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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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Nashville: 616 Marriott Drive Suite 150 Nashville, TN 37214

Ontario: 3110 E. Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

Westminster: 8700 Turnpike Drive Westminster, CO 80030

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

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Arlington: 1800 South Bell Street Arlington, VA 22202

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Woodland Hills: 5955 DeSoto Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Costa Mesa: 3150 Bristol Street, Suite 100, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Cordova: 65 Germantown Court Suite 100 Cordova, TN 38018

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

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

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Tucson: 555 E. River Road Tucson, AZ 85704

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

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

Schaumburg: 1500 McConnor Parkway Suite 700 Schaumburg, IL 60173

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

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Spring: 24624 Interstate 45 Spring, TX 77386

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

Henderson: 7777 Eastgate Road Henderson, NV 89011

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Fairfield: 5253 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534

Visalia: 301 East Acequia Ave Visalia, CA 93291

Salida: 5330 Pirrone Road Salida, CA 95368

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

San Marcos: 277 Rancheros Drive San Marcos, CA 92069

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

San Diego: 1230 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101

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Sacramento: 1760 Creekside Oaks Drive Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95833

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

Lancaster: 1220 W. Avenue J Lancaster, CA 93534

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

Honolulu: 745 Fort Street Suite 2000 Honolulu, HI 96813

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

Chicago: 203 N LaSalle St Chicago, IL 60601

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

Warrenville: 4525 Weaver Parkway Warrenville, IL 60555

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

Meridian: 3080 East Gentry Way Suite 150 Meridian, ID 83642

Murrieta: 25240 Hancock Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

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

Sandy Springs: 8200 Roberts Drive Suite 300 Sandy Springs, GA 30350

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

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

Programs : Criminal Justice, and more..

Campus Locations :

Somerville: 5 Middlesex Ave Somerville, MA 02145

Further your education and strengthen your skill set at Rasmussen College

Programs : Criminal Justice Associate’s, Criminal Justice Bachelor, Law Enforcement Academics Certificate, and more..

Campus Locations :

Rockford: 6000 E State St 4th Floor Rockford, IL 61108

Lake Elmo: 8565 Eagle Point Circle Lake Elmo, MN 55042

Wausau: 1101 Westwood Drive Wausau, WI 54401

Green Bay: 904 South Taylor St. Suite 100 Green Bay, WI 54303

Tampa: 4042 Park Oaks Blvd Suite 100 Tampa, FL 33610

New Port Richey: 8661 Citizens Drive New Port Richey, FL 34654

Bismarck: 1701 E. Century Ave. Bismarck, ND 58503

Ocala: 2100 SW 22nd Place Ocala, FL 34471

Aurora: 2363 Sequoia Dr. Aurora, IL 60506

Circle Pines: 3629 95th Avenue Northeast Circle Pines, MN 55014

Romeoville: 1400 W. Normantown Road Romeoville, IL 60446

Moorhead: 1250 29th Avenue South Moorhead, MN 56560

: 3500 Federal Drive , MN 55122

Mankato: 501 Holly Lane Mankato, MN 56001

Fort Myers: 9160 Forum Corporate Parkway Suite 100 Fort Myers, FL 33905

Mokena: 8650 West Spring Lake Road Mokena, IL 60448

Fargo: 4012 19th Avenue SW Fargo, ND 58103

Minneapolis: 8301 93rd Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55445

Lutz: 18600 Fernview Street Lutz, FL 33558

Saint Cloud: 226 Park Avenue South Saint Cloud, MN 56301

Appleton: 3500 E. Destination Drive Suite 100 Appleton, WI 54915

Topeka: 620 SW Governor View Topeka, KS 66606

Westwood College is dedicated to preparing students with the knowledge, skills and training needed for meaningful employment. Through education, we create opportunities, change lives and impact futures.

Programs : Criminal Justice (A), Criminal Justice: Major in Administration (B), and more..

Campus Locations :

Anaheim: 1551 S. Douglass Road Anaheim, CA 92806

Los Angeles: 3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90010

Denver: 7350 North Broadway Denver, CO 80221

Torrance: 19700 S. Vermont Ave. Suite 100 Torrance, CA 90502

Upland: 20 West 7th Street Upland, CA 91786

Atlanta: 1100 Spring Street Suite 102 Atlanta, GA 30309

Calumet City: 80 River Oaks Center Calumet City, IL 60409

Chicago: 8501 W. Higgins Road Chicago, IL 60631

Woodridge: 7155 Janes Ave Woodridge, IL 60517

We're with you, from start to finish.

Programs : Bachelor's - Justice Administration, Bachelor's - Justice Administration, Bachelor's - Business Administration - Security Management, and more..

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Chicago: Chicago, IL

Oxnard: 300 E. Esplanade Dr., Suite 100, Oxnard, CA 93036

Sugar Land: 14100 Southwest Frwy. Ste. 100 Sugar Land, TX 77478

Long Beach: 3880 Kilroy Airport Way Long Beach, CA 90806

Decatur: One West Court Square Ste 100 Decatur, GA 30030

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

Miami: 8700 W. Flagler St. Ste. 100 Miami, FL 33174

Lynnwood: Redstone Corporate Center, 19020 33rd Ave W, Ste Lynnwood, WA 98036

San Antonio: 1919 NW Loop 410 Suite 150 San Antonio, TX 78213

Mesa: 1201 South Alma School Road Suite 5450 Mesa, AZ 85210

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

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

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

Morrisville: 1600 Perimeter Park Drive Suite 100 Morrisville, NC 27560

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

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

Manassas: 10432 Balls Ford Road Suite 150 Manassas, VA 20109

Louisville: 10172 Linn Station Rd. Ste. 300 Louisville, KY 40223

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

Alhambra: 1000 S. Fremont Ave. Alhambra, CA 91803

Addison: 1221 North Swift Road Addison, IL 60101

Pittsburgh: 210 Sixth Ave. Ste. 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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

Hollywood: 14700 Caribbean Way Hollywood, FL 33027

Cincinnati: 8800 Governor's Hill Drive Cincinnati, OH 45249

Houston: 11125 Equity Drive Houston, TX 77041

Fresno: 7575 North Fresno St. Suite 575 Fresno, CA 93720

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

Oakland: 505 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612

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

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

Orlando: 4000 Millenia Blvd. Orlando, FL 32839

Elk Grove: 2216 Kausen Dr. Ste. 1 Elk Grove, CA 95758

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Bethesda: 4550 Montgomery Ave. Suite 100 N. Bethesda, MD 20814

Irving: 4800 Regent Blvd. Irving, TX 75063

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Rego Park: 99-21 Queens Blvd. Rego Park, NY 11374

Tinley Park: 18624 West Creek Drive Tinley Park, IL 60477

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Colton: 1090 E Washington St Colton, CA 92324

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Richardson: 2201 N. Central Expressway Richardson, TX 75080

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

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Jacksonville: 5200 Belfort Road Ste. 175 Jacksonville, FL 32256

Austin: 11044 Research Blvd Suite B100 Austin, TX 78759

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

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

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

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

Stockbridge: 675 Southcrest Parkway Stockbridge, GA 30281

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

Programs : MS in Criminal Justice - Law, MS in Criminal Justice, BS in Criminal Justice, and more..

Campus Locations :

Fort Lauderdale: 6301 Kaplan University Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.

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: , CA

With more than 300 online and residential areas of study, Liberty offers programs from the certificate to doctoral level.

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Campus Locations :

Lynchburg: 1971 University Boulevard Lynchburg, VA 24502

Are you interested in pursuing a high-tech career? Getting an education from ITT Tech is a great place to start!

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

Pittsburgh: 10 Parkway Center Pittsburgh, PA 15220

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

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

Old Forge: 1000 Meade Street Old Forge, PA 18518

Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.

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Sarasota: 6151 Lake Osprey Drive Sarasota, FL 34240

Jacksonville: 6700 Southpoint Parkway, Suite 400 Jacksonville, FL 32216

Fort Myers: 9100 Forum Corporate Parkway Fort Myers, FL 33905

Melbourne: 900 S. Babcock St. Melbourne, FL 32901

West Palm Beach: 2085 Vista Parkway West Palm Beach, FL 33411

Tallahassee: 1700 Halstead Blvd Bldg. 2 Tallahassee, FL 32309

Orlando: 5600 Lake Underhill Road Orlando, FL 32807

Tampa: 5002 West Waters Ave Tampa, FL 33634

Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Lakeland: 2400 Interstate Drive Lakeland, FL 33805

Miami: 2101 NW 117th Avenue Miami, FL 33172

Port Saint Lucie: 10330 South U.S. 1 Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

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