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Tim McMillan in his police uniform working at his desk with text Tim McMillan '15

Bachelor's in Police Administration Law Enforcement Degree Online

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Register By: June 29 Classes Start: July 01

Earn a Law Enforcement Degree Online

  • $330/credit (120 total credits)
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Get up to 12 credits for law enforcement and military training
  • No application fee or SAT/ACT scores
  • 24/7 online access to the classroom
  • Median annual salary of $66,020 for police and detectives1

Online Police Administration Concentration Overview

There are those born to serve their communities on the front lines and those born to lead behind the scenes. The criminal justice system needs both.

Great leaders help police officers, detectives and other branches of law enforcement do great work. They’re a vital element in every aspect of the profession. SNHU's Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Police Administration and Operations can help you become the kind of leader the law enforcement field needs – today and tomorrow.

You’ll explore the demands, functions and evolving state of the modern police force. You'll learn the many roles of police agencies across the country. And you’ll gain a foundation in criminal justice principles as you dive deep into psychology, American politics and criminal law.

At the root of every career in the criminal justice system is a desire to help. As a leader in criminal justice education, SNHU is committed to helping you learn how you can help. Earning your online law enforcement degree is the first step.

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What You'll Learn

  • Crime analysis techniques
  • Police operations
  • Workplace and performance assessments
  • Critical thinking, problem-solving and professional communications
  • Community policing best practices
  • Intervention and negotiation strategies

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How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

Career Outlook

The criminal justice field is changing – and so are degree requirements.

“Now you have highly educated people dominating the field,” said Dr. Jeff Czarnec, associate dean of SNHU’s criminal justice program. “They want more out of life. They want more out of the field."

As a growing number of employers require a college education from candidates for jobs or promotions, more and more criminal justice students are benefiting. SNHU’s online law enforcement degree was designed to help working officers gain the skills and insights they need to move up in criminal justice.

By earning your law enforcement degree at SNHU, you'll be well-prepared for a number of career paths in this field, including:

Correctional Officers and Bailiffs

Correctional officers oversee defendants under arrest and awaiting trial or a prison sentence. Bailiffs maintain safety and order in courtrooms.

Police and Detectives

According to the BLS, detectives and criminal investigators gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Patrol officers, the most common type, have general law enforcement duties.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers supervise people placed on probation. Correctional treatment specialists develop rehabilitation plans for people on probation or parole.

Note: Law enforcement positions may involve additional training and eligibility requirements.

 Ian Moffett, SNHU instructor and retired chief of the Miami-Dade school system police departmentBeyond the academic benefits of earning a degree, the police administration program also instills soft skills you'll find critical in the workplace.

“We know studies show that people with higher education, people who have degrees, have better problem-solving skills, they’re more empathetic,” said Ian Moffett, SNHU instructor and retired chief of the Miami-Dade school system police department. “They understand community policing. They can implement it.”

Throughout your online law enforcement classes, you’ll learn from faculty with real-world experience as criminal justice leaders. Their firsthand insights into the field will enhance your education and help you get more out of your own career.

David Lemieux with text David LemieuxDavid Lemieux ’18 earned his law enforcement degree – and a raise from the Portland Police Department in Maine.

“Portland has an agency of approximately 150 police officers,” said Lemieux. “I chose criminal justice in police operations to advance through the ranks as I gain experience.”

Lemieux is typical of many online law enforcement degree students, working full time, often on second and third shifts. He liked the flexibility of the online program and appreciated learning from faculty with experience and empathy.

“Every instructor had a vast array of knowledge,” he said. “They also know that life happens and were able to work with you if an incident came up.”

Lemieux gained more than a bachelor's degree in law enforcement. He gained more confidence at work.

“My affidavits have significantly improved,” he said. “My criminal justice degree has also provided me with the knowledge in constitutional law to conduct proper police community involvement.”

In addition, your law enforcement education can prepare you for immediate career advancement or an advanced degree in criminal justice.

If you see yourself in a leadership role in public policy, the online Graduate Certificate in Public Administration is a logical next step. If you’re tech savvy and interested in public safety, the online Graduate Certificate in Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security might be a better fit. Both offer immediate benefits, as well as the ability to apply earned credits toward an online master's in criminal justice.

Earn credits for what you already know: Did you know certain work and life experience – like industry-recognized certifications or law enforcement or military training – could save you time and money at SNHU? Learn how you could get credit for work or life experience.

Job Growth and Salary

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Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 23,800 openings for police and detectives are projected each year through 2032.1

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The median salaries for jobs in this area were all above the median annual wage for all workers in 2022: correctional officers and bailiffs ($49,610), police and detectives ($69,160), and probation officers and correctional treatment specialists ($59,860).1

Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

Start Your Journey Towards an Online Police Administration and Operations Concentration Degree

Picture of Jeff Czarnec

Why SNHU's Criminal Justice Program Stands Out

Dr. Jeff Czarnec, associate dean of criminal justice and social science programs

“We have a bigger responsibility than to just deliver content. Our biggest responsibility is to add value to the program by looking to develop culturally competent public safety people.”

Courses & Curriculum

Members of law enforcement hold a unique role in society. Every traffic stop or knock on the door carries with it an enormous responsibility. It also highlights the need for strong communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with cultural competency and emotional intelligence.

Maria Daniel with text Maria DanielCommunity policing is a core component of SNHU’s law enforcement degree. María Daniel, who practices law in Philadelphia and teaches in SNHU's criminal justice program, addressed this topic on a recent panel of criminal justice experts for SNHU’s Contemporary Justice Series. She stressed that the issues facing the criminal justice system go beyond the nation’s police departments to inequities in the treatment of minorities.

“I think that all of us have an obligation to be the change,” Daniel said. “We have to be the light in the darkness, whatever your role in the criminal justice system. We have to treat people as human first, and we have to be transparent in our shortcomings and say, ‘I can do better.’”

In recent years, SNHU worked with faculty and subject matter experts to rethink our whole criminal justice curriculum. Our law enforcement degree reflects that work. It also reinforces our commitment to provide the skills and experiences you’ll need to bring to the workforce. 

As a criminal justice student, you’ll see this focus on cultural competency in both your online law enforcement electives and your core courses. You’ll gain a solid foundation in cultural awareness, communication, discretion, problem-solving and other essential criminal justice principles. You’ll also learn how to align best practices for managing police operations with public safety goals.

The law enforcement degree program also integrates new learning resources that build to a criminal justice communication certificate – a bonus if you want to move up the ranks. Designed to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills to communicate effectively with a range of communities, the certificate focuses on enhancing your ability to accurately convey essential information.

The online law enforcement degree concentration covers topics ranging from crime analysis to policy development and consists of these 4 courses:

  • Crime Analysis and Effective Police Service. Explore the assets and tools of progressive crime analysis techniques and their relationship to the delivery of effective police services. Learn to apply theory, data collection methods and basic use of statistics to various goals of policing.
  • Crisis Intervention for Police. Study crisis theory, intervention and strategies required for first responders. Learn how to recognize threat levels, listen actively, and conduct effective mediation and negotiations in situations like attempted suicides, hostage-taking and barricaded subjects.
  • Effective Patrol and Community Policing. Examine the principles and effective practices of police patrol and operations. Discuss and analyze how to prepare and set expectations for patrol officers. Study the fundamental aspects and best practices of community policing.
  • Leadership and Management in Criminal Justice Organizations. Learn how to lead and manage in the criminal justice workplace. Explore the traits and characteristics of criminal justice professionals at work. Develop performance evaluations and goals.

SNHU’s online criminal justice degree core and specialized courses are taught by highly regarded, accomplished faculty with years of real-world, hands-on experience. Our online faculty reflect the advanced academic qualifications and practical experience of a top-ranked, accredited university.

Our criminal justice faculty have experience working for major law enforcement agencies, including:

  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Chicago Police Department
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Homeland Security
  • Houston Police Department
  • Miami Police Department
  • New York City Police Department (NYPD)

Curriculum Requirements & Resources

General Education

All undergraduate students are required to take general education courses, which are part of SNHU's newly redesigned program, The Commons. The goal of The Commons' curriculum is to empower you with some of the most in-demand skills, so you can succeed not only in your academic career, but in your personal and professional life too.

Technology Resources

We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.

Earn Math Credits

Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.

University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

Tuition & Fees

As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.

We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Undergraduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 30 credits 
Degree/Certificates $990 $330 $9,900
Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)* $693 $231 $6,930

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs No Application Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions