Criminal Justice Schools in New Mexico

The Best Degrees, Careers and Resources for Criminal Justice Students

As the state’s interest in cracking down on crime begins to take precedence over economic concerns, criminal justice schools in New Mexico may play increasingly significant roles in producing qualified legal and protective service professionals statewide. However, students looking to find the right New Mexico criminal justice school for them may have a hard time figuring out where to begin their educational and professional pursuits. This guide provides numerous tools, lists and resources to help students find quality criminal justice schools in New Mexico and learn about the various criminal justice careers available to them.

DEGREE LEADERBOARD: BEST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SCHOOLS IN NEW MEXICO FOR 2017


  • OUR 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.


New Mexico is home to a variety of different schools where students can get a solid criminal justice education. It’s great to have options, but prospective students may have a hard time gauging the quality of the criminal justice schools on their lists. The list below ranks the best criminal justice schools in New Mexico based on a combination of factors, like tuition, acceptance rates, student-to-teacher ratio and total enrollment.

Top 10 Bachelor Criminal Justice Schools in New Mexico

Rank School Location
1 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM
2 New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM
3 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
4 New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas, NV
5 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
6 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM

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  1. Western New Mexico University
    Location

    Silver City, NM

    At Western New Mexico University, students in the criminal justice program can earn two- or four-year degrees, as well as continuing education and training. Degree programs combine liberal arts courses with criminal justice studies, providing students with the professional orientation necessary for success in the field. At the bachelor's level, students choose between a corrections and policing concentration. Many minors are available, from computer science to accounting. While having a minor is not a requirement for graduation, students are strongly urged to consider completing one. The school sponsors an honor society for criminal justice students, as well as a criminal justice club.

  2. New Mexico State University
    Location

    Las Cruces, NM

    Criminal justice studies at New Mexico State University prepare students to work in the field with curriculum centered on critical thinking, theoretical perspectives, and experiential learning. An online undergraduate program caters to students who have attained sophomore status in their bachelor's degree, and completed all lower division courses for the program. The upper division course sequence can be completed through distance studies with the use of the Canvas learning management system. There is also an online graduate program that can be completed fully online, with the same course content and faculty as the on-campus program.

  3. Eastern New Mexico University
    Location

    Portales, NM

    Students seeking a career in law enforcement, the court system, crime victim advocacy, or consulting can study criminal justice at Eastern New Mexico University. The school's criminal justice program explores society's response to crime, with study of the theoretical foundations as well as a hands-on internship. Students can take their courses on campus, online, or in a hybrid format. The school's criminal justice league is a student-run organization where peers debate criminal justice issues, and attend presentations and conferences related to their studies. Learners can also find support with the College Success Program, which provides extended tutoring hours, personal success coaching, and a laptop loan program.

  4. New Mexico Highlands University
    Location

    Las Vegas, NV

    New Mexico Highlands University educates students who wish to work in the criminal and juvenile justice system through its criminal justice bachelor's program. Curriculum includes sociology and political science, and students build their communication and critical thinking skills through classroom discussions and assignments. These skills are developed further in an internship, with potential placements in law enforcement agencies, probation and corrections, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The school emphasizes the importance of personal attention from professors, as well as a lower-stress environment where students can succeed academically while forming friendships and professional networks.

  5. University of New Mexico
    Location

    Albuquerque, NM

    The University of New Mexico offers pre-law and criminology programs well-suited to students who wish to pursue a career in the criminal justice field. The criminology major outlines the causes and characteristics of crime, societal reactions to crime and deviance, and the criminal justice system. Individuals studying pre-law, a concentration of the sociology major, also learn about crime and deviance with a focus on the role that the legal system plays in handling criminals and reducing crime. The university's center for academic support provides students with services like drop-in tutoring, online tutoring, and a writing and language center to foster their success in the classroom.

  6. University of the Southwest
    Location

    Hobbs, NM

    Students at the University of the Southwest can earn undergraduate degrees in criminal justice 100 percent online. The degree program aims to prepare students for employment with law enforcement, federal agencies and corrections or continued education in graduate programs. The University of the Southwest boasts small classes sizes in its criminal justice program. Credit can also be earned for professional experience. The University of the Southwest is a private Christian university, with a campus ministry plus a number of student organizations available for local students.

Explore Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in New Mexico

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Top 10 Associate Criminal Justice Schools in New Mexico

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  1. Luna Community College
    Location

    Las Vegas, NM

    Luna Community College offers a 63 credit hour criminal justice program. The criminal justice associate degree is a three-pronged program. In addition to taking core courses like criminal investigation, ethics and report writing and documentation, students enrolled in the program must take electives and general education courses. General education classes are in subjects like composition, public speaking and science. Program emphasis is on law, corrections and court systems. It's possible to earn the degree on campus and via a distance education option. Blackboard, webmail and Pathways are the college's main distance education platforms. There is a program director and ACCESS staff assigned to the program to provide academic and technical support to students.

  2. New Mexico Junior College
    Location

    Hobbs, NM

    Criminal justice majors can graduate from New Mexico Junior College's with an Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Arts degree. Strong communication, research and writing skills help students to grasp key aspects of the program, particularly areas like investigative reporting and police and detective interviewing. To graduate, students must earn at least a 2.0 GPA. It is recommended that new students meet with their academic advisor and complete a degree plan. Through its Division of Public Safety, the college also operates a law enforcement academy and a corrections academy. Credit for work criminal justice and corrections experience is offered in both associate degree programs.

  3. Santa Fe Community College
    Location

    Santa Fe, NM

    Santa Fe Community College's Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree prepares students to transfer into four-year criminal justice programs at accredited schools. The program also provides adults with an understanding of America's criminal justice system, including courts, corrections, social controls and rehabilitation initiatives. Students enrolled in the program can expect to take courses like communications, math, criminology, political theory and sociology. Roles that the program can prepare students to enter include police officer, corrections officer, probation officer and detective. The college's main campus is located in Gainesville, Florida.

  4. Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso
    Location

    Ruidoso, NM

    Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Campus is located in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Class sizes are small and highlight subjects like criminal procedures, social science, juvenile justice and criminal law. Adults currently working in the criminal justice field and adults absent any criminal justice experience can enroll. Takeaways include a solid knowledge of the American court, government and criminal justice systems. It takes between 64 to 66 credits to graduate. Online admissions and registration are accepted. Academic advisors conduct live chats with prospective and current criminal justice majors to help them develop a graduation plan and to offer academic support as needed.

  5. Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell
    Location

    Roswell, NM

    The Roswell, New Mexico campus of Eastern New Mexico University offers an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree. The two year degree transfers into the university's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program. Minimum GPA allowed is 2.0. Academic credits are awarded to adults who have completed police certification training, border patrol training, federal air marshal training or correctional officer academy. All of the trainings must be completed in New Mexico. Areas of study that students learn about during the degree program include behavioral sciences, law, humanities and criminal justice.

  6. New Mexico State University - Alamogordo
    Location

    Alamogordo, NM

  7. San Juan College
    Location

    Farmington, NM

  8. Mesalands Community College
    Location

    Tucumcari, NM

  9. Clovis Community College
    Location

    Clovis, NM

  10. Central New Mexico Community College
    Location

    Albuquerque, NM

There is a ton of variety within the criminal justice field, from supervising law enforcement officers to transcribing court hearings. Students looking to study criminal justice in New Mexico can take a look at the state’s most popular legal and protective services careers to help guide them down an educational and career path.


  • Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

    • Total Employed in New Mexico4,460
    • Median Salary in New Mexico$50,420
    • Degree Level Required in New MexicoAcademy Program


  • Correctional Officer

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      4,140
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $33,010
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Certification


  • Compliance Officer

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      1,480
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $63,800
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Bachelor’s


  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      1,600
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $43,230
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Varies; up to Bachelor’s


  • Court, Municipal and License Clerks

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      1,330
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $33,850
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Varies; up to Bachelor’s


  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      1,610
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $77,000
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Varies; up to Bachelor’s


  • Probation Officer

    • Total Employed in New Mexico
      780
    • Median Salary in New Mexico
      $42,000
    • Degree Level Required in New Mexico
      Bachelor’s


SIDE BY SIDE: HOW NEW MEXICO COMPARES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAREERS

Students attending criminal justice schools in New Mexico can prepare themselves for the state’s legal and protective services workforce by being aware of criminal justice careers with positive outlooks. The following tables note criminal justice careers in New Mexico that yield annual earnings higher than or on par with the national average and careers that are growing faster than or within a few percentage points of the national average.

[charts]

EMPLOYER PROFILE: WHERE TO GET HIRED WITH A CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEGREE IN NEW MEXICO

Students pursuing criminal justice careers aren’t limited to New Mexico’s metropolitan areas; both the state’s more populous cities are rural areas see high employment of those in the legal and protective services. The table below notes which parts of New Mexico employ the most criminal justice professionals and the average annual earnings for professionals in these regions.

  • Protective Services
    Potential Employers
    Central New Mexico Correctional Facility; Santa Fe Police Department; New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; Albuquerque Sheriff’s Department; Albuquerque Animal Services Department; Penn National Gaming; Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court; Las Cruces Public Schools; Roswell Recreation Department; Albuquerque International Airport
    Total Number of Employees in New Mexico: 23,750
  • Legal Occupations
    Potential Employers
    New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts; Albuquerque Court of Appeals; Santa Fe Supreme Court; Modrall Sperling Law Firm; New Mexico Judicial Court System; Holland Services
    Total Number of Employees in New Mexico: 5,360

LARGEST AREAS OF EMPLOYMENT IN DESCENDING ORDER

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NEW MEXICO

BUSINESS COMPLIANCE RESOURCES

CORRECTIONAL RESOURCES

COURT & JUDICIAL RESOURCES

LEGAL RESOURCES

LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

  • New Mexico Department of Public Safety
    Access public safety news and laws, and learn about New Mexico’s law enforcement agencies, like the state police, transit police and the police academy.
  • New Mexico Fraternal Order of Police
    This state branch of the national organization is New Mexico’s largest law enforcement organizations. Members get legislative representation, the Police Officers Survivors Benefit, free tuition to a state university for a child of a member killed on duty and other benefits.
  • New Mexico State Police
    Find information about training and recruiting opportunities, and learn about the job duties and responsibilities of New Mexico State Police officers.New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association
  • The New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association connects sheriffs from around the state with membership-based resources, advocacy and events.
  • Private Investigations Advisory Board, New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department
    The Advisory Board licenses and oversees private investigators and related careers in the state of New Mexico. Their page provides information about licensing requirements, laws, fees, exam schedules and other resources.
  • New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy
    This government page provides information about training opportunities for New Mexico’s current and future law enforcement officers.

WILDLIFE & ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

  • Animal Protection of New Mexico
    This organization strives to protect and advocate for animals, and actively supports legislation that prevents animal cruelty. The page also includes animal control ordinances.
  • New Mexico Game and Fish
    This government department supplies a variety of information about nature and wildlife protection in New Mexico. Visitors can find enforcement resources on the page, including news, rules and career opportunities.
  • Conservation Enforcement, New Mexico Game and Fish
    This page specifically refers people to information about New Mexico’s enforcement efforts to protect the state’s wildlife and environment.
  • City of Albuquerque Fire Investigation/Arson Division
    Learn about the roles and responsibilities of Albuquerque’s fire investigation and arson department, and get information about becoming a firefighter.
  • New Mexico Wildlife Federation
    The NMWF seeks to protect water, land and wildlife in New Mexico by advocating for state parks and public lands.
  • Employment, New Mexico State Parks
    This page provides information on how to become an employee of New Mexico’s state parks, which includes park rangers who enforce the laws around wildlife and visitor protection.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


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