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Tennessee Criminal Justice Schools

  • 32 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Tennessee are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in Tennessee, 15 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 22 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 6 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 0 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in Tennessee ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
  • 1 school in Tennessee is on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: University of Tennessee (#71 in-state, #69 out-of-state).


Profiles of Well-Known Schools

Middle Tennessee State University: Students at Middle Tennessee State University can pursue a Criminal Justice Administration major or a Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) through the Department of Criminal Justice Administration. Alpha Phi Sigma and Delta Omicron Alpha are criminal justice organizations that students can join for networking and extracurricular learning. Senior students can earn credit hours through one of more than 30 different internship opportunities available within local government agencies and correctional facilities. Eight full-time faculty work within the MTSU Department of Criminal Justice Administration, many of whom are former or current federal investigators, law clerks, or law enforcement professionals.

Tennessee State University: The Department of Criminal Justice at Tennessee State University has both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Criminal Justice in which about 650 students are enrolled, making it one of the largest criminal justice programs in the United States. Undergraduate students take a variety of social science courses with a strong emphasis in psychology outside of the criminal justice core. Faculty are experts in courtroom and prison operations. The department has two scholarships available specifically for criminal justice students.

Tennessee Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 9,420 $31,250
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 3,480 $58,690
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 1,510 $62,510
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 12,860 $43,090

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

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in Tennessee

  • Shelby County, TN Sheriff William Oldham- Memphis State University
  • Hamilton County, TN Sheriff James W. Hammond- University of Tennessee
  • Nashville, TN Police Chief Steve Anderson- Nashville School of Law
Police Quote: “Integrity, honesty and fairness is the key to good law enforcement and career growth. Within the department or dealing with the public.” -Chief Fabian Blache, Jr.

Tennessee Criminal Justice Degrees

Tennessee is home to major police departments in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville. With higher volumes of applicants for law enforcement and public safety positions, some departments have adopted a progressive hiring policy based on educational attainment to ensure that the best candidates are accepted. Additional education in criminal justice or related fields can provide applicants with a competitive edge in pursuing these positions and can translate to higher starting pay. For example, in Nashville police officers with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree receive additional educational incentive pay.

In addition to local law and public safety jobs, the Tennessee Department of Human Resources and the US federal government are among the largest employers in the state. Many graduates of criminal justice programs in Tennessee find employment with state and federal government agencies, including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Public Safety, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and others. Salaries and benefits for these positions are competitive and most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Tennessee Criminal Justice Salary

In addition to interesting work environments, criminal justice jobs offer competitive pay and attractive benefits. Police officers earn an average annual salary of $43,090 in Tennessee and first-line supervisors earn an average of $58,690.5,7 Professionals working in corrections as correctional officers earn an average of $31,250.4 Detectives and criminal investigators earn an average of $62,510 per year in the state.6 Law firms in the state employ thousands of paralegals, who earn an average salary of $48,590 per year in Tennessee.8

Tennessee’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

Tennessee’s May 2016 unemployment rate was 4.1%, which was below the national average of 4.7% and much lower than the state’s 10-year unemployment rate peak of 10.8% seen in August 2009.9 Government employment is a good indicator of criminal justice job opportunities in Tennessee. According to Projections Central, the following criminal justice job openings are estimated through 2024:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 500 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.10,11
  • Correctional Officers: 110 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: 40 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.10,13
  • Security Guards: 880 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.10,14
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 170 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

These positions are estimated from both projected replacements and employment growth.

The Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank that rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. After analyzing Tennessee’s budgeting process, cash and tax collection, and pensions, the state was ranked 9th in the nation.16 This is an indicator of sound employment practices, and new hires can be confident that the state will likely fulfill its pension obligations.

Online and Tennessee Criminal Justice Schools

To learn more about Tennessee criminal justice degrees, we recommend the following accredited campus-based and online criminal justice programs for those 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 (Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, or Mississippi).



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Directory of Tennessee Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Austin Peay State University (Clarksville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security Concentration

Bethel University (McKenzie; Satellite Locations)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Services Management
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Arts | Conflict Resolution
College Start Program | Criminal Justice

Bryan College (Dayton)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Human Trafficking

Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (Tennessee Transfer Pathway)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Christian Brothers University (Memphis)
Bachelor of Science | Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics

Cleveland State Community College (Cleveland, TN)
Associate in Science | Criminal Justice Emphasis: General Transfer Major
Technical Certificate | Law Enforcement Training

Columbia State Community College (Columbia)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (transfer degree)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (transfer degree)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Cumberland University (Lebanon)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice & Public Administration
Bachelor of Science | Forensic and Criminal Justice Sciences
Minor | Criminal Justice

Dyersburg State Community College (Dyersburg)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Corrections and Law Enforcement

East Tennessee State University (Johnson City)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Minor | Criminal Justice and Criminology
Minor | Emergency/Disaster Response Management
Minor | Safety
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Forensic Document Examination (online program)

Freed-Hardeman University (Henderson)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

Hiwassee College (Madisonville)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice & Homeland Security (online)

King University (Bristol)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Security and Intelligence Studies
Minor | Security and Intelligence Studies

Lane College (Jackson)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

LeMoyne-Owen College (Memphis)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

Lincoln Memorial University (Harrogate)
Bachelor of Science | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice

Lipscomb University (Nashville)
Bachelor of Arts | Government and Public Administration
Bachelor of Science | Information Security
Bachelor of Arts | Restorative Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Law, Justice, and Society
Bachelor of Science | Law, Justice, and Society
Master of Arts | Conflict Management
Graduate Certificate | Conflict Management

Martin Methodist College (Pulaski)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Psychology
Minor | Criminal Justice

Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Master of Criminal Justice degree
Minor | Criminal Justice Administration
Minor | Homeland Security

Student Review: “Middle Tennessee State University is the biggest university in the state of Tennessee. It is made up of over 25,000 students. Even though it is a rather large school, there are so many organizations and clubs that a student can get involved with to make them feel more at home. Not one of my classes in my major has more than 30 students in the class, with an average of about 15 students a class. There are two concerns I have about the campus and that is the dining options on campus and the school spirit, because there is none.” -Chassidy J., student at Middle Tennessee State University
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Nashville State Community College (Nashville)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement: Crime Scene Investigation
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement: Police Administration
Technical Certificate | Law Enforcement

Northeast State Community College (Blountville)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online)

Remington College (Memphis; Nashville)
Associate Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice (online program)

Roane State Community College (Harriman)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Tennessee State University (Nashville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice

Tennessee Wesleyan College (Athens)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

Tusculum College (Greeneville)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (Chattanooga)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

The University of Tennessee-Martin (Martin)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Courts and Law
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Forensics
Minor | Criminal Justice
Collegiate Program | National Forensic Academy

University of Memphis (Memphis)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Master of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminology and Criminal Justice

Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (2+2 program with Tennessee State University)
Technical Certificate | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “I loved Vol State because they gave great options for people with little money (i.e. me). They offered several reasonable options for financial aid that could be paid back through a payment plan, or they offered grants, and helped you apply for scholarships. They had a great library where you could even check out textbooks for your current course, and they even let you check out laptops to do homework on. They had a workout room so students could stay in shape, and even get credit for doing so. The professors were cool because they actually cared if you passed or failed; some even gave extra credit when needed. Vol state was an amazing school and i would recommend to even the biggest college skeptic.” -Shelbi S., student at Volunteer State Community College
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Walters State Community College (Morristown)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Technical Certificate | Public Safety – Basic Law Enforcement Officer Education

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/tennessee_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