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South Carolina Criminal Justice Schools

  • 29 schools offering criminal justice degrees in South Carolina are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in South Carolina, 17 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 13 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 3 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 3 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in South Carolina ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Charleston Southern University (#17), University of South Carolina-Aiken (#128), Limestone College (#158).
  • 2 schools in South Carolina are on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: Clemson University (#24 in-state, #36 out-of-state), University of South Carolina (#52 in-state, #72 out-of-state).


Profiles of Well-Known Schools

University of South Carolina: Regularly listed within the top 25 criminology graduate programs by the US News and World Report, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina offers many valuable academic and professional experiences for its students. Individuals can pursue a BA/BS, a Minor, an MA or a PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice, the latter two of which are highly competitive for admission. The department offers four different scholarships for its undergraduate majors and paid assistantships for its graduate students. 13 professionals and instructors teach within the school, with many specializing in law enforcement and corrections.

South Carolina State University: The Department of Human Services houses the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at South Carolina State University. The students and faculty often conduct research in partnership with the 1890 Research Program, a multidisciplinary center that is dedicated to identifying and solving social and environmental problems. Core criminal justice courses include Criminology and Penology, Juvenile Delinquency, and Introduction to Corrections. During their final semester students can earn field experience course credit through working with a criminal justice agency.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 6,940 $32,990
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 1,710 $56,680
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 990 $60,950
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 11,260 $40,340

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

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in South Carolina

  • Charleston County, SC Sheriff James Alton Cannon, Jr. – College of Charleston, University of South Carolina
  • Richland County, SC Sheriff Leon Lott – University of South Carolina- Aiken, University of South Carolina- Columbia
  • Columbia, SC Police Chief Randy Scott – Limestone College
Police Quote: “One of the biggest skills I see lacking in young people wanting to get into law enforcement is their communication skills. If you’re going to get into the field of law enforcement, you need to talk to anybody, anytime, at any place. I see young officers coming in who are very uncomfortable talking to people and this is a people business. You have to have great communication skills. On the college side, there are some great programs under communications, to become good at it. If you’re a good communicator, no matter what job you do in law enforcement, you’re going to be very successful.” -Gary Killam, President of the Florida Gang Investigators Association

South Carolina Criminal Justice Degrees

In-demand criminal justice occupations in South Carolina include: police officers, detectives and managers; criminal investigators and special agents; sheriffs and deputy sheriffs; firefighters; and immigration and customs inspectors.

Candidates for law enforcement typically must be at least 21 years of age, possess a clean record (no felonies or DUIs), and a good credit history. Many police departments in South Carolina require at least an associate’s degree to be considered for an entry level position; some advanced or federal positions require a bachelor’s degree and/or an associate’s with prior law enforcement experience. Starting salaries for police officers with college degrees are typically higher and many departments now offer educational pay incentives to attract college graduates. Nearly two-thirds of police detective candidates in South Carolina possess college degrees.

In addition to local agencies, criminal justice graduates can pursue careers with the state government. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation and the Department of Probation are just two examples of state agencies that hire professionals with degrees in criminal justice. Salaries and benefits with state agencies are often highly competitive and some require a college degree to qualify. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also employs criminal justice professionals in the state. Positions available through the DHS include criminal investigators, mission support specialists, and customs and border agents.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Salary

Several criminal justice jobs in South Carolina offer attractive salary and benefits in addition to the intrinsic benefits of working in an exciting career. Police officers earn an average salary of $40,340 in South Carolina while a first-line supervisor earns an average of $56,680.5,7 In the role of detective or criminal investigator the average salary is $60,950 in the state.6 Correctional officers earn an average of $32,990 in South Carolina.4 In the legal field, paralegals and legal assistants earn an average of $42,730.8

South Carolina’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

The May 2016 unemployment rate for South Carolina was 5.6%.9 While this was above the national average of 4.7%, it is well below the peak 10-year state unemployment rate of 11.9% from January 2010.9 Government-related employment is a good indicator of criminal justice jobs in South Carolina. Projections Central includes the following criminal justice job estimates for South Carolina:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 420 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.10,11
  • Correctional Officers: 260 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.10,12
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 30 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.10,13
  • Security Guards: 350 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.10,14
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 160 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.10,15

Note that these estimates project openings from both jobs growth and replacements.

The Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank that rated and analyzed each state government’s long-term solvency based on budget, cash/tax handling, and pensions. South Carolina was ranked 18th in the nation.16 This indicates that the state will most likely be able to fulfill its obligation to pay out employee pensions.

Online and South Carolina Criminal Justice Schools

If you live in South Carolina, 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.

Searching for Schools...

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 (Georgia or North Carolina).



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Directory of South Carolina Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Aiken Technical College (Graniteville)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (transfer degree)

Anderson University (Anderson)
Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree (online program)
Bachelor of Criminal Justice | Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Criminal Justice | Law Enforcement (online program)
Bachelor of Criminal Justice | Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness (online program)
Bachelor of Emergency Management Services | Homeland Security Operations (online program)
Bachelor of Emergency Management Services | Community Emergency Management (online program)
Master Degree | Criminal Justice

Benedict College (Columbia)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Court System
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement

Bob Jones University (Greenville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

Central Carolina Technical College (Sumter)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Certificate | Cybersecurity

Charleston Southern University (Charleston)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)

Claflin University (Orangeburg)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Coker College (Hartsville)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology
Master of Applied Criminology degree
Minor | Criminology

Denmark Technical College (Denmark)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Technical Certificate | Criminal Justice

Florence-Darlington Technical College (Florence)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology

Forrest Junior College (Anderson)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Greenville Technical College (Greenville)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (Conway)
Associate of Applied Science | Crime Scene Investigations
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security
Associate of Applied Science | Public Service Administration
Certificate | Homicide Investigation
Certificate | Latent Print Collection and Classification

Lander University (Greenwood)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Emergency Management

Limestone College (Gaffney)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)

Midlands Technical College (West Columbia)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology (online program)
Certificate | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice (online program)

Morris College (Sumter)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Northeastern Technical College (Cheraw)
Associate of Applied Science | General Technology: Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (Orangeburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Forensics
Certificate | Security

Piedmont Technical College (Greenwood)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Southern Wesleyan University (Central)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science

Spartanburg Methodist College (Spartanburg)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Technical College of the Lowcountry (Beaufort)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Certificate | Correctional Office Administration
Certificate | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Crime Scene Investigation
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Law Enforcement Psychology
Certificate | Correctional Training
Certificate | Criminal Justice & Law

Tri-County Technical College (Pendleton)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Certificate | Law Enforcement and Corrections Services

Trident Technical College (Charleston)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security Management
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Crime Scene Investigation
Certificate | Emergency Management and Protection

University of South Carolina-Lancaster (Lancaster)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice

University of South Carolina-Upstate (Spartanburg)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Voorhees College (Denmark)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management

York Technical College (Rock Hill)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Certificate | Law Enforcement

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. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
9. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://http://ycharts.com/indicators/south_carolina_unemployment_rate
10. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
11. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
12. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
16. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings