Criminal Justice Programs in Alabama

Alabama awards more than 1,500 criminal justice degrees each year to students who graduate from one of the 36 criminal justice programs and schools located within the state, including online programs. In addition to providing educational opportunities in the criminal justice field, Alabama also has a solid foundation of local and state criminal justice institutions which can offer a plethora of employment opportunities. For example, the Alabama Department of Corrections is responsible for managing state prisons and jails. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state and employs more than 3,000 correctional officers and 1,000 non-uniformed workers. Earning employment with the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center is also another option. This state agency is responsible for gathering and distributing vital information to the law enforcement agencies as well as citizens.

Like mentioned before, Alabama is also home to many traditional and accredited online schools for criminal justice, all of which can potentially help establish careers in law enforcement, corrections, law, or the court system. Below are some superior Alabama criminal justice programs and schools.

Criminal Justice Schools in Alabama

The University of Alabama: The University of Alabama’s Department of Criminal Justice offers degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The bachelor’s degree program focuses on teaching students the potential causes and consequences of crime as well as current policies and changing issues within the field of criminal justice; whereas the master degree program mostly focuses on the research and methodologies of crime and deviant behavior. Both programs recruit guest speakers from criminal justice agencies to enhance coursework.

Alabama State University :The Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences only offers a bachelor’s degree, however students have the opportunity to specialize in one of three areas: corrections, juvenile justice, and law enforcement. Through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Corrections, those interested in specializing in corrections have a unique opportunity to simultaneously train as a corrections officer while still enrolled in ASU. All students are required to complete an internship at local or state agency and gain real life experience.

Jacksonville State University: Jacksonville State University’s Department of Criminal Justice offers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in the field. Those pursing a bachelor’s degree will learn the basic fundamentals of criminology before having the option of choosing one of four concentrations: corrections, forensic investigations, law enforcement, and security administration/loss prevention. Master’s students will build on their knowledge of criminal justice and have the choice of enrolling in a thesis option or a non-thesis option, the latter requiring a comprehensive exam to complete the program.

Troy University: To become a more well-rounded graduate, Troy University’s Department of Criminal Justice requires bachelor-degree-seeking students to complete a number of general education courses before diving into courses on policing, corrections, and law. Although there are no specific concentrations offered, students are encouraged to tailor their own studies by enrolling in elective criminal justice courses that correlate with the line of work they are most interested in. Each student is required to take a cap course that will prepare students to complete the Major Field Test, a nationwide standardized competency criminal justice test. An online program is also offered.

Criminal Justice Career Statistics in Alabama

Most criminal justice schools in Alabama offer some sort of career placement assistance. Some career options for bachelor’s degree holders may include becoming a police officer, corrections officer, victim’s advocate, court clerk, probation officer, or a paralegal. An advanced degree may pave the way for a career as a lawyer, a forensic analyst, detective, or even a Federal marshal. Although the most recent statistics shows that Alabama has a 6.7% unemployment rate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment opportunities for criminal justice degree majors should be promising. Police and detectives alone are predicted to see a 7% increase in employment opportunities within the next decade. Although pay is determined by degree earned, level of experience, specific position and location, the median annual salary for police and detectives was $55,010 in May 2010.