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Colorado Criminal Justice Schools

  • 20 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Colorado are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in Colorado, 11 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 8 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 4 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 5 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in Colorado ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Colorado State University-Global Campus (#11), University of Denver (#20), Colorado State University (#86), Regis University (#92), University of Northern Colorado (#179).
  • 2 schools in Colorado are on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: Colorado State University (#99 in-state, #92 out-of-state), University of Colorado-Boulder (#90 in-state, #94 out-of-state).

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Colorado

University of Colorado Denver: The University of Colorado Denver offers a Master of Criminal Justice degree that can be completed entirely online. The program, which takes 36 semester hours to complete, is designed to fit the needs of those looking for career advancement or continuing education following undergraduate study. Required core courses include CJ Systems, Policies & Practices; Criminological Theory; and Research Methods. Students may elect to complete program requirements through a thesis or field-based capstone project. The School of Public Affairs, which administers the criminal justice program, has been recognized as one of the top schools in the US offering online graduate programs in criminology and criminal justice by US News & World Report. Discounted non-resident tuition is offered for out-of-state students attending all courses online. Various forms of financial aid, including scholarships and graduate assistantships, are also available.

Metropolitan State College Denver: A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology is offered at Metropolitan State College-Denver. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology pursued Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) certification in 2006 and the standards of the certification have been applied to both the curriculum and the hiring of new faculty. Students can enhance their academic experience by becoming involved in one or more of the department student organizations: Delta Phi Omega, Delta Gamma Xi, and the Cold Case Club. Department majors are also able to pursue internships and apply for financial aid through the James E. Weir Endowed Memorial Scholarship. The university prides itself on having one of the lowest tuition rates among the major campuses in Colorado.

University of Colorado at Boulder: Within the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder is the Graduate Program in Criminology and Deviance. The department hosts five different graduate seminars: Theories of Crime and Justice, Patterns of Criminal Behavior, Institutions of Social Control, Social Reactions to Crime, and Special Topics Seminars. Student and faculty pursue their research projects through affiliated research centers such as the Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CRC), and the Social Science Data Lab. There are eight full-time faculty dedicated to the Graduate Program in Criminology and Deviance who specialize in gender violence, policing democracies, youth violence, policing democracies, sentencing reforms, and drug use.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs: The criminal justice programs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs reside in the School of Public Affairs where both undergraduate and graduate students can follow their ambitions. The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, the Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice, and the Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate all prepare students to draw from the multiple disciplines to study the behaviors and environments that contribute to criminal activity. The department also has the Supervisory Institute, a training program for Colorado peace officers funded by the County Sheriff of Colorado’s Office and the Colorado Association of Chiefs and Police. Also unique to UCCS are its small class sizes, with the average undergraduate roster at 22 students and 11 for graduate courses.

Colorado Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 6,860 $46,440
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 1,520 $91,080
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 1,680 $83,110
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 9,380 $65,700

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4,5,6,7

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in Colorado

  • Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey – University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO
  • Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson – University of Colorado, CO/em>
  • Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink – University of Northern Colorado, CO
Police Quote: “Don’t park your patrol car on the successes of today. There are plenty of other bad guys out there that need to go to jail.” -Steve Conner, Vice President of the Colorado Homicide Investigators Association

Colorado Criminal Justice Degrees

Located where the West and Midwest meet, Colorado is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. It has a strong mix of local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies that generate demand for criminal justice degree holders. The quality of the criminal justice community in Colorado has contributed to the lowest violent crime rate of any Western state.

The state’s Department of Corrections is currently hiring correction officers at a number of locations throughout the state. The average salary for police and patrol officers in Colorado is $65,700.7 For many law enforcement positions, a criminal justice degree will give the applicant preferential consideration through the hiring process.

The federal government has a large presence in Colorado, which is the home of the Air Force Academy. The Secret Service hires criminal investigators and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado, often seeks new hires, and offers significant benefits for people who hold a degree in criminal justice. In addition, there is a need for federal law enforcement to patrol the large areas of federally-controlled land throughout Colorado.

Colorado’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

As of May 2016, Colorado’s unemployment rate was 3.4%.8 This is well below the national average of 4.7%, and below the state peak unemployment rate of 9% in December 2010 as well as lower than the previous recorded unemployment low of 6.3% in December of 2008.8 Government-related employment is a good proxy for Colorado criminal justice jobs. According to Projections Central, there is a fairly high demand for criminal justice jobs in Colorado. The annual hiring outlook for criminal justice jobs in Colorado include:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 460 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.9,10
  • Correctional Officers: 350 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.9,11
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 60 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.9,12
  • Security Guards: 560 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.9,13
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 270 annual openings; 86% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 30% holding an associate’s degree and 44% holding a bachelor’s degree.9,14
  • Forensic Science Technicians: 20 annual openings; the majority of positions require a bachelor’s degree.9

Note that projected openings are based on both jobs growth and replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, analyzed and rated the long-term solvency for state governments. After reviewing the state’s budgeting process, cash/tax collections, and funding of pensions, it ranked Colorado 22nd in the nation.15 This indicates sound employment practices, and that Colorado will be likely to fulfill its ongoing obligations to state employees.

Online and Colorado Criminal Justice Schools

If you are interested in learning more about Colorado criminal justice degrees, we recommend the following accredited campus-based and online criminal justice programs for students interested in pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in the growing field of criminal justice.

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Tip: If you don’t live near a campus-based school that offers a program of interest, consider an online degree or a university in an adjacent state (Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, or Arizona).


Student Review: “University of Phoenix has been a pleasant, albeit confusing experience. This college isn’t any run-of-the-mill “degree farm” where you can just buy a degree, you actually have to keep up with the work quite consistently and are even forced to participate in class discussion which can be a mixture of intelligent and belligerent exchanges. The main concern that became apparent was the lack of direction; this isn’t implying that the faculty doesn’t help, but if you don’t ask a question, it’s unlikely you’ll ever figure out any other way, which can lead to some misunderstandings. As well as this, an underwhelming challenge is apparent; however, this can be counteracted with a bit of willpower and extra studying on one’s own behalf in order to better understand information, as well as retain information for a longer period, which can be vital in the actual real-world work environment. All-in-all what can be said is that University of Phoenix is a bit too expensive and confusing for some or many, but past that is a wealth of information, opportunity, and relaxed study paces in most cases; this is all dependent on a student’s willingness to perform however.” -Osama D., student at University of Phoenix
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Directory of Colorado Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Aims Community College (Greeley)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Police Studies
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Peace Officer Academy
Certificate | Criminal Justice: Forensic Criminology
Certificate | Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Pathways Basic, Level I
Certificate | Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Pathways Basic, Level II

Arapahoe Community College (Littleton)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice: Emergency Dispatch
Certificate | Law Enforcement Academy

Colorado Mountain College (Glenwood Springs)
Certificate of Occupational Proficiency | Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy
Certificate of Occupational Proficiency | Information Security Specialist
Certificate of Occupational Proficiency | Fire Investigation
Certificate of Occupational Proficiency | Fire Prevention Code Enforcement

Community College of Aurora (Aurora)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Certificate | Basic Law Enforcement Training
Certificate | Criminal Justice Community Policing
Certificate | Criminal Justice Community Policing (online program)
Certificate | Criminal Justice Law
Certificate | Criminal Justice Operations
Certificate | Criminal Justice Operations (online program)
Certificate | Criminal Justice Systems
Certificate | Criminal Justice Systems (online program)
Certificate | Homeland Security: Tactical Operations

Community College of Denver (Denver)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Homeland Security

Front Range Community College (Westminster)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Certificate | Cybersecurity
Certificate | Cybersecurity (online program)
Certificate | Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Certificate | Foundations of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Certificate | Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Johnson & Wales University (Denver)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

Mesa State College (Grand Junction)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Post Academy
Bachelor of Applied Science | Public Administration/Public Safety
Minor | Addiction Studies
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Forensics
Technical Certificate | Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
Professional Certificate | Emergency Management and Disaster Planning

Metropolitan State College of Denver (Denver)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Criminalistics
Minor | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Minor | Criminalistics

Otero Junior College (La Junta)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security Emergency Management
Certificate | Behavior Studies
Certificate | Basic Criminology
Certificate | Basic Investigations
Certificate | Criminal Justice Basic
Certificate | Homeland Security Emergency Management
Certificate | Pikes Peak Regional Law Enforcement Academy

Pueblo Community College (Pueblo)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement Academy
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of General Studies | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Forensic Computing
Certificate | Law Enforcement Academy
Certificate | Forensic Computing
Certificate | Corrections/Adult
Certificate | Corrections/Juvenile
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Criminal Justice Process
Certificate | Criminal Justice System
Advanced Certificate | Information Assurance
Basic Certificate | Information Assurance

Red Rocks Community College (Lakewood)
Associate of Arts | Victimology
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Emergency Management & Planning
Certificate | Emergency Management and Planning
Certificate | Fundamentals of Emergency Management
Certificate | Basic Law Enforcement Academy (P.O.S.T. Certification)

Regis University (Denver)
Bachelor of Arts | Peace and Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science | Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Criminology (online program)
Master of Science | Criminology
Master of Science | Criminology (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Cybersecurity (online program)
Certificate | Information System Security (online program)
Certificate | Homeland Security (online program)
Certificate | Social Violence
Certificate | Social Violence (online program)

Student Review: “Attending Regis University was an interesting and rewarding experience. One of the things which drew me to this school was the fact that they offered many online programs. This made it feasible for a professional adult to continue working full time while still obtaining their degree. In general, the course facilitators were helpful, available, and were able to pass on real-world knowledge since many of them worked full time in the fields in which they taught at the university. If I had the ability to change anything at the university, it would be to upgrade the technology the bookstore used, so it was easier to find and order textbooks, and to lower the price of the courses, which were rather expensive. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Regis University and would recommend it to nearly anyone, but especially to those who want to attend school while continuing to work full time.” -Teri R., student at Regis University
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Remington College (Colorado Springs)
Associate Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice (online program)

Trinidad State Junior College (Trinidad)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Addictions Counseling
Associate of Applied Science | Basic Law Enforcement
Certificate | Addictions Counseling Level I (Certified)
Certificate | Addictions Counseling Level II (Certified)
Certificate | Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy (CLETA)
Certificate | Gunsmithing
Certificate | Gunsmithing Fine Arts
Certificate | Gunsmithing Technician
Certificate | NRA Firearms Safety Instructor

University of Colorado (Colorado Springs)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Corrections (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Family Violence
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Family Violence (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Forensic Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Forensic Studies (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Public Policy
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Public Policy (online program)
Master of Criminal Justice
Master of Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Public Administration/Master of Criminal Justice degrees | Dual Degree program
Master of Arts | Counseling and Human Services: Addictions
Minor | Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Criminal Justice (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Homeland Defense (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Security Intelligence (online program)

Student Review:“My experience with the University of Colorado-Colorado Spring’s Criminal Justice program has been great. The University offers several different Criminal Justice options so that students are able to get a degree more specific to their career choice. Personally, I have selected the Forensic Science Option. The class sizes at UCCS are rather small, only twenty to thirty students, so it is much easier to get to know the professors. Interacting with the professors in smaller classes is very beneficial as it is far easier to ask questions and get feedback on assignments. All of my professors are also very friendly and open to questions and concerns. Overall, I am greatly enjoying my experiences with the CJ program and am looking forward to the next three years studying at UCCS.” -Lorelei B., student at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
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University of Colorado (Denver)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Criminal Justice degree
Master of Criminal Justice degree (online program)
Master of Criminal Justice | Gender-Based Violence
Master of Criminal Justice | Crime Analyst​
Master of Criminal Justice | Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Master of Engineering | Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Master of Science | Accounting: Auditing and Forensic Accounting
Master of Science | Civil Engineering: Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Master of Science | Civil Engineering: Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (online program)
Master of Science | Media Forensics
Master of Science | Media Forensics (online program)
Master of Public Administration | Gender-Based Violence
Master of Public Administration | Gender-Based Violence (online program)
Master of Public Administration | Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Master of Public Administration | Emergency Management and Homeland Security (online program)
Master of Social Science | Social Justice
Master of Public Administration/Master of Criminal Justice | Dual Degree Program
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Social Justice
Certificate | Family and Social Welfare
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Crime Analyst
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Gender-Based Violence
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Interpersonal Violence and Health Care
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

University of Denver (Denver)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology
Master Degree | Security Management: Emergency Planning & Response
Master Degree | Security Management: Information Security
Master Degree | Security Management: Organizational Security
Minor | Criminology
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emergency Planning & Response
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Information Security
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Organizational Security

University of Northern Colorado (Greeley)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Forensic Science Emphasis
Bachelor of Arts | Geography: Geographic Information Science Emphasis
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Minor | Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Applied Behavior Analysis
Certificate | Criminal Investigation

 

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report, Best Online Programs: http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Correctional Officers and Jailers http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331012.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm
8. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: https://ycharts.com/indicators/colorado_unemployment_rate
9. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
10. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
11. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
12. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
13. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
14. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
15. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings