Criminal Justice is one of the top career fields in the state of Oklahoma, with great growth opportunities. Oklahoma is a southern state in the United States which is the 28th largest populated while being the 20th largest in terms of state size. Many call Oklahoma the “Sooner State”, referring to the exploits of European settlers in the 1880s and 1890s. Oklahoma is a great place to live, with great weather and plenty of activities for people to enjoy. There are quite a few sports teams in the state, with the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team being the most popular. Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city, and this is where you will want to work if you want a great criminal justice job.
The reason so many people are venturing towards getting their criminal justice degree is that it opens up so many possibilities. Whether you want to be a police officer, jail warden, paralegal, law librarian, or customs officer, you can do so with your criminal justice degree. The reason for this is the broad level of skills that are learned when students study for this degree, particularly from four-year colleges. Not only do they learn about how to understand crime situations, but they develop a deep understanding of human emotions and actions. This is why some criminal justice students go on to get jobs as social workers or environmental agency workers. The amount of criminal justice jobs possibilities is truly remarkable.
Ranking the Best Criminal Justice Programs in Oklahoma
Criminal Justice Degree hub editors begin the process of ranking the top criminal justice schools in Oklahoma with accredited, reputable colleges and universities. With an initial pool, editors rank programs according to factors like cost, reputation, and comprehensiveness.
1. Northeastern State University
Northeastern State University offers the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Every Bachelor’s and Master’s degree offered by the university includes the most up-to-date and accurate information possible so each student has the competitive edge they need when applying for positions as a crime scene investigator, paralegal, forensic pathologist, or any other job in the criminal justice field. Earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in criminal justice is the best way to move forward once you have chosen your specialization in the criminal justice field.
Northeastern State University is one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma and goes to great lengths to maintain that distinction. Professors at the university not only educate their students, they empower them. By creating a positive learning environment where students are given every opportunity to exceed their own expectations and thrive in their chosen careers.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
2. University of Central Oklahoma
The University of Central Oklahoma offers the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs give students an opportunity to pursue a variety of specializations that fall under the category of criminal justice. Each degree includes skills and knowledge that are unique to each type of career. Crime scene investigations, paralegal, and forensics are just a few of the careers that can benefit from a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in criminal justice.
The University of Central Oklahoma has provided over 125 years of excellence in education. Every student who enrolls at the university has access to the best curriculum, the most professional faculty, and professors, and the most advanced technology available. Upon graduation, each student can move forward, building the career they have wanted for so long. They can take their first steps with confidence knowing they have the best education to rely on.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
3. University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma gives students an opportunity to pursue some of the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. The skills and lessons offered depend on the criminal justice specialization being pursued by the student. From paralegal to crime scene investigator and numerous career paths in between, students are able to learn the tools of their trade and become as proficient as possible. With a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, students are able to explore unique opportunities they are interested in.
The University of Oklahoma is recognized as one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma. Faculty members have worked in the criminal justice field for many years and are well-versed in the skills and tools that students need to succeed. The university offers opportunities and resources that will enhance every aspect of the learning process. Graduates who go on to apply for their dream jobs can do so knowing they will be able to perform effectively.
Programs: Bachelor and Master’s
4. East Central University
East Central University offers many of the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree program in one of the school’s many criminal justice specializations ensures that the student has the capability to perform all of the duties required for the position they are pursuing. Career goals are reviewed and each student is able to fine-tune their curriculum so they learn the tools and techniques they will need throughout their careers. A Bachelor’s degree program offers students the opportunity to open more doors for advancement in whatever field they pursue.
Known for being one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma, East Central University has offered top-of-the-line educational programs for over one hundred years. During that time, the school’s reputation has been based on its ability to give each student the opportunity they need to grow. Faculty members understand the need to challenge students so they know what they need to solve any issue that arises. Each student leaves the university with the ability to break down boundaries and do what it takes to be as successful as possible.
5. Mid-America Christian University
Mid-America Christian University gives new students a chance to enroll in some of the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice can be broken down into a variety of career paths. A few of the most popular include paralegal studies, forensics, and crime scene investigation. There are many other opportunities within the judicial field as well. No matter what career path a student chooses to follow, having a Bachelor’s degree will ensure they have the tools they need to apply for and win any job they choose to pursue.
Mid-America Christian University is earned a solid reputation as one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma. Every possible tool and resource has been made available to students who are interested in a criminal justice degree. Many of the staff members of the university have worked in homeland security, law enforcement, and many other career fields that require a working knowledge of criminal justice and constitutional law.
6. Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Northwestern Oklahoma State University has the ability to provide each student with the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Bachelor’s degree programs are designed to offer both the knowledge and the skills graduates will need after they leave school and begin to apply for jobs that interest them. With a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, students have the ability to showcase their talents and prove themselves in a highly-competitive field within their career path.
Considered by many to be one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma, Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers many of the specialized degree programs students are looking for. By hiring professionals who have worked within the industry, the school makes it possible for students to learn their lessons from those who understand how the criminal justice field works. Graduates are given every advantage so they can pursue their careers and find their professional niche.
7. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University is capable of offering students many of the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. Each student who enrolls in a Bachelor’s degree program within the criminal justice field is awarded the best possible curriculum and resources they need to learn skills they will need once they are hired into their chosen career fields. Specializations within the criminal justice field require a unique set of skills. By focusing on one specialization students get to explore every facet of their chosen profession. A Bachelor’s degree offers in-depth instruction and valuable insight into each career path.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University is well-respected throughout the state and guarantees each person who enrolls, the highest-quality education. Courses are second to none in both the way they are presented and the knowledge they provide. Faculty members are chosen based on both their experience as well as their dedication to the students who come to them for guidance and support. After graduation, students take with them all of the skills and resources they need to embark on a successful career.
8. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University can provide prospective students with the best criminal justice degrees in Oklahoma. Students who choose to enroll in a Bachelor’s degree program have several specializations to choose from. Crime scene investigations, paralegal, forensics, and homeland security professionals are all valid choices. Bachelor’s degree programs offer advanced training in all facets of each specialization, including management, organization, communications, and ethics.
At Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the learning environment is one of the best in the Midwest. Faculty and staff members have proven track records in their own professions, making it possible for students to learn from experience as well as from course materials. Vital resources and tools are always available for the students and can provide many learning opportunities over and above the classroom.
9. Cameron University
Cameron University offers many of the best criminal justice programs in Oklahoma. When a student chooses to learn from the best school, they need to be able to rely on the curriculum that is provided. Pursuing an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the university provides every tool, skill, and resource the student will need upon graduation. Specializations in criminal justice include crime scene investigations, paralegal studies, homeland security, law enforcement, and forensics.
At Cameron University, the atmosphere is both professional and welcoming. Students who choose the university know they have access to not only the best curriculum but also the most professional and dedicated staff and faculty. Thought of by many as one of the best criminal justice schools in Oklahoma, the university makes a lifelong commitment to each graduate that goes on to enter the field of their choice.
Programs: Associate and Bachelor
10. Rogers State University
Rogers State University has distinguished itself as one of the top schools for criminal justice in Oklahoma, thanks to an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies and a bachelor’s in Justice Administration. While the associate’s program offers two specializations – Collegiate Officer and Law/Justice – the bachelor’s program offers three – Collegiate Officers, Cyber Investigation, and Law/Justice. With these options, future criminal justice professionals in Oklahoma have several excellent opportunities.
Rogers State University is a small, regional public institution with just over 4000 students. With its emphasis on the professional and academic needs of the people of northeastern Oklahoma, Rogers State has begun offering numerous fully online programs in recent years.
Programs: Associate’s and Bachelor’s
How Do I Choose a Criminal Justice Program in Oklahoma?
Criminal justice degree programs in Oklahoma will vary from school to school. It is up to you to choose the one that will offer you the most for your money. Most criminal justice schools in Oklahoma offer both on-campus and online platforms. Traditional classroom courses offer stability and structure for students who prefer that type of learning environment. For students who are already working a full-time job, an online platform offers them the flexibility and freedom to continue to work and support their families while getting the degree they need so they can advance their careers.
Criminal justice programs in Oklahoma have many different specializations for students who have specific career goals in mind. Crime scene investigations, forensics, law enforcement, paralegal studies, and many other careers will benefit from a BS or MS degree in criminal justice. By pursuing one of these focused programs, each student will receive the tools and skills they need to make the most of the opportunities they find within their chosen field. Students can also tailor criminal justice degree programs to meet their individual needs.
If a student has already been working in their field for many years and is looking to improve their reputation by supporting their experience with a degree, they may choose to pursue an accelerated criminal justice degree program. An accelerated program can often be taken online and will shave as much as six months off of the completion time. Most criminal justice degree programs in Oklahoma can take up to 2 years or 24 months to complete. An accelerated program offers the same courses in a compressed format, allowing students to earn their degree in 18 months.
How Is the Job Market for Criminal Justice in Oklahoma?
Criminal justice jobs in Oklahoma can be found across the state if you know what you are looking for and have the skills you need to do the job. Crime scene investigators, paralegals, and many other positions can be found in which a graduate with a criminal justice degree can succeed. Although every job market fluctuates from time to time, being able to fill openings within the criminal justice field is always a plus. Students who have already found employment in a criminal justice field can return to school on scholarships or on employment reimbursement programs. Once they have finished their degree program, they can apply for more advanced positions and move up through the chain of command.
In both legal and law enforcement fields, students can advance through their criminal justice degree programs while still on the job. Advanced positions in upper management or when it comes to highly technical skill sets, require certain abilities that can be obtained through attending criminal justice degree programs. Getting your foot in the door by applying for an entry-level position is a great place to start and ensures your place in the job market. The key to advancing, however, is to enroll in a criminal justice degree program that will provide you with the additional knowledge and skills you have to have if you expect to move up the ladder.
How Much Can I Make in Criminal Justice in Oklahoma?
The amount you earn with a criminal justice degree in Oklahoma will depend on what type of job you want to pursue. Entry-level positions will earn much less due to the lack of experience a candidate has. The more they earn while on the job, the more their pay will increase. Students who sign up for an entry-level position while attending a criminal justice degree program in Oklahoma may receive a slightly higher wage due to the fact they are learning while they are earning. Individuals who have been employed for several years will earn more than most, especially if they return to school to earn a degree that backs up their experience. Criminal justice degree programs offer both knowledge and skills that will not only allow a person to advance their position but also their pay.
Correctional officers who have earned a criminal justice degree in Oklahoma can expect to earn an average salary of approximately $35,000 a year. Crime scene investigators and detectives can earn around $68,000 per year on average. Enrolling in continuing education courses or a higher degree program will guarantee the graduate an increase in their earning potential if they choose to apply for other, more advanced management or supervisory positions in their department. Individuals can also add specializations to their existing degrees by enrolling in other courses they can use to advance their degree programs. For example, a crime scene investigator may take additional forensic classes that will help them to identify and preserve specific types of evidence. Correctional officers can choose to take additional classes if they are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
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