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Montana Criminal Justice Schools

Montana is home to several schools offering criminal justice programs, including accredited, not-for-profit online degree options. Criminal justice education options available for students attending Montana campuses range from certification programs all the way to master’s and doctoral degrees, in concentrations as diverse as forensic anthropology, private security, and cybersecurity. Schools offering online criminal justice degrees include Dawson Community College, Montana State University, and the University of Great Falls. Continue reading to learn more about your options for earning a criminal justice degree in Montana.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Montana (see below).1
  • 6 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 3 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 1 university offers master’s or doctoral degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 5 colleges and universities offer criminal justice degree programs online.*1
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • No schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges in 2018.3
  • No schools ranked in Criminal Justice Degree Schools Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2018.4
  • No schools 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.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools

The University of Montana: Through the Department of Sociology at the University of Montana, students can pursue a BA or MA in Sociology with a Criminology Emphasis. The department has established networks to pair majors with juvenile justice internships, better preparing them for graduation. Bachelor’s students are required to complete criminology option courses that include Sociology of Corrections, Juvenile Justice System, and Addiction Studies, while master’s students dedicate the majority of their time to theory and methodology courses. To better network and take part in field seminars and activities, criminology students can join the department’s Criminology Club.

Montana State University: Students at Montana State University can pursue a BS in Sociology with the Criminology Option through the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Common courses that students with this concentration take include Criminology, Principles of Criminal Law and Procedure, Occupational or Corporate Crime, and Family Violence. The department has 10 full-time faculty and those teaching criminology courses specialize in family issues and juvenile delinquency. Being a land-grant campus, Montana State University is a hub for innovative research and currently holds 81 patents and 200 license agreements.

Montana Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers1,210$35,840
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives230$69,750
Detectives and Criminal Investigators450$75,130
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers1,520$49,630

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

Notable Alumni from Montana Universities

  • Missoula, MT Police Chief Mark Muir – University of Montana
  • Helena, MT Police Chief Troy Mcgee – Carroll College
  • Lewis and Clark County, MT Sheriff Leo C. Dutton – University of Montana College of Technology
  • Great Falls, MT Police Chief David Bowen – University of Great Falls
Police Quote: “Of course, you can have a successful career in patrol or corrections without a degree, but it definitely helps. Even if these people don’t aspire to management, a bachelor’s degree should still be the goal because it helps in so many ways – even with simple life skills.” –Sheriff Gary Raney

Montana Criminal Justice Degrees

Montana has major college communities in Missoula and Bozeman, as well as a Law Enforcement Academy for officer training. Local, state, and federal government agencies represent one of the largest employer groups in the criminal justice field. In Montana, law enforcement offices within the state’s Department of Justice include the Montana Highway Patrol, State Crime Lab Forensic Science Division, and Division of Criminal Investigation. Federal agencies that employ criminal justice majors include the Department of Justice, US Marshals Service, DEA, FBI, and Secret Service.

Montana Criminal Justice Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides wage details that can help prospective students make career decisions, although a passion for your work can be just as essential as financial compensation. The BLS categorizes most criminal justice jobs under protective services and community and social services, reflecting the various roles that are fundamental to these occupations. Mean annual salaries within this field depend to a great extent on the level of training required. The average salary for all protective service occupations in Montana was $39,770 as of May 2015.17 During the same time period, police officers in Montana earned an average of $49,630 per year and first-line supervisors of police earned an average of $69,750.6,8 Corrections officers were paid an average of $35,840 while detectives earned an average salary of $75,130.5,7 Paralegals working Montana earned an average of $44,320.18

Montana’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

As of May 2016 Montana’s unemployment rate was 4.2%, quite close to the 10-year low unemployment rate of 4% seen in March 2015.9 The 10-year peak unemployment rate was 6.9% in August 2010.9 Government-related employment is a good indicator of criminal justice jobs in Montana. Projections Central includes the following criminal justice job estimates for the state:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 70 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.10,11
  • Correctional Officers: 50 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: 10 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.10,13
  • Security Guards: 60 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.10,14
  • 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.10,15

These positions are based on projections for both jobs growth and replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, ranked and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. The center analyzed the budgeting process, tax/cash collections, and pensions for each state and ranked Montana 10th in the nation.16 This shows sound employment and budgeting practices, and new hires can be confident that the state will likely be able to fulfill its pension obligations.

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Directory of Montana Universities Offering Campus-based and Online Criminal Justice Degrees

If you live in Montana, we recommend finding 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 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, or Idaho).

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.

Dawson Community College (Glendive)
Associate of Arts | Chemical Dependency Counseling
Associate of Arts/ Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement: Peace Officer (online or on-campus)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement: Private Security (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Correctional Officer

Montana State University-Northern (Havre)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminal Justice

University of Montana (Montana)
Bachelor of Arts | Anthropology: Forensic Anthropology
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology: Criminology
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology: Inequality and Social Justice
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Forensic Chemistry
Master of Arts | Forensic Anthropology
Master of Arts | Sociology: Criminology
Master of Arts | Sociology: Inequality and Social Justice
Minor | Military Studies
Certificate | Cybersecurity (online)
Certificate | Forensic Studies (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Geographic Information Systems Sciences & Technologies
Certificate | Network & Info Security

University of Great Falls (Great Falls)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts | Addictions Counseling (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Resource Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Forensic Investigation
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Biology
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Chemistry
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Master of Science | Organizational Management: Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Minor | Forensic Science
Certificate | Addictions Counseling

University of Providence (Great Falls)
Bachelor of Arts: Criminal Justice: Corrections (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts: Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts: Criminal Justice: Forensic Investigation (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts: Criminal Justice: Natural Resource Management (online or on-campus)

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.

Blackfeet Community College (Browning)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell)
Associate of Arts | Forensic Science
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Human Services
Associate of Arts | Substance Abuse Counseling
Associate of Science | Forensic Science
Associate of Science | Human Services (transfer degree)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (transfer degree)
Associate of Science | Substance Abuse Counseling
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Emergency Management
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (2+2 program with the University of Great Falls)
Certificate | Emergency Dispatch
Certificate | Firearms Technologies

Montana State University (Bozeman)
Bachelor of Science | Sociology / Criminology

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. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://https://ycharts.com/indicators/montana_unemployment_rate
10. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
11. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
12. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
16. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings
17. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
18. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm