for the state of Ohio is the Higher Learning Commission.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) authorizes 10 bodies to oversee national accreditation. For the most part, for-profit schools and vocational institutions receive this form of accreditation.
Specialized accrediting agencies review programs in a specific field or discipline. For example, law schools may receive specialized accreditation from the American Bar Association. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences grants accreditation to certain criminal justice programs.
You can review a database of all accredited postsecondary institutions and programs on the ED website.
Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Ohio
For most criminal justice jobs in the state, you will need at least a high school diploma or GED. However, earning an online criminal justice degree in Ohio may improve your job opportunities and salary potential.
For example, while not a requirement, some county sheriffs explicitly state that they prefer to hire deputies with at least an associate degree in criminal justice or a related field. Likewise, admission to the Ohio State Highway Patrol training academy is highly competitive, and candidates with a bachelor's degree hold a significant advantage.
A bachelor's degree in criminal justice may qualify you for federal jobs and more advanced positions in state law enforcement agencies. For example, individuals must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or one of Ohio's federal correctional institutions. Similarly, many managerial and investigatory positions at state and local law enforcement agencies require candidates to have a four-year degree.
Some specialized roles in the field, such as crime scene investigator or forensic science technician, may require a master's degree in criminal justice or another field. In addition to having a diploma or degree, all criminal justice professionals must also meet the licensing and training requirements of their chosen occupation.
Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in Ohio
To become a licensed law enforcement officer in Ohio, candidates must enroll in a peace officer basic training academy approved by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC). Entry requirements for these academies vary, but generally, candidates must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, meet certain physical standards, and pass a criminal background check. Graduates of these academies qualify for positions in most local law enforcement agencies.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol maintains a separate licensing process. Rather than attending a basic training academy, highway patrol candidates must attend a 24-26 week paramilitary training academy in Columbus. The physical and academic requirements are more rigorous than those for other law enforcement officers in the state.
To work as a corrections officer, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, pass a written and physical assessment, and undergo a background check
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction licenses corrections personnel in the state. To work as a corrections officer, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, pass a written and physical assessment, and undergo a background check.
Armed security guards and private investigators must receive a license from the state's Department of Public Safety. Security guards must complete firearms training, pass a criminal background check, and work for a licensed private security company. Private investigators must have an acceptable combination of education and professional experience, either as law enforcement officers or members of the military.
Licenses do not automatically transfer from state to state, so it is important to check with the proper state or local authority to make sure you have the met the requirements for a position in law enforcement, corrections, or private security.
In addition to licensure, many criminal justice professionals seek certification to demonstrate their expertise in a given area. For example, the OPOTC offers certificates in areas such as traffic collision investigation, court security screening, and weapons instruction. Certification may help you earn a promotion or a higher salary.
Career and Salary Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for protective service occupations in Ohio was $20.99 in May of 2017. At that same time, the mean annual salary for these jobs was $43,660. These are slightly below the average pay rates for all other occupations both in the state and the nation as a whole. However, Ohio's cost of living falls below the national average, meaning your money goes farther in this state than it does in other areas of the country.
Several criminal justice occupations in the state should experience noticeable growth through 2024. Projections Central, a clearinghouse for state level economic data, projects that employment for police and sheriff's patrol officers in Ohio will grow by 3.7%. Similarly, PC projects that employment for security guards will grow by 4.4% and employment for first-line supervisors of police and detectives will grow by 3.3%.
The table below includes employment and compensation data for more than a dozen careers you may pursue after earning an Ohio online criminal justice degree.
Protective Services Occupations in Ohio
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||340||$30.36||$63,150|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||2,020||$34.86||$72,500|
|Fish and Game Wardens||130||$29.83||$62,040|
|Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers||24,950||$28.50||$59,280|
|Private Detectives and Investigators||1,130||$20.33||$42,290|
|Transportation Security Screeners||760||$19.46||$40,490|
Court and Corrections Occupations in Ohio
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists||2,970||$23.76||$49,420|
|Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates||2,420||$38.88||$80,870|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||7,820||$23.23||$48,310|
|Correctional Officers and Jailers||13,100||$20.67||$43,000|
Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Ohio
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Forensic Science Technicians||400||$31.68||$65,890|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers||440||N/A||$85,270|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Scholarships are the best way to pay for an online criminal justice degree in Ohio. Unlike loans, students do not need to pay back scholarships and grants once they graduate. You can apply to scholarship programs that specifically serve students majoring in criminal justice, or you can seek out scholarships available to all Ohio residents. You can also research scholarships offered by local businesses, professional associations, and state governments.
Criminal Justice Scholarships
Women in Federal Law Enforcement Scholarship Program $2,500
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Scholarships $1,500-$2,500
Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship $1,000
Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500
Brian Terry Scholarship $500
Scholarships for Ohio Residents
Beat the Odds Scholarship $5,000
Ohio College Opportunity Grant Varies
Ohio War Orphans Scholarship $6,398
Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund $7,044
Don Schmidt Scholarship $1,000
Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Ohio
Law Enforcement Agencies in Ohio
- Ohio Department of Public Safety
- Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- Ohio State Highway Patrol
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- Ohio Department of Youth Services
- Ohio Casino Control Commission
After you have completed your online criminal justice degree in Ohio, you should consider joining a professional organization. These groups provide networking opportunities through conferences and events, continuing education, and professional development opportunities. Members can also find employment through job listings. Many of these organizations advocate for improved criminal justice policy, higher wages, and better working conditions for criminal justice professionals.
OACP serves senior law enforcement executives working in the state. The association advocates for more effective criminal justice policies, supports the training of Ohio police officers, and coordinates law enforcement activities at the state and national level.
OCPA brings together law enforcement officers, government officials, business owners, and community residents to prevent crime in the state. The association offers training and accreditation for crime prevention specialists.
LEF works to deepen the connection between law enforcement agencies and the communities they represent. The foundation also certifies DARE and school resource officers.
OCCA represents community corrections service providers in the state. The association organizes an annual networking conference and provides continuing education opportunities to corrections personnel.
Created to serve the unique needs of African Americans in criminal justice occupations, the Ohio chapter of the NABCJ works to ensure adequate minority representation in criminal justice practice and policy.
OASIS supports private investigators and security guards through legislative and legal advocacy. The organization provides an online directory for employers looking to hire members.
Find Criminal Justice Jobs in Ohio
- Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio Jobs List
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Careers
- Ohio State Highway Patrol Jobs