Texas, known to many as the Lone Star State, is the second-largest and second-highest populated state in America, which makes it a prime location for criminal justice careers. Texas is located in the Southern Central part of the United States, bordering Mexico, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana. With 26.1 million people living there, the population of Texas continues to grow on a yearly basis. If you are looking for criminal justice jobs in the state, living near major cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin is a good idea. There are many great colleges near these cities, along with cheap student housing options.
Students who complete their criminal justice degrees from a four year college are likely to be equipped with great written, creative thinking, and quantitative skills. These students understand the nature of crimes, and develop skills to help them assess human emotions and motives. That is the criminal justice degree opens the door to so many job opportunities. Criminal justice jobs include jail wardens, police officers, detectives, coroners, corrections officers, and environmental conservation officers. Depending on your interests, there are so many options available to you after you get your degree.
Ranking the Best Criminal Justice Programs in Texas
To rank the best criminal justice schools in Texas, Criminal Justice Degree Hub editors focused on trusted, accredited institutions in the Lone Star State that are known for quality and value. Programs are ranked according to factors including cost, reputation, and comprehensiveness, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. St. Edwards University
Saint Edwards University offers the best criminal justice programs in Texas to students who are wanting to move from a Bachelor to PhD degree program. The advanced skills offered by these programs provide all of the necessary skills and abilities that a student will need when they take on the job of their dreams. Going from a Bachelor to PhD will take time and dedication. Each student who completes their degree program will be able to move forward with their careers with the confidence and security they need.
Saint Edwards University, a Holy Cross university that carries a national ranking, is able to provide students with top of the line course work and faculty members who have solid reputations in their professional careers. Students can choose from either online courses or on-campus classes. Either way, the coursework is second to none allowing faculty members to provide students with the most positive learning environment possible.
Programs: Bachelor to Phd
2. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University provides some of the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Students who are enrolling in school to advance from a Bachelor to a PhD degree program. Advanced degree programs teach a variety of skills that allow graduates to move into higher-ranking/paying positions. It also gives graduates the knowledge they need to teach others in their field proper field skills and tactics they will need to evaluate evidence and solve crimes. Students who pursue a Bachelor to PhD degree program, are committed to making the most of their career at any cost.
Sam Houston State University is well-known around Texas and the surrounding states as one of the most advanced schools. By offering the best criminal justice programs in Texas, the university ensured that each student had access to the highest-quality curriculum and the most supportive faculty members. When a student graduates with their degree, they can rest assured that they are ready to take on any opportunity that comes there way.
Programs: Bachelor to PhD
3. Texas A&M University – Commerce
Texas A&M University – Commerce has many of the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Pursuing a Bachelor to PhD degree program requires a steadfast commitment. Students are able to learn about criminal justice occupations that require managerial and supervisory skills. They are taught concepts and protocols they will need to continue to advance, even though they have been working within their field. Bachelor to PhD degree programs includes tools and resources that give graduates a competitive edge when it comes to applying for those higher-paying jobs.
Texas A&M University is known all over the country for its strong educational commitment and dedication to its students. Professionals in the criminal justice field offer insight that was gained through years of working in the field. Students can also count on both the support and encouragement they receive from the faculty members and professors alike. After graduation, they are able to face any career challenges that come their way.
Programs: Bachelor to PhD
4. Howard Payne University
Howard Payne University provides the best criminal justice programs in Texas to students who want to work in the courts, as law enforcement officers, or in any form of legal environment. With a Bachelor to PhD degree program, students are given the skills they need to work at any level, including international or domestic. Ethical, sociological, and psychological concepts are studied giving each student the insight they need to work in a very diverse environment. Criminal justice degree programs are able to prepare students for any profession that falls within that specific field of study.
Howard Payne University is another Texas university that provides degree programs that are recommended for both their educational merit as well as their ability to provide much-needed skills. The university staff works diligently to ensure every student receives the support and guidance they need to navigate through the fast-paced and sometimes complex field of criminal justice. From a Bachelor to PhD, every student is given the attention and consideration they need to gain the advantage they need to further their careers.
Programs: Bachelor to PhD
5. Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M International University offers several online criminal justice Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees that are considered to be some of the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Students from all over the world can enroll in online classes and receive an education that offers valuable tools and skills that each student will need to move forward along their individual career path. Graduates who leave the college with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are able to accept almost any opportunity that is offered to them.
Texas A&M International University is world-renowned for its quality educational programs and state of the art online learning platform. Online students receive all of the attention and direction they need to graduate with confidence. The valuable resources offered by the school make it easy for the graduate to navigate through obstacles and continue to take on any challenge they face. With all of these benefits at their disposal, students can work and learn at the same time at one of the most prestigious schools in the United States.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
6. Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University is known for having the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Both Bachelor and Master’s degree programs offer students the required skills needed for most criminal justice career paths. Whether students choose law enforcement, criminology, paralegal, or working with the courts, each specialization includes detailed and concise coursework that prepares the students for working in a fast-paced and extremely strict environment. Pursuing a Bachelor or Master’s degree program in criminal justice can open many doors for students who excel in their studies.
Texas Christian University offers a curriculum that is both well-rounded and thorough. The school has gone to great lengths to find faculty members and professors who are fully dedicated to its students. Professors take whatever measures are needed to ensure students understand their coursework and have the resources they need to thrive once they graduate and enter the workforce.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
7. Texas State University
Texas State University offers students the best criminal justice programs in Texas when it comes to Bachelor and Master’s degrees. Students who enroll can pursue careers in forensics, law enforcement, crime scene investigation, and many different jobs in the legal field. No matter what specialization they choose, students obtain all of the necessary skills and abilities they will need to be effective in whatever career path they choose. With a Bachelor or Master’s degree, graduates are able to advance to the highest level as quickly as possible so they can achieve the success they desire.
Texas State University has been providing excellence in education to its students for over 115 years. Graduates who enroll in the criminal justice program have access to processors and other faculty members when they need them the most. Every student receives the attention they need to feel valued and accepted as part of a winning team. When they leave the school, they take with them a strong sense of self that enables them to apply for criminal justice positions with confidence.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
8. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Each degree program can be specialized to provide the required skills needed for whatever career path a student chooses to follow. Graduates have the chance to pursue additional learning opportunities that will allow them to gain valuable experience that they can choose when they find a job they like. Earning a Bachelor or Master’s degree in criminal justice will give students the incentive to try for the higher-paying jobs in the career field of their choice.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers both scholarships and internships to students who enroll in its Bachelor and Master’s degree programs. The school’s curriculum has been designed to provide all of the knowledge and tools a student needs to effectively complete the tasks that are required for their position. Each faculty member is a professional with many years of hands-on experience. Both work together to provide students with learning opportunities that they won’t find anywhere else.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
9. Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University provides the best criminal justice programs in Texas. Bachelor degree programs are available for students who are interested in becoming a paralegal, crime scene investigator, forensics specialist, or criminologist. Students earn abilities and skills that are specific to their chosen career field. Those who pursue a career in this field must be very detail-oriented and highly organized. A Bachelor degree in criminal justice from a top-rated college is the first step in building their career.
At Abilene Christian University, faculty members push their students to excel. Since its inception, the university has offered degree programs that are highly focused, providing students with not only the ability but also the confidence to perform their duties. The professionalism of their instructors is an inspiration for them to try their hardest to always put their best effort into everything they do.
10. Tarleton State University
Tarleton State University gives students an opportunity to pursue the best criminal justice degrees in Texas. Bachelor degree programs offer advanced skills to help crime scene investigators, paralegals, and other professionals compete for the highest paying jobs that carry the most responsibility. Students enjoy resources that allow them to learn beyond the college and gain valuable experience they will need as they venture out into the fast-paced world of criminal justice. A Bachelor degree is the key to opening those doors.
Tarleton State University is a Texas university that has a solid reputation for excellence. Professionals who have worked in the criminal justice field provide both knowledge and insight to students who want to follow a similar path. The university staff are continually striving to maintain the most up to date and complete curriculums in the industry.
What Should I Look for in a Criminal Justice School in Texas?
If you are seeking the best criminal justice schools in Texas, there are many things to consider. Given that there are at least 120 criminal justice schools in the state of Texas, there are lots of things to consider when you are choosing the best school for you. Some of which, are the following:
- Create a Shortlist: Given that there are so many criminal justice colleges in Texas, you need to create a shortlist of your top schools before you investigate them.
- Cost: One of the top things to consider how much the school costs. No matter how great the school may be, it won’t matter if you cannot afford it. Therefore, you will want to research the costs of the college before you apply to it.
- Decide Your Professional Goals: Another important thing to consider when you are searching for the best schools for criminal justice in Texas is what your professional goals are. Different colleges specialize in different things, therefore, deciding your professional goals is very important when you are deciding which colleges you are most interested in.
- Location: Also, given that Texas is such a massive state, you must pay close attention to the location. If you choose a criminal justice school that is too far from your home, you will either be stuck driving for a lengthy time daily or you will need to relocate to be closer to the school.
- Investigate Career Connections: Another important thing you need to consider when you are searching for the best school for criminal justice in Texas is investigating the career center at the school and what it can offer you. In particular, many colleges have career centers that work closely with certain companies, which can allow you special consideration when you are ready to search for a job.
- Compromise: You may not be able to find a college that offers everything you need. Therefore, you must be able to prioritize and compromise, in terms of what you need most out of your college.
How is the Criminal Justice Job Market in Texas?
If you are interested in entering into the criminal justice field in Texas, you are in great company. The state has a robust criminal justice job market, that is comprised of the following three branches:
- Law Enforcement: If you are interested in entering into the law enforcement field in Texas, you can find positions such as police officer (which presently has a career outlook of 16%) or a private detective or investigator (which has a career outlook of 18%).
- The Courts: If you are seeking Texas criminal justice jobs in the courts, you can consider jobs such as paralegal (which presently has a career outlook of 22%), or a prosecutor (which presently has a career outlook of 15%).
- Corrections: If you are looking for criminal justice jobs in texas in the field of corrections, you can consider careers such as correctional officers (which presently has a job outlook of -1%) or probation officer (which has a career outlook of 15%).
Either way, when you are deciding which job or career path you wish to take, you should consider the many factors of the position. For instance, career paths such as law enforcement require the ability to be able to interact with and negotiate with law-breakers on the daily places. Additionally, if you are interested in a career as a paralegal, you will be required to conduct accurate research, fill out a variety of documents, etc. Lastly, if you wish to work as a correctional officer, you will be required to be comfortable working in or around the jail/prison setting on a regular basis.
How Much Can I Make in Criminal Justice in Texas?
Searching for the best criminal justice salary in Texas can be challenging. However, in terms of some of the highest paying criminal justice jobs in Texas, you may want to take on a position such as a prosecutor, which pays an average of $127,550 annually. Moreover, taking a career as a behavior analyst will earn you an estimated average of $63,000 – $89,000 a year. Alternatively, working in a position such as senior attorney of criminal justice reform can earn you an estimated $76,000-$84,000 per year. Additionally, working as a custom border protection officer can earn you anywhere between $35,000 to $100,000 per year.