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Alabama Criminal Justice Schools

  • 22 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Alabama are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in Alabama, 18 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 22 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 9 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 3 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in Alabama ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Troy University (#100), Faulkner University (#209).
  • 2 schools in Alabama are on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: University of Alabama (#46 in-state, #51 out-of-state), Auburn University (#74 in-state, #81 out-of-state).

Comparison of Schools with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Program

SchoolStudent Faculty RatioAverage In-State Net Price (2014-2015)Bachelor’s in CJ Awarded (2014-2015)Graduation Rate (Class of 2014)Student Loan Default Rate (2012)
Alabama State University16 to 1$10,9777127%15.6%
Jacksonville State University19 to 1$12,4928031%9.6%
University of Alabama at Birmingham18 to 1$15,7728055%6.2%
University of Alabama21 to 1$18,81416267%6.3%

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics.1

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Alabama

University of Alabama: The University of Alabama’s Department of Criminal Justice, housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The master’s course of study provides students with the option of pursuing a career-oriented track, choosing from specializations in criminal justice/criminology, law, or social sciences. While department research interests vary greatly, the faculty are world-renowned specialists in terrorism, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence. This university has four student organizations for those pursuing a degree in criminal justice as well as numerous internship opportunities with both state and federal agencies.

Jacksonville State University: Criminal justice students at Jacksonville State University have access to top quality resources; the campus is regularly top-ranked in the Southern Association of Institutional Research (SAIR) Best Publication Category. Individuals interested in professional criminal justice careers can pursue a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science. Undergraduates can choose from four different concentrations (corrections, forensic investigations, law enforcement, and security administration/ loss prevention) to better prepare themselves for their specialized objectives. Additionally, the department has a long-standing internship program for its majors that connects them to the agencies that best fit their concentrations. Jacksonville State University provides financial assistance for its criminal justice majors with various different scholarships such as the Criminal Justice Alumni Association Scholarship.

Alabama Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers5,400$35,730
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives1,200$63,930
Detectives and Criminal Investigators1,200$60,570
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers10,440$42,400

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

Alabama Criminal Justice Degrees

Degrees at all levels are offered in Alabama both from local colleges and universities as well as from online schools for those who choose to earn their degree from home. There are several online degree programs that serve students in Alabama with the benefit of flexible scheduling for working professionals and less time and cost of commuting to and from campus.

Respected leaders who have graduated from universities in Alabama

  • Morgan County Alabama Sheriff Ana Franklin – Jacksonville State in Jacksonville, AL
  • Calhoun County Alabama Sheriff Larry Amerson – Jacksonville State in Jacksonville, AL
  • Blount County Sheriff Loyd Arrington – Troy State University, AL
  • Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper – University of Alabama – Birmingham, AL
Police Quote “It is important to get a college education for a couple reasons. First, people watching TV often get the wrong idea of law enforcement. People don’t always last in this career and so a fallback is good to have just in case. For those staying, the education can help them be more effective in the job. I need someone who can do a good job of writing logically laid out reports – you have to be articulate in doing police work. Note these benefits from education benefit both the patrol and corrections side. I need dependable people who can do a good, reliable job. In getting an advanced degree, I know the requisite skills are covered well.” -Sheriff Glenn Palmer

Alabama’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

In May 2016, Alabama’s unemployment rate was 6.1%, which was above the national average of 4.7% but well below the state’s unemployment peak of 10.5% in January of 2010.8 The 10-year unemployment low for Alabama was 3.9%, in January of 2008.8 According to Projections Central, the criminal justice hiring outlook in Alabama includes:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 430 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.9,10
  • Correctional Officers: 180 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: 30 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.9,12
  • Security Guards: 290 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.9,13
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 80 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

Note that annual openings include openings from growth as well as replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, analyzed and ranked the long-term solvency of state governments. Based in part on Alabama’s budgeting process, cash/tax collection, and funding of pensions, it ranked Alabama 15th in the US for long-term solvency, suggesting sound management practices that should allow it to continue to fulfill its obligations to those employed by the state.15

Salary Information for Graduates in Alabama

Depending on which agency you work for, a degree can result in an increase in your starting salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, those employed in protective service occupations in Alabama, which includes most criminal justice positions, earn an average annual salary of $36,060.16

A degree will make it easier for you to advance in your law enforcement career. In addition to state positions, jobs are available for criminal justice graduates with a number of city police and county sheriff’s departments throughout Alabama. The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) consistently adds to its current roster of approximately 3,000 correctional officers and offers a full benefits package that includes 27 leave days per year as well as 12 paid holidays.17 A bachelor’s degree increases the starting pay rate for a correctional officer with the ADOC by almost $3,000 per year.17

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Directory of Not-for-Profit Alabama Universities Offering Campus-based and Online Criminal Justice Degrees

If you live in Alabama, we recommend requesting information from an accredited campus-based or online program for pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in the field of criminal justice.

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 (Mississippi, Tennessee, or Florida).

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Alabama A&M University (Normal)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “At Alabama A&M University I pursued my undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice initially to pursue a career in law enforcement. During my junior year, however, my fate would be changed when during the Fall semester I enrolled into Intro to Corrections. Learning about the corrections system greatly intrigued me and with the recommendation of my professor I was granted an internship with the Madison County Jail the following summer. My undergraduate degree not only gave me the skills and knowledge of the degree I earned, but it also afforded me lifelong business contacts and through this I was able to find employment immediately after graduation. I believe my journey would not have landed me where I am presently if I had not got my degree at Alabama A&M University.” -Student at Alabama A&M University
4 star review

Alabama State University (Montgomery)
Bachelor of Science | Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Juvenile Justice
Bachelor of Science | Law Enforcement
Master of Science | Forensic Science
Minor | Criminal Justice

Athens State University (Athens)
Bachelor of Science | Computer Science: Information Security Option
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice Studies Option
Minor | Criminal Justice

Auburn University at Montgomery (Montgomery)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Justice and Public Safety
Bachelor of Science | Justice and Public Safety: Legal Studies
Master of Science | Justice and Public Safety
Master of Science | Justice and Public Safety (online program)
Master of Science | Justice and Public Safety: Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice/ Corrections
Minor | Criminal Justice/ Juvenile Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice/ Law Enforcement

Student Review: “Auburn University is a place you instantly fall in love with. A large research university with about 25,000 students that is set in a classic southern college town it provides the complete college experience. Socially the students are friendly and almost like family, while the bar scene is vibrant and varied. Educationally speaking the college of business is superb with a complete financial trading room that teaches the true fundamentals of business. Aside from the sister cities of Auburn and Opelika the surrounding area others beautiful countryside, fantastic swimming holes, and excellent wildlife viewing if your an outdoor enthusiast like myself.”Wesley D., student at Auburn University
4 star review

Calhoun Community College (Tanner)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Security

Faulkner State Community College (Bay Minette)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Faulkner University (Montgomery)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminalistics
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Justice Administration (online program)

Gadsden State Community College (Gadsden)
Associate of Applied Science | Public Safety Telecommunications
Associate of Arts/ Associate of Sciences | Criminal Justice

Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice | Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice | Forensic Investigations
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice | Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management with Minor in Homeland Security (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management with Minor in Public Safety Telecommunications (online program)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Public Administration | Criminal Justice
Master of Public Administration | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Public Administration | Emergency Management (online program)
Master of Science | Computer Systems/ Software Design: Information Security/ Assurance (online program)
Master of Science | Emergency Management (online program)
Master of Science | Nursing – Community Health: Emergency Management (online program)
Doctor of Science | Emergency Management (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emergency Management (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emergency Preparedness: Nurse Coordinator
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Corrections
Minor | Forensic Investigations
Minor | Law Enforcement
Program | Criminal Justice Internship

Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Lawson State Community College (Birmingham)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Miles College (Fairfield)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Northwest-Shoals Community College (Muscle Shoals)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Pre-Criminal Justice

Remington College (Mobile)
Associate Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice (online program)

Samford University (Birmingham)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Transfer Completer Degree

Shelton State Community College (Tuscaloosa)
Associate of Arts/ Associate of Science | Criminal Justice

Troy University (Troy)
Associate of Science in General Education | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice – Digital Forensics
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice – Digital Forensics
Certificate | Cybersecurity

Student Review: “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the Troy University Criminal Justice program. All of my professors were veteran police officers or criminology experts with many years under their belts. I have taken my experience and used it in my current career which is Forensic Pathology and Autopsy. What I learned in my studies have provided me with a firm understanding and basis for evidence intake and chain of custody that prepares me for fulfilling the policy and procedures set forth by the Department of Forensics of Alabama but also equips me to better prepare for any court room appearances I may have to make in the future. The only complaint that i had during the program was the lack of specific forensic studies. The program revolved a basic understanding of all the criminal Justice disciplines and only had a specialization in Homeland Defense. Overall, my experience was a great one and I still highly encourage anyone to go to Troy University and through the program. The professors are all great and well educated and experienced individuals and will provide an excellent learning experience to their students.” – Student at Troy University
5 star review

University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Honors Program
Master of Science | Forensic Science
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Thesis Track
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Thesis Track (online program)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Non-Thesis Track
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Non-Thesis Track (online program)
Master of Science | Computer Forensics and Security Management
Master of Science | Dual Degree: Criminal Justice/Public Administration
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Computer Forensics
Minor | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “I attended UAB early in the 2000’s. My intention was to enroll in their “5th year program” which allowed for a Masters in secondary education depending on your bachelor’s field. I took several prerequisite classes in order to become a secondary teacher in social sciences. The campus is large and is all but completely in a downtown urban environment. This made for an exciting and bustling campus. The campus comprises many cultures, ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, which I found very stimulating. I attended a small school for undergrad, so I was worried about “becoming just another number” in a large, dissociated classroom, but my experience was completely opposite. Even in some 100 and 200 level classes, the teachers and students were engaged and the class size was surprisingly manageable. The buildings are kept up very well, and the resources were good (e.g., several food service locations, many study areas, good library resources, online information easy to find, etc.). I lived off campus, so parking could be tricky, but I was generally able to get close enough. Recent additions of green spaces have made the campus more attractive.”Cari O., student at University of Alabama – Birmingham
5 star review
Student Review: “I really enjoyed the criminal justice program at the University of Alabama. They offered a wide selection of electives to go along with the required courses. This allowed me to choose the courses I needed to specialize in the field of criminal justice that I was most interested in. The courses were challenging but provided the education needed to compete for jobs in the field and to do the work in a competent and effective manner. The professors were, for the most part, very good and helpful. They had extensive expertise in the field and were widely published in journals. They took a hands on approach with us and were available to meet with us when we had questions or issues. The practicums provided real world experiences that have proven most helpful. My classmates were great to work with on various group projects. I highly recommend this university and program for those interested in criminal justice studies.” -Kanise W., student at University of Alabama
4 star rating

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Cyber Criminology

Student Review: “The criminal justice program at the University of Alabama is one that I thoroughly enjoy and am currently taking a part in in my course of study. Although many lower level classes in many fields are considered mundane, all that I have taken have been relevant and interesting. Professors in my upper division classes have all had significant, real world experience and ethos in the criminal justice system, and have have been able to make the courses much more exciting as a consequence. I feel that I have and continue to take a great deal from my school’s department and that the courses I’ve taken will help me gain a greater understanding of this field once I graduate.” -John M., student at University of Alabama
4 star review
Student Review: “The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The campus is beautiful and very historical. The school is academically superb. It is ranked on Princeton Review’s top 100. The city is not very metropolitan but there is always something to do. Most students and visitors enjoy spending their spare time on the strip located on campus or the quad. The biggest attraction at the University of Alabama is football season. The university has 14 national titles under its belt. Games are held at Bryant Denny stadium. Bryant Denny stadium holds up to 90,000 visitors. Games are an experience of a lifetime. The fans are crazy. At Alabama football isn’t just a sport it’s a lifestyle. All in all the University prides itself on tradition, you will see die heart fans and alumni wear houndstooth in remembrance of Paul Bear-Bryant. There’s something for everyone at Alabama. You will get a great education and have a great time while doing it. Roll Tide.” -Kanise W., student at University of Alabama
5 star rating

University of North Alabama (Florence)
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Professional Services | Security and Safety Leadership
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Crime Scene Investigation
Minor | Security and Emergency Management
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Security and Emergency Management

University of South Alabama (Mobile)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Master of Public Administration | Geographical Information Technology
Minor | Criminal Justice

Wallace Community College (Dothan)
Associate of Art/Science | Criminal Justice
AAS in Criminal Justice | Forensic Investigations
AAS in Criminal Justice | Law Enforcement
AAS in Criminal Justice | Cyber Security/ Computer Forensics

Wallace Community College-Selma (Selma)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report, Best Online Programs: https://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 https://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: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331012.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: https://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: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm
8. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://https://ycharts.com/indicators/alabama_unemployment_rate
9. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
10. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
11. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
12. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
13. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
14. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
15. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings
16. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
17. Alabama Department of Corrections: http://www.doc.state.al.us/employment.aspx