Criminal Justice Programs in Arizona

There are more than 30 criminal justice programs in Arizona, each one unique in its own right but all have the same goal — to give students the critical thinking skills and knowledge needed to work for criminal justice agencies at the local, state, or federal level. Fortunately for those not wanting to relocate after earning a criminal justice degree in Arizona, there are many employment opportunities right at home. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission specifically is responsible for enhancing the effectiveness and productivity of the Criminal Justice System in Arizona as well as overseeing the management and administration programs. Through the Commission, graduates can seek employment at the local county sheriff and police departments, municipal courts, university police departments, marshal offices, and the department of corrections, just to name a few. That said, below are a few quality criminal justice programs and schools that can help you achieve your goals.

Criminal Justice Schools in Arizona

Arizona State University: Arizona State University’s
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers four distinct programs within the criminal justice discipline: a bachelor of science (online option available), a master of arts (offered exclusively online), a master of science, and a doctor of philosophy. While the bachelor’s degree program teaches students the fundamentals of deviance and law, the graduate programs dig deeper into the research aspects of criminology. In 2012, the U.S. News and World Report recognized ASU’s graduate criminology programs as the 12th best in the nation.

Northern Arizona University: Northern Arizona University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers three undergraduate degrees, two of which can be taken online. It also offers a master’s degree in applied criminology. The bachelor’s degree prepares those who want to pursue a career in the courts, corrections, juvenile justice, or law enforcement, whereas the master’s degree program lets students tailor their studies to three specific areas: transnational crime and justices, communities and justice, and law, policy, and social change. NAU prides itself in recruiting faculty members that are research experts in a range of criminal justice fields, including wrongful conviction, environmental crime, and genocide.

Argosy University – Phoenix : Argosy University’s criminal justice department offers an associate degree and bachelor’s degree, both of which are also offered online. An associate degree is ideal for those who are looking to enroll in training academies that require college credit, as well as those looking to build a foundation in criminal justice studies to better prepare them for a bachelor’s degree program. The bachelor’s degree program is ideal for those who aspire to have more leadership roles in the field. Those pursing a bachelor’s degree can choose from one of eight concentrations: corrections, customized professional concentration, forensic psychology, homeland security, management, police, security management, and substance abuse.

Arizona Western College: Arizona Western College offers an associate degree in administration of criminal justice studies as well as a few other associate degrees that are related to criminal justice. For example, the school also offers an associate degree in paralegal studies and an associate degree in law enforcement training. Those enrolled in the administration of criminal justice studies program, however, will take courses in procedural criminal law, crime and delinquency, and court function to get the very basics of the discipline and is ideal for those who want to later pursue an advanced degree.

Criminal Justice Career Statistics in Arizona

While an associate degree is accepted at some criminal justice agencies, most are now requiring a bachelor’s degree to become a jailer, bailiff, police patrol officer, or a criminal investigator. If the position does not require a bachelor’s degree it can definitely help increase your chances of employment or promotion. The unemployment rate is 7.8%, according to the latest reading from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean employment opportunities for criminal justice graduates will be scarce. In fact, some fields are predicted to do rather well. For example, job prospects for police officers are predicted to increase by 7% within the next few years, the Bureau States. Salary will differ depending on location, years of experience, and education. However,
police officers made an median average salary of $55,010 in May 2010.