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Montana Criminal Justice Schools

  • 5 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Montana are in our database. (see below)
  • 3 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, and 2 offer a mix of bachelor’s and master’s
  • We found 1 school in Montana ranked in US News and World Reports that have a criminal justice program; #111 University of Montana–Missoula, MT
  • According to Kiplinger’s, Montana has no universities ranked in the top 100 for “Values in Public Colleges”
  • 10 campus-based and online schools in Montana are available for requesting information.

Profiles of Well Known Schools

The University of Montana: Through the Department of Sociology at the University of Montana, students can pursue a BA or MA in Sociology with a Criminology Emphasis. The department has established networks to pair majors with juvenile justice internships, better preparing them for graduation. Bachelors students are required to complete criminology option courses that include Sociology of Corrections, Juvenile Justice System, and Addiction Studies, while masters students dedicate the majority of their time to theory and methodology courses. To better network and take part in field seminars and activities, criminology students can join the department’s Criminology Club.

Montana State University: Students at Montana State University can pursue a BS in Sociology with the Criminology Option through the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Common courses that students with this concentration take include Criminology, Principles of Criminal Law and Procedure, Occupational or Corporate Crime, and Family Violence. The department has 10 full time faculty and those teaching criminology courses specialize in family issues and juvenile delinquency. Being a land-grant campus, Montana State University is a hub for innovative research and currently holds 81 patents and 200 license agreements.

Montana Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 1,140 $33,190
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 350 $68,230
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 590 $72,760
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 1,780 $46,600

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in Montana

  • Missoula, MT Police Chief Mark Muir- University of Montana, MT
  • Helena, MT Police Chief Troy Mcgee- Carroll College, MT
  • Lewis and Clark County, MT Sheriff Leo C. Dutton- University of Montana College of Technology, MT
  • Great Falls, MT Police Chief David Bowen- University of Great Falls, MT
Police Quote: “Of course, you can have a successful career in patrol or corrections without a degree, but it definitely helps. Even if these people don’t aspire to management, a bachelor’s degree should still be the goal because it helps in so many ways – even with simple life skills.” –Sheriff Gary Raney

Montana Criminal Justice Degrees

Montana does have its own college communities in Missoula and Bozeman, as well as a Law Enforcement Academy for officer training. Government at the local, state and federal levels represents one of the largest employers in the Criminal Justice field. In Montana, law enforcement offices within the state’s Department of Justice include the Montana Highway Patrol, State Crime Lab Forensic Science Division, and Division of Criminal Investigation. Federal agencies that employ criminal justice majors include the Department of Justice, US Marshals Service, DEA, FBI, and Secret Service.

Montana is home to several schools offering criminal justice programs, and accredited online institutions help fill the gap, particularly in remote areas. Criminal justice education options available for students attending Montana campuses range from certification programs all the way to Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees, in concentrations as diverse as forensic anthropology, private security, and cybersecurity.

Montana’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook 2, 3, 4, 5

As of September 2014, Montana’s unemployment rate is 4.6%. This is the lowest rate seen in the past ten years. The last low was 4.8%, seen in August 2008. The peak unemployment rate was 6.9% in August 2010. The national average is currently 5.8%. Government-related employment is a good indicator of criminal justice jobs in Montana. Projection Central included the following criminal justice jobs for the state:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 80 annual openings/88% in positions report some college or bachelor’s degree
  • Correctional Officers: 40 annual openings/60% in positions report some college, or bachelor’s degree
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 20 annual openings
  • Security Guards: 60 annual openings
  • Paralegals: 30 annual openings/88% in positions report some college, or bachelor’s degree

These positions are a result of growth and replacement.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, ranked and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. The center analyzed the budgeting process, tax/cash collection and the pensions for each state. Montana was ranked 9th in the nation. This shows very sound employment practices, and new hires can be confident that the state will likely be able fulfill its pension obligations.

Online and Montana Criminal Justice Schools

If you live in Montana, 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 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho).

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Montana Criminal Justice Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides wage details that can help prospective students form career decisions, although passion for your work is just as essential as financial compensation. The BLS categorizes most criminal justice jobs under protective services and community & social services, reflecting the important role and contribution that are fundamental to these occupations. Mean annual salaries within this field depend to a great extent on the level of training required. The average salary for police officers in Montana is $44,270 1 per year and first-line supervisors of police earn an average of $71,360.1 Corrections officers are paid an average of $32,040 1 while detectives earn an average salary of $68,980.1 Paralegals working in law firms or other settings earn an average of $38,060 1 in Montana.

Directory of Montana Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Dawson Community College (Glendive, MT)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Law Enforcement | Peace Officer
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Law Enforcement | Private Security
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Correctional Officer

Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell, MT)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Miles Community College (Miles City, MT)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice

The University of Montana (Montana, MT)
Bachelor of Arts | Anthropology | Forensic Anthropology Option
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology | Criminology Option
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology | Inequality and Social Justice
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry | Forensic Chemistry
Certificate | Forensic Studies
Master of Arts | Anthropology | Forensic Anthropology Option
Master of Arts | Sociology | Criminology Option
Master of Arts | Sociology | Inequality and Social Justice

University of Great Falls (Great Falls, MT)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Master of Science | Criminal Justice

(1) Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_MT.htm
(2) Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/lau/ see state on page for current unemployment rate
(3) Bureau of Labor Statistics’ State Occupational Projections: http://https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.htm
(4) Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://http://ycharts.com/indicators/montana_unemployment_rate
(5) Mercatus Center State Fiscal Condition: http://mercatus.org/publication/state-fiscal-condition-ranking-50-states

Page Edited by Charles Sipe.