Criminal Justice Programs in Florida

As in all states, the state government of Florida has established a variety of criminal justice departments to deal with crime in an organized fashion. Perhaps due to its size and population, Florida is always ranked high for violent crimes. For example, in 2008 the average violent crime rate in the United States was 467.2; Florida’s rate was 688.9. For this reason, solutions to crime have long been an important goal of the state, and degrees in criminal justice have remained popular among college students over the years.

According to statistics from the State University System of Florida, 15,362 criminal justice degrees were awarded to students at state universities between the years 2000 and 2010. Once they have earned their degree and completed all required training, most criminal justice degree students start their careers at one of the state’s criminal justice departments. A few examples of Florida state criminal justice departments include the Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Law Enforcement, and Highway Patrol. In addition to state organizations, Florida is also home to the oldest private crime prevention association in the United States. Founded in 1969, the Florida Crime Prevention Association works to encourage cross-networking among law enforcement agencies across the state. The association also provides training courses for continuing education purposes.

Criminal Justice Schools in Florida

Florida State University: Florida State University has appeared on Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges list numerous times and was ranked at number 26 for the 2012-2013 school year. The school’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in criminology and other related subjects. The university also has an online criminal justice degree program that offers bachelor’s degrees in criminology and public safety and security. More criminal justice degrees are awarded at Florida State University than at any other public college in Florida, and the criminology faculty at FSU is one of the top ranked in the country. The top two criminologists in the country teach at FSU, and just recently, the criminology department was ranked number one for scholarly productivity.

University of Central Florida: The University of Central Florida is also on Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges list, ranked at number 42 for the 2012-2013 school year. The Department of Criminal Justice is located within the College of Health and Public Affairs. Students can study criminal justice at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. The university also offers a minor in criminal justice and nine certificate programs. In addition to these traditional programs, the University of Central Florida awards an online master’s degree in criminal justice and online certificates in police leadership and corrections leadership. Criminology is the 14th most popular degree choice at the University of Central Florida, and the UCF Department of Criminal Justice ranks 10th among the nation’s top producers of criminal justice publications.

Florida International University: Florida International University is ranked number one in the nation in awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students. The Department of Criminal Justice at FIU is housed within the School of International and Public Affairs. Students can earn their bachelor and master of science degrees in criminal justice on campus or online. The university also offers a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program which allows qualified students to earn both degrees in less time. Because the criminal justice department at FIU is affiliated with the Center for the Administration of Justice, it has been awarded over 60 million dollars in grant funding to date.

Florida Atlantic University: Since it first opened its doors in 1964, Florida Atlantic University has been growing at an exceptional rate. In 2012, the university broke its enrollment record when 30,000 students started classes in the fall. United States President Barack Obama also visited the campus on April 10, 2012, to give a speech on economic policy. Florida Atlantic University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is located within the College for Design and Social Inquiry. The department awards a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and a master of science in criminology and criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Career Statistics in Florida

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in May 2010 for police and detectives in the United States was $55,010. The median annual wage in May 2010 for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $47,200. These are average amounts. Actual salary amounts vary depending on what city and state you work in, what position you take, your employer, and your experience and background.

The United States Department of Labor predicts that the national employment growth rate for police and detectives will only increase by 7% from 2010 to 2020. This is much slower than average. However, the national employment growth rate for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists will increase by 18% from 2010 to 2020, which is the average rate of growth. Although these are the most popular career choices for criminal justice majors, there are many other options, including social work, teaching, private investigation, and private security. In terms of overall unemployment in Florida, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1% in November 2012. This is a drop from the 10.1% rate that was reported in November 2011, a sure sign that the recession is recovering in the Sunshine State. In March 2007, the total number of full-time state and local government police protection employees in Florida was 63,192.

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