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Criminal Justice Schools

Criminal justice schools do more than prepare students to wear a badge and pound a beat. Those who enroll in a criminal justice program typically study many aspects of criminal law. Course work generally includes case studies, so students can learn from real-life situations. Some programs will include internships as well to give students hands-on,real-world experience. Students may also learn about sociology and psychology, specifically as it relates to criminal behavior and substance abuse.

There are a number of paths an education and career in criminal justice can take. While many who attend in criminal justice schools will go on to a career in law enforcement or corrections, others may pursue careers in counseling or use their criminal justice education as a springboard to a law degree.

Criminal justice specializations

There are a number of ways to specialize within the field of criminal justice.

Law enforcement

Police and detectives may make up the bulk of law enforcement jobs, however with education and experience, it is possible to specialize even within local and state police departments. For example, you may specialize in working with juveniles or narcotics. You can also pursue a career at the federal level such as:

  • FBI
  • Homeland Security
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Requirements for federal jobs are likely to include a bachelor's or master's degree, work experience, and additional training. Some may also require security clearance.

Probation and Corrections

Another common career path within criminal justice involves working with the corrections system. These include:

  • Probation officers
  • Parole officers
  • Case managers
  • Pretrial service officers

Counseling

Criminal justice schools can also be a pathway into the field of counseling. Mental health, substance abuse and behavioral counselors work both in private practice and within the justice system.

Law

Criminal justice schools can be an entry way into the legal field as well. And, some with a background in criminal justice go on to pursue training as a paralegal or enter law school.

Criminal justice certifications and degrees

Not everyone who works in criminal justice is required to have a bachelor's degree. State and local departments may accept police academy training, though many do require some college. Many departments will also support continuing education on the job. Jobs at the federal level will require a bachelor's degree and some will require a master's as well. Additional training and certifications may be necessary depending on your job, like cyber-security or forensics.

Generally, correctional treatment specialists and probation officers are required to have a bachelor's degree. Certain jobs and certain states will also require certification. Certifications may be state-specific or through national associations including the American Correctional Association.

Requirements for counseling positions vary by state. The lowest threshold is a high school diploma and passing a state exam. Many positions will require at least a bachelor's or a master's degree. A bachelor's degree is required for private practice. Visit the National Board for Certified Counselors and Affiliates for information about your state's certification requirements for private practice.

Criminal justice salary and career outlook

If you are considering a career in criminal justice, it's important to understand what your job prospects and salary expectations. Here is an overview of statistics and projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov).

Law enforcement

Police officers earned national median salaries of 56,130 as of May 2013. Overall, protective service jobs are predicted to rise 8 percent from 2012-2022, which is slower than average. Police and detective jobs are only suspected to increase by 5 percent, but that does translate into over 41,000 new positions. The BLS suggests having a bachelor's degree along with some law enforcement or military training may give applicants the best chance of getting hired.

There are some areas that are expecting greater than average growth, according to Projections Central, through 2022. Kentucky law enforcement jobs are projected to grow by 32 percent, Utah by 19.4 percent, and Texas by 17 percent. It should be noted that the greatest number of overall new law enforcement jobs -- over 9,600 -- will be found in Texas.

Correctional treatment specialists and probation officers

National median salaries for correctional treatment specialists and probation officers were $48,440 in May of 2013. The percentage of jobs is actually projected to decrease by 1 percent, however, the BLS says job openings will be available for qualified candidates due to natural turnover in the job. There are areas of the country that expect higher than average growth for correctional treatment specialists and probation officers. Kentucky again leads the pack with 16.5 percent growth, followed by Texas with 9.9 percent and Colorado with 8.2 percent.

Counselors

The BLS predicts 29 percent growth for mental health counselors through 2022, with job prospects best in rural areas. Projections Central's top three states with predicted growth are:

  • Georgia: 48 percent
  • Utah: 40.8 percent
  • Puerto Rico: 40.8 percent

Substance abuse and behavior disorder counseling positions are predicted to grow by 31 percent. Those with specialized training or education may have the best opportunities. The top three growth states for this profession are:

  • Kentucky: 42.1 percent
  • Georgia: 40.9 percent
  • Utah: 37.5 percent

Good job prospects and solid salaries definitely add to the attraction of an education in criminal justice. However, many who attend criminal justice schools are driven by a desire to serve the public and to help others. As a result, many find rewarding careers in criminal justice.

Sources:

Criminology: College, Degree and Major Information, Big Future by the College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/social-sciences-criminology

Criminal Justice: College, Degree and Major Information, Big Future by the College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/security-protective-services-criminal-justice-corrections-criminal-justice

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

Police and Detectives, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm

Projections Central, Long-Term Projections, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Criminal Justice Schools
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At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.

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Salida: 5330 Pirrone Road Salida, CA 95368

San Marcos: 277 Rancheros Drive San Marcos, CA 92069

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Austin: 10801-2 N Mo Pac Expressway Suite 300 Austin, TX 78759

Los Angeles: 14320 Firestone Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038

Killeen: 902 West Central Texas Expressway Suite 300 Killeen, TX 76541

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Schaumburg: 1500 McConnor Parkway Suite 700 Schaumburg, IL 60173

Kansas City: 901 East 104th Street Suite 200 Kansas City, MO 64131

Woodland Hills: 5955 DeSoto Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Westminster: 8700 Turnpike Drive Westminster, CO 80030

Lone Tree: 10004 Park Meadows Drive Lone Tree, CO 80124

Lancaster: 1220 W. Avenue J Lancaster, CA 93534

Fresno: 45 East River Park Place West Suite 101 Fresno, CA 93720

Gardena: 1515 W. 190th Gardena, CA 90248

Tucson: 300 South Craycroft Road Tucson, AZ 85711

Virginia Beach: 150 Central Park Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Diamond Bar: 1370 S. Valley Vista Dr. Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Springfield: 1343 East Kingsley Street Suite B,C Springfield, MO 65804

Richmond: 6600 West Broad Street Suite 200 Richmond, VA 23230

Rogers: 903 North 47th Street Suite 104 Rogers, AR 72756

El Centro: 3095 N. Imperial Avenue Suite 101 El Centro, CA 92243

Palm Desert: 75153 Merle Dr. Palm Desert, CA 92211

Yuma: 899 East Plaza Circle Yuma, AZ 85365

Ontario: 3110 E. Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

Spring: 24624 Interstate 45 Spring, TX 77386

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San Diego: 3890 Murphy Canyon Road Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92123

Cordova: 65 Germantown Court Suite 100 Cordova, TN 38018

Columbus: 7200 North Lake Drive Columbus, GA 31909

Nashville: 616 Marriott Drive Suite 150 Nashville, TN 37214

Bakersfield: 4900 California Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93309

Flowood: 120 Stone Creek Blvd. Suite 200 Flowood, MS 39232

Pasadena: 299 N. Euclid Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101

Chicago: 203 N LaSalle St Chicago, IL 60601

Washington: 25 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 150 Washington, DC 20001

Santa Teresa: 1270 Country Club Road Santa Teresa, NM 88008

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Fort Lauderdale: 550 W. Cypress Creek Road Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

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Guaynabo: B7 Calle Tabonuco Suite 700 Guaynabo, PR 00968

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Bossier City: 350 Plaza Loop Drive Bldg E Bossier City, LA 71111

Hollywood: 2400 SW 145th Avenue Hollywood, FL 33027

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Murrieta: 25240 Hancock Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

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Fairfield: 5253 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534

Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln Technical Institute.

Programs : Criminal Justice, and more..

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At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

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Career-focused education for real‐world results.

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Chicago: Chicago, IL

Saint Louis: 11830 Westline Industrial Dr. Suite 550 Saint Louis, MO 63146

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New York: 180 Madison Ave. Suite 900 New York, NY 10016

Elgin: Randall Point 2250 Point Blvd. Suite 250 Elgin, IL 60123

Englewood: 6312 S. Fiddlers Green Cr. Suite 150E Englewood, CO 80111

Kansas City: 11224 Holmes Rd. Kansas City, MO 64131

Oklahoma City: 4013 Northwest Expressway Suite 100 Oklahoma City, OK 73116

Glendale: 6751 N. Sunset Blvd. Ste. 104 Glendale, AZ 85305

Gurnee: 1075 Tri-State Pkwy. Ste. 800 Gurnee, IL 60031

Palmdale: One 39115 Trade Center Dr. Ste. 100 Palmdale, CA 93551

Minneapolis: 7700 France Ave. S. Ste. 575 Minneapolis, MN 55435

Phoenix: 2149 W. Dunlap Phoenix, AZ 85021

King of Prussia: 150 Allendale Road Suite 3250 King of Prussia, PA 19406

Sandy: 9350 S. 150 E. Suite 420 Sandy, UT 84070

Indianapolis: 9100 Keystone Crossing Suite 300 Indianapolis, IN 46240

Atlanta: 100 Galleria Parkway SE Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30339

Fort Worth: City Center Tower II, 301 Commerce Street Suite 2000 Fort Worth, TX 76102

North Brunswick: 630 US Highway One North Brunswick, NJ 08902

Arlington: 2405 Crystal City Dr. Arlington, VA 22202

Oakland: 505 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612

Charlotte: 2015 Ayrsley Town Blvd. Suite 109 Charlotte, NC 28273

Hollywood: 14700 Caribbean Way Hollywood, FL 33027

Austin: 11044 Research Blvd Suite B100 Austin, TX 78759

Milwaukee: 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. Ste 300 Milwaukee, WI 53202

Irving: 4800 Regent Blvd. Irving, TX 75063

Downers Grove: Highland Landmark V 3005 Highland Pkwy. Ste. 100 Downers Grove, IL 60515

Duluth: 3505 Koger Blvd. Suite 170 Duluth, GA 30096

Tampa: 6700 Lakeview Center Drive Suite 150 Tampa, FL 33619

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San Diego: 2655 Camino Del Rio North Suite 201 San Diego, CA 92108

Chesapeake: 1317 Executive Blvd. Suite 100 Chesapeake, VA 23320

Cherry Hill: 921 Haddonfield Road Ste. D Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Dayton: 3610 Pentagon Blvd. Ste. 100 Dayton, OH 45431

Houston: 2000 West Loop South Suite 150 Houston, TX 77027

Stockbridge: 675 Southcrest Parkway Stockbridge, GA 30281

Sherman Oaks: 15301 Ventura Blvd B-100 Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Portland: 9755 SW Barnes Road Peterkort Center II Portland, OR 97225

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  Vatterott College is dedicated to providing students opportunities to gain the hands-on skills necessary to achieve their educational goals.

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Saint Joseph: 3131 Frederick Ave. Saint Joseph, MO 64506

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

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Miami: 2101 NW 117th Avenue Miami, FL 33172

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Plymouth Meeting: 220 W. Germantown Pike, Suite 100 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Harrisburg: 449 Eisenhower Blvd., Suite 100 Harrisburg, PA 17111

Tarentum: 100 Pittsburgh Mills Circle Suite 100 Tarentum, PA 15084

Pittsburgh: 10 Parkway Center Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Old Forge: 1000 Meade Street Old Forge, PA 18518

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

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: , OH

Thanks to Florida Tech offering intensive degree programs 100% online, students located all over the world have the opportunity to access the same world-class education as those who attend classes on the main campus in Melbourne, Florida.

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Tampa: 9417 Princess Palm Ave Tampa, FL 33619

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