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Kentucky Criminal Justice Schools

  • 24 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Kentucky are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in Kentucky, 23 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 16 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 3 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 4 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in Kentucky ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Western Kentucky University (#3), Eastern Kentucky University (#63), University of the Cumberlands (#164), Kentucky Wesleyan College (#183).
  • 1 school in Kentucky is on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: University of Louisville (#84 in-state, #84 out-of-state).

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Kentucky

University of Louisville: The University of Louisville has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Administration of Justice, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Justice Administration. The Department of Justice Administration offers both face-to-face and fully online undergraduate and graduate programs, perfect for working professionals who wish to advance in the field. The department has spent years cultivating relationships with law enforcement agencies throughout the world, so students have the option to study aboard in Romania, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Hungary, Turkey, Belize, and Botswana. The 23 full-time and part-time faculty are current and former professionals in a variety of specialties, but emphasis is given to computer forensics, capital punishment, criminal justice management, and research design.

Eastern Kentucky University: The Department of Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU)has both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice as well as an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science of Police Studies. The department also has seven online degree programs including the BS in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and the Correctional Intervention Strategies Certification. This school is home to two research centers, the Center for Crime and Built Environment and the Institute for Global Justice and Security. With over 30 criminal justice faculty, students have an outlet for exploring various research focuses. The customized degree and certificate programs at EKU enable graduates to become top experts in their fields.

Kentucky Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 6,600 $32,420
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 1,490 $64,320
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 700 $65,900
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 6,930 $42,030

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.4,5,6,7

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in Kentucky

  • Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin – University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey – University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Police Quote “Stay out of the rumor mill. Do what is expected of you and a little more. Consistent improvement, support of organizational goals, and positive interactions with coworkers and the public is what I’m looking for.” -Sheriff Lynn Nelson

Kentucky Criminal Justice Degrees

Kentucky is an excellent state for criminal justice majors. It offers some of the country’s least expensive housing with a below-average cost of living. A criminal justice position in Kentucky offers both strong income levels and comprehensive benefits. Kentucky has one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the nation, thanks in part to the effectiveness of federal and local law enforcement agencies.

As the birthplace of bourbon, it stands to reason that Kentucky has a history of federal government involvement through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In addition to ATF and other regular government criminal justice agencies, Kentucky has five different Bureau of Prisons facilities, including two penitentiaries. As a comparison, Tennessee has two, North Carolina has three, and Virginia has two. Federal correctional institutions are consistently hiring and frequently give preference to criminal justice degree holders. Criminal justice graduates can apply to attend the Kentucky Criminal Justice Training Center to attain additional training for law enforcement positions in Kentucky.

Kentucky pays correctional sergeants a starting salary of $25,677.60.8 Although the position typically requires experience, that experience is waived for holders of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related fields. The Kentucky State police receive an annual salary of $37,886 with generous benefits after graduation from the academy.9 Applicants must have at least 60 college credits, or an associate’s degree, or two years’ experience. These credits also make it possible to receive a promotion to senior trooper after three years, instead of the typical five years. Protective service professionals across all state agencies, including police and patrol officers working in the state of Kentucky, earned an average annual salary of $34,220 as of May 2015.10

Kentucky’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

The May 2016 unemployment rate for Kentucky was 5.1%.11 This is well below the state’s peak unemployment rate of 11.1% in August 2009 and below the May 2016 national average of 4.7%.11 Government-related jobs are a good proxy for criminal justice employment in Kentucky. Projections Central includes the following estimates for criminal justice jobs in Kentucky:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 400 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.12,13
  • Correctional Officers: 230 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.12,14
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 20 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.12,15
  • Security Guards: 280 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.12,16
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 120 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.12,17

These openings are projected based on both jobs growth and replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. After an analysis of the state’s budgeting, cash/tax collection, and pensions, Kentucky was ranked 46th in the nation.18 This indicates that new hires should pay close attention to Kentucky’s ability to fulfill its obligations to state employees.

Online and Kentucky Criminal Justice Schools

To earn a criminal justice degree in Kentucky, 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 (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, or Tennessee).



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Directory of Kentucky Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Bellarmine University (Louisville)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

Bluegrass Community and Technical College (Lexington)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Peace and Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Corrections (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Security and Loss Prevention (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management
Pre-Major | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Security and Loss Prevention
Certificate | Advanced Law Enforcement
Certificate | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management Specialist
Certificate | Digital Forensics

Campbellsville University (Campbellsville)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Administration
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Administration (online program)
Minor | Homeland Security

Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond)
Associate of General Studies | Homeland Security (online program)
Associate of General Studies | Security Management (online program)
Associate of Arts | Police Studies
Associate of Arts | Police Studies (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Police Studies
Bachelor of Science | Police Studies (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science, Chemistry
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science, Biology
Bachelor of Science | Homeland Security (online program)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Safety, Security & Emergency Management
Master of Science | Safety, Security & Emergency Management: Homeland Security
Master of Science | Safety, Security & Emergency Management: Homeland Security (online program)
Master of Science | Safety, Security & Emergency Management: Emergency Management
Master of Science | Safety, Security & Emergency Management: Emergency Management (online program)
Master of Science | Criminology & Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Safety, Security, and Emergency Management: Occupational Safety
Master of Science | Safety, Security, and Emergency Management: School Safety
Master of Science | Safety, Security, and Emergency Management: Fire and Emergency Services
Certificate | Correctional Intervention Strategies
Certificate | Youth Studies
Certificate | Intelligence Studies (online program)
Certificate | Homeland Security (online program)
Certificate | Emergency Management (online program)
Certificate | Intelligence and Security Operations (online program)

Student Review: “EKU is located just 20 minutes outside of Lexington, Kentucky. The state university has an enrollment of about 15,000 which was just big enough to feel like college but not be so big that it is overwhelming. The campus itself is aesthetically pleasing and has a fairly simple layout so that navigating the campus is easy. I lived in the dorms for my first year and found the experience a bit displeasing, but better than I thought it would be. I lucked out and was assigned a good, clean roommate that was a lot like myself. However, living quarters were small and cramped and the proximity to other students made it hard to sleep sometimes. There are tons of educational opportunities, but the school is most known for its enormous Justice & Safety Department which provides unique education in areas such as criminal justice, fire science, industrial safety, and homeland security. I enjoyed the ‘college town’ atmosphere that Richmond offered and the opportunities that being in a fraternity offered. However, the local police in the city are very strict and frightening.” -Earnest C., student at Eastern Kentucky University
stars-5

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (Elizabethtown)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Security and Loss Prevention
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Security Loss Prevention

Gateway Community and Technical College (Covington)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Computer Forensics

Hopkinsville Community College (Hopkinsville)
Associate of Applied Science | Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Corrections (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Security and Loss Prevention
Associate of Applied Science | Security and Loss Prevention (online program)
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management: Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management: Security Management
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security/ Emergency Management: Homeland Security/ Emergency Management Specialist
Certificate | Advanced Law Enforcement
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Security and Loss Prevention
Certificate | Digital Forensics

Jefferson Community and Technical College (Louisville)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Security & Loss Prevention
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Kentucky State University (Frankfort)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Minor | Criminal Justice
Program | Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

Kentucky Wesleyan College (Owensboro)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice and Criminology (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Criminology
Minor | Forensic Science

Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (online program)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice: Legal (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Courts
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Minor | Criminal Justice

Madisonville Community College (Madisonville)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Program | ROTC

Morehead State University (Morehead)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminology
Minor | Chemical Dependency Counseling
Certificate | Intelligence Collection and Analysis
Certificate | Threat Specialist

Murray State University (Murray)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Chemistry: Forensics
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensics
Bachelor of Science/ Bachelor of Arts | Wildlife and Conservation Biology/ Conservation Law Enforcement
Master of Science | Human Development and Leadership: Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
Program | Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Forensics
Master of Public Administration | Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminalistics
Minor | Computer Forensics
Minor | Information Security
Certificate | Cybersecurity
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Corporate Information Security

Owensboro Community and Technical College (Owensboro)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Security & Loss Prevention
Certificate | Computer Forensics

Pikeville College (Pikeville)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

Saint Catharine College (Saint Catharine)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Somerset Community College (Somerset)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Security & Loss Prevention
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Security and Loss Prevention
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Advanced Law Enforcement

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (Cumberland)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Security & Loss Prevention
Certificate | Criminal Justice Core
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Security and Loss Prevention

Student Review: “I have attended Southeast Community and Technical College for two years now and my experience has not been so great. The financial aid representatives are nearly impossible to get in contact with any time you have a financial related question or problem. Even though their business hours say their supposed to be in their office, they never are. The educators are often times very unprofessional in regards to accurately posting work on blackboard when they are supposed to. This makes taking classes online a disaster, as you never know when assignments are due, and getting a grade back often seems like an impossible feat. Overall, this school has some nice potential considering the convenience that it provides for thousands of students across this area, but as of now, potential is about as far as it goes.” -Joey W., student at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College

Thomas More College (Crestview Hills)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Elected Studies | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Biology
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Chemistry

Union College (Barbourville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Chemical Dependency Counselor (online program)

University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Management
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice/Criminal Profiling
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice/Forensics
Minor | Criminal Justice

University of Louisville (Louisville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Social Change
Minor | Forensic Anthropology
Certificate | Police Executive Leadership Development
Certificate | Peace, Justice & Conflict Transformation
Program | Army ROTC

Student Review: “I enjoyed the University of Louisville so much I not only completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees, I am also completing my doctorate. As an undergraduate, the campus is quite accommodating whether you want to live in the dorms or if you prefer to commute. Thankfully, the food choices have expanded tremendously over the past five years so even as a vegetarian I can find plenty of food. UofL offers degrees across a wide range of disciplines and all levels of academic involvement. In my experience studying psychology (in the college of Arts and Sciences), professors were always willing to help even in the larger classes. I have greatly enjoyed my time there as a graduate student as well. Lastly, you can’t forget the amazing sports!” -Catherine R., student at University of Louisville
stars-5

Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Military Leadership
Bachelor of Science | Social Psychology
Bachelor of Science | Systems Management: Criminology Systems
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies | Social Justice and Equity Studies
Master of Arts | Criminology (online program)
Master of Science | Homeland Security Sciences
Minor | Criminology (online program)
Minor | Military Science
Minor | Citizenship & Social Justice

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. Kentucky Department of Corrections: http://corrections.ky.gov/about/Pages/Careers.aspx
9. Kentucky State Police: http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/recruit/benefits.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
11. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://http://ycharts.com/indicators/kentucky_unemployment_rate
12. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
16. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
17. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
18. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings