2019 Best Online Colleges for Law Enforcement Degrees

Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $22,422
Avg Salary: $69,472

The 152 online law enforcement programs on this comprehensive list will help prepare students to work in local police departments, federal agencies, national parks, and courts. The schools that made our list of best online law enforcement colleges are particularly strong options for aspiring law enforcement professionals, based on tuition costs and alumni salaries reported by PayScale. Online law enforcement degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels.

Students should also consider accreditation and career options when choosing an online degree in law enforcement. Since there is no specific programmatic accreditation for law enforcement degrees, students should focus on institutions with regional or national accreditations when selecting which online schools to attend.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Law Enforcement Degrees ( 95)

Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (95)
Adams State University HLC $20,456 100% (1 review)
40 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology - Criminology/Law Enforcement
Albany State University SACS COC $16,136 Add Review
44 Programs, 3 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in Criminal Justice Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
American InterContinental University HLC Not Provided 66% (162 reviews)
47 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement
American Public University System HLC $6,880 71% (141 reviews)
417 Programs, 4 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Maritime Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Organizational Law Enforcement Leadership
  • Certificate in Law Enforcement Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Executive Law Enforcement Leadership
Anderson University - SC SACS COC $26,970 Add Review
25 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
Angelo State University SACS COC $17,161 100% (1 review)
35 Programs, 7 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Border Security
  • Bachelor of Security Studies in Border and Homeland Security
  • Border Security Certificate
  • Border Security Certificate - Cybersecurity
Arizona State University HLC $15,691 - $27,372 68% (81 reviews)
208 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Grad Certificate in Law Enforcement Administration
  • PSLA in Executive Police Administration
Ashford University WASC WSCUC $10,632 - $13,400 67% (638 reviews)
146 Programs, 3 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • BA/Law Enforcement Administration
  • BA/Social and Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigations Specialization
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement and Corrections Administration Specialization
Auburn University at Montgomery SACS COC $17,140 Add Review
25 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Master of Science in Homeland Security & Emergency Management
Baker College Online HLC $9,360 60% (88 reviews)
58 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Criminal Justice (Law Enforcement) - Bachelor
  • Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement Academy (Police) - Bachelor
Ball State University HLC $25,942 100% (4 reviews)
125 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Bellevue University HLC $7,752 67% (54 reviews)
165 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Investigations
Bethel University - IN HLC $28,030 Add Review
26 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Associate of Arts in Human Services - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral and Social Science - Criminal Justice
California Baptist University WASC WSCUC $32,256 80% (5 reviews)
84 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • BS: Criminal Justice
California University of Pennsylvania MSCHE $15,326 79% (14 reviews)
105 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Certificate in Criminal Justice
Carlow University MSCHE $28,596 Add Review
23 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Master of Business Administration - Fraud and Forensics
  • Master of Science in Fraud and Forensics
Carrington College WASC ACCJC $13,975 - $54,125 0% (2 reviews)
11 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Criminal Justice - Associate's
  • Criminal Justice - Certificate
Chaminade University of Honolulu WASC WSCUC $24,514 100% (1 review)
36 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration- Law Enforcement
Colorado State University-Global Campus HLC $9,000 55% (56 reviews)
102 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
Columbia Southern University DEAC $6,600 80% (162 reviews)
74 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • B.S. Criminal Justice Admin./Arson Investigation
Concordia University - Texas SACS COC $30,600 100% (1 review)
40 Programs, 1 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice & Criminology - Management of Law Enforcement
Drury University HLC $27,015 Add Review
36 Programs, 3 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Associate of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement - Leadership
East Carolina University SACS COC $23,420 100% (4 reviews)
148 Programs, 3 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Education
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Security Studies
Eastern Kentucky University SACS COC $18,250 33% (3 reviews)
88 Programs, 2 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Associate in Police Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Police Studies
Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus HLC $11,788 100% (3 reviews)
64 Programs, 3 in Law Enforcement (view all)
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Criminal Justice/Sociology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
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2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Law Enforcement Degrees

Law Enforcement-Top Online Colleges-2019-Badge

The best online law enforcement degrees are offered by the seven schools on this list. Park University is ranked first with an annual tuition of $11,970 and a median salary of $63,700. Northwestern State University of Louisiana is the least expensive option, offering a Bachelor of Science in Unified Public Safety Administration with a Law Enforcement Administration concentration for only $9,600 per year.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 $11,970 $63,700
#2 #2 $12,270 $61,800
#3 #3 $13,620 $56,700
#4 #4 $9,600 $51,800
#5 #5 $19,171 $52,400
#6 #6 $16,900 $46,100
#7 #7 $13,640 $40,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.

Online Law Enforcement Degree Overview & Career Information

Education requirements vary due to the many career options within the law enforcement field. Entry-level positions at the local and state levels require an associate degree, though some local opportunities may be afforded to those who hold only a high school diploma. With 60 units of required coursework, an associate degree can be completed in two years. In order to be eligible to work for the federal government, professionals must hold at least a bachelor's degree. This degree will take participants around four years to complete; after earning a degree, students may go on to work at agencies like the FBI or CIA. Pursuing a master's degree will help professionals gain advanced positions as well as future promotions and pay increases. A typical graduate program can be completed in two years.

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Online Associate Degrees in Law Enforcement

An online associate degree in law enforcement can be pursued at universities, community colleges, and technical schools. Participants will complete 60 units of coursework over the course of two years, gaining knowledge of basic law enforcement and criminology through subjects including judicial administration, criminal procedures, criminal law, police studies, ethics and the criminal justice leader, world civilizations, criminal investigation, statistics, and courts. In addition to the degree-specific topics listed, students must also complete college level English and math in order to graduate. Graduates can put their skills into action immediately in the multidisciplinary field of law enforcement. Entry-level positions are available in private security, crime scene investigation, probation, and court administration. To enroll in an associate program, the applicant must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. If the applicant has completed more than 24 units at another institution, official college transcripts must also be provided. English and math placement exams must also be taken before admission is granted.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Law Enforcement

All federal law enforcement agencies require at minimum a bachelor's degree in law enforcement thus all interested candidates will want to consider enrolling in a bachelor's program. Through four years of study, students will complete a total of 120 units. Students take a wide range of classes on topics like applied criminal justice analysis, criminal justice research, perspectives on crime and delinquency, ethical decisions and police, contemporary police strategies, legal traditions, and criminal investigation. Graduates will be prepared to work in the federal government, but they will also be more likely to earn promotions and pay increases in their current professional settings. First-time freshman will be required to have a high school diploma or a GED plus a satisfactory SAT or ACT score. Bachelor programs in law enforcement are available at the university level as well as at vocational schools. 

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Online Master's in Law Enforcement

Applying for jobs in federal law enforcement will require at minimum a four year degree; however, advanced positions will be available to those who hold a graduate degree. There are a number of jobs in federal law enforcement that a master's degree would prepare students for including working for the FBI, the CIA, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Secret Service. Students will participate in 30 to 36 units of coursework, which can take up to two years to complete. Due to the diverse nature of the law enforcement field, there are many different areas of concentration for students to choose from based on their personal interests. These areas of concentration include federal law enforcement, homeland security, behavior management, and crime analysis. Key courses include Research Methods, Youth Cultures and Deviance, Foundations of Addiction, Federal Criminal Justice, Forensic Financial Analysis, Terrorism: Threats and Strategy, and Homeland Security. Applicants interested in a master's program will need to submit their official undergraduate transcripts. An admissions essay along with two letters of recommendation from professional references will also be required. Graduate degrees in law enforcement can only be sought at the university level. 

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View Doctoral Programs View Doctoral Programs

Online Certificates in Law Enforcement

An online undergraduate certificate can be sought by professionals who already have experience in the field but wish to expand their knowledge and skills. Students will enhance their skills in parole, probation, investigation, and patrol. Such knowledge is gained through the completion of coursework on security, criminal investigation, probation and parole, problems in policing, police organization and management, and the American legal tradition. A typical online certificate program contains 45 to 56 units of coursework. Online certificate programs can be pursued at both universities and vocational schools, but applicants must provide official transcripts from all schools previously attended including high school and college. If the applicant has relevant work experience, a resume will also be key for admission.

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Accreditation

Accreditation is an important factor when it comes to committing to a specific school or program. It ensures the quality of the program—meaning the curriculum, faculty, resources, and student evaluation systems have been deemed exceptional through an unbiased review conducted by an outside organization. Students can have full confidence that they are going to receive an education that is going to fully prepare them for their future profession upon graduation. It must also be noted that federal financial aid is only available for students who are taking part in accredited programs. Accreditation can also play an important role in job searching post-graduation. Many employers want to rest assured that their candidates have been properly trained and thus may only recognize degrees received through accredited programs. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), is a non-profit organization that internationally accredits law enforcement, communications, training academy, and campus security agencies. CALEA promulgates standards around best practices in public safety and how an agency should operate.

Careers in Law Enforcement

There are many career paths that can be followed within the field of law enforcement. One choice is federal criminal investigator. Individuals with this title investigate crimes that have taken place against the public as well as the government. Daily tasks include things like gathering evidence, conducting interviews to collect intelligence, making arrests, and testifying in court. Criminal investigators will need at least a four-year degree and must be under the age of 37 to qualify for the job. Candidates must also pass a background check before they can be considered. Once a candidate has passed all qualifications, they will then have to undergo basic training, which lasts about two months. During the two months of basic training, candidates will learn about interviewing, case management, surveillance, physical training, firearm handling, and vehicle operation.

Another notable job title is police officer. The main job of a police officer is to serve and protect people and their property. On a daily basis, they enforce laws, respond to calls, conduct patrols, conduct traffic stops, issue citations, arrest suspects, write reports, and testify in court. Police officers may have as little as a high school diploma—however, professionals who hold a college degree will find better career opportunities including promotions and advanced positions. All candidates must be at least 21 years of age, pass a background check, and graduate from a training academy. Once the candidate has been hired with an agency, they will also undergo on-the-job training before being released to conduct duties on their own. Lastly, police officers will need to pass regular physical exams.

References

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