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BS in Criminal Justice vs. BS in Psychology, concentrating in forensics: Differences and Similarities

Begin preparing for the career you desire by choosing the best bachelor’s program for your goals—an online criminal justice degree or an online forensic psychology degree.

Criminal justice professionals and forensic psychologists work in diverse settings throughout the criminal justice system, but they make an impact in different ways. Individuals who choose careers in the criminal justice system are often motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities affected by crime. Additionally, they seek to improve the methods of dealing with victims and offenders in various stages of their lives.

Which Online Bachelor’s Degree Is Best for You? Compare Your Career Options*

BS in Criminal Justice vs. BS in Psychology, concentrating in forensics: Differences and Similarities

BS in Criminal Justice

  • Crime scene investigator
  • Detective
  • Criminologist
  • Researcher
  • Manager or administrator 
  • Computer and cybercrime professional
  • Homeland Security positions
  • Community or victim advocate
  • Correctional officer 

BS in Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology

  • Administrator
  • Case management aide
  • Correctional officer
  • Court liaison
  • Forensic treatment specialist 
  • Forensic treatment specialist
  • Law enforcement advocate
  • Drug Abuse Counselor
  • Researcher
  • Behavioral management aide   

What Is a BS in Psychology?

When you choose a BS in Psychology with a Forensics Psychology concentration, you'll focus on areas such as understanding the role of a psychologist in the criminal justice system, the psychology of the criminal mind, and how to conduct forensic interviews, investigations, and assessments.

A specialized online bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology may give you a competitive edge over other candidates for positions such as forensic treatment specialist, victim’s advocate, or correctional officer. You will also have a solid foundation for pursuing an MS in Forensic Psychology, and ultimately, a PhD in Psychology. Forensic psychologists might work with inmates, criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors in court, or victims and families. They work in settings such as prisons, jails, rehabilitation centers, police departments, law firms, schools, government agencies, and private practices.

What Is a BS in Criminal Justice?

The core curriculum of an online BS in Criminal Justice degree focuses on areas such as profiling serial and mass murderers; understanding drugs, gangs, and organized crime; computer forensics; and restorative justice. Some criminal justice degrees may also offer concentrations in areas such as computer information systems and security; crime and criminals; criminal justice management and administration; homeland security; and human services for criminal justice. These specialized bachelor’s degrees help students align their undergraduate studies with the specific type of career they desire. Having a criminal justice degree may provide graduates with better credentials and a competitive edge when compared with other job applicants. You will also have a solid foundation for pursuing an MS in Criminal Justice, and ultimately, a PhD in Criminal Justice.

Job Market and Salaries1

A bachelor’s degree is a good starting point, and continuing your education at the graduate level will help further expand your career options and earning potential. For example, the job market for psychologists is expected to grow at an average rate between 2019 and 2029. The median annual wage for all psychologists was $82,180 in May 2020, while the lowest 10% earned less than $46,270 and the top 10% earned more than $137,590. The job market for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists may grow as fast as the average rate of 4% during the same time. The median annual wage for these criminal justice professionals was $55,690 in May 2020, while the lowest 10% earned less than $36,990 and the top 10% earned more than $98,510.

The BS in Criminal Justice degree online or the BS in Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology degree online can also provide the foundation for pursuing your education at the master’s and doctoral levels. Dedicate yourself to furthering your education with advanced skills that may qualify you for the most influential positions in your profession.

Explore Walden University's online criminal justice degrees for graduates and undergraduates. Get the help you need to launch or advance your career. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

1Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm.

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