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Utah Criminal Justice Schools

Several schools in Utah offer quality criminal justice degree programs that can help you start or advance your criminal justice career. Utah’s colleges and universities offer specialized study in such areas as cybersecurity, law enforcement, and computer forensics. Schools such as Southern Utah University and Weber State University also offer criminal justice degrees online. Continue reading to learn more about criminal justice program options in Utah.

Quick Facts

  • There are 13 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Utah (see below).1
  • 6 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 6 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 2 colleges and universities offer master’s or doctoral degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 3 colleges and universities offer criminal justice degree programs online.*1
  • 1 school 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
  • 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 Utah

With the state’s population projected to grow, it is likely that demand for criminal justice professionals will remain strong in Utah. Individuals interested in preparing for a career in Utah’s growing field of criminal justice occupations can find a wide array of quality, accredited online and campus-based degree programs available throughout the state. State agencies such as the Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Patrol, and the Utah Department of Corrections employ a large number of criminal justice program graduates. Advancement in these occupations often requires additional education and individuals with degrees in criminal justice can gain a competitive edge in applying for open positions. A degree in criminal justice can also qualify you for higher salaries as well as increase your opportunities for promotion.

Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Utah

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Utah (#49 in-state, #67 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs 2018

  • Weber State University (#51-#67)

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Utah

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Weber State University: Weber State University’s Department of Criminal Justice offers a Master of Criminal Justice and bachelor’s degrees with four different concentrations: Corrections, Forensic Science (Laboratory or Investigation), Law and Justice, and Law Enforcement. Students can complete their degree through the Honors Program, during which they complete a written thesis to graduate with departmental honors. Seniors have the option of completing a field experience course, which involves a minimum of 100 volunteer hours with a criminal justice agency or organization. Eight full-time faculty teach for the department, with the majority having research interests in corrections and prison issues.

Utah Valley University: The Criminal Justice Department at Utah State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science. The school is also home to a Police Academy where criminal justice majors can train to become law enforcement officers. There are 14 full-time faculty between the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science programs that teach courses like Introduction to Corrections Process and Criminal Justice Management. Law Enforcement students are required to complete 18 credits within the Police Academy in addition to core criminal justice courses.

Brigham Young University-Provo: From its Provo campus, Brigham Young University offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. 77 credit hours of the 120 total credit hours required to earn the degree are focused on courses related to cybersecurity and security studies. Major courses include Information Assurance and Security, Digital Forensics, and Cyber Security and Penetration Testing. Students also take a capstone course in the senior year that is based on completing a project which includes aspects of project management, teamwork, intellectual property, and technical literature. The cybersecurity program at BYU has been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Graduates are prepared for careers in forensics analysis, data security engineering, IT security architecture, and related career paths.

Notable Alumni from Utah Universities

  • Tooele County, UT Sheriff Frank Park – Weber State University
  • Logan City, UT Police Chief Gary R Jensen – Weber State University
  • Box Edler County, UT Sheriff J. Lynn Yeates – Weber State University, Utah State University
Police Quote: “Treat everyone you meet as if they were the most important person on earth. Your life may depend upon it.” -Lynn Yeates, Box Elder County Sheriff in Utah

Utah Criminal Justice Careers

As one of the fastest growing states in the United States, Utah offers numerous career opportunities to criminal justice professionals and graduates. Corrections officers and paralegals are among the fastest-growing occupations in Utah and offer competitive wages and benefits. Private security is a growing job sector in the state of Utah, due to business expansion and population growth in the state. Private detectives and investigators are among those in high demand; these positions often require a background in criminal justice or related expertise.

The US government is among the largest employers in the state and offers many options for professionals and graduates with a background in criminal justice. The US Department of Justice, US Marshals, Department of Defense, Treasury Department, and Department of Homeland Security are just a few of the government agencies hiring in Utah. Occupations available include federal corrections officers, criminal program specialists, criminal investigators, transportation security inspectors, and mission support specialists, to name just a few.

Many jobs in the criminal justice field offer a competitive salary compared to other fields. The average salary of a Utah police officer is $48,770 per year and a first-line supervisor earns an average salary of $71,210.6,8 Utah law enforcement professionals in the roles of detective or criminal investigator earn an average salary of $73,030.7 Those working as correctional officers in Utah earn an average salary of $40,570.5 Paralegals and legal assistants make an average of $44,330 in Utah.9

Utah Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers2,090$40,570
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives1,000$71,210
Detectives and Criminal Investigators380$73,030
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers4,490$48,770

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

Utah’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

Utah’s unemployment rate as of May 2016 was 3.8%, lower than the national average of 4.7% and considerably lower than the state’s 10-year peak unemployment rate of 8.3% in January of 2010.10 Utah’s 10-year unemployment low occurred in January of 2008 with a 3% unemployment rate.10 Government employment is a good indicator for criminal justice jobs in Utah. Projections Central includes the following criminal justice job projections for the state:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 240 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.11,12
  • Correctional Officers: 80 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: 10 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.11,14
  • Security Guards: 230 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.11,15
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 110 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

Estimates for open positions are based on replacements and employment growth.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state government. Included in the analysis were states’ budgeting processes, cash/tax collection, and pensions. Utah was ranked 7th in the nation.17 This indicates that the state is well-positioned to fulfill its pension obligations.

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

We recommend an accredited campus-based or online criminal justice program in Utah for students interested in pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees 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 (Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona).

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.

Southern Utah University (Cedar City)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Forensic Science
Master of Science | Cyber Security and Information Assurance (online)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Utah Valley University (Orem)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Bachelor of Science | Computer Forensics and Security
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Forensic Science
Certificate of Proficiency | Law Enforcement
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Cybersecurity

Weber State University (Ogden)
Bachelor of Integrated Studies | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Crime Scene Investigation
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Criminal Justice Degree (online)
Minor | Criminal Justice

Student Review: “I’ve done a lot of online schooling over the years but the criminal justice department at Weber State has been one of the best. What makes it that was how the classes were organized and what was required of me. A lot of the assignments depended on only my work for completion. I’m not a fan of group work because I don’t like picking up the slack. I was required to do my own research, put together a viable argument and then facilitate discussion between those in my class. The instructors were seriously knowledgeable and furthered all of the discussions so we got the most out of them. Those who are in charge of who get accepted into the program deserve a lot of credit. The people they accept are very professional and bring vast experiences to the table for all of us to learn from.” -Student at Weber State University
stars-5

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.

College of Eastern Utah (Price)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Police Officer Academy

Dixie State College of Utah (Saint George)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Criminology
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science | Digital Forensics
Minor | Criminology
Minor | Digital Forensics Basics
Minor | Social Justice
Certificate | Digital Forensics
Certificate of Completion in Computer Forensics

Student Review: “The Dixie State University Criminal Justice program was great. They have two different emphasis areas; criminology and digital forensics. The university has one of the most sophisticated and proficient digital forensics labs in the country. The program was challenging but offered countless resources. Every professor I took a course from had previous experience as a lawyer, judge, police chief or FBI agent. The assistant director, who also taught a few of the upper-division courses, was a younger guy with a doctorates degree in sociology having an emphasis on the criminal mind. He always made himself available to students and always successfully prompted students to engage in discussion. One of my professors for a criminal investigations course was the former chief of police in a neighboring city. He had an extensive career in law enforcement with numerous contacts that he would ask to speak in class such as detectives and medical examiners. His classes were always lively and the information invaluable to any of us interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the Dixie State University criminal justice program.” -student at Dixie State University
stars-4

Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security Emergency Management
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Law Enforcement Academy

Snow College (Ephraim)
Associate Degree | Criminal Justice/ Corrections

Student Review: “While I was at Snow College, I took a couple courses associated with criminal justice. I took ‘Criminal Justice’ as well as ‘Forensic Science’, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly. It did, however, change my mind about wanting to pursue a degree in criminal justice because I realized what those that participate in that career choice are exposed to and all of the stressful situations that are involved. We learned how to do fingerprinting properly, how to determine which way a bullet entered an object or person based on the bullet hole, different types of bleeding wounds, and how to determine how the victim was attacked based on the blood stains and wounds. My instructors for both classes were retired cops, so they knew firsthand what this type of career entails. Overall I thought the experiences of both classes were very interesting and I loved it.” -Kelsie W., student at Snow College
stars-4

University of Utah (Salt Lake City)
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology: Deviance, Crime, and Law
Undergraduate Certificate | Criminology
Undergraduate Certificate | Criminology and Corrections
Undergraduate Certificate | Hazards and Emergency Management

Utah State University (Logan)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology: Criminal Justice Emphasis
Bachelor of Science | Sociology: Criminal Justice Emphasis
Minor | Criminal Justice

Westminster College (Salt Lake City)
Bachelor of Science | Justice Studies
Minor | Justice Studies

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/utah_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