Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Rhode Island

Populated by approximately one million people within 1,214 square miles in the heart of New England, Rhode Island offers a variety of job opportunities and a comfortable employment situation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage in Providence is comfortably above the national average of $23.86 at $24.57.

the average hourly wage in Providence is comfortably above the national average of $23.86 at $24.57 BLS

Students and graduates interested in a career in criminal justice will have plenty of opportunities in Rhode Island. Those looking to pursue a bachelor's degree in the field can do so at the state’s flagship University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, and Johnson and Wales University. Additionally, students may choose from in-person and online options at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Online degrees provide busy learners the opportunity to pursue a degree on a flexible schedule that works for them. Classes are often delivered in an asynchronous format that primarily utilizes online discussion boards and writing assignments with weekly deadlines rather than live lectures. Students get a learning experience that they may log into and participate in at their convenience. If you choose to take an accelerated online curriculum, you can get a degree in significantly less time than with a traditional on-campus program.

Additionally, an online degree decreases or eliminates on-campus costs, such as housing and commuting. Online degrees charge by the credit and often offer discounts to active military personnel and their families. Transferring previous coursework and work experience can also help students decrease the amount of online courses they need to take.

Understanding the three forms of academic accreditation, regional, national, and specialized, makes the process of picking the right school easier.

Regional accreditation is geographically based and the most common form of accreditation, covering the majority of two- and four-year public and private institutions. Eight accrediting bodies – approved by the U.S. Department of Education – oversee six different regions in the U.S. The regional accrediting body for Rhode Island is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Regional accreditation is geographically based and the most common form of accreditation, covering the majority of two- and four-year public and private institutions

National accreditation covers vocational and nontraditional institutions. Unfortunately, credits from nationally accredited institutions do not always translate to credit in regionally accredited institutions. Students can receive federal student aid at both regional and nationally accredited institutions if their school’s accrediting body is approved by the Department of Education.

Specialized accreditation covers individual programs, departments, and schools within larger institutions. Accrediting agencies such as the American Bar Association and the American Psychological Association work to maintain national standards for professional licensure within specific disciplines.

The Department of Education maintains a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

Rhode Island online criminal justice degree graduates find that a degree from a two- or four- year university helps diversify their skill set and bolster their credentials. Knowing whether a desired career path will actually require a specific degree, however, depends upon the career.

Most jobs in protective services relating to criminal justice welcome an associate, bachelor’s, or even master’s in criminal justice, but education requirements vary from position to position. Generally, protective services workers (even forensic science technicians) undergo training at law enforcement agencies such as police academies, where they learn the skills needed to fulfill their duties and study topics such as civil rights and law.

Corrective and court-related occupations range from jobs that require a master’s, such as a lawyer, to those that simply require a high school degree, such as a bailiff. The majority of online criminal justice graduates in Rhode Island will be able to find relevant work so long as they are prepared to undergo further training.

Graduates from an online criminal justice degree in Rhode Island should take note that work in the field often requires state specific licensure and registration. Additionally, certification bolsters your credentials when applying for jobs. Licensure, the right to practice a certain profession, comes from the legal authority of the state, while certification comes from the authority of a non-government organization. Registration represents a record of the individual within a registry maintained by a licensing or accrediting body.

someone with an interest in a career in crime scene investigation can pursue certification from the International Association of Identification or a similar organization

The steps to licensure to practice in one’s profession vary by profession. In Rhode Island, a license-granting agency distinguishes between security guards working for themselves and employees of a business. Employees must register with their employers, giving their age, citizenship status, and recent employment history. If the job requires the employee to be armed, the applicant must undergo weapon permit training from a certified weapons instructor. This training may take place either on-site or through a third party. The applicant pays a fee for both licensure and for the weapons permit and must have the application notarized.

Certification can also expand your professional opportunities. For instance, someone with an interest in a career in crime scene investigation can pursue certification from the International Association of Identification or a similar organization. Such a program can kickstart a career, adding to the strengths of your academic profile and work experience.

A recent graduate of an online criminal justice degree in Rhode Island can anticipate a stable and comfortably compensated job market. These graduates find themselves prepared for work across two major fields: protective services, and court and corrections occupations.

According to the BLS, the mean hourly wage of those employed in protective services is $23.36, and the mean annual wage is $48,580 as of May 2017. These averages are comfortably above May 2017’s national mean wages for those in the same occupational group of $22.69 hourly and $47,190 annually. In Rhode Island, the mean hourly wage for those in legal occupations is $44.90, and the mean annual wage is $93,390. Both protective services and legal occupations maintain stable location quotients of 1.12 and 1.07 respectively.

Below, we've highlighted relevant employment and salary statistics for a variety of positions in the field.

Protective Services Occupations in Rhode Island

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Firefighters 1,660 $27.15 $56,480
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 70 $27.54 $57,280
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 290 $41.24 $85,780
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 2,110 $28.28 $58,830
Security Guards 3,040 $14.65 $30,480
Transportation Security Screeners 160 $20.99 $43,670
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in South Carolina

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Lawyers 1,810 $62.22 $129,410
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates 110 $80.09 $166,580
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 1,340 $25.39 $52,820
Court Reporters 80 $31.43 $65,380
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Rhode Island

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers 50 N/A $83,790
Source: BLS, May 2017

Paying for postsecondary education can be challenging. Those seeking an online criminal justice degree in Rhode Island may draw on scholarships (often renewable) tailoring to students of varying levels of financial need, minorities, and high school graduates passionate about a career in law enforcement.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Students either graduating high school or college freshman and sophomores studying law enforcement, law, or criminal justice submit a personal reflection essay on their interest in law enforcement to apply for this scholarship. View Scholarship

Brian Terry Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The Brian Terry Foundation commemorates the life of officer Brian Terry through this scholarship available to currently enrolled or accepted undergraduates seeking criminal justice degrees. View Scholarship

Sheryl A. Horak Law Enforcement Explorer Memorial Scholarship $1000

Who Can Apply: Students in high school or college with an interest in law enforcement may apply to this scholarship commemorating fallen officer Sheryl A. Horak. Students submit a brief essay, three letters of recommendation, and photo to apply. View Scholarship

Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Ethnic Diversity $6,000

Who Can Apply: The Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship offers three fellowships for students of color interested in criminology and criminal justice. Applicants submit a letter on their interest in the criminology and criminal justice, three letters of reference, academic record, and statement of needs. View Scholarship

WIFLE Annual Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: The WIFLE Annual Scholarship is available to students majoring in criminal justice. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit an essay, and the sponsorship of a community member. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Rhode Island Residents

Daniel J. Garvey Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Community College of Rhode Island offers this award to current students registered for nine or more credit hours who have completed up to 24 credit hours towards a criminal justice degree. View Scholarship

Patty and Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship Fund $1,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to students accepted or enrolled in accredited two- or four-year institutions whose parents did not graduate from college. The scholarship is renewable. View Scholarship

Frederick J. Benson Scholarship $500-$2,000

Who Can Apply: The Frederick J. Benson scholarship is offered to residents of Block Island who have completed at least one year of college. View Scholarship

Bristol Children’s Home Scholarship $500-$2,000

Who Can Apply: This needs-based scholarship is offered to Bristol residents accepted to or attending an accredited higher education institution. The scholarship is renewable and not offered to graduate students. View Scholarship

Conrad Nestor Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: This needs-based scholarship is offered to resident children, grandchildren, or dependents of South County Hospital employees who are graduating high school. Students must attend an accredited postsecondary institution. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Rhode Island

Professional Organizations

Newly minted graduates with an online criminal justice degree in Rhode Island should pursue opportunities for professional development and networking. If you're looking to pursue a career in the field, be sure to check out the opportunities and resources that these professional organizations can provide.

Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences

The NACJS is a regional division of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences dedicated to a higher standard of criminal justice scholarship. The organization holds its annual conference in Bristol.

Association of Corporate Counsel

The ACC’s Northeastern chapter hosts programs and resources related to corporate law, such as mediation training and pro bono opportunities.

University of Rhode Island Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory

The Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory offers technical services, law enforcement training, and internships to students at the school interested in criminal justice.

Roger Williams University Justice System Training and Research Institute

The Justice System Training and Research Institute offers events and specialized training for justice system personnel.

Family Service of Rhode Island

The non-profit Family Service of Rhode Island hosts training for professionals in victim services in the form of its Rhode Island State Victims Assistance Academy.

The Rhode Island Minority Business Enterprise

The RIMBE provides resources to support the professional and economic development of minority business owners in Rhode Island.

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