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West Virginia Criminal Justice Schools

  • 18 schools offering criminal justice degrees in West Virginia are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in West Virginia, 9 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 11 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 3 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 2 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in West Virginia ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Wheeling Jesuit University (#137), West Virginia University (#217).
  • 0 schools in West Virginia are on Kiplinger’s Best College Values.


Profiles of Well-Known Schools in West Virginia

West Virginia University: The Division of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology for students interested in law, law enforcement, or corrections careers. Majors are required to complete 128 hours with six hours of foundation criminology courses, nine hours of intermediate courses, and six hours of advanced courses. Students can join the Sociology Anthropology Criminology Association (SACA), through which they can form career-advancing connections. Juniors and seniors can pursue one of the several already secured internship opportunities with the local County Sherriff’s Office and correctional facilities.

West Virginia Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 3,250 $33,450
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 260 $59,910
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 360 $59,760
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 3,750 $41,020

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

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in West Virginia

  • Charleston, WV Chief of Police Brent Webster- West Virginia University
  • Huntington, WV Chief of Police W.H. “Skip” Holbrook- Marshall University, WV
Police Quote: I would suggest to young adults that education is very important and being truthful in every way and always be positive. I have been a Gang Detective for many years and was told in my early career that if you “ask a question during your investigation, and you don’t have the answer for it, your investigation is not complete.” -Gene Ballance, Vice President of the Virginia Gang Investigators Association

West Virginia Criminal Justice Degrees

Occupations in the criminal justice field are among the strongest drivers of annual jobs growth in West Virginia. Detectives, criminal investigators, correctional officers, and jailers are occupations with good annual job growth rates. Corrections supervisors, probation officers, correction treatment specialists, paralegals, security guards, police and sheriff’s patrol officers are also in demand.

State agencies that hire criminal justice graduates include the Division of Corrections, Division of Protective Services, and West Virginia State Police. Career opportunities include probation and parole officers, investigators, police and state troopers. Some positions require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field from an accredited university or college.

In addition to local and state jobs, the US government also provides career opportunities for graduates of criminal justice programs. Federal agencies that employ West Virginia criminal justice professionals include the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and the Department of Justice. Most of these positions require at least a bachelor’s degree for consideration.

With one of the highest prison growth rates in the country, West Virginia legislators took action to raise salaries and benefits for corrections officers to assist the Division of Corrections in recruiting and retaining more employees. Corrections officers must have at a minimum a high school diploma. For higher-paying supervisory positions, a degree or some college experience is preferred. In addition, the state provides a highly competitive benefits package which includes longevity pay and other incentives.

West Virginia Criminal Justice Salary

Several criminal justice jobs offer attractive salaries and benefits that are competitive with other career fields. The average salary for police officers in West Virginia is $41,020 and police first-line supervisors earn an average of $59,910.5,7 Detectives and criminal investigators are paid an average salary of $59,760 per year.4 Paralegals and legal assistants in West Virginia earn an average salary of $43,910.8

West Virginia’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

West Virginia’s May 2016 unemployment rate was 6.2%, considerably higher than the national average of 4.7%.9 West Virginia’s most recent unemployment low was 3.6% in April of 2008.9 Government employment is a good proxy for criminal justice jobs in West Virginia. Projections Central includes the following criminal justice job estimates for the state:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 120 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.9,10
  • Correctional Officers: 90 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.9,11
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 10 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.9,12
  • Security Guards: 80 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.9,13
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 40 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.9,14

Opening projections are based on employment growth as well as replacements.

The Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank that analyzed and ranked the long-term solvency of each state government. After analyzing the state’s budgeting process, cash/tax collection, and pensions, West Virginia was ranked 40th in the nation.16 This indicates that the state will likely fulfill its pension obligations to employees, but new hires would be wise to keep watch of the situation.

Online and West Virginia Criminal Justice Schools

To learn more about earning a West Virginia criminal justice degree, 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 (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, or Virginia).


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Directory of West Virginia Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (Martinsburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Forensic Science
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement & Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Cybersecurity

Bluefield State College (Bluefield)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Administration
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Administration: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice Administration: Corrections

Fairmont State University (Fairmont)
Bachelor of Arts | National Security and Intelligence
Bachelor of Science | Computer Security
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensics
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)

Glenville State College (Glenville)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Administration of Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Field Forensics

Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College (Institute)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Cyber Security
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Marshall University (Huntington)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Digital Forensics and Information Assurance
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice (online program)
Certificate | Digital Forensics
Certificate | Information Assurance

Mountwest Community and Technical College (Huntington)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate of Completion | Law Enforcement

New River Community and Technical College (Beckley)
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Corrections
Associate of Science | Forensic Investigation

Pierpont Community and Technical College (Fairmont)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security

Potomac State College of West Virginia University (Keyser)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Studies
Bachelor of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “Potomac State College of West Virginia University is an upstanding college with an incredible criminal justice program. I had one of the best college experiences at this campus and could not have asked for a better curriculum. At the time I was in college the academics were very difficult and time consuming, however I now apply everything that I learned to my career. The professors were very understandable and truly concerned about every student’s success. The programs and the field trips were the best. We would take field trips to different prisons and jails that would allow us to see the application of what we were learning. There were studies done, socials (where the students would get together), games, and meetings for the clubs. The hands on experiences that I learned there paved the road for a successful career.” -Heather R., student at Potomac State College of West Virginia University
stars-5
Student Review: “Potomac State College offers all of the great things about being an extension of a large university (West Virginia University) with the added benefit of small class size, intimate lectures, and a teaching staff devoted to seeing the students succeed. Nestled in the beautiful Appalachian mountain range, the school campus is full of the ease of rural life while still being close to major cities. PSC offers a huge variety of degrees, from engineering to nursing, and it’s extremely easy to transfer to WVU. My time at PSC was brightened by the great professors, who were more than willing to keep long office hours, and the student life on campus. The only drawbacks are the lack of city life in town, the slow Wifi, and the lack of diversity a rural setting creates.” -Kendra R., student at Potomac State College of West Virginia University
stars-4

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Mount Gay)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Certificate | Criminal Justice

West Liberty University (West Liberty)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Professional Studies | Justice Leadership

West Virginia Northern Community College (Wheeling)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

West Virginia State University (Institute)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Generalist
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Investigation
Master of Science | Law Enforcement & Administration

West Virginia University (Morgantown)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Forensic and Investigative Science: Forensic Examiner
Bachelor of Science | Forensic and Investigative Science: Forensic Biology
Bachelor of Science | Forensic and Investigative Science: Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology
Master of Arts | Sociology: Crime
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Training Programs | Homeland Security

West Virginia University at Parkersburg (Parkersburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Bachelor of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice

West Virginia Wesleyan College (Buckhannon)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Social Justice Studies
Minor | Criminal Justice

Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Peace and Justice Studies

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/west_virginia_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