Many high-level jobs in law enforcement management and federal agencies require a bachelor's or master's degree. Earning an online criminal justice degree in Virginia is a flexible and affordable way to find a new job or advance your career.
Students who need to balance their studies with other professional and personal obligations should consider earning their criminal justice degree online in Virginia. Many online programs allow students to watch lectures, engage with their classmates, and complete assignments whenever and wherever is most convenient for them.
In addition to flexibility and convenience, online programs often offer more affordability than on-campus programs. Many schools charge similar tuition rates for both distance and in-person learners, but some programs offer discounts to online students. Online students can also avoid significant expenses associated with on-campus learning.
For example, distance learners do not pay for room and board, an increasingly large part of the total cost of education. Some schools exempt online students from certain campus service fees. Online programs also give students more academic options. A large number of public and private colleges and universities offer criminal justice degrees in Virginia.
Online students are able to choose the school that best aligns with their interests and career goals, instead of just attending the closest school to their location. Students seeking criminal justice degrees in Virginia should make sure their preferred school holds accreditation. Accreditation ensures that schools meet certain educational standards and adequately prepare their students for careers in the field. Students at unaccredited schools cannot receive federal financial aid or transfer their credits to another institution. There are three primary types of accreditation: regional, national, and specialized.
Of the three forms, regional accreditation is the most common and most respected.
Virginia Police Officer Requirements
Six agencies administer regional accreditation for the majority of nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States. The U. Department of Education ED recognizes 10 national accrediting agencies. These bodies tend to accredit for-profit, vocational, or religious institutions. Both national and regional accreditation apply to every program within a given school.
Specialized accrediting agencies assess specific disciplines or areas of study. Most states require students to graduate from an ABA-accredited school before taking the bar exam. You can review a listing of all accredited postsecondary programs and institutions on the ED's website.
Courses and Training
For most criminal justice jobs in Virginia, you only need a high school diploma or a GED. However, when considering new hires or internal promotions, many employers prefer candidates with some kind of postsecondary degree. For example, the Virginia Department of Corrections prefers to hire officers who have taken college-level classes in criminal justice. Similarly, the Virginia State Police gives preference to academy applicants who earned an associate degree or completed some postsecondary coursework.
In this way, earning a Virginia online criminal justice degree can give you an advantage over other candidates. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can qualify you for federal jobs, including employment at Federal Bureau of Investigation offices or federal correctional facilities in the state. A degree can also help you advance to senior-level positions in local law enforcement. For some highly specialized positions in criminal justice, including forensic science technician or crime scene investigator, employers prefer to hire candidates who have earned a master's degree in criminal justice or a related field.
In addition to a high school diploma or a postsecondary degree, all candidates for criminal justice professions must meet the licensure and training requirements established by the state of Virginia. To become a local law enforcement officer in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass both a physical examination and background check. You must also complete the requirements of one of the state's regional law enforcement training academies.
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services establishes the standards and curricula for these academies. State criminal justice agencies typically have stricter requirements.
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- Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Virginia.
For instance, the Virginia State Police operates a separate training academy, and candidates must be at least 21 years old to apply for entry. The state's Department of Corrections also requires candidates to be 21 years old and be lawfully able to possess a firearm. Armed security guards working in Virginia must be at least 18 years old and complete 50 hours of training in subjects like confrontation management, arrest authority, and handgun use and safety.
Private investigators must also have a license. The state requires applicants to complete 60 hours of training in investigative skills, evidence documentation, and privacy.
Licenses do not automatically transfer from state to state, though individuals with prior experience or an out-of-state license may receive exemption from some of the training courses detailed above. Make sure to check with the proper local or state authority to determine if you have met the requirements for your ideal career. In addition to licensing, many criminal justice professionals pursue certification to demonstrate proficiency or expertise in a given area. For example, several criminal justice academies in Virginia offer certificates in areas like suicide prevention, community policing, and opioid emergency response.
These wages fall below the average pay rates for all other occupations, both in the state and the nation as a whole. However, actual wages vary greatly depending on specific occupation. Jobs that require a college degree, such as first-line supervisors of police and detectives, pay significantly more than both the state and national average salaries.
In the physical ability test, candidates are typically asked to complete push-ups and sit-ups, pull heavy weights, and complete a run within a designated timeframe. A background investigation and polygraph examination will be one of the next steps in the recruitment process. Candidates are typically then reviewed by a prescreening board and proceed to an oral interview.
A psychological examination and physical medical examination are the final few items to clear before being assigned to the police academy to train as a Virginia police officer. To become a Virginia state trooper, you must:. Virginia sheriffs and deputy sheriffs work in detention centers, provide security at courthouses, and provide rural patrol and law enforcement services. To become a Virginia deputy sheriff, you must at least meet the state minimums for law enforcement officers. Some departments may have additional qualifications for candidates. The VSBO requires the applicant to meet state minimums for sworn officers.
In addition, candidates must not have:.
Best Criminal Justice Schools in Virginia
To be a deputy sheriff at this office, candidates must:. Being competitive as a law enforcement applicant can be simplified into two areas: Preparation and Conduct.
There are 18, police officers employed in Virginia, and the largest police department in the state is the Virginia Beach PD. Candidates with some college experience are preferred, but a high school diploma or equivalent and a minimum age of 21 are required. To learn more, see our in-depth guide on becoming a police officer in Virginia Beach. In addition to meeting state standards, applicants to the RPD must:. Successful candidates with any law enforcement agency in Virginia are required to attend a training academy, where they will learn a variety of skills.
Courses in the academy will cover criminal law, the motor vehicle code, laws of arrest, and search and seizure, among other topics.