Despite the state’s remoteness and relatively low population, there are many opportunities to pursue criminal justice careers in Alaska. Several schools in Alaska offer criminal justice degree programs to help you prepare to work in areas including policing, homeland security, and the national park service. The colleges and universities in Alaska are also embracing distance education, affording students with opportunities to earn a criminal justice degree online. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks offers online criminal justice programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with criminal justice degree programs.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Alaska
Alaska’s colleges and universities offer several criminal justice programs, some with options for online study. The selection process for criminal justice jobs in Alaska can be competitive, which makes earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in criminal justice a smart career move. In a crowded job market, a growing number of employers are seeking college graduates. For example, the Anchorage Police Department gives preference to applicants who have at least an associate’s degree. With an abundance of state and national parks and wilderness areas, Alaska also sees high demand for well-qualified rangers and conservation officers; at least a bachelor’s degree is generally required for these competitive positions. Holding a degree can also help you qualify for promotion and increased salary levels.
Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Alaska
US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
- University of Alaska-Fairbanks (#42)
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Alaska
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Both undergraduate and graduate programs can be obtained at the Department of Justice at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The Bachelor of Arts in Justice is one of the most popular programs of its kind in the state and the Master’s of Arts in Justice Administration is the first graduate degree at UAF to be offered fully online. The department hosts numerous symposiums and conferences with focuses ranging from dispute resolution to cyber terrorism, involving both faculty and student research. Graduates of the bachelor’s program are effectively prepared to pursue graduate study and those enrolled in the master’s program are specifically trained to take on supervisory and management positions.
University of Alaska, Anchorage
The Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage offers a Bachelor of Arts in Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration with a Criminal Justice Emphasis, a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Since 1975, the center has been breaking ground in research on juvenile justice, substance abuse, and violence against women. The faculty are experts in a broad range of disciplines including law, criminology, corrections, and law enforcement, and regularly contribute to professional journals, including the Justice Center’s quarterly research publication, the Alaska Justice Forum. The UAA Justice Center is also home to the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC). Students will also find the academic and professional networking they need with the Justice Club, a student organization.
Notable Alumni from Alaska Universities
- Former Governor Jay S. Hammond – University of Alaska, Fairbanks
- Alaska State Sentator Lyman Hoffman – University of Alaska
- Alaska House of Representative Scott Kawasaki – University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Alaska Criminal Justice Careers
Opportunities for criminal justice degree holders in Alaska are uniquely broad. Not only does Alaska offer the typical employment opportunities with the city and state government, but due to its location on two international borders (Canada and Russia) and large areas of federally-controlled land in the state, there are good opportunities for criminal justice jobs with the federal government.
Salaries for criminal justice graduates varies by region and training. The mean annual wage for protective service occupations, including police and patrol officers, in Alaska was $54,990 as of May 2015.6 As an example of a protective service occupation in Alaska, members of the Fairbanks Police Department enjoy a four-day work week and generous benefits with preference given to individuals who have completed college-level criminal justice coursework. In addition to these opportunities, the Alaska Department of Corrections and US Department of Homeland Security hire for a number of positions.
As Alaska continues to grow its population, it follows that the number of crimes committed and the number of people incarcerated will continue to increase. Because of this, demand for criminal justice graduates, which is already high, is likely to continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
Alaska Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Correctional Officers and Jailers||1,250||$59,100|
|First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives||310||$102,910|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||90||$112,000|
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers||1,090||$77,230|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.7,8,9,10
Alaska’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook
As of May 2016, the unemployment rate for Alaska was 6.7%, which is above the national average of 4.7%.11 This is still well below the peak unemployment rate of 8.2% in November of 2009.11 The 10-year unemployment low for the state was 5.9%, recorded in March 2007.11 Alaska was the least-impacted by the economic downturn out of all states, with continued job growth overall and a government sector with many criminal justice jobs. According to Projections Central, the annual criminal justice hiring outlooks in Alaska include:
- Police and Sheriff Patrol: 50 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.12,13
- Correctional Officers: 40 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.12,14
- Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 1 annual opening; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.12,15
- Security Guards: 50 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.12,16
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 10 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.12,17
These annual openings are projected from openings due to both growth and replacements.
The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, analyzed and ranked the long-term solvency of state governments. After reviewing Alaska’s budgeting process, cash/tax collections, and funding of pensions, it ranked Alaska first in the nation.18 This means Alaska is very likely to fulfill its obligations to state employees.
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Directory of Not-for-Profit Alaska Universities Offering Campus-based and Online Criminal Justice Degrees
If you live in Alaska, we recommend an accredited campus-based or online program for pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in the growing field of criminal justice.
Schools with Online and On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs
University of Alaska-Fairbanks (Fairbanks)
Bachelor of Arts | Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor Degree | Emergency Management
Master of Arts | Administration of Justice (online or on-campus)
Master Degree | Security and Disaster Management
Minor | Justice (online or on-campus)
Minor | Homeland Security and Emergency Management (online or on-campus)
Schools with On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs Only
Ilisagvik Community College (Barrow)
Associate of Applied Science | Municipal Fire Control
University of Alaska-Anchorage (Anchorage)
Bachelor of Science | Justice
Minor | Justice
University of Alaska-Southeast (Juneau)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
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 Bachelor’s Programs: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/search?program=bachelors&school-name=
5. US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/criminal-justice/rankings
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Correctional Officers and Jailers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
8. 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
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
10. 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
11. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: https://ycharts.com/indicators/alaska_unemployment_rate
12. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
16. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
17. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
18. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings
19. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alaska: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm
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