Criminal Justice Schools in Michigan

Find a program that’s right for you.

Education Options and Resources for Michigan Students

Expert Contributor: Robert A. Hanson

Criminal justice schools in Michigan help students prepare for careers in various law enforcement, protective service and legally-based industries. The state boasts positive statistics when it comes to the legal system; the Michigan Supreme Court Annual Report for 2015 showed the state finishing 96 percent of trial court cases within allotted timeliness guidelines, with 93 percent of court users saying they were treated with courtesy and respect. Michigan’s criminal justice schools can provide training in many specializations and at many levels, from associate or entry-level certifications all the way to professional or doctoral level study. Those interested in becoming Michigan’s next criminal justice students can read on to learn about education and training opportunities, careers and the places in Michigan that need criminal justice professionals most.

Top 10 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Michigan

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The Best Criminal Justice Schools in Michigan

  • Methodology


    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    Accredited at the institutional level
    Private nonprofit or public school
    Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
    Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    Cost & Financial Aid
    Number and variety of program offerings
    Student-teacher ratios
    Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
    Placement and support services offered
    Academic/Career counseling services
    Employment services
    Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.

Comparing programs is a great way for aspiring students to learn about and explore their educational options. The list below ranks schools with criminal justice programs in Michigan, scoring each based on factors most important to students, including cost, acceptance rates and student-to-teacher ratios. The following schools provide Michigan’s best criminal justice education opportunities.

4 – Year Colleges

2 – Year Colleges

  1. Delta College
    Location

    University Center, MI

    The Delta College School of Social Science offers a large menu of options for students interested in criminal justice, including associate in applied arts degrees. Specialties include corrections, security and loss prevention expert, law enforcement and law enforcement with basic police training. Each track also comes with an option for a certificate of achievement. There are also certificates and advanced certificates available in the field of youth services. The Delta College Police Academy has been providing training for local law enforcement since the 1970s. The college also provides job postings and application procedure guidance.

  2. Kirtland Community College
    Location

    Roscommon, MI

    The criminal justice pre-service associate of applied sciences degree program at Kirtland Community College helps students transfer into a four-year university. Other students may choose to continue on to the Kirtland Regional Police Academy, where they can receive advanced instruction to qualify for careers as law enforcement officers or servants in related occupations. Upon program completion, graduates should be ready to work in police departments, sheriff's offices or correctional institutions. Students can supplement their academic work with resources from the library, including not just books, periodicals and articles, but databases and research materials.

  3. Oakland Community College
    Location

    Bloomfield Hills, MI

    There are four options for criminals justice students at Oakland Community College: law enforcement, police evidence technology, corrections and generalist. Students can also pursue a police academy certificate of achievement. Students will have opportunities to participate in volunteering and community service programs in the area. There are also many student clubs, activities and organizations, as well as leadership development programs. Cultural offerings include the Smith Theatre and diversity and inclusion programs. The school offers academic advising and counseling, as well as career services, which include placement services, job postings, resume help and workshops.

  4. Lansing Community College
    Location

    Lansing, MI

    Lansing Community College was founded in 1957 to meet the region's growing need for career and workforce development. LCC subsequently developed career and technical programs and matching partnerships with employers in business, industry, and community service. Criminal justice majors can choose among three career objectives, including a corrections focus, a criminal justice associate's degree, or entry into the 18-week Mid-Michigan Police Academy training program. Students enrolling in the criminal justice/corrections sequence select either juvenile justice or adult corrections. The law enforcement option is a full associate degree program that includes the police academy training. Students with at least 37 undergraduate units can opt for the academy only.

  5. West Shore Community College
    Location

    Scottville, MI

    West Shore Community College offers criminal justice students a choice among an associate of sciences degree and one-year certificates. SSCC was founded in 1967 to build a comprehensive range of degree programs focusing on students who intend to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program or enter their occupations immediately after graduation. In two years, criminal justice majors can complete an associate degree and qualify for licensing as a police officer. Students undertake general education requirements in their first year and enter the police academy in their second year. Eligible transfer students with one year of post-secondary classes or applicants with an associate degree may enter directly into the academy.

  6. Alpena Community College
    Location

    Alpena, MI

  7. North Central Michigan College
    Location

    Petoskey, MI

  8. Macomb Community College
    Location

    Warren, MI

  9. Mott Community College
    Location

    Flint, MI

  10. Bay Mills Community College
    Location

    Brimley, MI

A wide variety of people work in the criminal justice field in Michigan, from patrol officers to forensic scientists. Education levels for each professional field associated with criminal justice vary immensely, as shown in the data below. Some of Michigan’s more common career paths for people interested in criminal justice are highlighted here, along with their employment rates and average salaries locally. Criminal justice students interested in working Michigan after graduation can check which area of study and level of education they should pursue to land their ideal job.

  • Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

    • Total Employed in Michigan16,220
    • Median Salary in Michigan$58,230
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganAcademy Program

  • Correctional Officer

    • Total Employed in Michigan9,710
    • Median Salary in Michigan$52,400
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganVaries; up to Associate

  • Court, Municipal and License Clerks

    • Total Employed in Michigan7,010
    • Median Salary in Michigan$38,540
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganAssociate

  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant

    • Total Employed in Michigan5,300
    • Median Salary in Michigan$47,610
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganVaries; up to Bachelor’s

  • Compliance Officer

    • Total Employed in Michigan5,240
    • Median Salary in Michigan$66,760
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganBachelor’s

  • Probation Officer

    • Total Employed in Michigan2,830
    • Median Salary in Michigan$60,500
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganBachelor’s

  • Detectives and Criminal Investiagors

    • Total Employed in Michigan1,950
    • Median Salary in Michigan$75,460
    • Degree Level Required in MichiganAssociate

Side by Side: Comparing Michigan’s Criminal Justice Careers

Statistics show students planning to attend criminal justice school in Michigan will have the chance to pursue local careers after graduation that are on-pace with national averages when it comes to salary and job growth. The charts below compare the average salary of a criminal justice employee in Michigan with the national average, and also examine how these fields are projected to grow in this state as compared to the United States as a whole through 2024.

Salary

JOB National Michigan
Fire Inspector 59,800 62,830
Correctional Officer 45,320 48,560
Forensic Science Technician 58,190 60,090
Administrative Law Judge 93,140 106,300
Detective, Criminal Investigator 79,620 82,750
Court Reporter 42,900 54,720
Court, Municipal, License Clerk 38,230 39,280
Probation Officer 54,080 57,700
Criminal Justice Professor 61,780 64,460

Job Growth

JOB National Michigan
Arbitrators, Mediators 0.092 0.214
Claims Investigator 0.033 0.063
Forensic Science Technician 0.211 0.264
Paralegal 0.076 0.088
Law Professor 0.217 0.235
Private Detective 0.052 0.061
Lawyer 0.056 0.074
Probation Officer 0.019 0.036
Criminal Justice Professor 0.191 0.213

Source: Projections Central, 2015

Getting Hired After Criminal Justice School in Michigan

Criminal justice students in Michigan have many options when it comes to where to earn their degree, and also have plenty of places to consider when it comes to finding a job after graduation. Check out the map below, pinpointing some of the biggest job centers for Michigan’s next generation of criminal justice school grads. Explore the major cities and regions and how average wages stack up by area.

  • Protective Services Potential Employers Kalkaska County Courthouse; Gus Harrison Correctional Facility; Decatur Police Department; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Central Michigan University; Covert Township Police Department; Detroit Transit Police; Michigan Gaming Control Board; Bishop International Airport Total Number of Employees in Michigan: 73,540
  • Legal Occupations Potential Employers Private Practice Law Firms; Baraga County Courthouse; Michigan Supreme Court; Michigan Administrative Hearing System; Private Practice Law Firms; Kalamazoo County; Michigan District Attorney’s Office; Michigan Secretary of State Total Number of Employees in Michigan: 24,940

Largest areas of employment in descending order

Protective service

  1. Warren, Troy
  2. Detroit Area
  3. Grand Rapids, Wyoming
  4. Mishawaka, South Bend
  5. Flint

Legal service

  1. Warren, Troy
  2. Grand Rapids, Wyoming
  3. Lansing, East Lansing
  4. Ann Arbor
  5. Flint

Professional Resources for Criminal Justice in Michigan

Business Compliance Resources

Association of Corporate Counsel, Michigan

A group of over 600 attorneys serving as counsel for automotive companies, health care providers, financial institutions and a variety of other businesses across Michigan.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce

This statewide business organization represents employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce across Michigan, promoting legal, legislative and political advancement for local businesses.

Small Business Association of Michigan

A membership organization focused on providing educational resources, advocacy and further information for Michigan business owners.

State Bar of Michigan, Business Law Section

The Business Law Section of the Michigan State Bar helps enhance and protect the business, legislative and regulatory environment in the state. Participation is voluntary and provides networking and mentoring opportunities for members.

Correctional Resources

American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Prisoner Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan dedicates a portion of their efforts to Prisoner Rights and fighting unconstitutional conditions in prisons across the state. Details on cases, legislation, campaigns and media support are shared here.

Careers, Michigan Department of Corrections

For employment information and details on the Department of Corrections, the Careers section of the Department website provides many resources for aspiring correctional system workers in Michigan.

Citizens Alliance on Prisons & Public Spending

This non-profit public policy organization works to better corrections spending practices and examine correctional policies in the state of Michigan in hopes of preventing crime, better rehabilitating offenders and serving crime survivors.

Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Commission

A branch of the Michigan Legislative Council, the CJPC is assigned to collect, prepare and analyze information regarding state and local judicial policies, prison and jail use policies, sentencing and research related to the judicial and correctional system.

Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

Working within the Michigan justice and human service systems, the MCCD is a non-profit organization that addresses issues related to juvenile and criminal justice, including policy improvement and reduction and prevention of youth and adult crime.

Court & Judicial Resources

Employment Opportunities, Michigan Courts

This site details jobs available in Michigan’s court system at various location all over the state. The page also has information on Michigan courts themselves.

Michigan, The National Center for State Courts

A collection of links to Michigan’s many court systems, including information on the various facilities in the state, legal services, special jurisdictions, jury information and more.

Michigan, The United States Department of Justice

Links to appellate and bankruptcy courts; Michigan’s district, state, and local courts; laws and regulations; lawyer resources; state agencies; and various departments that may assist with legal education opportunities or other judicial system information.

Legal Resources

American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan

The Michigan branch of the ACLU provides news and blogs on current events and local issues as well as information on how to get involved with local civil liberties cases.

Michigan, American Bar Association

A collection of links to legal services, aid and assistance programs located across Michigan. Specific topics addressed include pro bono work and lawyer referral programs, as well as military legal assistance and general legal aid.

Michigan Legal Help

This site provides information on simple civil legal problems that allow users to represent themselves in court. This website also contains information on lawyers or community legal services in different areas across Michigan.

Michigan Legal Services

Providing legal assistance to low-income communities across Michigan, this non-profit organization is comprised of attorneys, political and legal advisors, community advocates and students looking for court room, legal writing and client communication experience.

Project Salute, Michigan Military and Veterans Legal Services Guide

An initiative organized by Detroit Mercy Law School, Project Salute and the Veterans Law Clinic assists low and moderate income veterans and families with obtaining VA benefits and pairs veterans with attorneys when legal support is needed.

State Bar of Michigan

A membership organization for lawyers and legal professionals in Michigan. The site has information on publications, events and further education as well as leadership and advocacy opportunities.

Law Enforcement Resources

Job Postings, Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards

For more information on law enforcement positions available in Michigan, visit this page. The Commission works to support law enforcement professionals and other criminal justice workers in Michigan, and this site also provides information on news and current issues in law enforcement.

Michigan Law Enforcement Youth Advisory Committee

A group promoting public service and professional policing, Youth Advisory Committee holds annual competitions for officers to participate in, and provides educational demonstrations and exploration opportunities for young people to engage with law enforcement professionals.

Michigan Sheriff’s Association

The oldest law enforcement organization in the state of Michigan, this site provides information on conferences, training and community programs sponsored by local Sheriff’s Offices. The Association also works on initiatives that improve professional standards amongst offices and better protect the community.

Michigan State Police

This page includes information about careers, training, additional services and legal resources for police officers in the state of Michigan.

Police Officers Association of Michigan

A collection of resources for law enforcement departments and offices across Michigan, including legislative, legal and current event information, training opportunities and videos for members. Police Academy and training information can also be found here.

Wildlife & Environmental Resources

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

A band of eleven Ojibew tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan who partner with the U.S. Government to establish treaties, enforcement and legal policies regarding hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the Great Lakes region.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

For information on the commissions, boards and committees involved in wildlife and game management and details on law enforcement related to the environment and conservation in Michigan visit this page. Details on Conservation Officer Academy can also be found here.

Michigan, National Park Service

The National Park Service employs rangers and other people interested in conserving national parks, and there are employment opportunities in Sleeping Bear Dunes, Keweenaw National Park and Isle Royale in Michigan.

Michigan Offices, United States Fish and Wildlife Services

A collection of links and contact information for Michigan’s offices of fish and wildlife service organizations.

Expert Advice on Criminal Justice in Michigan: Robert A. Hanson, MA, MS

Robert A. Hanson is the Loss Prevention Management Degree Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department at Northern Michigan University. Professor Hanson served eight years in counter-intelligence and criminal investigations with the U.S. Army prior to entering academia. Since coming to Northern Michigan University in 1976, he has directed the Regional Police Academy, created the American Legion Cadet Officer Program and served as a trainer for law enforcement and correctional officers. Currently he is serving as the coordinator of Northern’s Loss Prevention Management program. Professor Hanson has a B.S. in psychology and economics from University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, and an M.A., M.S. in executive development for public service from Ball State University. In addition to teaching in the masters’ program, he teaches subjects such as judicial function, investigating, interviewing and interrogation.

  • What can students do to prepare for a criminal justice degree program?


    Realize that popular television programs are fiction and not reflective of the actual work done by the men and women who work in this field. Even the reality videos are mostly fake and often show unprofessional and dangerous behavior. Honestly, ask yourself what motivates your interest? Evaluate your strengths. Participate in programs such as Law Enforcement Explorers, volunteer for search and rescue units, ride-along with local police and stay out of trouble. Interpersonal communication and writing skills are essential. Get involved in your local community.
  • What should prospective criminal justice students look for in a school?


    Find a place with actively engaged faculty who blend the practical with theory. Our faculty have at least five years paid full-time experience in some aspect of CJ in addition to academic qualifications. Ask about class size and internship opportunity. Beware of programs that depend heavily on adjunct instructors. Seek out institutions that encourage active student learning and embrace technology. By all means, visit the campus and talk with students there.
  • What skills do students gain in a criminal justice degree program?


    This reminds me of that joke about putting lipstick on a pig. A college degree is no guarantee of competence. That’s why most employers test for basic communication skills.

    A better question is what do prospective employers look for in CJ graduates. Law enforcement recruiters tell me that they train rookies in firearms, criminal law, police procedures, but they can’t train good interpersonal communication skills. I add critical thinking skills and a perspective of the professional behavior expected from those who serve. The ability to read, analyze, and verbalize effectively to a wide range of cultures and mindsets. Familiarity with technology beyond the cell phone.

  • Given the reports in the media of the violence in big cities like Detroit, how concerned should prospective criminal justice students be about safety when they pursue a career?


    When I started in criminal investigation, my training officer said, “Hanson, I can’t do my job if I’m afraid.” Courage and character are the hallmarks of a professional law enforcement officer. Even before the latest tragedies, parents more than students, have expressed reservations about police work. Some people, after a few classes, realize they should find another career to pursue. (It is more dangerous to be in an African-American neighborhood in Chicago than to be a Chicago officer.) Not all cities are combat zones. This will have some effect on potential students, but we have no way to track it.

    In Michigan, the greater danger is unfunded pension liability that contributes to the fact that we have about 15 percent fewer officers in Michigan today than we had on 9/11.

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