Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Oklahoma

As you research schools that offer criminal justice degrees in Oklahoma, you may learn that a career in criminal justice offers job security not found in every field. Given Oklahoma's economic downturn, students should seek a stable career. The constant need for law enforcement, corrections, and other security personnel leads experts to label the criminal justice space "recession-resistant." Criminal justice occupations often offer a competitive salary and room for career advancement, and many offer good benefits and pension plans -- particularly for government jobs such as police and corrections personnel.

The constant need for law enforcement, corrections, and other security personnel leads experts to label the criminal justice space recession-resistant

For those hoping to earn a criminal justice degree online, Oklahoma-based schools offer a variety of programs. Online education serves as a convenient way for working professionals to continue their education while maintaining busy schedules. Whether you hope to work in criminal justice in the future, or you hope to advance in your current criminal justice job, pursuing an online criminal justice degree in Oklahoma can help you achieve your goals.

Online education makes criminal justice degrees in Oklahoma accessible to many people, especially those who cannot travel the distance to their desired school. Students can complete classes entirely online without ever visiting a campus in person. Some schools offer hybrid programs that require both in-person and online elements. The school may also dictate the speed at which you complete the program. Cohort programs, for example, require a group of students to work together through the same sequence of courses. Individually-paced programs, however, allow students to move through the online coursework at their own pace. Additionally, the cost of tuition for online programs compares favorably to in-person programs. Online students also save money on commuting costs, room and board, campus fees, and other expenses. Choosing a program with requirements you can meet will help ensure your success.

Students should choose an accredited program when enrolling in an online criminal justice degree in Oklahoma. Accreditation safeguards the time and money you spend earning your degree by ensuring that potential employers will recognize and accept your school or program's validity. Accrediting bodies confer accreditation status to institutions and programs that meet universally-recognized academic standards. A degree from an accredited institution or program serves as evidence that the school you choose underwent a thorough vetting process. Accredited institutions do not accept unaccredited credits for transfer, and financial aid typically applies only to accredited schools and programs.

Accrediting bodies confer three types of accreditation: regional, national, and specialized (also known as programmatic). Regional accreditation serves as the highest form of accreditation. Six organizations administer regional accreditation in different sections of the U.S. The Higher Learning Commission offers schools in Oklahoma accreditation. Programmatic accreditation often overlaps with regional accreditation, as it applies to programs typically found at regionally accredited schools. National accreditation applies largely to for-profit institutions and trade schools. For your reference, the U.S. Department of Education maintains a searchable database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

Earning a criminal justice degree online in Oklahoma enables you to advance your career beyond an entry-level positions. While many criminal justice jobs only require a high school diploma or GED, earning an associate degree demonstrates your dedication to employers and may give you a competitive edge over other applicants.

earning an associate degree demonstrates your dedication to employers and may give you a competitive edge over other applicants

A bachelor's degree provides an even greater advantage, and may lead to positions such as crime scene investigator, postal inspector, or fraud investigator. If you hope to enter even more specialized occupations such as forensic psychologist or criminologist, or achieve a supervisory police, corrections, or security position, you may need to pursue a master's degree.

Certain positions may require additional, specialized training in, for example, first aid and CPR. Other positions, including fraud investigators and FBI agents, may require additional training in law or accounting. Veterans may also find opportunities in this field, as military experience often proves useful in criminal justice positions.

In addition to the general standards, applicants may need to meet requirements such as passing a background check or specific on-the-job training. This may include becoming officially licensed, registered, or certified. Certification usually denotes that a person possesses the total skills necessary to perform their duties. A license serves as an official, government-issued credential that legally allows the holder to perform a job or activity. In some cases, a person needs to earn a certification as part of earning a licence.

For example, a worker whose job requires them to carry a weapon will need to register the weapon, complete the required training for the weapon, and obtain a license to carry it. Oklahoma requires private investigators and security guards to earn licensure. Police and other peace officers in Oklahoma need to pass a training course and become certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET). They must also complete 25 hours of continuing education credit each year to maintain their certification. In addition, recruits accepted by a local police department must complete training at that department's police academy.

The requirements for certification, licensure, or registration vary depending on the job description and location. The regulations that govern these requirements can change often, so make sure to monitor the current information concerning requirements. Keep in mind that licenses, certifications, or registrations issued by one state may not transfer directly another. You will likely need to go through official channels to transfer your credentials.

The tables below show the number of people who currently hold protective service jobs in Oklahoma, their average hourly rate, and their annual salary. A criminal justice degree serves as an entry point for many jobs, including police officer, correctional officer and jailer, lawyer, and paralegal. This data provides some clarity concerning the employment prospects you may find after earning your online criminal justice degree in Oklahoma.

Overall, Oklahoma employs 35,070 people in protective services positions. When taken together, their mean hourly wage is $20.19, and their mean annual salary is $41,990. The figures below, however, vary depending on the job in question. Specialized occupations that require more training, education, or professional experience pay better than entry-level positions. As the state's population continues to grow, graduates of online criminal justice degrees in Oklahoma can expect new job openings.

Protective Services Occupations in Oklahoma

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Firefighters 3,400 $20.99 $43,650
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 150 $34.24 $71,220
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 940 $32.02 $66,600
Fish and Game Wardens 150 $25.69 $53,440
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 7,640 $21.92 $45,600
Transportation Security Screeners 260 $18.39 $38,240
Security Guards 10,750 $14.66 $30,500
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Oklahoma

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 1,110 $21.41 $44,540
Lawyers 6,280 $55.41 $115,260
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates 980 $35.93 $74,740
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 2,620 $22.81 $47,440
Bailiffs 80 $16.21 $33,720
Correctional Officers and Jailers 2,870 $17.24 $35,850
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Oklahoma

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers 60 N/A $49,690
Source: BLS, May 2017

You can help pay for your education with financial aid. Both schools and the government make scholarships available to criminal justice students around the U.S. and in Oklahoma. As a first step, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Determining your eligibility through research ensures that you receive all of the financial aid possible. View some of the available scholarships below.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Students may apply who enroll full time or part time in a postsecondary criminal justice program or who expect to graduate as seniors and attend college in the fall. Applicants need a GPA of a 3.0 or better and must submit an essay and transcripts. View Scholarship

Jim & Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a criminal justice-related program hoping for a career in national security, counterintelligence, or international affairs can submit an essay to win this scholarship from the Lint Center for National Security Studies. In addition to the cash prize, winners may also earn a mentorship with a national security professional. View Scholarship

My Alarm Center Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Graduating high school seniors or college freshman or sophomores studying criminal justice or law enforcement may apply. Applicants need to submit an essay focused on the year's designated law enforcement-related topic. View Scholarship

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship $1,000-$10,000

Who Can Apply: The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers scholarships for students preparing for careers in this field. To apply, the student must be enrolled in an accredited, four-year program pursuing a major or minor in criminal justice, accounting, finance, or business administration. View Scholarship

WIFLE Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Students majoring in criminal justice or a related subject may apply. Students need one year of completed study at a college or university and a GPA minimum of a 3.0. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Oklahoma Residents

Horatio Alger State Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: Graduating seniors with documented financial need and community service involvement may apply for this scholarship. Applicants should also boast U.S. citizenship and a high school GPA of 2.0. View Scholarship

Jimmie L. Dean Foundation Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: Oklahoma residents graduating from high school and planning to attend a four-year program at an accredited Oklahoma college or university may apply. Applicants need a minimum ACT score of 23 and must maintain a GPA of 3.0. View Scholarship

May T. Henry Scholarship Fund $1,000

Who Can Apply: Graduates of an Oklahoma high school planning to attend a state-supported university or college in Oklahoma. Applicants must submit their most recent transcript, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page letter in which the applicant describes their educational goals and financial need. View Scholarship

Significant Challenge College Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Graduating seniors who hold U.S. citizenship or legal residency status. Applicants must show strong community leadership skills and possess a GPA of a 3.4 or better. View Scholarship

Oklahoma Academic Scholars Program $1,800-$5,500

Who Can Apply: Oklahoma students with a cumulative GPA of a 3.7 or better may apply. To qualify, applicants also need a composite ACT score of 27 or better or a combined SAT 1 mathematics and reading score of 1220. The amount of the award depends on the school. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Oklahoma

Professional Organizations

Workers and students in criminal justice occupations can take advantage of educational opportunities available to them through various organizations. These organizations help professionals stay up to date with the latest developments and research, and many boast resources for students. Membership typically includes access to job search services, professional networking, and educational materials and events.

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

ACJS serves criminal justice professionals, students, and scholars through education, research, and policy analysis.

International Association of Identification-Oklahoma Division

OK-IAI caters to professionals in fields involved with crime scene investigation, forensic identification, and evidence examination. The organization makes student memberships available to those majoring in law enforcement or a forensic science-related field. OK-IAI holds an annual conference that enables professionals to meet continuing education requirements.

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice-Oklahoma Chapter

NABCJ-OK is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization founded with the goal of fostering positive changes to improve the criminal justice system. Criminal justice professionals and community leaders may join.

Oklahoma Correctional Association

An affiliate of the American Correctional Association, OCA's members include correctional professionals and agencies throughout the state. The organization provides educational workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities to its members.

Oklahoma Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association

OSPOA is a nonprofit organization that provides professional networking opportunities and training programs for law enforcement officers, criminal prosecutors, and related personnel throughout the state.

Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice

A regional body affiliated with AJCS, SWACJ serves criminal justice professionals in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. SWACJ holds annual member conferences and several publications.

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