Criminal Justice Degrees Online Increasingly Popular With Tv Generation

Online education is one of the fastest growing ways to get a degree these days and criminal justice degrees online are some of the most popular. Experts say that part of the increased interest in criminology programs can be traced to the amazing popularity of criminal justice programs on television.

Dramas that Highlight Criminal Justice Work

While cop shows have been around for decades, today’s television programs are more sophisticated and focus more on the investigative and procedural work that requires some kind of criminal justice education. Law & Order and its spin-offs (Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent) portray crimes from the investigation by police officers to the final stages of the trial. This unique perspective has shown police work in a new light for today’s generation. These police officers also work closely with the state’s attorneys and the victims. The program also introduces viewers to criminal justice professionals such as parole officers, prison guards and juvenile court officers. The many facets of these characters illustrate just how varied and exciting criminal justice careers can be.

Another popular program is Without A Trace, based on a branch of the FBI’s missing person’s division. Viewers know that members of the FBI are expected to have a degree in some field having to do with law enforcement in order to pursue criminal cases as an agent, increasing the prestige of a criminal justice degree, online or in a bricks and mortar school. In many cases, individuals who thought criminal justice work was limited to becoming a police officer are especially intrigued by television programs that offer alternative opportunities such as federal agent.

Perhaps one of the most innovative programs on the air today is Vega$, which most people don’t think of as a law enforcement show. However, in many episodes security concerns are at the forefront of the story line. Investigating unknown gamblers, ensuring the safety of jackpots and making sure the staff aren’t bribed or compromised in any way are all concerns of the security team at the casino.

Reality TV Adds Its Impact

No one can deny the profound impact of reality TV on people’s opinions and interests. What may be surprising is that reality shows about law enforcement are some of the biggest successes out there. Dog the Bounty Hunter follows the day-to-day work of a man and his wife who are professional bounty hunters in Hawaii. Those who are interested in this line of work know from watching the show that they will have to be familiar with everything from current law enforcement practices to the behavioral science of apprehending suspects. Getting a criminal justice degree online can be the first step toward getting licensed for this kind of specialized work.

American Justice makes armchair investigators out of many viewers. This unique program offers both sides of a criminal case, from the initial investigation through the actual trial, and then asks viewers what they think before revealing the jury’s verdict. Some episodes have follow-up reports on older cases as well. All of these can inspire individuals who think that they would be suited to the complex, time-consuming investigative process or who believe they could have "done it better" than the people profiled.

Although television programs a few decades ago tended to idealize being a police officer, detective or sheriff’s deputy, the trend now is toward realistic portrayals. Interestingly, the most realistic the programming has become, the greater the interest seems to be in pursuing a criminal justice degree online. Perhaps part of this is because viewers are coming to realize that people in the criminal justice system, although they are heroes, are merely human, just like them. Realizing this seems to have inspired a new generation to enter law enforcement, which is good for everyone’s future.

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