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2022 Criminal Justice Degree Guide

A Spike in Criminal Justice Degrees

#32 Most Popular Major
33.6k Degrees Awarded
24.4% Increase in Graduates

Criminal Justice was the 32nd most popular major in the 2019-2020 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 33,568 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 8,199 over the prior year, a growth of 24.4%.

Approximately 736 colleges in the U.S. offer a criminal justice degree of some kind. Our 2022 Best Criminal Justice Schools ranking analyzes 455 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for criminal justice students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of criminal justice programs later in this article.

Best Criminal Justice Schools by Degree

Featured Criminal Justice Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.


What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice majors are found most commonly in careers in which talking to others to convey information effectively is important. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents and giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times are all required skills for careers related to this major.

Prior Education for a Criminal Justice Program

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. Once you obtain your degree, additional criminal justice certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Criminal Justice Degree Types

Criminal Justice degree levels vary. You can spend many years getting as high as a in criminal justice to something that takes less time like a . Criminal Justice programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

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 43.4% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for criminal justice workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 38.1%
Master’s Degree 18.1%
High School Diploma 14.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.4%
Some College Courses 7.3%

About 73.0% of workers in careers related to criminal justice obtain at least bachelor's degrees. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in criminal justice have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which criminal justice career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Criminal Justice Majors

Average Number of Jobs
93.7k Avg. Related Jobs Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Growth Projected for Criminal Justice Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your criminal justice degree? Criminal Justice careers are expected to grow 8.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to criminal justice.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Police and Detective Supervisors 111,600 6.6%
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Professors 19,400 12.1%

Criminal Justice Degree Salary Potential

As you might expect, salaries for criminal justice graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

Highest Paid Criminal Justice Careers

Salaries for criminal justice 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
Managers $115,590
Police and Detective Supervisors $93,100
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Professors $72,390

Getting Your Criminal Justice Degree

With over 1,266 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 is one of 13 different types of Criminal Justice & Corrections programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Criminal Justice

Related Major Annual Graduates
Criminal Justice Studies 46,252
Criminal Justice & Police Science 23,232
Corrections 3,984
Other Corrections & Criminal Justice 3,360
Criminal Justice and Corrections, General 1,161

View All Criminal Justice Related Majors >


More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Criminal Justice Administration Schools

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