Criminal Justice BA Or BS ? Detailed Answer

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Criminal Justice BA Or BS ?

Criminal justice system is delivery of justice to the people who have committed the crime. The criminal justice system punishes the criminals in order to prevent crimes in future. By providing justice to the criminals, the moral support of the victims is done. Moreover the justice system also has rehabilitation facilities for the offenders. The primary institutions of criminal justice system are Police, prosecution, defense lawyers, courts and the prisons.

Why earn a criminal justice bachelor degree?

A most effective way to enforce the law is to understand it first. Furthermore, the criminal justice system has many facets to it – law enforcement, judiciary, corrections and probation. Learning how each relates to the other through a criminal justice bachelor degree program will increase your odds at a successful Criminal Justice Career.

With a criminal justice bachelor degree, you perform many services for the public, including patrolling the streets, investigating crimes, identifying suspects, and overseeing people convicted of crimes.

It is not just for members of the police force, but those who work in courts, correctional facilities, and even those rendering services as detectives or security personnel in a private capacity.

Professionals with a criminal justice degree uphold the law and ensure it is applied equally and adequately to protect the citizenry and punish offenders.

Under a traditional set-up of attending classes on campus, it takes four years to earn a criminal justice bachelor degree. With computer technology, an online program can be completed in two years.

While there are a growing number of students taking up criminal justice degree programs en route to starting their careers, many are already in the law enforcement profession when they decide to earn the degree.

After completing a criminal justice B.A. degree, you are expected to have become familiar with the following:

  • Law enforcement skills
  • Corrections technician crime
  • Legal studies and court process
  • Crime scene investigation

If you want a growth in your career, there is a criminal justice masters degree that will allow specialization, either in administration or management, or other facets of criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Jobs And Career Guide

Criminal Justice Jobs Opportunities

Aside from police officers and detectives, which are the most popular among law enforcers, other jobs available for people with a criminal justice bachelor degree are as:

  • Probation officers – they supervise people sentenced to probation and may work as probation officers, correctional treatment specialists or case managers and juvenile officers, that are in charge of offenders under 18 years old.



  • Forensic scientists – their primary role is to collect and process information that will later be used in evidence in court to resolve criminal cases. 


  • Private security – you work for private organizations that require security in their properties or workplaces. You may also work as a private investigator, conducting surveillance for clients to gather evidence that may be used in insurance fraud and child custody cases or for employment verification.

Criminal justice is an exciting field with many career opportunities available, depending on your inclinations and aptitude. You may choose to develop your skills in fieldwork with lots of physical activities involved such as police officers or detectives, or work in more sedate environments like a court reporter or forensic scientist.

While there are criminal justice jobs that do not necessarily require a degree to qualify for employment, it makes much difference in an individual’s earning capacity to have one, especially in the long term.

So explore the field, learn about your options and enroll in a criminal justice bachelor degree to begin your career.

If you are planning to purse your graduation in criminal justice, you must be looking for the differences between a BA and BS degree in criminal justice. You must have some ideas about the degrees, but are they correct or some random suggestions? Both the degrees have similarities and differences too. This article will give you more detailed introduction about both the programs and the employment opportunity that you will have.

Reading this article will ease your Selection for either a Criminal Justice BA or BS degree. 

Bachelors of Arts BA

The bachelors of Arts  BA degree is usually pined to undergraduate studies like literature, languages, communication, history and humanities. The emphasis in the BA is more on theoretical aspect of the subjects and it perfect for the people who are planning to purse masters or PHD in the same field especially for the people who are

inclined towards going research in the field. The credit hour requirements and the time duration for the completion of BA degree is similar to that of BS degree. The study duration for a BA degree is three to four years. In short the degree is perfect for the abstract thinkers. The BA degree emphasizes on communication skills, development of ideas theories and concepts. The students learn about drawing their own arguments and conclusion rather than believing the already existing ideas.


Bachelors of Science BS 

Criminal Justice Bs Meaning – the bachelors of Science degree BS was invented in 1860 in University of oxford. Since then it has been taught in most of the universities across the globe. The bachelors of Science are typically tilted program for sciences like computer science, engineering sciences, health science and many more. But if you look around, you will find that there are numerous programs other than sciences in which the BS degree programs is being followed. For example there are BS degree programs for business administration, lawyers and international relations. So one might think of what  distinguishes BS from BA program.

The thing that sets BS apart from BA is the technical education that is involved in this degree. The students of BS program are taught in the laboratories where experiments are conducted. They also seek field knowledge and have technical orientation. The time duration for BS degree is three to five years depending upon the subject area and the completion of practical work.

So, is criminal justice a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science?

The answer to this question isn’t always straightforward. In some cases, the answer may depend on the specific school or program you’re looking at. However, in general, criminal justice is considered a Bachelor of Science degree.

This is because criminal justice typically focuses on scientific and technical aspects of the law. You’ll learn about crime scene investigation techniques, forensics, and more. This type of education can be extremely valuable for those looking to pursue careers in law enforcement or other related fields.

That said, some schools offer criminal justice as a Bachelor of Arts degree. If this is what you’re interested in, be sure to research to find a program that’s right for you.

In the end, the most important thing is to choose a program that will give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in your chosen career. So, whether you’re looking at a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, make sure you’re choosing a program that’s going to set you up for success.

Criminal Justice Associates Degree Difference Between AA And AS


Which criminal Justice degree you should pursue?

Both the BA and BS degree program provide same recognition and vale after completion and can lead your career into criminal justice system or master’s degree. If you are looking for further research in the field, you can go for a Bachelors of Arts and pursue a master’s degree. The BA degree will enable you to focus on the theoretical approaches and by having a firm grip on the theories you can have a better understanding of the subject.

Moreover by pursing the BA degree you can produce your own research work in the related field. For example if you pursue the degree of BA in criminal psychology, during your course work you will better understand about the theories that are applicable to the psychology of the criminals. After going through those theories you can produces you own literature at the end of your course work which will be helpful for the people dealing with criminals. On the other hand if you pursue the BS degree it will enable you to develop your analytical and practical perspective. The BS degree will help you during your practical career in the criminal justice system. As the BS program focuses more on empirical validation and practical application therefore it could be helpful for a person willing to pursue his career as law enforcement officer or a lawyer.

However there are not hard rules, The BA degree program can also lead you to the professional careers like police and lawyers. The only difference is of the course work. So it completely depends on you as to which degree program you would like to choose. Before you choose either of the two ask yourself, would you like to read more books and

literature and develop you writing skills? If so, Bachelor of Arts is the right choice for you. Or would you like to develop you practical skills by working in laboratories and in the field? If so, the BS program can be the best choice for you as you will develop your practical skills.

Other Related Forensic Science Career :Blood Spatter Analyst


Employment opportunities

There are two major reasons for the popularity of both BA and BS degree in criminal justice system. The first one is that they act as launching pads for many careers in criminal justice system and the second is that in the past there has been much emphasize on the need to produce research in the field. The criminal justice programs that are being offered by various colleges provide the student with the opportunity to explore how the courts, correction institutions and law enforcement agencies function. The degree holders in BA and BS criminal justice often become crime investigators, FB agents, criminal justice professors or do research and produce their own work in the field.

The bachelor’s degree holders need to be aware of the expected salaries that they earn initially as they join the field. According to a report of PayScale, the bachelor’s degree holders are expected to earn $37,000 during their initial five years in the field. After passing through the initial stages the professionals in the field of criminal justice system are expected to earn $59,000. Detectives with a college degree receive good salary packages in the profession of criminal justice system. The detectives who have just started are expected to make $40,000 to $50,000 per year whereas veteran detectives can earn even more. The salary of a veteran detective is approximately $120,000. This Job also comes with a generous retirement package. Many detectives get retired after serving for 20 to 25 years.

The most important aspect of the degree in the criminal justice system is that it has employment opportunity at various levels ranging from local to state to federal level as well as in the private sector. According to a report of bureau of labor statistics the criminal justice field has employed more than three million workers at different posts. The broader field of criminal justice includes sub-fields such as law enforcement agencies, correction, forensic sciences, homeland security, private security, academia and legal services.  There are more than 70 Job titles related to the field of criminal justice system.

Additional Resources:

Highest Paying & High In Demand Criminal Justice Jobs $100000+

Top Ranked Police Academies in United States


How to Become A Private Investigator Salary Career 2020 FULL GUIDE

Top 15 Most Useful Criminal Justice Major Full Guide Requirements, Salary, Jobs, Internship, Top Colleges.



  • American Bar Association: All about the benefits of ABA membership for paralegals.
  • Free Criminal Justice and Law Lectures: Our Free Criminal Justice Lectures resource provides video and audio lectures from 15+ criminal justice and law-related college courses that are available to watch or listen to online for free, taught by professors from top US universities like Harvard, Yale, New York University, and UC Berkeley.
  • National Federation of Paralegals: Education, news, certification, and other information for prospective and current paralegals.
  • NALA: National Association of Legal Assistants: A nationwide paralegal organization offering professional development programs and continuing education for paralegals.
  • NALS: The Association for Legal Assistants: An education and certification resource for paralegals and legal assistants.
  • National Paralegal Certification: Learn about the different paralegal certification options available and the requirements for earning certification.
  • The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.: A membership-driven professional resource for paralegals.
  • Top Paralegal Blogs: Criminal Justice Degree Schools has published a list of the Top Paralegal Blogs from thought-leading bloggers to provide insights and career advice for aspiring paralegals who are interested in acquiring a degree and beginning a successful career in this field.
  • Top Criminal Law Blogs: Learn about the criminal area of the legal field by viewing our top criminal legal blogs.
  • US Directory of Paralegal Associations: Our comprehensive directory features over 140 US paralegal associations organized by state. Joining a  association can help you network and advance your career. Find the associations near you.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants:
2. 2018 NALA National Utilization and Compensation Report:
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants:


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