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- Best Schools with Criminal Justice Majors in California for 2021
- Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in California
- Types of Criminal Justice Degrees in California You Can Earn
- Financial Aid Opportunities for Criminal Justice Students in California
- Employment and Earnings Outlook for Criminal Justice Grads in California
- Resources for Criminal Justice Professionals and Students in California
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Do you have an interest in protecting and serving your community? Would you like to have a direct impact working toward positive social change via the criminal justice system? Criminal justice schools in California prepare you for a meaningful career as a criminal investigator, detective, probation officer, police officer, and many other interesting options. While some entry-level careers in the field require only a high school diploma and on-the-job training, the more lucrative careers require education at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level. This guide provides an inside look at the best criminal justice schools in California to help you get started on your search for a quality program.
Best Schools with Criminal Justice Majors in California for 2021
The school spotlights below give you a detailed look at some of the best criminal justice schools in California. These accredited programs were chosen because of their affordability, high curriculum quality, and excellent student support services. The universities featured below are a preview of our full rankings of schools with criminal justice programs in California, which will be posted later in 2021. For now, see which top criminal justice schools in California stand out this year.
California State University Long Beach (CSULB)
San Diego State University (SDSU)
Sacramento State University
Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in California
With sophisticated remote-learning technologies, more and more schools with criminal justice majors in California are offering robust online programs for distance learners. Some of today’s best criminal justice schools in California offer fully online and hybrid programs. Whether you’re a working professional who’s trying to earn a degree in their spare time or a young part-time learner with work or family obligations, a flexible online program might be a great choice for you.
In many cases, remote students save time and money compared to those in traditional on-campus programs. You can avoid time-consuming, and sometimes costly, commutes to campus by completing a program online at one of the best criminal justice schools in California. When you attend an accredited program, you’ll earn the same credentials and skills as on-campus learners in criminal justice schools in California. An online accelerated program may also help you complete your credentials more quickly.
To help you start your search for the online criminal justice degree program that’s right for you, here’s a list of the top programs. These are accredited and offer either a fully online program or hybrid format with limited in-person obligations. Check out our main guide for more information on what you can expect from an online criminal justice degree program.
California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB)
California Southern University (CSU)
National University (NU)
Types of Criminal Justice Degrees in California You Can Earn
As you begin to dig into schools with criminal justice majors in California, you’ll find that several types of credentials are available. From associate and bachelor’s programs to master’s and doctoral degrees, how do you know which one is best for you?
Each program level has specific academic requirements, so your educational history will help you narrow your choices. Additionally, higher degrees usually open the doors to upper-level careers with more lucrative salaries. No matter where you’d like to work in the criminal justice field, there’s a school to get you there. Take a closer look at your options with examples from California schools with criminal justice majors.
Undergraduate Criminal Justice Degrees in California
Graduate Criminal Justice Degrees in California
Financial Aid Opportunities for Criminal Justice Students in California
Earning a degree from a criminal justice school in California can be a significant financial challenge for just about anyone. Thankfully, there are many financial aid opportunities out there at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer financial assistance for criminal justice students through the department that houses the program. Financial awards may be need- or -merit-based or reserved for applicants from particular demographics. California State University Long Beach, for example, offers several scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students in its School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management. California State Los Angeles offers internal fellowships, tuition waiver programs, conference travel support, and dissertation support for its graduate students.
You can also find financial assistance for your criminal justice degree program through professional organizations at the state or national level. The California Association of Criminalists, for example, offers several financial awards for members. Other scholarship opportunities for criminal justice students at the national level include funding offered by My Alarm Center, the Park Law Enforcement Association, Zinda Law Group, and Women in Federal Law Enforcement, Inc. For more information, check out our financial aid guide and scholarships guide, where you’ll learn more ways to fund your criminal justice education.
Employment and Earnings Outlook for Criminal Justice Grads in California
The employment and earnings outlook for professionals in criminal justice looks bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, criminal justice workers in California, especially in major metropolitan areas, will see healthy growth in numbers and earnings over the next several years. Gambling surveillance officers and gaming investigators, for example, will see 18.2% growth by 2028. Similarly, private detectives and investigators can expect 8.1% growth. There are also lucrative roles in the field, especially for those located in major metropolitan areas. Detectives and criminal investigators in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area make an annual mean wage of $126,320. That’s about $40,300 more per year than the national annual mean wage for professionals working in similar criminal justice roles.
|Job Growth |
|Avg. Annual Openings |
|Annual Mean Wage (2020)|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||3.2%||860||$111,480|
|Private Detectives and Investigators||8.1%||370||$70,350|
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists||3%||1,180||$95,820|
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers||3.7%||5,460||$107,440|
|Gambling Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators||18.2%||170||$40,810|
Resources for Criminal Justice Professionals and Students in California
The CCPOA is a membership association that strives to benefit criminal justice workers. This includes the improvement of wages and benefits for these workers, as well as the enhancement of training and education for correctional officers in California.
This site offers information, laws, and guidelines for correctional facilities across the state of California. The careers section provides an active job board to jobseekers, including specific guidelines for applying for a state job in criminal justice. They also host an active Facebook page.
Located in San Francisco, the CJCJ works with criminal justice stakeholders and community-based organizations to better serve juvenile rehabilitation services in the Bay Area and around the state. Students and professionals use the site to keep up with the latest news and criminal justice information in the juvenile sector, find volunteer opportunities, and apply for additional training through its Next Generation Fellowship.
Operated by the University of California Los Angeles, the Civil Rights Project strives to create a new generation of criminal justice researchers to investigate critical issues of race and justice in the US. Students and professionals working in criminal justice areas can find the latest reports on today’s most pressing topics in the field. Many of the studies focus on issues in California.
Housed by California State University Long Beach, the WSC hosts an annual conference and offers exclusive publications for its members. Students receive a discount on membership dues and can apply for WSC’s June Morrison and Deschenes scholarships. There are also student chapters designed to help learners build their professional networks in the field.