Criminal Justice Degree Careers & Program Information

Congratulations on your choice to pursue the exciting career and degree in Criminal Justice! You are among a select percentage of our nation’s population that is willing and ready to embark on this arduous journey. This website was created for people like you who are exploring the career and schooling paths of Criminal Justice and Law. Perhaps you are looking into schooling for a criminal justice degree in order to become a police officer, detective, probation officer, paralegal, or possibly something else completely. Or you may be interested in using this degree as a jumping off point, or just a dipping of your toes into the vast pool that is criminal law. Either way, you will find information on this website that will inform and equip you in making some of these initial steps and decisions into what criminal justice degree program could be right for you. Criminal Justice may be an excellent choice of career paths in this economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Handbook, the outlook for job availability in the Criminal Justice field is good through 2016 and likely much further into the future.

There are many different skills and individual characteristics that are highly valued in the Criminal Justice fields. If you recognize some of the following qualities within yourself it may be a good indication that a Criminal Justice job may fit your personality and skill set:

  • Decision-making skills
  • Moral Values
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Written skills
  • Computer skills
  • Understanding of Criminal Law
  • Critical thinking
  • Research skills
  • Scientific reasoning
  • Quantitative skills
  • Analytical mind
  • Understanding of race & culture
  • Strong interviewing or interrogation skills
  • Legal Structure knowledge
  • Unbiased
There are so many exciting career paths one can choose after obtaining a degree in criminal justice. No matter what direction you are planning to go in the field of criminal justice the first step is choosing the right school or program to fit your needs.

Finding Good Colleges for Criminal Justice Degrees

One of the first decisions you need to make is what type of program you will pursue. Criminal Justice Programs can be found at many state schools, but they can also be found at other colleges or post-secondary institutions. Some programs may be completed online; others may be done in person in a traditional classroom setting. It is wise to determine what type of setting you will be most successful in before choosing a program to pursue. Consider how you best learn. Are you a self-starter? Can you keep up with work even if you are not attending classes in person? Can you learn in any environment, or do you need to be in a specific setting? The answers to some of these questions may indicate what type of criminal justice degree program you will want to pursue in order to be successful.

Another decision you will need to make at some point is what you want to do with your Criminal Justice degree. There are many different jobs and careers you can choose and pursue with a degree in Criminal Justice. The 5 major fields of Criminal Justice are Courts/Judiciary, Law Enforcement, Forensic Science, Private Security and Corrections. Within those fields there are many, many different jobs in the area of Criminal Justice. The following list includes some, but not all of the careers available. Some of the following may need additional schooling beyond the basic Criminal Justice Degree.

Airport Security Officer Law Librarian FBI Agent
Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Agent Litigation Manager Jailer
Attorney Media Criminologist Juvenile Court Counselor
Bailiff Military Officer Law Clerk
Body Guard Naval Investigator Secret Service Agent
Border Patrol Agent Non-Profit Organization Advocate Social Worker
Child Support Agency Worker Paralegal Substance Abuse Counselor
CIA Agent Park Ranger Teacher
Criminologist Community Service Coordinator US Customs Agent
Customs Agent Compliance Manager US Marshall
Deportation Officer Contracts Administrator Penologist
Deputy Marshall Coroner Police Detective
Detective Corrections Facilities Manager Police Officer
Discrimination Investigator Corrections Officer Postal Service Investigation
District Attorney Employment Agency Recruiter Witness Protection Worker
Drug Enforcement Agent Environmental Conservation Officer Warden

Top Criminal Justice Schools

If you are looking into larger State Universities for your degree in Criminal Justice there are 3 in particular that are highly rated in their Criminal Justice Programs. Listed below are some of the highlights of these state universities’ programs. Each university has some big draws to its criminal justice program.

Best Colleges for Criminal Justice Degrees

Washington State University offers programming in Criminal Justice both online, and in person. Their Criminal Justice Department has been highly rated because of retention and graduation rates, skilled faculty, and active criminal justice clubs on campus. One of the only drawbacks to the program is the slightly elevated cost in comparison with other colleges. At 570/credit for both in and out of state tuition, the cost can be a bit daunting for people looking into this criminal justice program. This program has background in corrections, and does a lot of research for Washington’s Department of Corrections. The program at WSU is taught by former police chiefs.

Arizona State University offers an online program in Criminal Justice. ASU was ranked number 9 on a list of the top online Bachelor’s degree by US News. One of the unique aspects of ASU’s online criminal justice program is that it covers both criminal justice and criminology which equips students who graduate from this program with a wider understanding of the field. At $480 per credit hour, ASU costs slightly more than the average criminal justice degree programs, but it less than Washington State University. ASU’s faculty includes a former state legislature representative.

Penn State has a very high percentage of retention and graduation rate for its criminal justice program. They are the highest rated online university that offers a criminal justice major. Penn State also offers a minor in Homeland Security, for those looking to go into government law enforcement. The program at Penn State is taught by a faculty that includes a former probate court judge. Penn State’s world campus was rated at #3 on US News online bachelor’s list. This is higher than any other university that offers a Criminal Justice Degree.

Colleges That Offer Criminal Justice Majors

Perhaps a state school is not the direction you want to go for your criminal justice degree major. There are many other programs and colleges in most states for majoring in criminal justice. More and more people are going the online route for schooling; however, some people prefer to attend classes in person. This can be helpful for people who need the accountability, or who learn better in traditional classroom setting.

Some of the more states to pursue a Criminal Justice Degree in are: California, New York, Florida and Texas. There are schools and programs in most states, but since these are the more popular states to pursue a Criminal Justice Degree in. As a result, this site will highlight some programs in these 4 states.

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in California

Finding a good Criminal Justice Degree program in California can be a bit daunting. California is such a large state that it relies on a strong infrastructure of criminal justice employees to keep the order. There are often many job openings in California in many different fields of criminal justice. As far as programs, there are many different schools and satellite school sites that offer Criminal Justice Programs in the state of California. Some of the more popular programs and schools are:

University of Phoenix (satellite sights): many U of P sights are located in cities such as Costa Mesa, San Bernardino, Fairfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Desert, Yuma, Pasadena, Sacramento, Lathrop, Bakersfield, Lancaster, Visalia, El Centro, Woodland Hills, and Murrieta. These University of Phoenix satellite sights offer programs such as a B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration, MS in Administration of Justice and Security – Law Enforcement Organization, or a BS in Criminal Justice Administration – Security.

Liberty University Online: is an accredited program in the state of California that is completed online. It offers choices in degrees such as a BS in Criminal Justice, an AA in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Criminal Justice.

Kaiser University Campus Online: is another accredited program in the state of California that offers Criminal Justice degree programs. They offer and AA or BA in Criminal Justice, and also a BA in Homeland Security.

Other colleges in California offer online programs as well. Some of these are offered through schools such as: Argosy University, Ashford University, Brandman University, Bryan University, California Coast University, Carrington College, DeVry University, Henley-Putman University, ITT Tech, LA Valley College, Modesto JC, and Westwood College.

If you are looking for a program that is done in the traditional classroom within the state of California there are many to choose from. The following is a list of some of the bigger cities and the schools that offer Criminal Justice Degrees through a classroom environment college or university program.

Los Angeles:
  • American Continental University
  • California State University
  • Everest College
  • Los Angeles City College
  • Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Fresno City College
  • Heald College
  • San Joaquin Valley College
  • Sierra Valley Business College
  • UEI College
San Diego:
  • Alliant International University
  • San Diego City College
  • San Diego Miramar College
  • San Diego State University
  • American River College
  • California State University
  • Carl A. Jones Career and Education Center
  • MTI College
  • Sacramento City College
San Francisco & San Jose:
  • City College of San Francisco
  • San Francisco State University
  • Henley Putnam University
  • San Jose City College
  • San Jose State University
Santa Ana:
  • Bristol University
  • California Coast University
  • Santa Ana College

There are many different colleges, schools and programs in smaller cities across the state as well. With almost 180 schools throughout California offering all types of Criminal Justice Programs it is likely that you can find one near you to fit your needs. The programs range from certificates all the way to a PhD in specific Criminal Justice fields.

The programs in California include similar course work to other state’s Criminal Justice programs. It includes study in subjects such as criminal law, corrections, research, and ethics. Coursework also covers broad issues of race, class and social change in addition to scientific and technical areas such as forensic sciences.

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in New York

Some of the top Criminal Justice degree programs are located in New York since New York has the largest police department in the country: New York City Police Department. This agency is usually in need of people in the fields of organized crime, narcotics and criminal intelligence. As with California, there are programs that are accredited in New York both online and in the classroom. Here are some of the most popular New York programs:

Liberty University Online: is an accredited program in the state of New York that is completed online. It offers choices in degrees such as a BS in Criminal Justice, an AA in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Criminal Justice.

Berkeley College: located in New York City, Berkeley College offers a wide variety of Criminal Justice degrees which include AA’s in Criminal Justice as well as Bachelor’s, and even certificates in Paralegal work. Some of the degrees are offered through their online course work, and some are in the classroom.

Kaplan University: Kaplan is located in New York City, but most of their Criminal Justice degrees are offered through online course work. Kaplan is known for its variety of specific areas of the criminal justice fields. Some of their area of studies include: homeland security, juvenile justice, crime scene investigation, and several fire sciences.

CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice: offers a wide variety of specialized criminal justice degrees as it is a school that focuses on Criminal Justice alone. It is also located in New York City. In addition to the degree options below, there is also a graduate section of CUNY College that offers PhD course studies in specified felids as well. Some of the various degrees offered at this school are:

  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminology
  • Bachelor of Arts – Deviant Behavior & Social Control
  • Bachelor of Arts – Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts – International Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – Judicial Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts – Public Administration
  • Bachelor of Science – Corrections
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science – Forensic Science
  • Bachelor of Science – Security Management
  • Certificate – Public Management
  • Master of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts – Forensic Mental Health
  • Master of Arts – Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Arts – International Crime and Justice
  • Master of Public Administration – Inspector General
  • Master of Public Administration – Public Administration
  • Master of Science – Forensic Computing
  • Master of -Science – Forensic Science
  • Master of Science – Protection Management

If you are looking to simply get started in the Criminal Justice Field and want to go the associates’ degree route or even just a certificate in a specialized field such as paralegal, many community colleges offer these courses in the state of New York. Some of the Community Colleges that include Criminal Justice programs are:

  • Finger Lakes Community College
  • Fulton-Montgomery Community College
  • Genesee Community College
  • Herkimer County Community College
  • Hudson Valley Community College
  • Mohawk Valley Community College
  • Monroe Community College
  • Nassau Community College
  • North Country Community College
  • Orange County Community College
  • Sullivan County Community College
  • SUNY Adirondack Community College
  • SUNY Broome Community College
  • SUNY Columbia Greene Community College
  • SUNY Dutchess Community College
  • SUNY Erie Community College
  • SUNY Jamestown Community College
  • SUNY Jefferson Community College
  • SUNY Niagara Community College
  • SUNY Onondaga Community College
  • SUNY Rockland Community College
  • SUNY Suffolk County Community College
  • SUNY Ulster County Community College
  • SUNY Westchester Community College
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Florida

The draw of warm weather and beaches bring a lot of prospective Criminal Justice Majors to Florida. Florida even has police forces that use boats to patrol some of the Gulf of Mexico. There are over 80 schools in Florida that offer Criminal Justice Degrees. In addition, the accredited online programs listed in the California and New York section of this page are also accredited in the state of Florida. If you want to obtain a degree online you can look into Kaplan University, Liberty University, or the University of Phoenix. All of these accredited online degree programs are accepted in Florida. The criminal justice field is projected to continue to grow in Florida over the next several years, which could be good news for those looking to start a career here.

Just as with the state of California, Florida has some satellite locations of large schools that have spread across the country. Here are some of the more popular ones and their locations within the state of Florida:

Rasmussen College: Rasmussen offers both an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. There are Rasmussen satellite schools in Ocala, Lutz, Fort Myers, Tampa, and New Port Richey.

University of Phoenix: this school offers Bachelors of Science degrees in Criminal Justice Administration, specifically in Security or Cybercrimes. There are schools located in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Hollywood.

Keiser University Campus: offers BA or AA in Criminal Justice, as well as Masters in Homeland Security. There are schools in Fort Myers, Melbourne, Pembroke Pines, and Port Saint Lucie.

The major Florida cities that have schools with an extensive amount of Criminal Justice degrees are Jacksonville and Miami. The lists below give some of the top schools and the programs they offer in those cities for degrees.

–– Miami ––

Florida International University (Miami):
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Certificate – Forensic Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy – Chemistry and Biochemistry – Forensic Track
  • Doctor of Philosophy – Public Management – Criminal Justice Administration
  • Master of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science – Forensic Science
Miami Dade College:
  • Associate in Science – Paralegal Studies
  • Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science – Basic Law Enforcement
  • Associate of Science – Court Reporting Technology
  • Associate of Science – Criminal Justice Technology
  • Bachelor of Science – Public Safety
  • Certificate – Office Management: Legal Office
  • Technical Certificate – Legal Administrative Assistant

–– Jacksonville ––

Florida State College at Jacksonville:
  • Associate in Science – Paralegal Studies
  • Associate of Science – Criminal Justice Technology (online)
  • Bachelor of Applied Sciences – Public Safety Management
  • Technical Certificate – Computer Forensics Technician
  • Workforce Certificate – Correctional Officer
  • Workforce Certificate – Crossover: Corrections Officer to Law Enforcement Officer
  • Workforce Certificate – Law Enforcement Officer
University of North Florida (Jacksonville):
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science – Criminal Justice
Edward Waters College (Jacksonville):
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Texas

Some of the best programs in Criminal Justice located in Texas are located in the larger cities. Below are the major cities and the schools located there, as well as programs that are offered. On average Texas law enforcement officers make less than other states, however, cost of living is lower than much of the country.

–– Houston ––

University of Houston:
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences – Safety Management
  • Bachelor of Science – Chemistry – Forensic Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Certificate – Basic Peace Officer Training Academy
  • Master of Science – Criminal Justice
Texas Southern University (Houston):
  • Bachelor of Science – Administration of Justice
  • Master of Science – Administration of Justice
  • PhD – Administration of Justice
Lone Star College System (Houston):
  • Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science – Criminal Justice

–– San Antonio ––

Palo Alto College (San Antonio):
  • Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice w/concentration in Forensic Science
  • Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice w/concentration in Legal Studies
  • Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice
Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio):
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Certificate – Criminal Justice, Minor – Forensic Science
The University of Texas San Antonio:
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science – Criminal Justice

–– Dallas ––

Argosy University (Dallas):
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • MA – Forensic Psychology – Assessment
  • MA – Forensic Psychology – Homeland Security
  • MA – Forensic Psychology – Law Enforcement
  • MA – Forensic Psychology – Treatment
  • MPA – Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • MPA – Homeland Security
  • Psychology – Criminal Justice concentration (BA)
Dallas Baptist University:
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice

–– Austin ––

St. Edwards University (Austin):
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science – Forensics
Huston Tillotson University (Austin):
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice

–– Fort Worth ––

Tarrant County College (Fort Worth):
  • Associate of Applied Science – Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal
  • Certificate – Peace Officer
  • Certificate – Security Management
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth):
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth):
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice