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Kansas Criminal Justice Schools

There are many colleges and universities in Kansas that offer criminal justice degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels, as well as PhDs and certificate programs. Specialization opportunities that have been designed to prepare graduates for in-demand criminal justice careers include corrections, military studies, cybersecurity, and forensic science. A growing number of schools in Kansas are offering online criminal justice programs, including Baker University, Fort Hays State University, and Kansas Wesleyan University.

Quick Facts

  • There are 38 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Kansas (see below).1
  • 19 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 20 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 4 colleges and universities offer master’s or doctoral degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 10 colleges and universities offer criminal justice degree programs online.*1
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 1 school ranked in College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges in 2018.3
  • 1 school ranked in Criminal Justice Degree Schools Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2018.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs in 2018.5

*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with criminal justice degree programs.

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Kansas

Criminal justice schools in Kansas offer opportunities to study on-campus, online, or through a combination of both in hybrid programs. A growing number of employers are requiring applicants to hold a degree; for example, prospective parole officers with the Kansas Department of Corrections must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Even for positions that do not strictly require a criminal justice degree, having a degree can make you more competitive in the selection process. A criminal justice degree can also lead to higher salaries and faster advancement.

Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Kansas

College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges 2018

  • Southwestern College (#111)

Criminal Justice Degree Schools Best Online Bachelor’s Programs 2018

  • Washburn University

US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs 2018

  • Wichita State University (#28 tie)

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Kansas

Wichita State University: Wichita State University offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice in the School of Community Affairs. There is also a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science and a Field Studies Major in Ethnic Studies for individuals who desire a more narrowly-focused degree. The School of Community Affairs houses the Regional Community Policy Training Institute, which serves local law enforcement, and the Midwest Criminal Justice Institute. The faculty are nationally known experts in criminological theory, criminal justice policy, sex offenders, and corrections. Students enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose between face-to-face and online courses.

Washburn University: The Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department at Washburn University offers and Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice; a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with three different tracks (law enforcement, corrections or security administration); and a Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ). The department has the Criminal Justice Association, a student organization through which majors can participate in a variety of activities and seminars. Internship opportunities fall under two different umbrellas, Law Enforcement/Security Administration and Corrections, both of which have their own lists of agencies with whom Washburn has developed relationships. What truly makes this school unique is its Minor in Military Studies, a program in which students examine military operations and national security issues.

Notable Alumni from Kansas Universities

  • Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams – Wichita State
  • Overland Park Police Chief Norman D. Williams – Kansas State University
  • Topeka Police Chief Steven Culp – Baker University
  • Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw- Wichita State
Police Quote: “We have all heard of the ‘Golden Rule!’ ‘Do unto others as you would want them to do to you!’ Well, when we have a new officer begin their career, I spend some time with them on their very first day. And during that time, I share with them a little message that has taken me a long ways in my career and takes the ‘Golden Rule’ to another level. If everyone they come into contact with during their career (burglary victims, parents of a runaway, vehicle stops, etc.), if they treat that person the very same way that they would want another police officer to treat their own parents (if their parents were the victim or person being stopped), then they will have a big impact in this community and go a long way in their career.” -Michael A. Keller, President of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police

Kansas Criminal Justice Careers

The major state and local agencies in Kansas include the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Wichita Police, Topeka Police, and the Kansas Department of Corrections. Positions available include police officers, criminal investigators, correctional officers, crime scene investigators, and forensic scientists. If you go into the private sector, there is demand for paralegals at law firms as well as opportunities for private investigators and private security guards. Employment for police and detectives in the US is expected to grow as fast as the average for most occupations.

Those in the criminal justice field in Kansas are typically well-compensated compared to the cost of living, with competitive salaries and strong benefit programs. The average annual salary for patrol and police officers in Kansas was $45,390 as of May 2015.8 Paralegals are seeing strong demand due to a trend of law firms hiring legal assistants to perform work previously performed by attorneys and earn an average annual wage of $44,370 in Kansas.9 Often, government employees have the opportunity for retirement earlier than those in the private sector, with many police retiring after 20 years with half-pay.

Kansas Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers3,850$33,970
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives1,670$65,200
Detectives and Criminal Investigators850$57,920
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers6,030$45,390

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.5,6,7,8

Kansas’ Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

As of May 2016, the unemployment rate for Kansas was 3.7%.10 This is below the national average for the same time period, which was 4.7%, and well below the state’s 7.6% 10-year peak unemployment rate in August 2010.10 Government-related jobs are a good indicator of jobs available in the criminal justice field. According to Projections Central, criminal justice jobs in Kansas through 2024 include:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 220 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.11,12
  • Correctional Officers: 110 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.11,13
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 20 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.11,14
  • Security Guards: 120 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.11,15
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 60 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.11,16
  • Forensic Science Technicians: 20 annual openings; these positions typically require at least a bachelor’s degree.11

Such openings are estimated based on jobs growth as well as replacements.

According to the Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank that analyzed and ranked the long-term solvency of each state government, Kansas is 27th in the nation for state-level financial health.17 This means that the state will likely be able to fulfill pension obligations to its employees.

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

If you live in Kansas, we recommend an accredited campus-based or online program for pursuing your associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in the growing 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 (Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, or Oklahoma).

Schools with Online and On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs

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.

Baker University (Baldwin City)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Minor | Conflict Management
Minor | Social Justice

Central Christian College of Kansas (McPherson)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (online)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)

Fort Hays State University (Hays)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of General Studies | Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Forensic Science
Master of Professional Studies | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Master of Professional Studies | Cyber Security (online)
Minor | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Victim Advocacy (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Law Enforcement (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Corrections (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Law and the Courts (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Justice Networking (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Information Networking for Criminal Justice

Student Review: “I really enjoyed the FHSU justice studies program. It challenged me and taught me a lot. I thought the the curriculum covered just about everything you would need to know to start a career in the criminal justice field. However, I wish the program would have required some sort of internship. I feel like a hands on experience is very important in helping you get your foot in the door after school. Though I did well in my classwork, without hands on experience I feel like a lot of the stuff I learned at the time has been lost, because the way to get information to stick with me, is by experiencing it. I can learn anything, but to get it stick with me I need to see it and experience it. Lectures, reading, and tests don’t stick with me like experience does. Overall the program was good.” -Danielle Z., student at Fort Hays State University
stars-4
Student Review: “I had a very good experience with the Justice Studies program at Fort Hays State University. The staff in our department were all extremely helpful and most importantly were all very approachable. They make you feel at home with them and were there to help us with whatever we needed. Our university has a well designed online program and the Justice Studies program had several classes available over the Internet. I took several online classes and never had any issues with them. Just as I was graduating the program had started to work closely with the local police department which many people thought was a great opportunity. Several professors at FHSU had extensive experience in the law enforcement field. I particularly enjoyed hearing their perspective and listening to actual events they had experienced.” -Steven N., student at Fort Hays State University
stars-4
Student Review: “I really enjoy the Criminal Justice Program through Hays, the instructors were very helpful and really took the time to answer your questions. I ended up having to moving away from campus and was able to finish my criminal justice degree through Hays online. There online college classes for my major really focused on student discussion and applying the teachings to everyday crimes and current events. Many of the criminal justice classes was like this and I am happy that they offered the full degree online for people that were unable to live or be near to campus. Another thing about the criminal justice program at Hays is that if you needed one on one help most of the teachers were able to provide that even through the online college.” – Student at Fort Hays State University
stars-5

Highland Community College (Highland)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Kansas Wesleyan University (Salina)
Associate of Arts | Public Safety
Bachelor of Arts | Domestic Violence Endorsement (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Law Enforcement Endorsement (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Offender Management Endorsement (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Emergency Management: Homeland Security (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Emergency Management: Business Continuity (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Emergency Management: Non-Governmental Organizations (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Computing
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Emergency Management

Ottawa University (Ottawa)
Bachelor of Science | Addiction Counseling (online)
Bachelor of Arts | Law Enforcement (online)
Master of Arts | Addiction Counseling
Minor | Forensics

Southwestern College (Wichita)
Certificate | Cyber Crime Investigation
Certificate | Homeland Security
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Security Management (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Security Administration (online or on-campus)
Undergraduate Certificate | Cyber Crime Investigation (online)
Undergraduate Certificate | Homeland Security (online)
Graduate Certificate | Emergency Planning

Sterling College (Sterling)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Pre-Law
Bachelor of Science | Interdisciplinary Studies: Criminal Justice Administration (online)

Washburn University (Topeka)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Chemical Science
Bachelor of Science | Addiction Counseling
Bachelor of Science | Anthropology: Forensics
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Security Administration
Bachelor of Arts | Computer Information Science: Digital Forensics
Master of Arts | Addiction Counseling (online)
Master of Criminal Justice degree
Minor | Peace, Justice and Conflict Resolution Studies
Minor | Victim/Survivor Services
Minor | Military and Strategic Studies
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Forensic Chemical Science
Certificate | Addiction Counseling
Certificate | Victim/Survivor Services

Wichita State University (Wichita)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Sciences
Bachelor of General Studies | Criminal Justice (online)
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Schools with On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs Only

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.

Barton County Community College (Great Bend)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of General Studies | Military Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Corrections Officer
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science/ Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management/ Technology Management (2+2 program with Kansas State University)
Associate of Applied Science/ Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management/ Homeland Security/Security Management (2+2 program with Southwestern College)
Certificate | Emergency Management
Certificate | Military Logistics
Certificate | Military Leadership
Certificate | Military Dangerous Materials Handling

Bethany College (Lindsborg)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice

Butler Community College (El Dorado)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Homeland Security
Associate of Science | Homeland Security
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Cyber Security
Certificate | Cyber Security

Cloud County Community College (Concordia)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice/ Law Enforcement Administration: Law Enforcement

Colby Community College (Colby)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Technical Certificate | Criminal Justice

Cowley County Community College (Arkansas City)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Forensic Sciences
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Dodge City Community College (Dodge City)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice/ Police Science

Emporia State University (Emporia)
Bachelor of Arts | Crime and Delinquency Studies
Bachelor of Science | Crime and Delinquency Studies
Master of Science | Forensic Science

Fort Scott Community College (Fort Scott)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Friends University (Wichita)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Information Security
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Forensic Science

Garden City Community College (Garden City)
Associate of General Studies | Criminal Justice/ Police Science
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice/ Corrections
Associate of Science | Forensic Investigations
Associate of Science | Computer Forensics
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Hutchinson Community College (Hutchinson)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Administration
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice Administration
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice Administration
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Independence Community College (Independence)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate/ Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice (2+2 program with Southwestern College)
Certificate | Conflict Resolution

Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS)
Associate of Arts | Administration of Justice
Certificate | Police Academy

Kansas City Kansas Community College (Kansas City)
Associate of Applied Science | Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Addiction Counselor
Associate of Arts | Forensic Chemistry
Associate of Arts | Victim/Survivor Services
Associate of Science | Forensic Chemistry
Associate of General Studies | Forensic Chemistry
Technical Certificate | Corrections
Technical Certificate | Police Science
Technical Certificate | Addiction Counselor
Technical Certificate | Corrections
Technical Certificate | Homeland Security
Technical Certificate | Victim/Survivor Services

Labette Community College (Parsons)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Probation & Parole

MidAmerica Nazarene University (Olathe)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Military Leadership
Minor | Legal Studies
Minor | Forensic Science

Newman University (Wichita)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Counseling: Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Counseling: Addiction Studies
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Minor | Criminal Justice

Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg)
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Computer Forensics
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Advanced Accounting
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Business Finance
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Forensic Psychology
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Fraud Examination: Mapping and Geographic Information
Bachelor of Science | Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science | Justice Studies: Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Sociology: Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Psychology: Psychology and Legal Issues Emphasis
Bachelor of Science | Psychology: Substance Abuse Services Emphasis
Bachelor of Science | Psychology: Psychology and the Military Emphasis
Minor | Fraud Examination
Minor | Military Studies
Minor | Substance Abuse Services
Minor | Safety, Health and Environmental Management

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
3. College Factual Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/protective-security-safety-services/criminal-justice-and-corrections/rankings/top-ranked/
4. US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/criminal-justice/rankings
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Correctional Officers and Jailers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
6. 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
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
8. 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
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
10. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: https://ycharts.com/indicators/kansas_unemployment_rate
11. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
12. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
13. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
14. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
15. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
16. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
17. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings