Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Updated November 3, 2022

A criminal justice degree can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top criminal justice schools in Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania's Best Criminal Justice Schools, Programs and Student Resources

Pennsylvania's buzzing metro areas and scenic natural landscapes offer a wealth of career opportunities for those interested in a criminal justice career. Legal and protective services professionals are in high demand in metro areas including Philadelphia Pittsburgh, in cities with college campuses, at state parks, in high-traffic tourist and entertainment destinations, and in the capital city of Harrisburg. This page provides resources for students or graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in the criminal justice field in Pennsylvania.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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PENNSYLVANIA'S BEST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SCHOOLS

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.

Exploring different educational opportunities and criminal justice schools in Pennsylvania can take some time. It's important to review degree programs, training options and tuition rates to make the most informed decision. Use the ranking list below to narrow down the wealth of options in this state and compare schools by acceptance rate, enrollment and more.

#1 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Pennsylvania State University

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Students looking to jump-start their career should consider a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University. Learners can choose from in-person and online bachelor's degree programs. Enrollees gain access to a supportive learning environment during their studies.

Enrollees complete general and advanced coursework, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the criminal justice field. Students can customize their program by declaring a double major, minor, or degree concentration, and they can also choose elective classes. Students benefit from institutional resources throughout their program, including career services and academic advising.

Depending on their eligibility, students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other funding toward their educational expenses. The college reports that 73% of all learners receive some form of aid, with the average financial aid award package being $8,354.

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,416
Out-of-state
$34,480
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
91,427
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking a flexible education can explore Drexel University's in-person and online degree offerings. The private college delivers 101 bachelor's degree programs, eight of which are fully remote. Regardless of modality, enrollees access rigorous coursework, supportive faculty and peers, and a premier education.

Students benefit from foundational and advanced coursework, as well as industry-specific lectures. Students can customize their program by choosing electives and declaring minors and degree concentrations. The college connects students with numerous resources, such as academic advising and career services, for the duration of their degree program.

Students can explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid in consultation with the financial aid office. At the college, 100% of all enrollees are awarded financial aid packages.

Average Tuition
In-state
$52,146
Out-of-state
$52,146
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
24,205
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

La Salle University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking a flexible education can explore La Salle University's in-person and online degree offerings. Students can enroll in one of 83 campus-based bachelor's programs or opt for remote study across two subject areas. Undergraduate students benefit from skilled faculty, rigorous coursework, and a supportive learning environment.

Enrollees complete general and advanced coursework, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their field of choosing. Depending on their career goals, students can declare a double major, minor, or degree concentration, and they can select elective courses. Throughout their studies, enrollees can access academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective students can inquire with the financial aid office about funding opportunities and explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other aid. According to the institution, 99% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,700
Out-of-state
$30,700
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
4,933
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Gannon University

  • Erie, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Erie, Gannon University supports numerous hybrid degree options for undergraduate students. Located in Pennsylvania, the private institution features in-person and virtual programs, enabling students near and far to benefit from top-ranked classes, prominent faculty, and a supportive learning community. Both modalities support rigorous study.

Students complete foundational and advanced coursework throughout their program. Students can customize their curriculum by declaring a double major, minor, or degree concentration, and they can also choose elective classes. While enrolled, students can access institutional resources including career services and academic advising.

Prospective students can inquire with the financial aid office about funding opportunities and explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$33,245
Out-of-state
$33,245
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
4,444
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Cedar Crest College

  • Allentown, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cedar Crest College offers numerous bachelor's degree programs suitable for learners from all walks of life. Learners can choose from in-person and online bachelor's degree programs. Enrollees connect with peers, faculty, and staff, either through campus learning environments, or virtual classrooms.

Degree-seekers gain skills and knowledge through classes, lectures, and experiential learning opportunities. Students have the option to modify their classes, choose electives, and customize their studies. Enrollees can access career services, academic advising, and other resources throughout their program.

Prospective students can inquire with the financial aid office about funding opportunities and explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$39,774
Out-of-state
$39,774
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
1,526
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Chestnut Hill College

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Looking for a premier education to jump-start your career? Consider one of the 43 bachelor’s degrees from Chestnut Hill College. Enrollees can choose from on-campus bachelor's programs or opt for remote study. While enrolled, students connect with premier faculty and benefit from a supportive learning community.

Students complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining skills and knowledge relevant to the criminal justice field. Degree-seekers can modify their classes, choose electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations. While enrolled, students can access institutional resources including career services and academic advising.

Students can meet with a financial aid counselor to determine their eligibility for funding and explore scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of aid. The college boasts that 98% of all enrollees receive some form of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,950
Out-of-state
$36,950
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
1,600
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#7 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Mercyhurst University

  • Erie, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mercyhurst University provides flexible educational opportunities for learners worldwide. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. To date, the school offers 75 bachelor’s programs.

Students near and far benefit from a supportive learning community. The college provides students with a competitive education through intensive study. Participants take foundational classes, as well as advanced coursework, with the option to modify their schedule and choose electives.

Learners can customize their studies in consultation with an academic advisor, to suit their personal and professional goals. Learners further benefit from access to institutional resources, such as academic advising and career services.

Depending on their eligibility, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. According to the college, 100% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,500
Out-of-state
$37,500
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
2,704
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking a flexible bachelor's degree program should consider Temple University. Of its 137 bachelor's degree programs, six are offered online. Enrollees gain access to a supportive learning environment during their studies.

Enrollees gain skills and knowledge suitable for their field of choosing through lectures, coursework, and other learning opportunities. Students can work with an academic advisor to customize their degree and declare minors and degree concentrations. Students receive guidance throughout their program through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Based on their eligibility, students can receive scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. Of all enrollees, 90% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,080
Out-of-state
$28,992
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
38,794
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Holy Family University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Holy Family University offers numerous bachelor's degree programs suitable for learners from all walks of life. Learners can choose from in-person and online bachelor's degree programs. Regardless of modality, enrollees benefit from rigorous coursework, supportive faculty and peers, and a premier education.

While enrolled, students complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining skills and knowledge relevant to their subject field. Students can customize their program by declaring a double major, minor, or degree concentration and can also choose elective classes. Students receive guidance throughout their program through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

The college connects students with numerous funding opportunities, including scholarships and federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,990
Out-of-state
$29,990
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
3,110
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Keystone College

  • La Plume, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate students can benefit from a flexible, thorough education at Keystone College. Learners can study from the comfort of their home or on the college's La Plume campus. At present, the college provides 27 bachelor's degree programs, with three programs supporting remote study.

Learners enrolled in person and online benefit from a supportive learning community. Criminal justice students follow a rigorous program curriculum. Learners engage foundational and advanced concepts throughout interactive study and gain practical knowledge.

Students can collaborate with an academic advisor to customize their degree program. Learners can also connect with career services to receive guidance throughout the program.

The financial aid office can connect students with funding opportunities, to make the cost of college manageable. To date, 92% of all enrolled students receive financial aid awards.

Average Tuition
In-state
$24,920
Out-of-state
$24,920
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
1,364
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#11 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

University of Scranton

  • Scranton, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students looking to jump-start their career should consider a bachelor's degree from the University of Scranton. The college supports 63 bachelor's programs. Enrollees benefit from rigorous coursework, supportive faculty and peers, and a premier education.

Students complete foundational and advanced coursework while enrolled and can pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities. Students can customize their program by choosing electives and declaring minors and degree concentrations. Throughout their program, students can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

Prospective students can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid awards. According to the institution, 99% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$45,390
Out-of-state
$45,390
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
5,253
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#12 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Thomas Jefferson University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University supports numerous hybrid degree options for undergraduate students. Learners can choose from in-person and online bachelor's degree programs. Regardless of modality, enrollees benefit from rigorous coursework, supportive faculty and peers, and a premier education.

Students complete foundational and advanced classes throughout their studies. Learners can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree and study trajectory. Students can access institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, throughout the course of their program.

Prospective students can inquire with the financial aid office about funding opportunities and explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$40,680
Out-of-state
$40,680
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
8,026
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#13 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Penn State Altoona

  • Altoona, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Individuals looking for a premier bachelor's-level education that fits their schedule should consider Penn State Altoona. The public institution offers hybrid degree programs at the undergraduate level. To date, the public college supports 30 bachelor's programs.

After enrollment, students join a supportive learning community, connecting with peers, faculty, and staff in person and online. Students in the criminal justice program complete industry-relevant coursework and attend lectures, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Enrollees complete general and advanced classes and can modify their course load to suit their career goals.

Students have the option to select electives, degree concentrations, and degree minors and pursue other academic modifications. A leader in student success, the college connects enrollees with career services, academic advising, and other supportive resources.

The college connects students with scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities to be applied to educational expenses.

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,214
Out-of-state
$23,924
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#14 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Point Park University

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Individuals looking for a premier bachelor's-level education that fits their schedule should consider Point Park University. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. To date, the private college supports 55 bachelor's programs, 10 of which are online.

Once enrolled, students connect with colleagues, faculty, and staff in a supportive learning community. Students in the criminal justice program build competency through rigorous coursework and industry-relevant lectures. Enrollees complete general and advanced classes and can modify their course load to suit their career goals.

Students have the option to select electives, degree concentrations, and degree minors, and they can pursue other academic modifications. Students can access institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, throughout their program.

The college connects students with a variety of funding opportunities to defray educational costs. At the college, 100% of all incoming students receive financial aid funding.

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,180
Out-of-state
$31,180
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
3,929
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#15 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

York College of Pennsylvania

  • York, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

York College of Pennsylvania provides flexible educational opportunities for learners worldwide. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. Regardless of location, students can connect with peers, faculty, and staff through a supportive learning community.

The college provides students with a competitive education through intensive study. Learners complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining a well-rounded education.

Students have the option to select electives, degree concentrations, and degree minors and pursue other academic modifications. Students seeking academic and career guidance can connect with campus resources, such as academic advising and career services.

To defray the costs of education, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. Of all enrollees, 100% receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,910
Out-of-state
$18,910
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
4,307
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#16 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

University of Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate learners seeking competitive study should consider one of the University of Pittsburgh's 98 bachelor's programs. To date, the college offers 98 in-person bachelor's programs, one of which is fully remote. Both modalities support rigorous study and connect enrollees with premier faculty and supportive learning communities.

Students benefit from foundational and advanced coursework, as well as industry-specific lectures. Depending on their career goals, students can declare a double major, minor, or degree concentration and select elective courses. Enrollees can receive further guidance through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Students can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. On average, students receive $10,488 in financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,628
Out-of-state
$32,656
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
57%
Students Enrolled
32,686
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#17 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Waynesburg University

  • Waynesburg, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Waynesburg University is a private college offering hybrid education in Pennsylvania. Students can choose from 34 in-person bachelor's degree programs and three remote programs. Regardless of modality, enrollees benefit from rigorous coursework, supportive faculty and peers, and a premier education.

Enrollees take foundational and advanced classes, learning the ins and outs of their field. Students can modify their degree depending on their career goals, in consultation with an academic advisor. The college connects students with numerous resources, such as academic advising and career services, for the duration of their program.

Based on their eligibility, students can receive scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. The college reports that 100% of all learners receive some form of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$24,690
Out-of-state
$24,690
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
1,628
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#18 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Bloomsburg, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking flexible study should consider Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. Regardless of location, students can connect with peers, faculty, and staff through a supportive learning community.

As part of the program curriculum, students complete coursework and attend industry-relevant lectures. Learners engage foundational and advanced concepts throughout interactive study and gain practical knowledge.

Students can work with their academic advisor to modify their studies, select electives, and pursue additional coursework that suits their career goals. Throughout their program, learners can work with career services and academic advising to receive further guidance.

The college connects students with scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities to be applied to educational expenses. The average enrollee receives $5,925 in financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
8,574
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#19 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Alvernia University

  • Reading, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Alvernia University is a private college offering hybrid education in Reading, Pennsylvania. Learners can choose from in-person and online bachelor's degree programs. Enrollees gain access to a supportive learning environment during their studies.

Enrollees take foundational and advanced classes, learning the ins and outs of the criminal justice field. Depending on their career goals, students can declare a double major, minor, or degree concentration, and they can select elective courses. Throughout their program, students can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

The college connects students with numerous funding opportunities, including scholarships and federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,350
Out-of-state
$35,350
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
2,731
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#20 Criminal Justice Schools in Pennsylvania [2022 Guide]

Seton Hall University

  • South Orange, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate students can receive a flexible, thorough education at Seton Hall University. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. Learners can choose from 58 bachelor's degree programs or opt for remote study.

Whether learning in person or online, students join a supportive learning community, working alongside peers, faculty, and staff. Throughout their studies, enrollees in the criminal justice program complete field-specific coursework as part of the program curriculum. Enrollees take general and advanced classes and can modify their course load to suit their career goals.

In consultation with an academic advisor, students can choose electives and pursue degree concentrations and minors. Learners further benefit from access to institutional resources, such as academic advising and career services.

Depending on their eligibility, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. To date, 100% of all enrolled students receive financial aid awards.

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,460
Out-of-state
$41,460
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
10,219
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Fighting crime and protecting Pennsylvania residents requires a certain level of training and dedicated efforts by law enforcement officials, probation officers, lawyers, judges, and other legal and protective services professionals. Some career paths require completing a certificate program while others may require an advanced degree. Use the tool below to compare attractive criminal justice careers in Pennsylvania.

Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania26,490
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$66,790
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaAcademy Program

Correctional Officer

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania16,480
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$49,670
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaCertification

Compliance Officer

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania11,040
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$62,860
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaBachelor's

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Probation Officer

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania4,180
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$51,720
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaBachelor's

Detectives and Criminal Investigators

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania2,880
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$74,870
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaVaries; up to Bachelor's

Court, Municipal and License Clerks

  • Total Employed in Pennsylvania2,030
  • Median Salary in Pennsylvania$34,490
  • Degree Level Required in PennsylvaniaVaries; up to Bachelor's

PENNSYLVANIA CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAREERS COMPARED WITH NATIONAL AVERAGES

From Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania's major cities have an ongoing demand for government workers, legal professionals and protective service officers. District courthouses, correctional facilities and private investigation firms are a few places to explore job opportunities after completing a training or degree program. The table below highlights the different criminal justice career options compared to national averages.

Salary

[Line Chart]

JobNationalPennsylvania
Correctional Officers and Jailers46,75050,380
Paralegals and Legal Assistants53,18053,380
Detectives and Criminal Investigators81,49082,660
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers62,76065,130
Security Guards26,27029,730
Private Detective46,29053,530
Judicial Law Clerk44,41059,840

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Job Growth

[Line Chart]

JobNationalPennsylvania
Security Guards0.0510.077
Compliance Officers0.0330.04
Crossing Guards0.0350.064
Fish and Game Wardens0.0190.019
Probation Officers and Correctional Team Specialists0.0020.036
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary0.1760.214
Paralegals and Legal Assistants0.0860.09
Lawyers0.0550.056
First-line Supervisors of Correctional Officers0.0080.031

Source: Projections Central, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA EMPLOYERS IN NEED OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDENTS

Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Eerie boast the highest homicide rates in Pennsylvania, according to the latest reports from Keystone Crossroads. Demand for law enforcement officers, private investigators and security guards may be higher in these cities, opening a large selection of job opportunities. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections or the Pennsylvania State Police Department may be a few places to start the job hunt. Below, find highlights of the largest areas of employment and wages for legal and protective services professionals across the state.

Protective Services

Potential Employers

Bailiffs at the Superior Court; Correctional Officers and Jailers with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Detectives and Criminal Investigators for ; Fish and Game Wardens for Pennsylvania Game Commission; Parking Enforcement Workers for The Philadelphia Parking Authority; Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers with the Pennsylvania Sheriff's Association; Transit and Railroad Police for PA Department of Transportation; Animal Control Workers; Private Detectives and Investigators for Magnum Investigations; Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators for SugaHouse Casino; Security Guards for state hospitals, colleges, universities and retail stores; Crossing Guards city governments; Lifeguards, Ski Patrol and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers for city government; Transportation Security Screeners for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Total Number of Employees in Pennsylvania: 42,380

Legal Occupations

Potential Employers

Lawyers; Judicial Law Clerks at the Court of Judicial Discipline; Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators and Hearing Officers at Pennsylvania Courts; Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliator at Pennsylvania Courts; Judges, Magistrate Judges and Magistrates for the Pennsylvania Court System; Paralegals and Legal Assistants at Pennsylvania Law Firms; Court Reporters at the Superior Court of Pennsylvania; Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers at Pennsylvania Law and Real Estate Firms; Legal Support Workers at Pennsylvania Law Firms

Total Number of Employees in Pennsylvania: 42,490

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EXPERT ADVICE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN MICHIGAN: EILEEN M. AHLIN, PHD

Dr. Eileen M. Ahlin is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. Dr. Ahlin earned her PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research and teaching interests include corrections, violence, neighborhood effects, and criminological theory. Her research has been published in journals such as Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Experimental Criminology, and American Journal of Public Health.

Some students may be interested in a criminal justice career because they are fans of shows like “CSI” and “Law & Order.” What would you tell those prospective students about the realities of the criminal justice field?

Just as we've seen a CSI effect among jurors who expect quick sophisticated DNA-type evidence in every case, there is a bit of a crime show effect on some prospective students who are interested in the criminal justice field. While many aspects of work within the criminal justice field mirrors what is seen on television, they must remember that the pace of action can be much slower in real-life than reflected in a one-hour show and not every crime is solved. However, there is quite a bit of opportunity to do good in the community that is not as frequently depicted on television that often surprises students new to the field.

What kinds of courses can criminal justice students expect to take in a degree program?

Students can expect to take courses that will introduce them to the core elements of the criminal justice system, including policing, courts, and corrections. Depending on their program, they may be required to take research methods courses, statistics and other math classes, and electives that deepen their understanding of different aspects of the field such as juvenile delinquency, victimology, and drug use.

What makes someone a good candidate for a criminal justice career?

Students who are curious, critical thinkers with a desire to make the community a better place by serving citizens in various capacities (such as probation officer, social worker, police officer, corrections guard) make stellar criminal justice practitioners. Many criminal justice programs are also preparing students to be successful in graduate school for those seeking to earn a master's or doctoral degree in criminal justice or a related field or pursue law school.

What makes the criminal justice profession unique in Pennsylvania?

One unique aspect of Pennsylvania in the realm of criminal justice, particularly in terms of policing, is its governance structure. Much discretion is left to the local municipalities (e.g., townships, boroughs, cities), many of which are small. This means that much of the decision-making on community safety related issues reflects local interests, while also resulting in a large number of small municipality police departments that often need to interact and cooperate with the larger departments such as the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Police Departments, and local Sheriffs' Offices which may hold competing priorities. Also, much of Pennsylvania is suburban and rural, rather than urban. This impacts not only the terrain, much of which is mountainous and situated away from large urban areas and cities, but it can also affect interactions between correctional officers (most of whom are rural residents) and inmates (many are from urban areas, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). Such demographic differences can add stress to an already difficult job.

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN PENNSYLVANIA

BUSINESS COMPLIANCE RESOURCES

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection - Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee

This section of the site features information for small business owners, including the by-laws and latest meeting details. It outlines important safety standards, waste management protocol and air quality rules to keep residents of Pennsylvania safe.

Pennsylvania SCORE

This organization provides resources for small business owners, mentoring opportunities, and volunteer positions. It also includes information about compliance issues relevant to small business owners throughout the state.

Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers

This organization provides services and resources for business owners looking to start or expand their business. Includes a list of upcoming events, centers and essential resources for startups.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Founded to create a voice for business, the PA Chamber provides advocacy for its members so that they feel represented on the political stage. It also offers resources to support innovation and growth for businesses.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

The mission of the Pennsylvania DCED is to help businesses grow and succeed by providing connections and resources for entrepreneurs.

Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Association of Corporate Council

The ACC is a membership-based organization that supports professionals in the corporate law profession.

CORRECTIONAL RESOURCES

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections - Employment

This section of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections website features employment opportunities for those who want to work in one of the state's correctional institutions. It also lists internships for undergraduates and internships for those looking to satisfy their postdoctoral internship requirements.

Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association

This organization brings together state corrections officers and other professionals working in protective services. The website features member information, benefits, resources, and contracts.

Philadelphia Department of Prisons

Managed by the City of Philadelphia, this organization work to promote programs offered to inmates and manages resources for inmates. The website includes information for visitors, latest updates and inmate location services.

Pennsylvania Association on Probation, Parole and Corrections

This association promotes best practices and professional standards for officers who work with juveniles and adults who are under community supervision.

PA Prison Directory Action

This page provides a directory of prison justice and advocacy groups based in Philadelphia.

COURT & JUDICIAL RESOURCES

Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania

The website for Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System includes public access records, docket sheets, and information about cases of public interest. It also has a careers section with latest listings for deputy court administrator, district court administrator and similar jobs.

Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System

This organization is dedicated to balanced and restorative justice by serving juvenile offenders, victims, and the community at large. The website includes a listing of the latest cases, leadership, and upcoming events.

Pennsylvania Association for Justice

This organization serves as a trial lawyer association to protect citizens' rights and provide its members with access to valuable resources. The website includes membership information, upcoming events, and information about legislative advocacy.

Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association

The PCRA offers networking and professionals resources to its members.

United States District Court Western District of Pennsylvania Alternative Dispute Resolution

This government site provides information about how to use the state's alternative dispute resolution program.

Pennsylvania Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Pennsylvania CASA is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to advocate for neglected and abused children the in the Pennsylvania court system with the end goal of securing a safe, permanent home for them.

LEGAL RESOURCES

American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is dedicated to defending citizens' liberties. The website features the latest news, an area to submit legal complaints, resources explaining your rights, and job openings.

Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission

This organization is responsible for administering Pennsylvania's merit system for dozens of state agency that empty 57,000 civil service employees. This section of the website includes online resources for those who want to submit an application.

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network

Designed to provide leadership, funding and support to improve the quality and availability of civil legal aid for low income residents and victims of domestic violence, this organization is the place to offer pro bono services as a legal professional and find provider resources.

Pennsylvania Bar Association

The PBA is a membership-based group that connects lawyers around the state, providing them with professional resources and opportunities to network.

Legal Services in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

This government page is a directory of organizations that help low-income Pennsylvanians find affordable legal assistance.

Pennsylvania Attorney General

The office of the Attorney General webpage provides public information about legal protection for consumers, criminal prosecutions, cases involving police officers and more in the state of Pennsylvania.

Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations

A nonpartisan, non-profit organization, this group provides resources to state paralegals in the form of networking, professional standards and communication about developments in the industry.

LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

Pennsylvania State Police Department - Employment Opportunities

Those looking for employment with the Pennsylvania State Police Department can explore available opportunities on this website. Listings include opportunities for state troopers, liquor enforcement officers, police communications operators and forensic specialists.

Pennsylvania Chief of Police Training

Police officers looking for training programs to advance in their careers can explore training programs from the Pennsylvania Chief of Police. The training network includes resources out those who want information about certification, special programs, and the curriculum.

Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association

This organization provides resources and support for law enforcement professionals in Pennsylvania. The website includes details about training programs and upcoming events, executive board information and jobs opportunities.

Pennsylvania State Troopers Association

The PSTA serves Pennsylvania state troopers by providing professional resources and opportunities to connect with other state troopers.

WILDLIFE & ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

This organization is dedicated to protecting Pennsylvania's air, land and water from toxic waste and pollution. The website serves as a resource center with information about upcoming events, the latest news, and data and tools.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Employment Opportunities

Individuals looking for information about state parks and forests, conservation efforts and grants will find a wealth of resources on this website. The DNC also hires for civil service and non-civil service jobs and maintains up-to-date listings on its website.

Pennsylvania Commission Careers and Volunteer Opportunities

This government page provides information about how to become a wildlife conservation officer, as well as guides to the application and training process.

The Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation

This organization is dedicated to educating Pennsylvanians about the environment and inspiring residents to protect and conserve resources. The organization serves as the educational arm of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the website features information about upcoming projects.

Wildland Fire, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry

The Bureau of Forestry works to investigate the causes of wildfires. This page provides information about getting involved with forestry enforcement efforts.

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