Several colleges and universities in Rhode Island offer criminal justice degrees, which you can find at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels. Rhode Island criminal justice schools offer focused study in such areas as cybersecurity, law enforcement, and administration of justice. You can also find online criminal justice programs at Johnson & Wales University and the New England Institute of Technology, among other institutions. Continue reading to learn more about your options for studying criminal justice in Rhode Island.
*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with criminal justice degree programs.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s colleges and universities offer numerous criminal justice programs designed to help you launch a competitive career that benefits the public good. Earning your degree can help you become more competitive in a crowded job market, lead to higher starting salaries, and qualify you for advanced career opportunities. Since a criminal justice degree holder may be better prepared for the demands of the job compared to those without college experience, many employers are now requiring applicants to have at least some college credit. For example, the Warwick Police Department and the Cranston Police Department both require prospective police officers to have an associate’s degree. Many federal law enforcement positions with agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security now require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Rhode Island
College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges
- Salve Regina University (#18)
- Roger Williams University (#40)
- Johnson & Wales University (#131)
US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
- Johnson & Wales University (#50)
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island: The University of Rhode Island’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology has an undergraduate program in Criminology and Criminal Justice that is labeled as a BS in Sociology. The department also has a Justice, Law, and Sociology minor which emphasizes crime and social change. Nine full-time faculty specifically teach the sociology courses and most have strong research interests in methods, juvenile delinquency, and inequalities. Students with the Criminology and Criminal Justice concentrations as well as those pursuing the BA in Sociology are active within the Iron Cage Society, a student organization dedicated to humanitarian efforts.
Johnson and Wales University: Johnson and Wales University offers students the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice as well as a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Management. Students often become members of the Criminal Justice Association, providing peer support and professional networks. The university encourages its students to seek out supplemental experience through one of its many study abroad programs, which are active in over a dozen different countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The faculty consists of top-rated criminal justice experts, including former employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Notable Alumni from Rhode Island Universities
- Providence, RI Police Chief Hugh T. Clements – Roger Williams College, University of Rhode Island
- Warwick, RI Police Chief Stephen McCartney – Salve Regina University, Roger Williams College, Providence College
Police Quote: “You have to be willing to relocate. You have to move to the opportunities. There are more opportunities in the bigger organizations. They need to put their best personal foot forward by working hard and being diligent. You have to learn how to get along with people even when it isn’t easy. You have to move with the group but find some way to stand out. And you just have to be a solid writer and communicator.”Dr. Scott Thornsley, Associate Professor at Mansfield University
Rhode Island Criminal Justice Careers
With the state’s population estimated to grow to more than 1.1 million by 2020 and an anticipated decline in the number of working age residents, it is important for the state of Rhode Island to recruit criminal justice professionals who will be able to provide legal, public safety, and other protective services to the state’s growing elderly and youth populations.
State agencies that hire professionals with backgrounds in criminal justice include the Rhode Island State Police, Department of Corrections, Department of Public Safety, Department of Environmental Management, and others. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also employs criminal justice professionals in Rhode Island. Job opportunities with the DHS include criminal investigators, special agents, disaster assistance specialists, and transportation security agents.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for police officers in Rhode Island is $55,790.8 First-line police supervisors earn an average of $79,900.6 For detectives and criminal investigators the average annual salary is $82,720 while paralegals and legal assistants in the state earn an average of $55,190.7,9
Rhode Island Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Correctional Officers and Jailers||1,140||$58,690|
|First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives||600||$79,900|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||320||$82,720|
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers||2,040||$55,790|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.5,6,7,8
Rhode Island Criminal Justice Employment Outlook
As of May 2016, Rhode Island had an unemployment rate of 5.4%, higher than the national average of 4.7% yet lower than the state’s 10-year peak unemployment rate of 11.9%, which occurred in January 2010.10 Government-related employment is a good proxy for criminal justice jobs in Rhode Island. Projections Central includes the following criminal justice job estimates for Rhode Island:
- Police and Sheriff Patrol: 70 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.11,12
- Correctional Officers: 30 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: 60 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.11,15
- 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.11,16
These open position estimates are based on both replacements and jobs growth.
The Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank that rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state. Budgets, cash/tax collections, and pensions were analyzed, and Rhode Island was ranked 37th in the nation.17 This means that new employees should closely watch the state’s ability to pay out employee pensions.
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Directory of Rhode Island Universities Offering Campus-based and Online Criminal Justice Degrees
If you live in Rhode Island and are interested in pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in the growing field of criminal justice, we recommend finding an accredited campus-based or online program.
Schools with Online and On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs
Johnson & Wales University (Providence)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online)
Certificate | Criminal Justice
New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich, Warwick)
Associate in Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online)
Bachelor of Science | Information Technology: Cyber Security and Network Engineering
Roger Williams University (Bristol)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Cybersecurity & Networking
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science: Biology Track
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Science: Chemistry Track
Bachelor of Science | Security Assurance Studies
Bachelor/ Master of Science | Criminal Justice (accelerated 4+1 program)
Bachelor of Science/Juris Doctor | Criminal Justice/Law Degree (accelerated 3+3 program)
Bachelor of Science/Juris Doctor | Cybersecurity/Law Degree (accelerated 3+3 program)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Cybersecurity (online)
Minor | Cybersecurity & Networking
Minor | Digital Forensics
Graduate Certificate | Cybersecurity (online)
Graduate Certificate | Cyberspecialist (online)
Undergraduate Certificate | Cybersecurity
Undergraduate Certificate | Digital Forensics
Graduate Certificate | Digital Forensics
Salve Regina University (Newport)
Bachelor of Arts | Administration of Justice
Master of Science | Administration of Justice and Homeland Security (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Administration of Justice and Homeland Security: Cybersecurity and Intelligence Concentration (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Administration of Justice and Homeland Security: Digital Forensics Concentration (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Administration of Justice and Homeland Security: Leadership in Justice Concentration (online or on-campus)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Cybersecurity and Intelligence (online or on-campus)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Digital Forensics (online or on-campus)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Leadership in Justice (online or on-campus)
University of Rhode Island (Kingston)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry
Professional Science Master’s | Cyber Security: Forensics Track (online)
Professional Science Master’s | Cyber Security: Security Track (online)
Minor | Justice, Law, and Society
Graduate Certificate | Cyber Security (online)
Graduate Certificate | Digital Forensics (online)
Schools with On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs Only
Community College of Rhode Island (Warwick)
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Rhode Island College (Providence)
Bachelor of Arts | Justice Studies
Minor | Justice Studies
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: 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/alabama_unemployment_rate
10. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://https://ycharts.com/indicators/rhode_island_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
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