A major in Criminal Justice and Corrections prepares students to work in the field of public law and criminal justice. You will learn about crime, law, and the justice system through studying different disciplines.
There are many different concentrations in this major that allow students to focus on an area of specific interest. For example, students could choose a concentration in Maritime Law Enforcement to learn how to effectively stop smuggling, piracy, drug trafficking, and sex trafficking. Another focus is Corrections; this concentration will teach you about prison life and other correctional facilities including the study of social reform. Or they could choose Juvenile Corrections if they are more interested in working with children and adolescents.
Other popular specializations are Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administrations, Criminal Justice/Safety Studies, Forensic Science and Technology, Criminal Justice/Police Science, and Securities Services Administration/Management to name just a few.
In any of these concentrations, you can expect to take classes in criminology, ethics in law enforcement, victims of crime, gender issues in law, correctional administration, policing society, the U. S. criminal-justice system, criminal law, and statistics.
In 2020-2021, criminal justice and corrections was the 7th most popular major nationwide with 113,121 degrees awarded. This represents a small change of only -0.4% from the prior year's total of 113,581 criminal justice degrees awarded.
This year's Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Schools ranking compares 870 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of criminal justice programs later in this article.
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Gain a solid foundation in the American justice system, criminal law and social science when you earn your associate degree in criminal justice online from Southern New Hampshire University.
Navigating today's complex criminal justice system takes a great communicator with real–world perspective. The goal of SNHU's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is to get you there. You'll learn from professionals across all disciplines who bring their experience to the classroom.
Gain the management, leadership, data analysis and budgeting skills you need to advance in the criminal justice field with this online master's from Southern New Hampshire University.
Students should have a vast and absorbing interest in law, justice and social reform. This major requires math, statistics and science. Students will need to memorize theories and be able to apply methods to real-life situations. Critical reading skills will help you pull important information from dry texts as you read court cases, prison procedures and reports.
Interpersonal skills are important as you will work with various people from lawyers to criminals. Develop sharp listening and observational skills in order to pick up on crucial details. Students who are detail-oriented, organized and have a good memory will find success. This major involves the study of controversial and difficult information. This is in order to prepare students for tense and potentially dangerous situations in a career.
New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic criminal justice and corrections program qualifications, to serve in some criminal justice careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.
There are many different criminal justice degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in criminal justice and corrections to something that takes less time like a . How long it takes to complete some common criminal justice degree levels is shown below.
|Degree||Credit Requirements||Typical Program Length|
|Associate Degree||60-70 credits||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation||At least 4 years|
A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to criminal justice, with approximately 34.5% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for criminal justice workers below.
|Level of Education||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma||22.4%|
|Some College Courses||12.7%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||12.1%|
61.0% of criminal justice workers have at least a associate. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in criminal justice and corrections careers have.
This of course varies depending on which criminal justice career you choose.
Graduates who major in Criminal Justice and Corrections will have the skills to work in a prison or another type of correctional facility. They are also found working for law enforcement or the coast guard. The interdisciplinary skills gained also prepare graduates for careers as psychologists, public administrators, or lawyers. Many of these careers will require graduate school.
Want a job when you graduate with your criminal justice degree? Criminal Justice & Corrections careers are expected to grow 7.6% between 2016 and 2026.
The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to criminal justice and corrections.
|Occupation Name||Projected Jobs||Expected Growth|
|Accountants and Auditors||1,537,600||10.0%|
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers||731,900||7.0%|
|Correctional Officers and Jailers||415,500||-7.7%|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||362,600||14.2%|
Recently graduated criminal justice and corrections students earned an average of $35,428 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $9,524 to as high as $116,926. As you might expect, salaries for criminal justice graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.
Salaries for criminal justice and corrections graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers criminal justice grads often go into.
|Occupation Name||Median Average Salary|
|Information Security Analysts||$102,470|
|Police and Detective Supervisors||$93,100|
With over 4,716 different criminal justice degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased criminal justice school rankings to help you with this.
Criminal Justice & Corrections is one of 4 different types of Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting programs to choose from.
|Criminal Justice Studies||46,814|
|Criminal Justice & Police Science||22,722|
|Other Corrections & Criminal Justice||3,675|
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|
|Security Science and Technology||6,888|
|Other Homeland Security||1,695|
View All Criminal Justice Related Majors >
More about our data sources and methodologies.