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Nebraska Criminal Justice Schools

Nebraska hosts a number of well-respected criminal justice programs that offer education options at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Several undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are available online as well as on campus. Students in Nebraska can specialize their criminal justice education in diverse areas, including juvenile justice, police science, criminal justice policy, and homeland security. Several schools, including Bellevue University, Chadron State College, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney also offer criminal justice programs online.

Quick Facts

  • There are 19 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Nebraska (see below).1
  • 7 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 12 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
  • 9 colleges and universities offer criminal justice degree programs online.*1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 2 schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges in 2018.3
  • 2 schools 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 Nebraska

Nebraska’s criminal justice schools award both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with options to study on-campus, online, or through a combination of both. Earning your criminal justice degree in Nebraska can make you a more competitive applicant for open positions and open the door to increased starting salaries. Employers in the criminal justice industry are also showing preference towards applicants who have college experience. For example, the US Department of Agriculture hires rangeland management and conservation specialists throughout Nebraska and typically requires a bachelor’s degree for these positions. Several other federal departments, such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs, maintain offices in Omaha and Lincoln. Even where not required, holding a college degree can make applicants more competitive in the selection process for open positions with these agencies.

Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Nebraska

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (#83 in-state, #80 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges 2018

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (#115)
  • University of Nebraska-Omaha (#137)

Criminal Justice Degree Schools Best Online Bachelor’s Programs 2018

  • University of Nebraska-Kearney
  • Bellevue University

US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs 2018

  • University of Nebraska-Omaha (#3 tie)

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Nebraska

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln: The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Bachelor of Science for criminal justice majors. The department has its own career center where students can meet with career counselors and be matched with one of over 40 different internship opportunities. Over 36 professors and instructors teach and conduct research in criminology and criminal justice on the UNL campus, and often interchange with the program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Students with a full-time work schedule can benefit from numerous courses offered online, such as Survey of Criminal Justice and International Criminology.

University of Nebraska-Omaha: Students can pursue a BS, MS, MA, or a PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The first 45 credit hours for an undergraduate major are part of the Pre-Criminology and Criminal Justice Curriculum. The world-renowned faculty conduct research within major field concentrations: Criminological Theory and Juvenile Delinquency; Women, Crime, and Criminal Justice; Methods and Statistics; Policy and Applied Research; Criminal Justice Issues; and International Criminology and Criminal Justice. The department also has two research institutes, the Juvenile Justice Institute (JJI) and the Consortium for Crime and Justice Research (CCJR), within which students and faculty perform collaborative research.

Notable Alumni from Nebraska Universities

  • Bellevue, NE Police Chief John W. Stacey – Bellevue University
  • Douglas County Nebraska Sheriff Timothy Dunning – University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • Lincoln City Police Chief Jim Peschong – Doane College
  • Grand Island, NE Police Chief Steve Lamkin – University of Nebraska
Police Quote: “I think the best advice I got is to decide what type of officer I want to be, and stick with it. Not to let any person dictate the type of officer I will be. It may sound simple, but if you consider that throughout your career, you see the worst of things and situations and deal with the worst type of people. It is tempting (and perhaps arguably even justified) to give them what they deserve, but then you are letting them decide what type of officer you will be. Even if you don’t act professionally toward them because THEY deserve it, do it because YOU deserve it. In other words, remain a professional DESPITE what others may deserve, because it is the type of officer you want to be.” -Sheriff Scott Jones

Nebraska Criminal Justice Careers

Although this Midwestern state has many areas with small-town appeal, the major population centers of Lincoln and Omaha provide a metropolitan balance. Nebraska offers a range of opportunities from community and private colleges to universities, technical institutes and convenient online programs for criminal justice. No matter how high you set your sights, an accredited Nebraska school can help you reach your objectives.

The Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center regulates training facilities for law enforcement officers in the state, guaranteeing that high standards for admission and certification are satisfied. The duties of a police offer vary from the thrill of criminal pursuit and working with the latest investigative technology to the obligation of preparing reports or appearing in court. Law enforcement personnel represent the front-line of defense for communities, a position of great honor and responsibility requiring exacting discipline and preparation.

The criminal justice field offers many different jobs with competitive salaries. The average annual salary of police officers in Nebraska was $53,610 as of May 2015 while first-line police supervisors earned an average of $72,840.6,8 During the same time frame, correctional officers earned an average salary of $38,820 while detectives made an average of $75,780.5,7 The legal field provides good job opportunities for paralegals in Nebraska.

Nebraska Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers2,370$38,820
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives610$72,840
Detectives and Criminal Investigators230$75,780
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers3,460$53,610

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

Nebraska’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

Nebraska’s May 2016 unemployment rate was 3%, considerably lower than the national average of 4.7%.9 Government-related employment can be a good indicator of criminal justice jobs in Nebraska. Projections Central provides the following criminal justice job estimates in Nebraska through 2024:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 110 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.10,11
  • Correctional Officers: 70 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: 100 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.10,14
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 50 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 openings are estimated based on employment growth as well as replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. Based on an analysis of Nebraska’s budgeting process, cash and tax collection, and pensions, Nebraska was ranked 2nd in the nation.16 This shows sound employment and financial management practices, and new employees should be confident in the state’s ability to fulfill its pension obligations.

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

If you live in Nebraska, we recommend looking for 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 (Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, or Colorado).

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.

Bellevue University (Bellevue)
Bachelor of Science | Behavioral Science (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Child Protection and Juvenile Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Cybersecurity (online)
Bachelor of Science | International Security and Intelligence Studies (online)
Bachelor of Science | Investigations (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Security Management (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Applied Science | International Security and Intelligence Studies (online)
Master of Arts | Human Services (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Cybersecurity (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | International Security and Intelligence Studies (online)
Master of Science | Justice Administration and Crime Management (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Security Management (online or on-campus)

Chadron State College (Chadron)
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies/ Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies/ Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies/ Criminal Justice: Law
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies/ Criminal Justice: Forensic Sciences
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies/ Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice
Master of Science | Organizational Management: Human Services (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Metropolitan Community College of Nebraska (Omaha)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections (online or on-campus)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (online or on-campus)

Northeast Community College (Norfolk)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Information Security & Technical Services Support
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice: Corrections (online or on-campus)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (online or on-campus)
Associate of Arts | Behavioral Science
Associate of Arts | Human Services
Certificate | Information Security

Peru State College (Peru)
Bachelor of Arts/ Science | Criminal Justice: Justice Administration (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts/ Science | Criminal Justice: Justice Counseling (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Arts/ Science | Criminal Justice: Law and Society (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “My experience at Peru State was overall a great experience. I think the best part of my experience was that the professors are very attentive and will work with you a lot to make sure you understand everything. I also think a great thing that I experienced was my internship. As part of my graduation requirements, I had to complete an internship in my field of study. I think this was an excellent learning experience (as I did my internship in the Courthouse). My internship really helped me get a good grasp on the process of how a court case works and everything I had learned in my college classes and helped me prepare for my current job as a legal secretary. I also met my current employer through my internship, so it was very beneficial to me and I’m glad that Peru made this a degree requirement.” -Student at Peru State College
stars-4

Southeast Community College (Lincoln)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Community-Based Corrections & Juvenile Services
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services
Associate of Applied Science | Nondestructive Testing Technology
Certificate | Fire and Emergency Services Management
Certificate | Geographic Information Systems Technician (online or on-campus)

University of Nebraska-Kearney (Kearney)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Major option (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Comprehensive Major (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminal Justice
Program | Army ROTC

University of Nebraska Omaha (Omaha)
Bachelor of Science | Criminology and Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management: Intelligence and Security
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management: Natural Disasters
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management: Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Emergency Management: Planning & Preparing for Urban Hazards
Bachelor of Science | Geography: Geographic Information Science & Technology
Bachelor of Science | Political Science: Law and the Courts
Bachelor of Science | Psychology: Forensic Psychology
Bachelor of Science | Sociology: Inequality & Social Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Political Science: Foreign and National Security Affairs
Bachelor of Arts | Political Science: Law and the Courts
Bachelor of Arts | Geography: Geographic Information Science & Technology
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology: Inequality & Social Justice
Master of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Master of Arts | Geography: Geographic Information Science and Technology
Master of Science | Criminology and Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Information Assurance
Master of Science | Management Information Systems: Geographic Information Systems
Master of Social Work & Master of Science | Criminology and Criminal Justice (dual degree program)
Master of Public Administration & Master of Social Work | Dual degree program
PhD | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Applied Behavior Analysis
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Geographic Information Science
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Intelligence and National Security
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Managing Juvenile & Adult Populations (online or on-campus)
Minor | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Minor | Military Science

Student Review: “I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Criminal Justice Program in 2014. I really enjoyed my time in this program. My professors were very informative and knowledgeable about the topics they taught. I particularly enjoyed the “Special Topics” classes which included in-depth reviews of different subjects related to Criminal Justice, such as Domestic Violence, Drugs/Narcotics, and Gangs. I also completed an internship with the help of the Criminal Justice program at our local state probation office.” -Student at University of Nebraska Omaha
stars-4
Student Review: “The professors in the criminal justice program at UNO were very knowledgeable. They all had previously held high positions in the criminal justice system and would often tell students of their experiences. There were many guest speakers from different parts of the criminal justice system that were each able to provide different insight into the career field. The curriculum went through everything, from the basic laws and statutes up through groundbreaking legal cases that molded the field into what it is today. Instructors were also able to help some students get into internships and shadowing positions with people working in courthouses and jails.” -Student at University of Nebraska Omaha
stars-4
Student Review: “The criminal justice program at UNO was an excellent experience that prepared me for a career helping people and upholding the law. All of my professors were awesome and if I ever needed one on one help they were always available. If there was one thing I would improve about the program it would be lab size. While the labs were very informative, they were very cramped and we could have used more room. I was fortunate enough to receive financial aid, but even if I wouldn’t have the prices per credit hour were extremely reasonable. I would certainly recommend this program to anyone interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. It will truly prepare you for any career in criminal justice.” -Student at University of Nebraska Omaha
stars-4

York College (York)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (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.

Central Community College (Grand Island)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services Certificate | Correctional Science
Certificate | Police Science
Certificate | Private Security
Certificate | Chemical Dependency Technician
Diploma | Human Services
Diploma | Police Field Services

Creighton University (Omaha)
Bachelor of Arts | Justice and Society
Bachelor of Science | Sociology – Criminal Justice Track
Bachelor of Science | Sociology – Criminal Justice Policy Track
Master of Science | Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
JD and Master of Science Dual Degree | Law and Government Organization & Leadership
Graduate Certificate | Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Minor | Criminal Justice Policy
Minor | Justice and Peace Studies
Minor | Military Science

Doane University (Lincoln)
Master’s Degree | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “I enjoyed my experience at Doane College. The great thing about the Lincoln campus is that it is considered an untraditional campus in that it is geared for working adults with full-time jobs and families. This greatly aided me in completing a bachelor’s degree. The faculty are great and extremely helpful if you are having issues or if you have any questions. The workload varies per class but is reasonable for the most part. One of the things I liked most about the school was the flexibility and availability of classes. The thing I disliked the most was the parking. It is a small campus so parking was very limited unless you walked a distance.” -Student at Doane University
stars-4

Midland Lutheran College (Fremont)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Human Services
Minor | Human Services

Nebraska Wesleyan University (Lincoln)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln)
Bachelor of Science | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Master of Arts | Criminology Specialization
Master of Legal Studies | Criminal Law Specialization

Wayne State College (Wayne)
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Safety Management
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Emergency Management
Minor | Geospatial Technology
Minor | Safety

Western Nebraska Community College (Scottsbluff)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice Studies
Associate of Arts | Human Services (transfer degree)
Certificate | Criminal Justice Studies
Certificate | Law Enforcement

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/arkansas_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, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm