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25 Best Colleges for Criminal Justice 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 2/21/2020

Listed below are the top 25 colleges that offer a bachelor's degree in criminal justice ranked by the median salaries of criminal justice majors one year after college. With a median starting salary of $109,800, Union Institute & University outranks the other schools on the list. Herzing University comes in 2nd at $57,600. The school with the lowest median debt for this degree is Excelsior College, with a median student debt of $12,500 for criminal justice alumni. Median salaries for the top 25 schools range from $40,800-$109,800.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Cincinnati (OH) Cincinnati (OH) $17,141 $17,850 $109,800
#3 #3 McPherson (KS) McPherson (KS) $20,650 $17,886 $51,800
#4 #4 McKenzie (TN) McKenzie (TN) $17,482 $28,875 $50,400
#6 #6 Orange Beach (AL) Orange Beach (AL) $6,600 $22,909 $48,800
#7 #7 Oakland City (IN) Oakland City (IN) $26,400 $23,987 $47,900
#9 #9 Adrian (MI) (and 1 other) Adrian (MI) (and 1 other) $29,044 $18,000 $46,500
#10 #10 Norman (OK) Norman (OK) $25,880 $25,000 $45,800
#11 #11 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $62,200 $25,500 $45,600
#12 #12 Winona (MN) Winona (MN) $41,150 $21,490 $45,200
#13 #13 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $60,192 $24,490 $43,800
#14 #14 La Jolla (CA) La Jolla (CA) $13,320 $27,544 $43,800
#15 #15 Burlington (VT) Burlington (VT) $44,220 $27,000 $43,600
#16 #16 Kansas City (KS) Kansas City (KS) $8,280 $31,720 $43,400
#18 #18 Saint Paul (MN) Saint Paul (MN) $24,400 $23,686 $42,800
#19 #19 Manchester (NH) Manchester (NH) $9,600 $19,608 $42,700
#20 #20 Orem (UT) Orem (UT) $17,830 $16,823 $42,600
#21 #21 Montgomery (AL) Montgomery (AL) $19,348 $25,500 $42,300
#22 #22 Saint Paul (MN) Saint Paul (MN) $9,684 $19,545 $41,500
#23 #23 Minneapolis (MN) Minneapolis (MN) $14,328 $34,769 $41,400
#24 #24 Oshkosh (WI) Oshkosh (WI) $15,368 $23,770 $40,800
#25 #25 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $53,889 $21,750 $40,700

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

#1
Cincinnati (OH)
Median Salary $109,800
Median Debt $17,850
Annual Tuition $17,141
Graduation Rate 50%

Union Institute & University is a private, non-profit institution that has been providing degree programs for adult learners since 1964. Their Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management degree offers many flexible options including accelerated degree completion, the ability to apply previously earned training or credits, full- and part-time study options, courses that start every eight weeks, and the opportunity to apply credits earned in the program toward a master's degree in organizational leadership.

The degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and includes six core courses, elective courses, and a graduation capstone. The core courses are Supervision in the Criminal Justice Field, Applied Ethics in Criminal Justice Management, Criminal Justice Management and Administration, Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice, and Criminal Justice Management Information Systems. Students in the program will learn about leadership techniques used in criminal justice organizations, analyze criminal justice policies from a managerial perspective, develop an understanding of how criminal justice issues affect others, and examine ethical theories in criminal justice. Program courses are taught by faculty with field experience and are designed to prepare graduates for career advancement.

Visit Union Institute & University's website.

Median Salary $51,800
Median Debt $17,886
Annual Tuition $20,650
Graduation Rate 31%
Student Reviews None (Add review)

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program from Central Christian College of Kansas offers students a broad view of the criminal justice discipline. Students in this fully online degree program take one six-week course at a time, allowing them to complete their studies while balancing other responsibilities. The curriculum covers a variety of subjects including forensics, corrections, criminal law, and crisis management. Program courses were developed by experts in the field and are taught by industry professionals with real-world experience.

Some of the available courses are Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Victimology, Criminology, Police Administration, Comparative Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Crisis Management. Students with previous college credit, military, or police training can receive credit for their experience. With multiple start dates offered throughout the year, students can choose to begin the program at a time that is convenient for them. Although the degree can prepare graduates for careers in law enforcement, there are many other positions available in the field. These include roles in homeland security, investigations, immigration and customs enforcement, fish and wildlife service, and the FBI.

Visit Central Christian College of Kansas's website.

#4
McKenzie (TN)
Median Salary $50,400
Median Debt $28,875
Annual Tuition $17,482
Graduation Rate 44%

Bethel University is a private, Christian institution located in McKenzie, Tennessee. In an effort to make a Christ-centered education accessible to all, they offer academic programs through five campus locations and an online platform. Students attending Bethel are able to pursue a bachelor's in criminal justice studies online or on campus.

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Studies is available on campus (McKenzie) through the College of Arts and Sciences. This program is geared toward students who are seeking a traditional college experience.

The Bachelor of Science in criminal justice studies is offered online through the College of Professional Studies. This program is delivered fully online and is designed for adult learners with at least 30 hours of previous college credit. Online courses are asynchronous, so students can log in at their convenience.

Students in the criminal justice studies program will gain skills and knowledge of practices, laws, and technologies that are used in the field. Both degrees require a minimum of 128-semester hours, comprised of core courses, major courses, and electives. Courses featured in both programs include Introduction to Criminal Justice Studies, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Investigations, and Criminal Law.

Visit Bethel University's website.