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South Dakota Criminal Justice Schools

  • 7 schools offering criminal justice degrees in South Dakota are in our database. (see below)
  • 3 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 2 of them offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 0 offer a mix of bachelor’s and master’s
  • We found 1 school in South Dakota ranked in US News and World Report that have a criminal justice program; #111 University of South Dakota–Vermillion, SD
  • According to Kiplinger’s, South Dakota has no universities ranked in the top 100 for “Values in Public Colleges”
  • 10 campus-based and online schools in South Dakota are available for requesting information.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools

University of South Dakota: The Department of Criminal Justice at the University of South Dakota offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice as well as a Master of Public Administration with a Criminal Justice Emphasis. Students also have the option to double major in Criminal Justice with Sociology or Political Science. The department has several affiliates including the Civic Leadership Studies/ Farber Center (an interdisciplinary center focused on public leadership) and the Chiesman Fund (supports projects that promote democracy). For majors needing some financial assistance, there are over a dozen different scholarships and awards that they can apply for through the Criminal Justice office.

University of Sioux Falls: The University if Sioux Falls has a Bachelor of Arts In Criminal Justice offered through the Criminal Justice Department. This is an interdisciplinary program in which students enroll in psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, and social work courses. The Criminal Justice Department provides numerous internship opportunities with local and state agencies, as well as potential travel for students that wish to attend conferences and seminars throughout the country. Five full-time faculty and one adjunct teach courses like Juvenile Justice, Rules of Evidence and Corrections and Operations Issues.

South Dakota Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 1,320 $33,420
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 150 $63,620
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 210 $66,380
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 1,660 $40,990

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

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in South Dakota

  • Pennington County, SD Sheriff Kevin Thom- Minot State University, University of South Dakota
  • Rapid City, SD Police Chief Steve Allender – National American University
  • Codington County, SD Sheriff Toby Wishard- University of South Dakota
  • Douglas County, SD Sheriff Jon Coler- University of South Dakota
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, Homicide Investigator

South Dakota Criminal Justice Degrees

For graduates, South Dakota offers a wide range of possibilities including career paths in traditional law enforcement, emergency and fire services, games, fish and parks law enforcement, corrections officer, paralegal, criminal investigator, law enforcement education, and many others. South Dakota graduates of criminal justice can also pursue jobs with the federal government. The FBI and US Marshals are among some of the federal agencies that employ criminal justice professionals in the state.

Most jobs require a minimum high school degree to qualify, graduates with a college degree are preferred. For example, Rapid City’s police department requires an associate’s degree or at least four years of law enforcement experience for police department applicants.

With double-digit population growth in its two largest cities over the past decade and a growing senior population, the government of South Dakota is actively investing in programs to attract and retain qualified workers. With no state income tax, significantly lower cost of living and the second lowest crime rate in the nation, there are many advantages to pursuing a career in criminal justice in South Dakota.

South Dakota Criminal Justice Salary

The criminal justice job market in South Dakota features several careers that offer attractive pay and benefits. The average salary for police officers in South Dakota is $40,820 1 and the salary increases to $61,240 1 for those who are promoted to first-line supervisor. Correctional officers earn an average of $33,550 1 while working as a detective will result in an average salary of $64,140.1 Those working in the legal field as a paralegal or legal assistant can expect to earn an average of $37,770 1 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

South Dakota’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook 2,3,4,5

As of September 2014, the unemployment rate for South Dakota is 3.4%. This is well below the national average of 5.8%, and it is below the state’s peak unemployment rate of 5.3% in February of 2010. The state experienced a low in March 2008, with 2.7%. Government-related employment is a good proxy for criminal justice employment in South Dakota. Projection Central included the following criminal justice jobs for the state:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 60 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: 10 annual openings
  • Security Guards: 30 annual openings
  • Paralegals: 20 annual openings/88% in positions report some college, or bachelor’s degree

Open positions would be a result of growth and replacement.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. South Dakota ranked 7th in the nation. This shows sound employment practices, and new employees can be relatively confident in the State’s ability to fulfill its employee pension obligation.

Online and South Dakota Criminal Justice Schools

If you live in South Dakota, 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 (Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska).

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Directory of South Dakota Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Dakota Wesleyan University (Mitchell)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Wildlife Law Enforcement
Minor | Criminal Justice

Kilian Community College (Sioux Falls)
Associate of Science | Justice Studies

Mount Marty College (Yankton)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Minor | Criminal Justice

Southeast Technical Institute (Sioux Falls)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement Science

University of Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

University of South Dakota (Vermillion)
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Military Science

Western Dakota Tech (Rapid City)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement Technology

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_SD.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/south_dakota_unemployment_rate
5. Mercatus Center State Fiscal Condition: http://mercatus.org/publication/state-fiscal-condition-ranking-50-states