Criminal Justice Programs in Idaho

The state of Idaho is home to four state law enforcement agencies, 44 county sheriff offices, and 73 city police departments. The four state agencies are the Department of Correction, the Department of Juvenile Corrections, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Idaho State Police. Students who graduate from criminal justice programs in Idaho often begin their careers with one of these agencies or departments. Federal law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Marshals Service, also run small operations out of the state.

In 2012, the Idaho State Board of Education released a fact book containing information about degrees awarded to students at Idaho public universities. According to that fact book, less than 200 students graduated with a degree in homeland security/law enforcement in 2010. In 2009, the number of students who graduated with this type of degree was 200. In 2008, the number was just over 200. These statistics include both undergraduate and graduate degrees. They do not include the criminal justice degrees counted towards the broad categories of “social sciences” or “public administration and social service professions.”

Criminal Justice Schools in Idaho

Boise State University: Boise State University is a public research university that was named one of the top up-and-coming schools by U.S. News and World Report. The school’s Department of Criminal Justice is housed within the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Students at Boise State can earn an associate’s, a bachelor’s, or a master’s degree in criminal justice. Currently, the Department of Criminal Justice at BSU has approximately 800 undergraduate students and 35 graduate students studying for their criminal justice degrees.

Idaho State University: Idaho State University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research and teaching institution. Although it is a four-year university, the school also awards two-year degrees, including an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Those who choose to study criminal justice at Idaho State must declare a separate major leading to a bachelor’s degree. Students must also choose between two concentrations of study, law enforcement or female corrections.

Lewis-Clark State College: Lewis-Clark State College has been ranked as one of the top public colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report. The justice studies program has two concentration options, criminal justice or corrections/human services. Field training placements with various law enforcement agencies are available. The program is part of the Social Sciences Division and is strongly oriented to the social and behavioral sciences.

College of Western Idaho: The College of Western Idaho is a relatively new community college located within the Boise metropolitan area. Since its first semester of classes, the college has expanded to include several campuses throughout the Treasure Valley and an online program. Students can earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice through the school’s on-campus or online program. Although an internship is not required, college credit may be earned through the Criminal Justice Internship course.

Criminal Justice Career Statistics in Idaho

The unemployment rate in Idaho has consistently remained below the national average. In November 2012, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.8%; the national rate was 7.7%. In terms of salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has posted that the median annual wage for police and detectives in the United States in May 2010 was $55,010, and the median wage for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $47,200. However, the actual income of workers varies depending on location, agency, position, education, and experience.

Although the crime rate in Idaho is much lower than in other states, this does not mean there is a shortage of work for those in the criminal justice field. However, competition for employment may be greater in Idaho than in more crime-ridden states. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were only 3,929 full-time state and local police protection workers in Idaho in March 2007. When looking for a job in a competitive market, it is important to keep your search open to both public and private-sector opportunities all across the state.