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

Murrieta: 25240 Hancock Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

San Marcos: 277 Rancheros Drive San Marcos, CA 92069

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

Costa Mesa: 3100 Bristol Street Suite 500 Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Honolulu: 745 Fort Street Suite 2000 Honolulu, HI 96813

Bakersfield: 4900 California Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93309

Salida: 5330 Pirrone Road Salida, CA 95368

Yuma: 899 East Plaza Circle Yuma, AZ 85365

Henderson: 7777 Eastgate Road Henderson, NV 89011

Dallas: 12400 Coit Road Suite 200 Dallas, TX 75251

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

Visalia: 301 East Acequia Ave Visalia, CA 93291

Albuquerque: 7471 Pan American West Freeway NE Albuquerque, NM 87109

Tucson: 555 E. River Road Tucson, AZ 85704

Warrenville: 4525 Weaver Parkway Warrenville, IL 60555

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

Woodland Hills: 5955 DeSoto Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Columbia: 1001 Pinnacle Point Drive Suite 200 Columbia, SC 29223

Jacksonville: 4500 Salisbury Road Suite 200 Jacksonville, FL 32216

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

Wayne: 170 South Warner Road Suite 200 Wayne, PA 19087

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

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

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

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

Nashville: 616 Marriott Drive Suite 150 Nashville, TN 37214

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

Beale AFB: 17849 16 Street Beale AFB, CA 95903

Arlington: 3900 Arlington Highlands Boulevard Suite 237 Arlington, TX 76018

Pasadena: 299 N. Euclid Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101

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

Lathrop: 17000 S. Harlan Road Lathrop, CA 95330

San Diego: 1230 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101

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

San Bernardino: 451 E. Vanderbilt Way Suite 100 San Bernardino, CA 92408

Lancaster: 1220 W. Avenue J Lancaster, CA 93534

Hollywood: 2400 SW 145th Avenue Hollywood, FL 33027

Westminster: 8700 Turnpike Drive Westminster, CO 80030

Columbus: 7200 North Lake Drive Columbus, GA 31909

Schaumburg: 1500 McConnor Parkway Suite 700 Schaumburg, IL 60173

Colorado Springs: 5725 Mark Dabling Boulevard Suite 150 Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Chicago: 203 N LaSalle St Chicago, IL 60601

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

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

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

Houston: 4888 Loop Central Drive Houston, TX 77081

Guaynabo: B7 Calle Tabonuco Suite 700 Guaynabo, PR 00968

Spring: 24624 Interstate 45 Spring, TX 77386

Ontario: 3110 E. Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

Cordova: 65 Germantown Court Suite 100 Cordova, TN 38018

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

San Antonio: 8200 West Interstate 10 Suite 910 San Antonio, TX 78230

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

Fairfield: 5253 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534

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

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

Gardena: 1515 W. 190th Gardena, CA 90248

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

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

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

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

Anaheim: 1900 S. State College Blvd. Suite 150 Anaheim, CA 92806

Naperville: 2056 Westings Ave. Suite 40 Naperville, IL 60563

Alpharetta: 2555 Northwinds Pkwy. Alpharetta, GA 30009

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

Merrillville: 1000 East 80th Place Ste. 222 Mall Merrillville, IN 46410

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

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

Austin: 11044 Research Blvd Suite B100 Austin, TX 78759

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

Paramus: 35 Plaza Professional Center 81 Rte. 4 W. Ste. 102 Paramus, NJ 07652

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

Pomona: 901 Corporate Center Dr. Pomona, CA 91768

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

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

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

Columbus: 1350 Alum Creek Drive Columbus, OH 43209

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

Nashville: 3343 Perimeter Hill Drive Suite 200 Nashville, TN 37211

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

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

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

Independence: 6000 Lombardo Center Suite 200 Independence, OH 44131

Phoenix: 2149 W. Dunlap Phoenix, AZ 85021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arlington: 2405 Crystal City Dr. Arlington, VA 22202

Addison: 1221 North Swift Road Addison, IL 60101

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

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

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

Orlando: 4000 Millenia Blvd. Orlando, FL 32839

Colton: 1090 E Washington St Colton, CA 92324

Stockbridge: 675 Southcrest Parkway Stockbridge, GA 30281

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

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