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Top 10 Criminal Justice Certificate Programs

Criminology and criminal justice are two very popular subjects that nearly every college has a degree or certification program for. At the same time, you can’t just go to any college if you want the best salary or chance of promotion. Getting your certificate from a well-known school that is recognized for its program and ability to produce the best workers will help you get a job and reach the higher ranks than if you go to a common college. These are the top 10 colleges for criminal justice that you should consider.

Featured Online Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Criminal Justice

CUNY John Jay College
Located in New York City, this college is often regarded as one of the best when it comes to criminal justice. One of the major reasons for this is because many of the teachers and faculty members are Pulitzer Prize winners. Another reason is because there are many different courses and certification programs that can help you regardless of what type of career that you want in this field.

There are programs for criminology, correctional studies, international criminal justice, police studies, the ethics and philosophy of criminal justice and criminal justice management.

Another interesting aspect is that this college has many international programs that you can take part in. This is a major boon if you plan on taking the international criminal justice program, or if you just want to see another country.

George Washington University
The sociology department heads the criminal justice programs here. This means that all of the programs have classes that will teach you about the social issues that lead to or relate to criminology and other justice issues. This is important because most schools only teach you about the subject itself, which isn’t very useful with such a social topic.

This college is best for anyone that wants a general criminal justice certificate because most of the programs are versatile. You are charged with picking a specialty, but everyone goes through the same general courses. This ensures that you can get nearly any job in the criminal justice world.

The faculty is often trusted by the local police and federal departments, which should show you that they know what they are doing.

American University
The American University offers a somewhat non-traditional criminal justice certificate that is recognized by many employers. Not only that, but this gives you a different way to get a certificate if you don’t want to go through normal classes.

Most of the programs here focus on the legal side of criminal justice. Most students are encouraged to study abroad so that they can learn more about international criminal justice. This college is also meant for people that have completed their core degree work.

If you want a program that focuses on seeing the world and understanding the legal side of criminology more than the applied or theoretical sides, then this is the best college for you.

Arizona State University
This college offers students both degree and certification programs that can be completed within a few years. The programs here are somewhat unique because they concentrate on higher positions, federal criminal justice and security. Many students from this college have higher positions within the criminal justice field.

You can enroll in programs for homeland security, law enforcement administration, transnational and international crime, private security and forensics. These are specialized roles and fields that you should easily be able to fill after receiving your certificate.

If you are interested in having a specialized career in criminal justice, then few colleges rival Arizona State University.

George Mason University
Administered by the humanities and social science departments, George Mason University offers a more analytical and theoretical look at criminal justice topics. For example, instead of regular programs about law or corrections, you are treated to programs like intelligence analysis and theoretical correctional work.

You can easily receive a criminal justice certificate within a few years. All of the classes also have an interdisciplinary slant. This ensures that you can quickly think on your feet. It also will help you learn many different things at once, which is important for criminal justice careers.

If you want a college that caters to intellectual and analytical people, then George Mason University will be the best for your type of thinking and learning.

California State University
While having a certain slant is fine and it can help you with specialized tasks and careers, California State University prefers to make everything a little more balanced. All of the certificate programs will teach you how to think scientifically, analytically and philosophically about any criminal justice topics. This will give you the criminal thinking and reasoning skills required to tackle today’s criminal justice issues and problems.

Everything about these programs is balanced and interdisciplinary. These are important traits that employers love to see. If you are an all-around thinker and you want to tackle an issue from many different angles, then this college will cater to your needs. You should also be able to obtain many different jobs if you get a certificate from this college.

Indiana University
Instead of offering a straightforward certification program that is good for general careers, Indiana University prefers to allow students to customize their program to fulfill their exact career needs. If you want to be a specialist in a certain type of forensics, then just take the classes that you need to fulfill your career path.

This allows students to take control of their college classes so that they only get the education that they need for their chosen career path. You can also specialize or minor in other areas to make your certificate more versatile, which can be helpful for certain careers.

If you aren’t sure what type of career you want or if you don’t want to customize your program, then you might want to choose another college. If you want a college that will give you the power to choose your own path without having many stipulations, then this is the best certification program that you can choose.

Sam Houston State University
The Sam Houston State University isn’t quite as versatile as the others when it comes to criminal justice. This isn’t a bad thing, but you must fit within their limited certification program if this college will be of any use to you.

This college offers programs for forensic science careers. If you want a career in corrections or law enforcement, then this isn’t the place for you. At the same time, this is widely regarded as one of the best colleges in the nation for this type of program.

Many local and federal agencies regularly consult the teachers and faculty here about difficult cases. Not only that, but their online courses are specialized so that you will receive all of the experience that you need to competently enter the field of forensics.

Marist College
Marist College offers a large number of certification programs in the criminal justice department. Not only that, but this school also uses a balanced teaching method that combines liberal arts, philosophy and science to ensure that students can competently tackle today’s most challenging problems.

Students are also encouraged to foster problem-solving techniques and strategies. One of the best things about this college is its overwhelming popularity. Nearly every student that graduated highly recommended the school. Another great thing is that the teaching methods used by this school are highly regarded by many employers, which will make it much easier to get a career once you graduate.

If you are interested in quickly getting a job after receiving your certificate and having a balanced education, then Marist College should suit your needs nicely. If you want a more specialized approach, then consider one of the other schools on this list. Most of the programs here are for general careers.

Portland State University
This college is widely regarded as one of the best for its criminal justice department because most of the coursework is about applying the information to real-world scenarios. Instead of just reading about cases, students will often learn about prevention, corrections, punishment and enforcement.

Many of the teachers are leaders in the criminal justice world. They are editors of criminology magazines, leaders or ranking members of groups dedicated to furthering criminal justice and others that are regarded for their skill and experience.

If you want a college that focuses more on really applying what you learn, then this is the best college for you. Not only that, but this college has been ranked among the best in many other lists, and it’s known for being both affordable and respected among many employers for its no nonsense approach to criminal justice.

If you are looking for the best criminal justice certification programs, then choose one of the colleges above and start your education as soon as possible. These colleges will help prepare you for the working world by ensuring that you can get a job as quickly as possible. You should also receive a higher salary because most certified employees command more respect and are often promoted faster than other employees.


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